#legendeats around the world: Inside LA’s Mediterranean-Californian food scene at Mosa
By: Kevin Ung
December 10, 2019
A city like Hermosa Beach is what many people think about when they think about California. It’s a laid-back town in Los Angeles that’s known for surfing, volleyball, sunbathing, and of course—eating. MOSA, opened by Anne Conness and Nancy Vrankovic in October seeks to take the relaxed, yet refined vibe of the city and translate it via a Mediterranean-Californian inspired menu.
The decor feels like the city—upscale casual, with quieter tables in the side dining room and a bar where guests can watch the latest game in the main dining area. The white wooden walls and colourful abstract paintings give the restaurant a relaxed, refined beach-vibe, where guests can feel at home whether they’re in sandy flip flops or oxfords. I would’ve preferred if the TVs weren’t there, since the rest of the restaurant seemed to fit a more refined, neighbourhood vibe, but it’s understandable, since MOSA’s clientele will be locals and tourists alike, who may just want to have drinks at the bar.
But let’s get to the food. Just a block from the ocean, Mosa’s standouts on its menu are its seafood dishes—although they have plenty of other options when it comes to vegetable and meat dishes as well. The Octopus Carpaccio features thin, tender slices of octopus with capers, drizzled with olive oil, surrounding a bed of arugula. It’s a bright, beautiful dish that gets you ready for the heartier entrees.
As far as entrees go, if you were to go for one, go for the Cioppino. It is California after all, and while the dish has an Italian name, don’t let it fool you—it was created in California by Italian Fishermen with leftover seafood. Go to any Italian restaurant in California, and chances are, you’ll find Cioppino. And for good reason—this tomato-based seafood stew has evolved from its humble beginnings to a hearty and often reinterpreted stew that embodies the coast of California.
Enough history though, the Cioppino at MOSA is rich and tart with a combination of seafood flavours from the shellfish that serve at the base of the stew. MOSA’s variation of this dish is richer than others I’ve tasted, which make it perfect on cold days, where all you want to do is soak some toasted bread in a hearty stew.
Aside from the Cioppino, MOSA also has a wide variety of pastas, which pair well with the Cioppino. While I didn’t get to try all of them, the Rigatoni is worth trying. It features a slightly spicy Arrabbiata sauce served with crisp white anchovy crostini.
If you’re ever in the area, be sure to check out MOSA. Get the seafood dishes and try the Cioppino. They will also be starting a brunch in the very near future, so be on the lookout for that as well—because nothing says California more than brunch. And if you’re a millennial? Double points for you.