Primitivo Wine Bistro
Tapas and Wine Bar
1025 Abbot Kinney Blvd
Venice, CA 90291
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Type: Restaurant, Bar
Category: Brunch, Lunch, Dinner
Company: Date, Friends, Visitors of the 21+ variety
Cost: $6-$18/tapas, $4+/taste-$7+/glass-$29+/bottle
Quick-Rec: Make reservations, ask for a seat outside, drink & eat abundantly!
OTC Tip: There aren't any kids here. The crayons on the table are meant for you!
Rarely will I concede that the sparkly lights draped on a fairy's whim is what makes a place - but there is something so innocuously romantic and sexy about the patio seating at Primitivo that if the only thing on the table was Bud Light and peanuts, I'd still drag/send quite possibly everyone I know.
Tucked like a duck in a row with other such Abbot Kinney fancies, Primitivo is always a little too dark, almost a little to busy, and always 100% worth enduring the territorial hipsters.
When you step inside, the little podium womaned by two pretty ladies is immediately to your left. To your right is the bar, which is set at such an angle that everyone around it has prime "check you out" seating - which is exactly what they do as the hostesses linger over your reservations and mull over what table suits your personality, level of attractiveness, and overall appearance.
(I always wonder about this. I wonder if restaurants seat people somewhat like valet parks cars: the hot ones are always in front - but I digress)
Of course, not sure what this says about me: every single time I've been to Primitivo I've ended up in the back, outside. But I prefer it this way: sitting beneath drooping trees and dripping golden lights sets a remarkable mood.
Note: Last night we went in sweatpants and sandals and were promptly seated in the front - isn't that great to know??
Per the set up, the last time I was out back I worked my way through the following list of tapas:
Braised Chipotle BBQ Short Ribs with Apple Smoked Bacon-Cheddar Cheese and Potatoes with Caramelized Onions ($15)
Apple Smoked Bacon-Garlic Crusted Salmon ($16)
Paella with Saffron Rice, Chicken, Tiger Shrimp, Mussels, Chorizo and Peas ($15)
Mussels in Broth (Garlic & Butter?) with Pommes Frites
1. The paella is plentiful enough to feed a group of four, their horses, and maybe the stable staff. Order it.
2. Even the biggest shell-fish hater will find themselves spooning up the mussel broth/bath as if it were nectar from the heavens (again - MUST be shared - so much garlickly butteryness in this dish it could be mistaken as a product from the kitchen of The Stinking Rose).
3. Wine: Talk to your server and let them help you pair your wine to your order.
...Which brings us to dessert. Memorable odd listing: Peach Jelly Donuts. If you happen to come across the infamous and aptly named "Man" Dessert (no joke) then get it. Otherwise, order more wine, as nothing else has a fighting chance to beat a mason jar filled with fudge pudding and ice cream, an accompanying bowl of brownies, and a shot of Guinness. Instructions are to toss the brownies in to the mason jar, pour in the Guinness, and stir. Totally sloppy. And absolutely fucking delicious.