Panini Cosmopolitan Café Opens in Westwood

| June 28, 2014

panini cafeThis new Mediterranean style café that also specializes in Tequila has recently opened up in Westwood—not in the village but lower down Westwood Boulevard. Yes, parking can be a hassle, but at $3.50 it is manageable. The restaurant can loosely be described as a Mexican Mediterranean inspired café/bistro with several signature items on a very large menu.

The ambience is very relaxing starting with the trendy bar area. It is nicely decorated with easy and comfortable furnishings, muted lighting, white drapes and an outside patio with a fountain and where you can mentally transport yourself for an hour or more to somewhere in the Mediterranean region.

The signature items on the extensive menu include Caramelized Carnitas, Puerto Nuevo Lobster Tacos, Stuffed Eggplant, and freshly marinated charbroiled Chicken and Filet Mignon Kabobs. I tried a few items such as the Charbroiled Chicken Shish Kabob ($9.95) which is served with an excellent basmati rice, and also the Filet Mignon Kabob ($18.95) which along with the Jumbo Grilled Shrimp are by far the most expensive main courses on the menu—however with the wholesale price of beef going through the roof lately, it is still reasonable.

There are selections of hand muddled mojitos and margaritas and the handcrafted organic agave sour mix is made with fresh fruit. There are both a peach and pomegranate sangria that goes well with the Mexican food on the menu, and the cocktails that stand out are the Cosmopolitan Greyhound and the Pomegranate Martini. All martinis and other drinks are priced under $10.

One of the owners, Chef Moe Ghazi, has had a series of profitable ventures in Orange County and this is his first soiree into Los Angeles. He seemed genuinely excited and enthusiastic about this place, and since the prices tend to be ridiculously low for the area, he is probably on to a winner in a neighborhood where people tend to eat out quite often.