Angelenos are notoriously adventurous eaters. Perhaps it's our cultural melting pot of a population; a never-ending stream of multi-cultural cuisines has somehow conditioned us to crave the new and unusual. A quick flip through Yelp will prove that the options are indeed never-ending: Mexican, Indian, Italian, Venezuelan, Brazilian, Ethiopian, Thai, Greek, Afghan, Korean, Japanese, Lebanese, Chinese… there are even a couple of Himalayan restaurants in town. One cuisine we don’t too often encounter is Eastern European - and while latkes, plov, and schnitzel may not be on your regular DoorDash rotation yet, Doma Kitchen may tempt you to reconsider.
Tucked away in a quiet corner of a sizable complex in Marina del Rey, Doma Kitchen is a classic diamond-in-the-strip-mall find. The comfortable, rustic-meets-modern space is the third iteration of the restaurant, opened a little under a year ago after outgrowing its two previous locations in the South Bay. Even in this new larger space, the restaurant buzzes with activity on weekend mornings as Marina del Rey residents gather over mugs of Red Bay Coffee and Chef Kristina Miksyte’s fresh, handmade pastries. They look just about as cozy as they might if they were in their own living rooms, which feels appropriate given that the name of the restaurant means “home” in the Slavic language. Miksyte and owners Angelika Corrente and Stanislav Mayzalis have infused the place with plenty of homey touches, from adorable little knick-knacks displayed above the pastry station to pretty handwritten chalk signs inviting you to “dine at our home.”
Miksyte’s menu marries traditional Eastern European staples she enjoyed while growing up in Lithuania with contemporary Californian concepts, like using local, farm-to-table produce and sustainably raised meats. While the lunch and dinner menus feature plenty of Eastern European standards, the breakfast offerings provide a clever new spin on them: Eggs Benedict is served atop latkes, Belgian waffles are piled high with dulce de leche and fresh berries, smoked salmon is layered upon cream-cheese-smothered Bavarian bread.
We were recently treated to a spread of some of Doma Kitchen’s brunch favorites, and we loved every moment. We were seated in the second dining room, a long room that displays local artwork and doubles as a private event space (when the brunch rush isn’t underway, of course). It’s light and airy inside; morning light floods the room from large windows along the front walls, and there’s enough space between the tables that you won’t feel crowded in with your neighbors. Out front, a dog-friendly patio offers even more seating to those who prefer their brunch al fresco. After warm greetings from Chef Kristina Miksyte and Owner Angie Corrente, we tucked into our coffees and awaited the delights that were yet to come.
First up was the Brighton Beach Benedict, a perfect example of Miksyte's east-meets-west style: at the base, a pair of perfect, crisp latkes tell the story of the chef's roots. On top, heaps of fresh arugula, thin slices of smoked salmon, delicate poached eggs, and a generous pour of buttery hollandaise sing the praises of modern California cuisine. The flavors are well-balanced: creamy potato centers of the latkes absorb slightly-sweet hollandaise and rich egg yolks, while arugula adds a peppery bite and capers provide a briny tang. On top, a generous sprinkle of fresh dill conjures a memory of that perfect bagels-and-lox flavor combination. This dish seamlessly brings together three decidedly different breakfast concepts, resulting in a combination that is as satisfying as it is beautiful.
Next were the Ricotta Cheese Pancakes, a dish inspired by a traditional Eastern European dish that Miksyte ate growing up - only in this version, she has replaced traditional farmer's cheese with the more readily available ricotta, and has paired the tiny pancakes with a scoop of Nutella to ensure its crowd-pleasing status. Not that these little rounds need the Nutella - with their crisp outsides and soft, creamy insides, they're plenty pleasing on their own. A homemade berry sauce drizzled artfully on top provides tart, floral notes while a scattering of fresh fruit and a sprinkling of powdered sugar lend a touch of sweetness. Their size makes them a perfect dish for sharing, although you may not want to - they're satisfying enough to stand as a meal on their own.
Finally, there was dessert - as if we really needed dessert after that pair of intensely satisfying dishes - a gorgeous strata of tiramisu. Layers of espresso-soaked ladyfingers hold up thick, creamy mascarpone cheese and a heap of fresh strawberries. A layer of cocoa powder graces the top, while crispy chocolate crumbles scatter across the plate. The robust coffee flavor made us wonder: why isn't tiramisu served more often at brunch? It's like a perfect marriage of our favorite brunch flavors, all packed into one satisfying little dessert. Doma Kitchen's version is just about as good as tiramisu gets - it's clear that Chef Miksyte knows her desserts. (Side note: we'll be returning shortly for a taste of the homemade Russian Honey Cake. Will it live up to the slice of heaven we sampled in San Francisco? TBD - we're on the edge of our seats!)
While a hungry Angeleno may have seemingly endless ways to eat around the world at dinnertime, finding a brunch inspired by anything other than American or Mexican cuisine can be a bit of a challenge. Fortunately, Doma Kitchen is able to satisfy both our early-morning tummy rumbles and our culinary wanderlust.
4325 Glencoe Ave #8
Marina del Rey, CA 90292