Gjelina Take Away’s Meatball Sando Will Bankrupt Me


My cheap bastard-ness knows no boundaries… but I will admit something to you, provided you never mention it again.  Once, I had lunch at Gjelina.  *Cue shriek, followed by breaking glass.*  It was my cousin’s birthday, and you can’t get all cheap with birthdays, lord knows I’ve tried. (“Hey sweetheart… what do you say we go to In N Out for your birthday! There’s a free hat and stickers in it for you…”)  Plus, as much as I love Poke Poke and Lemonade, sometimes you want a nice sit down lunch in Venice.  So where else are you going to go?  Cha Cha Chicken?  Uh… thanks, but no thanks.


Long story short, the lunch was great.  So when I heard they were opening Gjelina Take Away, a breakfast and lunchtime annex, I got pretty excited.  Surely the prices would come down a little.  After all there’s no seating, unless you count milk crates in the alley alongside the restaurant.  That’s got to be worth a small discount, right!?


Answer?  Negatory.  Actually, I guess that’s not fair.  There is a $1-2 discount from the regular menu but pretty much everything is over $10, making it still pretty pricey for a take away lunch- even one this good.


The pizzas are pretty much identical to what you get in the restaurant, so if you like Gjelina’s pizza you’ll be pretty happy with GTA’s version.  This margherita was $12, but for only $1 more I’ll probably go for a topped pizza next time.  (There’s mushroom, squash blossom, and more.)


And the turkey sandwich ($11), with arugula, avocado, and cucumbers was very tasty as well.


The salads all looked delicious (and coming from me that’s saying a lot).  Some of them are available as a side dish for $4, or as a full dish for $8.  Plus you can get 3 of them for $13 as your meal.


But the real highlight of the menu was the pork meatball sandwich on brioche.  Greasy and gooey, I was happy to see GTA getting all gross with something that just tastes awesome (no-pork eating Venice Beach health food freaks be damned!)


Paying $11 for a sandwich so small would normally make me angry, but this thing is pretty freaking awesome.  Eating it over a milk crate could be a challenge  (hope you didn’t pay too much for those pants!)  but damn those meatballs are good.

I’m always torn with places like this because I want to eat awesome food, but I don’t want to spend more than $10 on lunch.  And I understand the economics of the restaurant business.  Abbott Kinney is expensive real estate, and Gjelina uses the best ingredients.  They aren’t completely oblivious to the idea of making customers angry by being too expensive. I was told that the jamon panini was only $8 (the only menu item under $10) because a toast version is on the breakfast menu for $4 and they felt weird charging more than double for what’s essentially two orders of the breakfast toast.  Isn’t that nice of them?

Jokes aside, it’s nice to be able to get Gjelina quality food for slightly less money served in a more Midtown Lunch’ish atmosphere (that is to say, shitty.)  In other words, you can justify the price but Gjelina Take Away will still always be one of those places that people say is awesome “but expensive”.  I guess if it keeps the lines down to bearably long, the price is right.  Lord knows if that pork meatball sandwich was any cheaper, I might have to move to Abbot Kinney.

THE + (What somebody who likes this place would say)

  • Gjelina without the hassle of eating at Gjelina?  Awesome!
  • Perfect for picking up food and walking to the beach for a little picnic
  • That meatball sandwich is to die for
  • I’m kind of sick of Lemonade… it’s nice to have another salad option on Abbot Kinney
  • You could probably get away with sharing a pizza and a salad between two people and only spend about $10 each
  • Screw prices.  I’m rich beeeeeatch!
  • Did I mention that meatball sandwich is amazing?

THE – (What somebody who doesn’t like this place would say)

  • Sorry… I don’t eat on milk crates
  • It’s not so much cheaper than Gjelina. I’d rather just sit down and eat in the restaurant.
  • Everything is just a couple of bucks more expensive than it should be.
  • $11 for sandwich smaller than my iphone!?  Come on guys.  With prices like these you should rename this place The Gjelina Mint.

Gjelina Take Away, 1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd, 310-450-1429


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