The Rose Abloom

A Venice icon is revamped, with reverence for its original

Written by Michelle Lyn | Photography by Pascal Shirley

The origin Rose Cafe bloomed in Venice in 1979. Over 30 years later, Sprout L.A. Restaurant Collaboration and chef-owner Jason Neroni partnered to shutter and revamp Rose Avenue’s eponymous cafe and restaurant, keeping original owners Kamal Kapur and Manhar Patel involved with the iconic restaurant.

Since its humble beginnings, Rose Cafe has lived —and thrived—through gentrification of a neighborhood that went from gritty and bohemian to bohemian-chic. Given the gallery-like atmosphere of the space, the cafe instantly doubled as an art gallery, paying homage to local artists and Venice history, quickly establishing Rose Cafe as a Venice landmark and gathering spot for the creative community.

For decades, Rose Cafe employed a long-time dedicated staff that served the same devout locals over the years. It might be too early to determine if the café’s original fans are as enamored with the reimagined version, but there’s no denying that the remodel has produced a stunning result.

The recent renovation may have required Rose Cafe to close doors for nine months, but the transformation is undeniable. Designed by local Art District Company, Studio UNLTD, the ample space includes indoor and outdoor dining with a beer garden, a full market, bakery, Verve Coffee bar, and a 40-foot cocktail bar.

Paying homage to its predecessor, the cafe’s new owners retained the rose painted on the wall of the entrance, giving long-time guests a sense of familiarity and memory. The space continues to celebrate community art, featuring original works from local artists. Beyond that, the design mimics the evolution of Venice over the past 30 years, juxtaposing smooth and rough textures throughout the restaurant with various tiles, rope, cement and white oak.

From his first job working in the kitchen at Disneyland’s exclusive Club 33, Neroni has come a long way. The SoCal native went on to earn his culinary stripes in both New York (in reputable kitchens like Le Cirque, Blue Hill and Essex House) and Europe (alongside some of Spain’s best chefs at Arzak, Mugaritz and El Bulli). Today Neroni’s menu focuses on local cuisine with an international influence from his travels.

Menu highlights for breakfast include Charred Avocado Toast with eggs, lemon, grilled scallion and jalapeño marmalade; and Pumpkin Pancakes with chocolate chips, bacon crumble and maple syrup. Lunch fare appeals to lighter appetites with the Winter Tabbouleh Salad with squash, pomegranate, feta cheese and pistachios, but also caters to those looking for something bolder, like Smoked Bacon Ramen with chicken, noodles, egg, nori and chili paste. Now open for dinner, diners can start out with a dozen Fanny Bay oysters, Crispy Head Cheese or an interesting blend of Crispy Octopus with pepperoni gremolata and cocoa beans. The dinner menu also features vegetarian options such as Hearth Roasted Fennel; rotisserie grilled items like Crispy Suckling Pig; a “butchery” section offering Fried Rabbit Mortadella or Foie Gras Paté with cocoa and grilled pears, as well as pizza and pasta.

By all accounts, the newest iteration of Rose Cafe is blossoming as modern, sophisticated and enticing, further upping the ante of Venice’s revival.

Rose Cafe-Restaurant 
220 Rose Avenue
Venice, CA 90291
310.399.0711 |

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