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Photos: Little Door Santa Monica Is Now The More Casual L'Ami

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A charming French-Mediterranean restaurant can be found hidden behind an inconspicuous wooden door in Santa Monica.

Formerly known as Little Door, this romantic Santa Monica spot has become L'Ami, which means 'the friend' in English. Owned by Parisian Marc-Antoine Rambaud and offering a menu from French chef Francis Bey, the menu uses local, seasonal ingredients to produce fresh French-Mediterranean cuisine.

While previous visitors of Little Door will find that many elements of the decor and menu are the same, the restaurant now aims to be more accessible with bigger portions, a casual bar menu, a daily happy hour and a kids menu for dinner and brunch.

We're told the inspiration for the design comes from St. Tropez. Stepping inside, you'll find lots of blue tones on the patio and touches like a tile fountain. Inside, are a number of fuzzy seats, and you can warm up by the fireplace. Though there are a lot of open-air spaces, it feels far removed from the street.

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The menu offers a lot of fresh seafood, but also some heartier dishes like the Royal Couscous or the rack of lamb. We'd recommend starting with the Beet & Burrata tower, followed by Day Boat Scallops or the very buttery and flaky Scottish Salmon. We were also big fans of the light and creamy coconut panna cotta for dessert.

If you're not here to dine, however, it's a great place to grab a drink as the hidden nature of the venue allows for easy conversation. For a refreshing drink that matches your surrounding, we'd opt for the Campanula Sour, made with Finlandia Grapefruit vodka, St. Germain, pressed red bell pepper juice, organic lemon juice, mint.

L'Ami is open for dinner Mon.-Sun., 5:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.; brunch Sat. & Sun. from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Happy hour is daily from 5:30—7 p.m. and includes $9 craft cocktails and wines and $10 bar bites.

L'Ami is located at 246 26th St. in Santa Monica, 310-310-8064.