December 3, 2021 The Best Source of News, Culture, Lifestyle for Culver City, Mar Vista, Del Rey, Palms and West Los Angeles

Five Months Into Opening, Jonah’s Kitchen Is on Fire With Casual, ‘Made From Scratch’ Dishes

By Susan Payne 

Having a seat inside of Jonah’s Kitchen, an elevated, yet fast casual restaurant in Santa Monica, is like having a meal with the celebrity chef himself, an al-fresco cooking experience.

Chef Jonah Johnson opened the restaurant in June, inspired by his travels through Latin America and made with love — organic dishes, fresh vegetables, sauce and food made scratch, cooked above a wood-fired grill.

“When we take the meats out of the smoker, everything we do is from scratch. It’s been a dream to open this and express the types of food and cooking I like to do,” Johnson said. “It takes after the experience you would have at my home.”

Although heavily traveled across the world, Johnson’s restaurant is an ode to the people in his life he has learned from: food and flavor stemming from a multicultural, ethnic background.

Mexican, Caribbean, Italian, and Korean, Johnson said, his menu is a mix of cultural foods over an open fire. 

“I’ve experienced all those flavors, traveled and lived in some of these places, and I wanted to bring a multicultural smorgasbord of barbecue the way different cultures cook their food with fire,” he said. 

Growing up in California, Jonah found behind the grill with his father more entertaining than playing basketball with the neighborhood kids. At the age of 10, his intense love of food began with one question: how did raw meat over fire, or fresh ingredients from the garden, become something that tasted so good. 

“My father is a grill master, and I was intrigued by that as a kid, smelling barbecue and seeing the offset cooker and wondering why it tastes so good,” Johnson said. 

Johnson’s aunt, Bethann, who lived in Minnesota, was another kitchen influence in his life. Bethann was a southern style cook who made sauces from scratch. 

On the other side of Johnson’s family, Swedish, Serbian and eastern European food scented the air.

“Since I was a kid, food around me was always very different, but it was always really good. I was never stuck in one culture’s food. When I came to California, I fell in love with Mexican and Latin food,” he said.

Johnson’s journey to “try other people’s food” led him on a career path that accommodated that lifestyle, traveling and cooking for celebrity clients, including Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt and Gisele Bundchen. He’s also had the pleasure of cooking for Mick Jagger, Al Pacino, Tobey Maguire, Clint Eastwood, Tarantino and Steven Spielberg, to name a few.

“That’s the main reason I wanted to travel. I wanted to eat other people’s food and be inspired. I don’t eat at hotel restaurants, I want to eat what the people are eating the entire time,” Johnson said.

Jonah’s Kitchen, a culmination of his experience cooking and traveling, offers a unique menu, crafted for locals and LA visitors alike. 

Here are a few picks: 

  • K-Town Chicken
  • Ribs “Argentina Parilla” STYLE 
  • Crispy Potatoes
  • Steamed (Koshihikari) Rice
  • Gochujang Shrimp Tacos
  • Vegan King Tacos
  • Rice Pilaf with Grilled Vegetables
  • Porterhouse Steak (for groups)

“We cook everything from scratch. When you have fresh vegetables, coupled with beautiful pork ribs from sustainable, high-quality farms and Japanese steamed rice, and nothing processed, you feel the difference.” Johnson said.

Jonah’s Kitchen is located at 2518 Wilshire Blvd in Santa Monica, open Tuesday through Saturday 12 p.m. to 12 a.m. Lunch hours are 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. and dinner is 5 p.m. to 10. The restaurant is closed daily from 4 p.m. and 5 p.m.

Related Posts

Culver City Soul Kitchen Closes

December 2, 2021

December 2, 2021

Westside Dining Scene December 2, 2021 By Dolores Quintana Louella’s Cali Soul Kitchen at the Citizen Public Market has sadly...

Self-Serve Taproom Comes to Marina Del Rey

November 23, 2021

November 23, 2021

Beach and Brew open on Washington Boulevard A self-serve taproom is open in Marina Del Rey, a first of its...

Tom Colicchio Opening Los Angeles Ghost Kitchen

November 18, 2021

November 18, 2021

Westside Dining Scene November 18, 2021 By Dolores Quintana Celebrity chef Tom Colicchio and Nextbite, ‘Wichcraft will roll-out nationwide in...

Westside Restaurant From Culinary Legends Alice Waters and David Tanis Now Open

November 17, 2021

November 17, 2021

Lulu now open in the Hammer Museum By Sam Catanzaro Culinary legends Alice Waters and David Tanis’ new restaurant now...

Whiskey Bar Returns Beachside

November 10, 2021

November 10, 2021

Westside Dining Scene November 11, 2021 By Dolores Quintana As reported by Eater Los Angeles, Playa Provisions’ Grain whiskey bar...

Pop’s Bagels Shuffles in Culver City

November 4, 2021

November 4, 2021

Westside Dining Scene November 4, 2021 By Dolores Quintana Pop’s Bagels first pop up location at Platform.LA  has been closed...

Favorite Sunset Dining Spot Returns

November 3, 2021

November 3, 2021

Hotel Casa del Mar’s dream dining & sunset viewing destination reopens By Armella Stepan It’s that time of year when...

Over a Third of California Restaurants Unable to Pay Rent

October 27, 2021

October 27, 2021

350,000 restaurant jobs remain unfilled By Dolores Quintana Over a third of California restaurants are unable to pay rent while...

Katsu-Style Sandwich Shop Coming to Culver City

October 27, 2021

October 27, 2021

Konbi to open in 2022 By Dolores Quintana A Katsu-style sandwich shop is coming to Culver City.  Specialty Katsu-style sandwich...

Heirloom Masa Maker Operating on the Westside

October 14, 2021

October 14, 2021

Westside Dining Scene October 14, 2021 By Dolores Quintana As reported by Eater.com and Bon Appetit, Masienda is now making...

Popular Nashville Hot Chicken Restaurant to Open in Culver City

October 6, 2021

October 6, 2021

Westside Dining Scene, October 7, 2021  By Dolores Quintana The Red Chickz, the California based Nashville Hot Chicken restaurant, will...

A Look at Dine LA on the Westside

October 6, 2021

October 6, 2021

Fall version of dining event returns through October 15 By Dolores Quintana Dine LA has returned for Fall of 2021...

Etta Now Open in Culver City

September 23, 2021

September 23, 2021

Westside Dining Scene, September 23, 2021 By Dolores Quintana Etta Now Open in Culver City Primo’s Opens in Former Stan’s...

Local Legends Team Up To Create a Unique Breakfast Brew

September 22, 2021

September 22, 2021

Santa Monica Brew Works and GroundWork Coffee have teamed up to create a Golden Mocha Coffee Porter, hear from the...