Wally's Wine & Spirits [Santa Monica]: A Pictorial Essay


#21

To clarify, the recently closed after many years Wally’s in Westwood was indeed a wine & liquor shop. They also had a little sandwich shop for a while but never a full service restaurant. Wally’s in BH, like the new location in SM, is both restaurant and wine shop.


#22

Thanks @cookiemonster. Ah maybe that’s the mixup! Good to know. :slight_smile:


#23

I love the look of the Beverly Hills store/restaurant but hate the vibe. Hope to check out SM one of these days.


#24

I only went there once, but I thought it was pretty good (I had the burger and the octopus). What did you not like about the food?


#25

so that’s why they were closing the original spot… very nice! they of course know what they’re doing.


#26

@paranoidgarliclover, I’ve eaten at Wally’s Beverly Hills a couple of times because it is convenient. At this point, I don’t even remember what I had – maybe one of their flatbread things and some kind of fish and definitely some kind of salad – but it was always mediocre and forgettable, so I haven’t been back in a long time even though the Beverly Hills’ location is convenient and it is pleasant to sit outdoors there.

I’m actually not big on Wally’s wines either. They don’t allow outside corkage and Wally’s tends to stock the status “trophy” wines or crappy middling wines and not the importers I like such as Kermit Lynch or Louis/Dressner (I don’t think I have ever had a bad Louis/Dressner wine). Like most wine people, I want to drink what I want to drink which is another reason I haven’t been a huge Wally’s fan. Last week, I brought to dinner at restaurants that allow corkage a 2004 Krug champagne and a Marie Noelle Ledru Extra Brut. I actually enjoyed the Ledru more (at 1/3 the price of the Krug). I’m sure Wally’s has the Krug (or at least some vintage of same) and I highly doubt it has Ledru or any other similar grower champagne.

Still I would like to try that roast chicken in Santa Monica, although I am usually at dinner with 2, not 4 (and even if I am with 4, I don’t find it easy to convince 3 other people to order chicken as opposed to whatever they happen to want), so I doubt I will be tasting the chicken anytime soon.


#27

Don’t know how much the store overlapped w/ the restaurant, but partner and I have never been particularly happy w/ the few wines we’ve purchased there (although we also sort of randomly grabbed whatever was left after the sale had been going on for a few days, so I always assumed that we were getting the dregs and that this was our own fault).


#28

It wasn’t your fault. I pretty much haven’t been back to Wally’s since I discovered The Wine House on Cotner.


#29

Love the Wine House for wine selection and purchases. But I’d rather eat at Wally’s than at Upstairs 2 (above the Wine House), 10 out of 10 times.


#30

I haven’t eaten at either restaurant. I buy the wine, then drink it with a home cooked dinner. Thank you for letting me know that Upstairs 2 isn’t great.

I love The Wine House for wine and also for their great selection of hard liquor.


#31

My uncle loves the Wine House…he always mentions it when I see him. Looks like I need to hit both Wally’s and the Wine House when I find myself in the neighborhood next.


#32

So much booze, so little time.

I also recommend Bay Cities wine and spirits room. They have a nice selection of the bitter Italian aperitifs I like.

Pretty much every time David Lebovitz posts a new cocktail I go to Bay Cities to get one of the ingredients.


#33

It’s my secret weapon for being a good dinner guest b/c I know nothing about wine, and they have wine ratings on the website. So I look like a superstar. :smiley:


#34

There’s also a strong selection at Lincoln Fine Wines (Venice). Great for a Sunday dinner go-to; if I still lived in LA, it would be a weekly habit for me to visit there.


#35

I ate here last night. I guess what I’d say is, it’s a beautiful space with nicely done food, but the prices gave me a bit of sticker shock. Last night for two, we had: 2 drinks each (4 drinks, 2 of which were old fashioneds, 2 of which were glasses of wine), a crudo (which was alarmingly small and forgettable), the uni toast (which was good but extremely small), a charcuterie board (a 6-7/10 board), and a seabass for two which came with market vegetables and heirloom tomatoes (again–probably a 7/10 or 8/10).

Price after tax, tip, etc: $340 for two.

I’m not going to complain about it being a rip-off. It kind of is what it is. It was my fault for not asking what the MP on the seabass was (spoiler: it’s $125, and not worth half of that). But it just struck me that to pay about $350 for average drinks and decently prepared Santa Monica food was absurd given what is available elsewhere in LA.


#36

Yeah, as a wine lover, I always have to be careful about Wally’s. Often their sale prices on bottles of wine are still higher than the regular price at other LA stores. But hey, it’s a nice shop and nobody is forcing us to shop there, so more power ot them if people pay the prices.


#37

Many wine stores love to include “shelf talkers” with reviews from critics to encourage someone to buy a wine.
“Three 94 point pinot noirs for under $25!!!” and the like will be the marketing headlines for their email blasts.
K&L will often include 3-4 different reviews and ocassionally even omit a the score of a review < 90 for that reason.


#38

Off-topic but curious, do you know the source of the seabass? I ask because we’re in Croatia right now and had a whole Adriatic sea bass for certainly under US$20.


#39

No, but thank you for adding to my aggravation!


#40

I agree with you. And, yeah, I know “rents” but still let’s not be ridiculous. $125 for an effing fish!