In Venice Veritas

A food-friendly wine shop or a wine-friendly cafe? You decide.

Venice Beach Wines is exactly the kind of wine shop you expect to find near Abbot Kinney–a boho-chic space, lots of locals perusing the shelves and an owner, Oscar Hermosillo, who knows everyone by name. But people don't just flock here for the great wine selection: They're coming for the dynamite food.

This would be just another wine shop if it weren't for the tiny open kitchen and small sidewalk patio filled with banquettes and cocktail tables. You can sit and nibble on Mediterranean-inspired fare like warm, bubbly house-made ricotta laced with lemon, thyme and lavender ($7) or farmer's market arugula tossed with citrusy dressing and aged Gouda ($7). We also like the juicy curry-rubbed rotisserie lamb panini with Indian-spiced slow-roasted tomatoes and mint pesto ($10) and fresh green chickpea cakes draped in spicy almond yogurt raita ($7). Chef Jill Davie likes to keep things seasonal and, of course, wine-friendly.

There are about 20 wines by the glass on the list, mostly small-production, boutique labels form California and Europe. You can also buy a bottle from the shop to open there (corkage is $15), or grab a little something for home–we scored a lovely 2007 Chateau Saint-Pierre Cotes de Provence rosé for $15.

Venice Beach Wines, 529 Rose Ave., Venice; 310-606-2529 or venicebeachwines.com