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Breezing In

Anush Benliyan

Terrazza, the new beachfront café and lounge within Santa Monica’s Casa del Mar hotel, has opened its doors just in time for summer. Designed by Michael S. Smith (the interior designer behind the Obama White House and Casa del Mar’s sister Santa Monica property, Shutters on the Beach), Terrazza combines the beach-chic aesthetics of the European and Californian coastlines into an aquamarine and white color palette that features raffia-adorned ceilings, Murano glass sconces, and handmade ceramic floor tiles imported from Spain. Green and blue terrazzo-topped tables are accompanied by woven chairs padded in a variety of patterned fabrics, while two communal tables, crafted from hand-carved Italian wood, can each seat eight or 10. Two-story windows offer 180-degree Pacific Ocean and pier views and can be fully opened for an alfresco dining experience in the SoCal beach breeze.

To accompany the relaxed setting, chef Sven Mede has created a menu showcasing Mediterranean-cum-Californian cuisine that includes homemade pastas, Santa Barbara spot prawns, and steamed clams with Calabrian sausage. By day, the new space serves as a sun-soaked café with breakfast and lunch served daily (brunch on the weekends), while at night, Terrazza becomes an intimate lounge offering dinner and drinks, including Italian-spirit-based signature cocktails like the Sicilian Smash with Disaronno amaretto and the Tazza di Vita with Amaro Averna.

Terrazza’s unveiling is part of a greater redesign for the 88-year-old, Italian Renaissance Revival–inspired hotel, which Smith is also overseeing. Renovations include custom iron and blown glass lighting fixtures from Siemon & Salazar in the lobby lounge as well as antique fumed oak wood floors and a custom Helene Aumont iron chandelier in the entryway. The hotel’s library will also feature four new sitting areas that resemble outdoor pool cabanas. (www.bytheblueseasantamonica.com)

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