House of An Launches Tiato in Santa Monica

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Herb Santa Monica

Matriarch Helene An named Tiato for an herb she likes to use in her cooking.

The House of An has spent more than 30 years working to balance traditional Vietnamese food with contemporary style at restaurants like Thanh Long in San Francisco, Crustacean in San Francisco and Beverly Hills, and AnQi at South Coast Plaza. On June 22, the An family, spearheaded by Catherine An, introduced a new Vietnamese restaurant in Santa Monica called Tiato.

At Wednesday’s preview, Helene An said her family’s latest concept was “more casual,” featuring “tasty good comfort food.” She described the menu as 70% American and 30% “Vietnamese-American, not pure Vietnamese.”

Chef Santa Monica

To fuel her passion (and need) for fresh herbs, Helene An ringed Tiato’s brick-lined patio with a plentiful garden featuring herbs like Kaffir lime leaf, mint, sage, shiso and tiato (naturally) that all appear in her cooking.

“Tiato embodies the style of eating I really enjoy,“ says Catherine An. “Not only is it an herb rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, but it makes everything taste excellent, too.“

Tiato occupies a whopping 11,000 square feet on the eastern end of the MTV / Lion’s Gate building in Santa Monica. Catherine An designed the space, retaining only one design element, an industrial concrete ceiling that resembles a Belgian waffle. For the rest of the indoor-outdoor space, she went as eco-friendly as possible. She built the walls using reclaimed snow fence wood from Wyoming. An lined barstools and banquette cushions with recycled fabric. Jarred spices, beans and rice separate the fast-casual dining area from the full-service dining room. Jars contain things like fennel seed, red bean and sweet black rice.

Flowers Santa Monica

Outside seating options include a communal table decorated with dangling orchid-filled vials.

At breakfast, look for options like caramelized grapefruit with yogurt and Kaffir lime; and French toast bananas Foster with bourbon vanilla maple syrup, pecans and Chantilly cream.

Lunch options include the Antioxidant Spinach Salad with blueberries, beets, Chevre, pomegranate seeds, shallots, toasted flax seed and pomegranate-ginger vinaigrette; Sweet Pulled Pork sandwich on a sweet Hawaiian roll with braised red cabbage, jalapenos and charried BBQ sauce; and the Villager’s Favorite with simmered pork tenderloin, lettuce, Asian herbs & pickles, minced pork & shrimp sauce, served with chicken broth to sip or pour. The Tiato Grass Fed Burger features crispy shallots, beet horseradish aioli and Havarti cheese on ciabatta.

If you’re looking to taste the restaurant’s signature herb, Helene An uses it in her rice noodle chicken salad, Mama’s Eggplant Tofu and tomato bisque. At the bar, they’ve even got a specialty cocktail called the Rising Sun, made with tiato-infused Junmai Ginjo Rock Sake, fresh green apple, rosemary infused honey and fresh strawberry.

Molecular Gastronomy Santa Monica

It’s not on the regular menu, but for catering events, the Ans have also been known to make molecular beet balls.

If you’re in a hurry, a marketplace features a pastry case with house-made options like donuts, poppy seed rolls, croissants and peanut butter pie. There’s a DIY salad bar costing $7.50 per pound. You’ll also find fresh juices like Green Goddess with broccoli, celery, green apple, honeydew and spinach. The Asian Persuasian smoothie combines Asian pears, lychee, mandarin, banana, ginger and almond milk.


Joshua Lurie

Joshua Lurie founded FoodGPS in 2005. Read about him here.

Blog Comments

true– a vegetarian bahn mi would be exceptional, while a grilled veggie sandwich is something i could make at home / settle for at other restaurants

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This is getting a bit tired. A Vietnamese restaurant that offers only chicken or beef for a bahn mi and no vegetable based option, yet they offer the LA quintessential dumb vegetarian grilled-vegetable, cheese, bell pepper boring sandwich. How uninspired. Maybe they can also serve the famous LA brown jello salad dressing – olive oil balsamic dressing. oy

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