Jimmy’s Famous American Tavern in Santa Monica


When I hear the word “tavern”, my mind takes me back to a bar scene from the TV Show, Cheers. Picture a dimly-lit, confined space with bar stools that make you slouch and not much else to look at. While there’s certainly a time and a place for divey spots like this, there’s also a time and a place to step it up a notch.

Case in point: recently opened Jimmy’s Famous American Tavern, a modern neighborhood restaurant. The spacious, extended patio overlooks the Loews Hotel, JW Marriott Santa Monica Le Merigot and Santa Monica Pier. I checked out JFAT on Ocean Avenue’s Day at the Races earlier in May and tasted the Southwestern Dip and Mint Julep. This time around I tasted a lot more.

Jimmy’s Famous American Tavern 
1733 Ocean Avenue, Santa Monica, CA 90401

Spicy Ahi Poke

Poke is a personal favorite of mine. I have flashbacks of being in Oahu and walking along the beach. The addition of papaya to this Spicy Ahi Poke added more island flair to this appetizer. After one bite I found myself compulsively searching airfare prices to Hawaii.

Raspberry Rain & Pear Pineapple Muddled Mojito

Fire Grilled Flat Bread

Each bite of the Fire-Grilled Flat Bread was cooked to perfection. There are 4 different flat breads to choose from, we chose the Pear, Black Fig Jam, Blue Cheese & Fontina. This is the epitome of elevated comfort food. It’s sweet, savory and cheesy all in one dish.

The Raspberry Rain is a mix of Ketel One orange vodka, fresh raspberries, lemon juice served in a sugar-rimmed glass. It’s the perfect girly cocktail to wash the bites down with. The Mojito is freshly muddled to order and customizable, you can stick with an original mojito or you can add in a fresh juice mixer. I asked to flavor my mojito with pear and pineapple. Good call, if I may say so myself!

BBQ Spice Crusted Salmon

Charred Brussels Sprouts

The BBQ Spice Crusted Salmon was undeniably the best plate of the evening. The grilled salmon laid utop green beans and creamed corn then sprinkled with crispy onions and bacon. If only the classic green bean casserole at Thanksgiving dinner could more like this!

The Charred Brussels Sprouts were like candied covered vegetables. Crispy and doused with maple syrup. I had to order the bacon on the side out of courtesy to my pig-sympathizing friend. Even with a light sprinkle of applewood smoked bacon, these bad boys were so delicious.

Honey Buttermilk Fried Chicken

The next best dish of the evening was the Honey Buttermilk Fried Chicken over garlic mashed potatoes with thyme gravy and green beans. My eyes literally rolled back in my head after one bite. The batter was thin, crispy and the chicken was tender. The sauce was the main driving force that truly complemented the construction.

Jimmy’s Old School

This is the Jimmy’s Old School I call this the 5×7 cause is it literally that tall. This is no joke, it’s meant to be served to 2 or more people. It consisted of warm chocolate chip cookies, with vanilla bean ice cream, hot fudge, homemade whipped cream and roasted peanuts. It was ridiculously enticing; so much so, I ate the entire thing.




Katie Martin and TinTin Beligan

This is my kind of neighborhood spot! I felt at home thanks to Chef Anjel Castrellon and Erika Moe, Manager. I am definitely going back to try the Cowboy Burger and Bourbon-Chipotle BBQ Baby Back Ribs.

Christine Beligan

I was born in the Philippines and came to live in Los Angeles with my family when I was 3 years old. I grew up mostly eating Filipino Food, Asian Cuisines, and some American comfort foods. I remember us hosting so many parties when I was kid because my Mom was a well known cook amongst our family and friends. Plus, she is from a province in the Philippines called Tarlac and they are known to be great cooks. I started learning how to cook Filipino food in my 20’s, and creating my own versions of adobo, pancit, lumpia, turon, and pineapple chicken. Then I started to create dishes in my mind and cook from there. It wasn’t until my teens that I developed a palate for Italian cuisine, which is my favorite. I began to taste any Italian restaurant that was recommended to me. In the last few years, I have developed a love of going out to dine, and trying new places. It keeps it interesting. I met fellow foodies in the last year who have helped me to develop my palate. I would have never tried Octopus on my own, but there is this one restaurant that turned me on to Grilled Spanish Octopus, Citizen Kitchen by Chef Zach Geerson. I think by attending his wine pairing dinners that I have gone to, it has helped me to enjoy wonderful flavors that I may not have thought would go together. It’s those types of dining experiences that made me hunger for more. It has created this passion inside me to be more bold and daring to accept what is not the norm. With that said I am looking forward to future encounters with Chefs that will blow my mind with their work of art and vision.