Walk by the new Theía restaurant on West Third Street during the evening, and you just might see the owner, Max Simon, holding a large flaming sparkler in one hand and a bottle of champagne in the other. He enjoys toasting a guest’s birthday, anniversary or special occasion and the evening we dined at his restaurant, he did so three different times.
When one door closes, another one opens, especially at the former Jaffa restaurant. It was the ideal spot for Simon to open a Mykonos-inspired Greek restaurant in L.A.
Theía offers an intimate front patio and tables along the sidewalk for locals to enjoy an evening or weekend brunch escape from everyday life.
In Greek, Theía means “goddessa” or “divine,” and Simon hired executive chef Moises Placencia (formerly of the Tasting Kitchen) to recreate divine Greek flavors with a contemporary flair for his eye-catching menu. Placencia brought along his wife, Shannon, who happened to be our server the night we recently dined. She recommended some of her favorite drinks and food items, starting with a creative cocktail concoction – the Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Purple. It’s made with Casamigos tequila, fresh lime and Angostura bitters. The glass was rimmed with orange-red Tajin chili and lime seasoning for extra zest. It’s also served with a clear glass tube of butterfly pea flower tea. Guests can pour this purple elixir into the drink to change it to a deep lavender color.
I chose the Sophia cocktail, which is a Greek twist on a margarita, made with Acre mezcal, fresh lime, salt, celery bitters and burnt lemon oil, and garnished with a lemon twist and lavender sprig. Acre mezcal is slightly spicy with peppery notes and an earthy essence. It’s lighter and not as salty as a traditional margarita.
Simon has a DJ or live music to take the ambiance up a notch on Friday and Saturday nights, as well as jazz music on Saturdays during weekend brunch. While listening to the music and enjoying our cocktails, we looked at the menu and noticed many of our Greek favorites, including creamy hummus and baba ganoush served with house-made pita slices.
I ordered Placencia’s refreshing watermelon and tomato gazpacho puree with small cubes of watermelon for texture, jalapeño for a slight bite of heat, a handful of cilantro leaves and feta foam on top.
Next arrived a plate of slightly charred octopus peeking out from a handful of cilantro leaves, whole green olives, sliced peppers and soft and creamy fingerling potatoes. When the warm spanakopita made with spinach, feta, leeks, garlic and lemon arrived to enjoy, we felt like we were back in Greece at a seaside cafe.
One of the most eye-catching dishes is the 30-day dry-aged tomahawk ribeye topped with either a chimichurri, red wine or Béarnaise sauce. My husband’s Loup de Mer (sea bass) was served whole with the head, bones and tail. It’s crusted in salt and served with a butter and capers sauce on the side.
I ordered the signature lamb and beef burger served on a soft brioche bun with layers of lettuce, sliced tomatoes, onions and a pleasing tzatziki sauce.
Desserts include a traditional karydopita made with walnut, orange and orange syrup.
They also offer a coffee or pistachio baklava and a chocolate ganache mousse with edible flowers and a chocolate leaf.
Weekend brunch offers modern Mediterranean classics including pita Benedict with a choice of lamb sausage or smoked white fish. They serve spanakopita with eggs, lemon-ricotta pancakes and the lamb and beef burger I enjoyed.
For those seeking a bloody mary, you can customize it with elevated garnishes that include bacon-wrapped shrimp and sriracha-glazed bacon. Other beverages include bottomless Bellinis and mimosas. Contact-free takeout is also available for those who choose to dine at home.
Theía provides the exciting flavors of the Greek Islands in food and excites your senses in drinks and ambiance. Dinner and happy hour reservation are available Monday through Saturday starting at 5 p.m. Weekend brunch is available from 10:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. $$ 8048 W. Third St., (323)591-0059.