Chef Nick Barainca’s Gargantua Residency At The OP Cafe Afterdark In Santa Monica

As evidence by this food blog, I regularly eat at a lot of places around Los Angeles. But I have to say, I was invited to try Chef Nick Barainca’s Gargantua residency at The OP Cafe in Santa Monica and it was something truly special about the entire experience. The OP Cafe is a mainstay on Ocean Park Boulevard that serves breakfast and lunch, but this new dining option serves up a unique menu after dark. Gargantua features some of LA’s most unique flavors for an unforgettable dinner experience, which is available on Thursdays through Saturdays, 6:30-11 p.m.

“Gargantua started from the idea of cooking without boundaries, really getting back to an understanding of why I started cooking in the first place,” said Barainca, who began the residency recently with an incredible 5-course menu:

  • GREEN GARLIC BREAD: air dried beef and black garlic butter
  • SPROUTED GRAINS AND ENGLISH PEAS: verbena, sunflower yogurt, and unripe blueberry
  • SWEET POTATO AND KEFIR CREAM: tangelo, dill pollen, and watercress
  • BBQ PORK AND LEEK: charred onion, mushroom vinegar, and aromatics
  • STRAWBERRY AND FROZEN SHORTBREAD: caramelized chocolate, green strawberry, and spruce

The five-course tasting menu is $47 per person. Reservations are highly suggested and can be made by visiting the website or by downloading the reservation app, Resy. A la carte option for walk-ins are available.

Chef Nick says he plans to change the menu every few weeks and I can’t wait to see what Gargantua cooks up next.  Many thanks to Chef Nick, Brent, and the rest of the Gargantua team for an amazing meal.

Check out the video above and the GIFs below from the meal.


  1. I have visited a lot of good blogs (I am a huge foodie, I admit) and I must say the one you are working on here is the most incredible food blog I have ever seen! Such a creative recipes and they all work! Thanks a lot for sharing!