Gjusta Bakery
Venice, CA
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Unless you're new to Los Angeles (in which case, hi hello, welcome, I hope you're ready to experience some of the best food ever), you've probably heard about Gjusta. 

 

Gjusta is God's little gift to us L.A. folks, we might have heavy traffic and millions of people and overpriced almond milk, but at least we have fresh sourdough from Gjusta, which makes up for it all. 

 

Imagine the best bakery you can think of, and then add a phenomenal deli and multiply that by at least 25. You'll get Gjusta. Here you'll find delicious smoked fish, the best pastries you will ever sink your teeth into, bread that will have you coming back for more daily, and many–many other things. 

 

History

Gjusta is a California deli, bakery, café, and market that was created to serve fresh and seasonal food to the community. Gjusta's menu evolves with the seasons, and they offer fresh and locally sourced foods. 

 

Located around the corner from Google, Gjusta looks rather plain with its white-washed warehouse attire and a set of windows along the front. However, once you step inside, you'll find yourself in a large rustic kitchen space with large skylights that shower the space in sunlight. 

 

The counter stretches the span of building, showcasing fresh loaves of bread, croissants, fruit pies, bialys, quiches, granola, smoked and cured meats, and fish, sandwiches, salads, soups. Every section has an attendant who can guide you and help you select what whatever things you want to order. One of the most impressive aspects about Gjusta is their menu. 

 

You'll find filets of cold-smoked lox, kippered salmon, pastrami gravlax, smoked trout, oil-cured Japanese sardines, and Dutch-style pickled herring. You'll also find rabbit terrine, pork head testa, pate campagne, and chicken liver mousse—all housemade. For those who are fans of cured meats, check out the prime rib, smoked brisket, porchetta, pastrami, merguez, meatloaf, chicken parm, falafels, and more.

 

At the far end is a coffee station where 49th Parallel espresso and coffee is poured, and housemade almond milk is the creamer of choice.

 

"The Gjelina Group's mission is to consistently create a thoughtfully nuanced experience throughout a variety of hospitality offerings. Named for founder Fran Camaj's mother, Gjelina opened on Abbot Kinney Boulevard in 2008, serving locally-sourced, produce-forward food and becoming a staple in the Venice community. Additionally, our future ventures include a Gjelina in New York City, opening fall 2022."

 

Sustainability

Gjusta opened in fall of 2014 as a kitchen providing bread and pantry items for their main restaurants, Gjelina and G.T.A., but it quickly grew to be much more than that.

 

Gjusta sources nearly all of its fresh produce directly from SoCal farmers and most of the meat and seafood from local ranchers, fishermen, and co-ops. 

 

"We shop at five farmer's markets throughout the week and receive deliveries daily, ensuring we always have fresh product. Our relationships with our vendors are paramount in both supporting our local community and working to enact positive change in our contemporary food system. Our work is grounded in longstanding relationships with our vendors and local farmers — seasonality and quality guide our process, with our evolving menus an ongoing dialogue between our farms, chefs, and produce buyer." 

 

The Experience

When you hear that Gjusta is busy on the weekends, it's the wholehearted truth. I highly recommend getting here early, so the line isn't as long, and fortunately, Gjusta has a beautiful patio that you can sit in to enjoy your delicious meal. 

 

Gjusta serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, so pick your poison, although I highly recommend trying them all out on different days. So far, I've tried breakfast and lunch, but lunch was just pick-up, and I had their veggie sandwich. Gjusta's sandwiches are the best things in the entire world. If I could only eat at one sandwich place for the rest of my life, this would be it.

 

I had the veggie sandwich on fresh sourdough, avocado, fennel, radish, pickled turnips, herbs and sprouts, roasted peppers, tahini, and hummus. It was divine, and I tried to recreate it at home; it was fantastic. The tomatoes were from a vendor from the Santa Monica farmers market, which I ended up purchasing for the sake of remaking the sandwich. 

 

Additionally, they have a meatball sandwich on the menu that is on my "to try next" list as I see numerous people constantly ordering it. It's on ciabatta bread, with pork and beef meatballs, burrata, parmesan, and pomodoros. 

 

The sandwich list has a few others that will suit to any dietary or preference needs, and they're perfect for taking to the beach, which is only a short walk away. 

 

Now on to more important things like breakfast. Breakfast is served 7 am to 2:30 pm; you'll find ample options like egg sandwiches, ham and cheese sandwiches, mushroom bowls, huevos rancheros, shakshuka (the best shakshuka ever), eggs and sausage, smoked roe bagels, and things like yogurt with granola or multi-grain porridge waffles with fresh fruit. 

 

I recommend sharing everything if you're going with someone so you can get a bite of it all. My personal favorite is the open-faced bagels with smoked fish, capers, tomato, pickled red onions, radish, and a ton of sprouts on top. Tip: try the pastrami lox; it's incredibly flavorful. 

 

Gjusta makes the best bagels as they're blistered, golden and tender on the inside. Additionally, when you order an open-faced bagel, you get an entire farmers market on top of it. 

 

The breakfast burrito is up next, and it's fantastic. It has egg, bacon, potato, poblano, queso chihuahua, salsa Roja, and a side of housemade jalapeno lime hot sauce. This burrito is everything you'd ever want in a burrito – and more. 

 

You can't not get a pastry at Gjusta. In addition to their full food menu, you'll find an assortment of various pastries, breads, sourdough loaves, sprouted rye, fruit and nut bread, baguettes, and bialys to choose from. 

 

It's incredibly hard to leave Gjusta empty-handed, so I opted for their infamous olive loaf to take home with me for veggie sandwiches, and as for the pastries, well, that's entirely up to you and what you love. Me? I'm a chocolate croissant type of girl, and I'd argue that Gjusta makes the best ones in town. It's incredibly crispy with a lot of puff pastry, and it smells like butter. 

 

Another personal favorite from Gjusta is their fruit danish. It has a cream filling and fresh fruit jam on top. They also offer savory pastries like ham and cheese croissants. A friend of mine is obsessed with their baklava croissant, I have yet to try it, but if it's anything like the chocolate croissant, I'm sure it's incredible. 

 

Dinner is served after 4 pm, and I can't say much about it as I haven't tried it, but going off their breakfast menu alone, I'm confident dinner is fantastic. They offer pasture-raised chicken, which is an entire chicken rubbed in chili and herbs accompanied by sauces like chimichurri, harissa, and tzatziki. 

 

They have smoked fish plates and various meat and cheeses. Speaking of meat and cheese, come in any day of the week, and you'll find citrus-flavored goat cheeses, rich rounds of the bar area's cowgirl creamery, pâté de Campagne – a delicious country ham studded with nutmeg, allspice, and ginger.

 

Details

Overall, Gjusta is a fantastic place to come eat at, you'll have a fantastic breakfast, lunch, or dinner here, and if you're simply looking for fresh bread or some deli items, they've got you covered in that aspect as well. 

 

You can't make reservations, unfortunately, and it's counter service only, but they bring everything out to you after you place your order. 

In terms of parking, there's no allotted parking area, but there is street parking in the various neighborhoods nearby. 

Head over here for your next sugar craving or fresh bread craving; you won't be disappointed.