This review comes from one of my absolute favorite places in Los Angeles! I  have a friend who manages the restaurant so I enjoyed swinging by, seeing him, and enjoying some solid food!

Four weeks in a row! On quite the streak, if I do say so myself. This weeks Nick’s Picks comes from the beautiful Santa Monica. (Don’t worry Jared, it’s not James’ Beach.)

If this is your first time reading Nick’s Picks, please scope out the following articles to get some context on how I do my reviews. It may be different that what you’re use to.

Nick’s Picks Scoring
This one gives you the run down of what I score restaurants on!

The Cardinal Rule
This is the one rule I’ll never break when it comes to dining out!

Tocaya Organica

Here’s what I thought:

Atmosphere
The below conversation took place with the aforementioned friend a day or so before I dined at this fine establishment. It should provide some context on atmosphere.

Me: “What’s the dress like?”
Friend: “…super casual.”
Me: “My kind of place.”

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A casual, beachy-ie, open air environment that I can really get on board with. I’m a laid back type of dude so this type of place suits me.

I know, I know. I’ll have to buy a fancy shirt and do a fine dining review eventually. But, I digress.

Score: 7.3

Service
This may be the only sub-par ranking Tocaya receives. My buddy took my order and I took his advice on what to go with. Here’s what I ordered:

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Sophie and I snagged a table and then waited… and waited… and waited a bit longer…

I eventually snagged a waiter and asked him check on my food. They had misplaced my order but quickly made the situation better by getting my food out as quickly as possible.

I was in no real hurry; although, I was really hoping to catch the sunset. I ended up missing the sunset. No me gusta.

Score: 4.8

View / Ambiance
While it wasn’t too far from the beach, it was far enough away to miss some of that beach essence.

I can definitely dig the location and presence of that beach air but certainly much better views to be had.

Score: 5.9
Social Media
32.6K Followers on Instagram. Kind of a big deal.

Doing well on the social front. However, it is a bit too much professional looking. It feels distant from the average person.

The pictures are all professional and really pop off the screen but the engagement is kind of low. Only getting about 8-10 comments per post which seems a little low for the number of followers.

(granted that once you get several thousand followers a number of them are going to be shitty ones)

Website was very user friendly. I think overall they’re doing their thing here on the social front. Room for improvement but my hats off to ’em.

Score: 7.9
Food / Drink
The bread and butter! (can I say no pun intended here?)

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I tell you what, I could definitely appreciate the peanuts in this here bowl. The chicken was seasoned very well and this entire bowl mixed together superbly. Top notch recommendation, for sure.

Not too spicy at all, as I’m not a fan of eating really spice foods.

Their drink menu had some unique beverages on there. If you’re into that sort of thing, this would only enhance your experience at Tocaya Organica.

Nothing too fancy here.

If you’re coming off a long day at the beach, and been fasting all day, this is great a choice. You’re gonna get a solid meal, that’s not too heavy, but filling!

Score: 8.1

Price
Not too shabby for Santa Monica, especially during beach season. Think I paid about $10 for the bowl and the water was on the house.

The other price points didn’t look too bad. Great spot to get solid food at a reasonable price…

Score: 6.6

Overall
Nothing too fancy.

Great spot. Great food.

I’ll definitely be revisiting Tocaya when I’m back in the area. You should too!

Score: 6.7

 

BONUS!! Cheesecake Review

Perhaps I’ve been watching too many of Dave Portnoy‘s pizza reviews [via Barstool Sports] but I found myself walking down the street in Carlsbad Village (not too far away from Mikko Sushi) and Knockout Pizza’s caught my eye.

They even sold pizza by the slice!

So, I had a moment of weakness…

I snagged a buffalo chicken slice. It was a mediocre and overpriced slice, to say the least. However, on my way out, I noticed a sign that said something to the effect of “signature cheesecake cup.”

I blame it on the fact of it being “National Cheesecake Day.” Because, in retrospect, cheesecake in a cup shouldn’t be something that draws my attention, especially because cheesecake is my all-time favorite dessert. My apologies to the cheesecake gods for my disrespect.

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Knockout Pizza’s California Cheesecake

Whatever you think of when you hear cheesecake in a cup, well that’s exactly what it was. Nothing too special here. While I enjoyed it, it definitely fell short of inspiring me to come back.

My first California Cheesecake experience was sub-par…

Score: 3.2

Final Thoughts

Please remember that I’m pretty picky when it comes to these reviews. It’s critical that I remain honest and truthful. I aim to give you the good and the bad and assess the restaurant for what it is.

In no way, am I comparing each week’s restaurant together. Just because I score one higher than the other, doesn’t mean I believe that the higher score is the better restaurant.

Too many variables and each restaurant has a different specialty, customer base, etc… apples and oranges.

I hope you are enjoying these reviews. As always, if you have any comments or recommendations send them my way!!

Until next week! Peace!

 – Ole LaToof

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