Jimmy’s Famous American Tavern, or “JFAT” is a popular restaurant chain in San Diego. Not long ago, they expanded their reach into Orange County and most recently into Santa Monica. My wife and I recently visited their brand new location on Ocean Avenue in Santa Monica.
The interior is spacious, classy and quite impressive. Despite the look, it has a neighborhood feel and the staff warmly greets you as you enter. They have a nice mix of open tables, booths and communal tables. The bar is located in the center of the room and is meant to be a hub for all activity.
My wife and I were there to try their weekend brunch. We started with their signature totchos. This is a JFAT original creation and it’s a cross between tater tots and nachos. Tater Tots were topped with salsa fresca, cheese sauce, sour cream and applewood smoked bacon. This was a delicious beginning to our brunch.
Their menu is based on classic American favorites that have unique twists. They also pride themselves on using high-quality ingredients and traditional cooking methods. An example of this is their Fried Chicken and Waffles. JFAT brines their chicken overnight in buttermilk. Once fried, this yields a crunchy exterior and a super moist inside. Mixing that with high grade maple syrup was quite scrumptious.
Brussels sprouts are flash fried and then charred to give it a nice smoky taste. It was topped with pine nuts and applewood smoked bacon in a pool of maple syrup. The key is to make sure you scoop some maple syrup with spoon as you pick up some brussels sprouts. The combination of maple syrup, smoked bacon and the charred brussels sprout was amazing!
The ‘Bubba’ is their cure for a hangover. A freshly made biscuit is topped with buttermilk fried chicken, cheddar, applewood bacon, sausage gravy and a sunnyside up egg. My wife really liked the addition of the delicious sausage gravy. Even if you aren’t hungover, this is a tasty dish made with their signature buttermilk fried chicken and high quality lean applewood smoked bacon.
The Breakfast Pizza is made with toasted flatbread and topped with bits of applewood smoked bacon, melted fontina cheese, sausage, potatoes and chives. To officially make this “breakfast”, they top it off with two fried eggs. Despite the toppings, the crust remained firm and crispy.
One of the vegetarian options is the Veggie Bennie. It consists of two halves of a toasted English muffin topped with fresh spinach, grilled tomatoes, two poached eggs and a thick and delicious chive hollandaise sauce. It is also available as a classic eggs benedict topped with ham.
The restaurant is centered around an inviting bar with large screens. JFAT’s bar boasts an extensive selection of hand-shaken classics and original cocktails such as the Gin Gin Mule, Tequila Sunrise and their JFAT Martini.
For brunch, I happen to favor bellinis over mimosas and so I had their Peach Puree. Sparkling wine was combined with peach puree and peach schnapps. It was a great drink to pair with breakfast food.
Their Tequila Sunrise is made with El Jimador Tequila, orange juice and pomegranate juice. I can’t recall the last time I had a tequila sunrise, but it was one of my favorite drinks at that time. JFAT’s version was fruity and extremely smooth.
The Trade Winds is made with Hangar 1 Mandarin Blossom Vodka, St Germain, blueberry, fresh lemon juice. This craft cocktail was tasty and extremely refreshing.
While my wife and I sat in the inner section of the restaurant, JFAT has a beautiful indoor patio that is protected by the elements. It definitely gives you the feel for eating outdoors, but shields you from the noise and wind from Ocean Ave.
If you like American comfort food, I don’t think you can do any better than JFAT. They succeed in sourcing quality ingredients for their dishes and elevate them in a unique and delicious way. The interior is classy, yet casual which makes for great conversation with friends and family.
Jimmy’s Famous American Tavern, 1733 Ocean Ave. Santa Monica, CA 90401