One Pico

By Harry Moses

You enter One Pico through the lobby of Santa Monica’s posh Shutters hotel, where a jazz trio greets you with a tasty selection of tunes by Bird, Monk and other chefs de bebop. Once inside the restaurant, though, the mood shifts from pleasingly hip to pleasantly calm, serene even. The spacious U-shaped room is elegant but with a casual, almost Cap Cod air. Yes, there’s buzz, but it’s all about the fish. An appetizer of hamachi crudo, seasoned with oregano and served with a warm tomato caper vinaigrette, turns common yellowtail into a silky wonder. Grilled octopus is an al dente marvel, its flavor piqued by the slight bite of capers. Further down the menu, there’s more fish to be had. Sublime scallops, line-caught sea bass, and an Atlantic cod, garnished with Little Neck clams and Serrano ham, give new meaning to “fresh.” Did it get here via chartered jet? It tastes that way. For you landlubbers, One Pico also offers a few perfect pasta dishes (but even the fettuccini comes with lobster), as well as grilled chicken, short ribs and an aged rib eye.

menu musts*

Hamachi crudo
Grilled octopus
Atlanctic cod
Mano de Leon scallops
*menu changes frequently
view full menu here

sweet seats

Along the windows for a view of the ocean; in the center to face a roaring, gas-fueled fire for those chilly LA nights. But truly, there’s not a bad seat in the well-appointed house, where it’s actually possible to carry on a full-fledged conversation between bites.

chew on this

Chef Michael Reardon has the great good sense to let his fish speak mainly for itself. If you’re looking for tricked-out cuisine, this ain’t the place to go. But if you yearn for perfectly prepared, strategically seasoned seafood, One Pico is most definitely for you.


lunch: Mon.–Sat. 11:30 AM–2:30 PM
dinner: Sun.–Sat. 6 PM–10 PM
brunch: Sun. 11 AM–3 PM

price range

$22 (mezzaluna or ravioli) to $39 (rib eye)