Taberna Arròs Y Vi

[Santa Monica]

There’s one culinary area in which L.A. falls short, and that’s Spanish food. The latest attempt to right this wrong comes from restaurateur Michael Cardenas (Lazy Ox Canteen). The menu at this antler-bedecked lounge is in the care of Ford’s Filling Station vet Verite Mazzola. His tapas—crispy fried smelt, a frittata-like riff on the potato torta, canned octopus (a traditional preparation) with house pickles—join rice-based dishes, including two paellas. We’d love to report that Arròs y Vi has upped L.A.’s Iberian cred, but the often clunky operation never quite evokes the romance of Spain. » 1403 2nd St., 310-393-3663 or