SOL Cocina

 If the youthful suburban-like streets could talk, the 12000 block of Millennium Drive in Playa Vista, the  buzz would be about the newest neighbor in town SOL Cocina Playa Vista.

            The restaurant’s warm interior is bathed in rich wood finishes, fresco-like floral ceramic tiles, intricate roped lighting sconces that emulate sheets on a ship’s mast, and an open dining room that lends a view of the state of the art kitchen, boasting a massive roaster behind glass. A large linear partition with an intimate fire-pit flanks the entire South side of the restaurant.

            Authentic and sophisticated, the elevated Mexican restaurant brings the simple coastal cooking of Baja to the Westside of Los Angeles, boasting traditional dishes, crafted with  a bounty of local, seasonal ingredients, along with over 70 premium tequilas and fresh-catch showcased on a special signature Baja Seafood Menu, that brings the legend and unique spirit of Baja to life.


            The third  SOL Cocina and fifth  restaurant venture between Partners Rich Howland, Matt Baumayr and Executive Chef Deborah Schneider, SOL Cocina Playa Vista is preceded by two locations in Newport Beach in California and  Scottsdale, Arizona. Additionally the trio who began their partnership out of a shared love for the casual roadside eateries of Baja, own and operate solita Tacos & Margaritas in Huntington Beach and Valencia. Bred out of south-of-the-border surf trips and frequent stops for fresh local street-style fare along the beautiful Baja peninsula, SOL Cucina Playa Vista brings wood-grilled tacos, fresh seafood and the type of food you would imagine cooking over driftwood fires on sandy beaches to the westside of L.A.

            “I think SOL Cocina stands out in this neighborhood,” says Schneider. “We take a unique approach to authentic Baja-Mexican cooking and I don’t think there is anything else like us in L.A.” Schneider, a San Diego native, is truly one-of-a-kind herself, cooking for the past 30 years

 Schneider  has tapped Tia Baker as Chef de Cuisine here. Baker started her career as a pastry chef at the Montage Resort,

            When it comes to the menu at SOL Cocina, the  vast selection of authentic Mexican plates meets the essence of Baja dominated by ocean and sky from the signature Baja Seafood Menu with Seafood Samplers, Raw dishes, Oysters and Seafood Specials to the extensive SOL Cocina Menu featuring antojitos, sopas Y ensaladas, specialty tacos, tortas, platillos, burritos & taco plates and desserts.

            “We are really putting more emphasis on the coastal here in Playa Vista,” says Schneider. “Not only do we think it is an underserved niche in the marketplace, but these are all  fun and healthy dishes.” Ranging from the incredible Seafood Samplers like the Just Chillin’ which is stacked with an assortment of oyster on the half shell, Gulf shrimp, crab and mussels to Raw selections like the Hot & Raw Tropical Ceviche prepared with the catch of  the day. Everything on this succulent menu showcases fresh seasonal and most importantly, sustainable seafood. Everyone’s favorites like oysters are served oysters on the half shell or cooked as Playa broiled oysters topped with Mexican cheeses, chorizo, green onions and jalapeno; and Seafood Specials frequently rotate from mouthwatering “Mariscos” like the Baja blue crab; and the ” TJ whole fried fish is a sustainable specialty, “says Baker.

            The backbone of the menu begins with antojitos or “traditional Mexican snack foods,” and guacamole SOL. Authentic street-style  sweet corn is grilled tableside; while a pair of fresh-catch snacks include the crispy coconut calamari with sesame, dried orange peel and spicy sauce, along with Chef Baker’s favorite, the peel & eat shrimp cucarachas.

            “We take an authentic,  yet unique approach to Baja-Mexican style cooking,” says Schneider ,and this is evident in her elevated specialty tacos featuring 14 traditional and exclusive offering. There’s the succulent short rib taco, viper taco, spice-roasted butternut squash, filet & shrimp ‘el Jefe;’ Canarditas’ duck; shrimp taco Dorado’ and the fish taco gobernador. A variety of Tortas  are light and refreshing including the torta el vet to the delight of vegetarians. For the main course there’s Kobe skirt steak; short ribs ‘Barbacoa’; wild fish on mesquites; goat cheese enchiladas; grilled Maine lobster tails cooked Puerto Nuevo style. Taco plates & burritos including quesadillas and grilled burritos, are available as “build your own” choices. Seasoned Pastry Chef Baker presents an array of sumptuous desserts like banana-dark chocolate bread pudding; and pink guava creme brulee


            Refreshing libations by Beverage Director Colin Pflugradt presents over 70 artisan, premium and ultra premium tequilas to choose from including the exclusive SOL single barrel Reposado Tequila custom blended for the restaurant at at Casa Noble’s Tequila Distillery. Like  wine, a fine tequila is the true expression of its terrain, just as the list of 18 SOL Signature Drinks complement the fresh Baja-Mexican menu and atmosphere.


            . Highlights: two private dining rrooms, from an executive suite equipped with audio and visual capabilities to a large reception room

            Hours : Lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily

                        Dinner, Sunday through Thursday from 4:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.

                                    Friday and Saturday 4:30 p.m. to 11 p.m.

            SOL Cocina Playa Vista is located at 12775 West Millennium Drive, Suite #160 in Playa Vista. Phone (424) 289-0066 or


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