Dining Review: Full-Bodied flavor at Kristy’s Wood Oven and Wine Bar

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Kristy’s Wood Oven and Wine Bar is located on Westward Beach Road, with a view of Zuma Beach and the Santa Monica Mountains. Photo by Devon Meyers / TMT

Walk into Kristy’s Wood Oven and Wine Bar and you are instantly entranced by views of the Santa Monica Mountains and the shimmering Pacific. Oversized windows that offer a 180-degree view of the surrounding area combined with bright lime-green walls with chocolate colored accents, and light jazz music playing in the background set the stage for a relaxing meal.

“We wanted the environment for the restaurant to be comfortable where you could dine dressed up or dressed down,” said Kristy Apana, who co-owns the restaurant with her husband Greg.

The restaurant started as a hobby devoted to making a few wood oven pizzas in a food truck at events such as the city’s annual Chili Cook-Off, among others, Greg said.

Located adjacent to the Malibu Country Inn on Westward Beach Road, this newly remodeled eatery that opened in February offers large umbrellas located on the outside patio for dining alfresco, in addition to indoor seating and a full bar.

The menu, which features dishes made with fresh ingredients and infused with Mediterranean and Hawaiian flavors, was designed by Executive Chef Jared Montarbo, who intricately creates dishes that are both palatable and aesthetically pleasing.

“We offer a little bit of everything,” Montarbo, who is a California native, said of the menu, which offers an assortment of plates, each boasting an interesting combination of flavors, such as the Fuji Apple Prosciutto Salad made with havarti cheese and drizzled with a zesty lemon vinaigrette made with lemon that comes directly from the chef’s personal garden, creating a tasty blend of sweet, sour and salty.

The fresh ingredients are a prominent feature throughout the menu, with each plate offering its own twist on the traditional take of the dish, such as the soft Garlic Pita Bread that is sprinkled with homegrown herbs from the restaurant’s back patio and a dusting of parmesan cheese.

Delectable Crab Cakes that look like miniature towers are made with jumbo lump blue crab and are moist and flavorful, and come with marinated tomatoes and a creamy old bay remoulade that is mildly spicy and topped with cilantro to add a Southern California twist.

The diverse selection of smaller bites makes this local eatery perfect for a meal comprised of tapas for the table to share.

Other dishes include the Salt and Pepper Calamari, which is lightly fried and topped with jalapenos and chilies, with a creamy lemon garlic aioli and can be paired with the Tuna Sashimi, which comes with zesty yuzu vinaigrette that is the perfect balance of tangy and salty flavors. The Rich Potato Leak Soup, which is creamy and encompasses the full flavor of the vegetable but is not too heavy, can be paired with a fish entree such as a seasonal catch of the day, like the hearty yet delectable Florida grouper, which is pan roasted and sits on a bed of vegetables with deliciously light-tasting zucchini puree.

The restaurant also caters to those with food allergies or special diets.

“The chef is good about accommodating people with certain dietary restrictions,” Kristy said. “It’s something we really take seriously.”

The kitchen is small, which allows for the chef not only to oversee the kitchen, but also be heavily involved in every process of creating meals, ensuring that each order sent out is the best it can be, adhering to special requests and accommodations.

Kristy’s Wood Oven and Wine Bar is now open Thursday through Monday 11:30 a.m. – 9 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 10:30 a.m. – 9 p.m., and is closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

Kristy’s Wood Oven and Wine Bar: 6506 Westward Beach Rd.; 310.457.2602