Santa Monica

No rating = I haven’t been yet! 🙂

BAY CITIES DELI

  • Casual Deli – $
  • Must Order:
    • The Godmother
  • Best For: Casual Lunch/Dinner, Grab and Go, Delivery
  • Bay Cities is an LA staple, well-known for having really good sandwiches, but don’t come here looking for a healthy salad or a bougie lunch. Perfect place to take your food to go – you order at the counter and there is limited seating. Also there will probably be a line because this place is really popular with the lunch crowd.
  • You can order online and pick up in store!
  • Website

BLUE PLATE

  • So there are 3 Blue Plates in Santa Monica. All of them are casual, fairly small restaurants,  with pretty good food and a nice atmosphere. – $$
    • Blue Plate – YAAS (7.8)
      • American cafe off of Montana Ave. Super small, cozy location, with a fresh, open atmosphere. Good food, but nothing too special – you will probably walk out and say “wow we were sitting so close to the table next to us. Good food, but no reason I need to come back unless out of convenience.” I would suggest coming here for breakfast, brunch, or lunch.
      • No reservations.
    • Blue Plate Oysterette
      • This restaurant has  great location right on the water in Santa
        Monica. Serves really good seafood, get the Lobster Mac and Cheese!! And their Lobster Roll…nomnom.
      • Takes reservations. Request patio seating.
    • Blue Plate Taco
      • This restaurant is also on the water in Santa Monica. It is an Americanized Mexican/ Seafood restaurant and they have some bomb tacos – think Lobster, Shrimp, Chicken. (The Lobster tacos are key). The tacos are kind of expensive for tacos ($15-$21), but you are on the water in Santa Monica eating this taco soo this should be expected haha.
      • Takes reservations, request the patio seating.
  • Alright so to sum it up come to these restaurants because you just realized the day before you need to make a reservation somewhere, and you are looking for a popular spot, with good views, nice vibes, and pretty decent food. Also Oysterette and Taco >. And make sure you sit out on the patio!
  • Website

CATCH

  • Contemporary Seafood – $$$
  • Best For: Nice Brunch/Dinner, Special Occasion, Nice Location
  • Catch gives you an amazing view of the ocean, located in the Casa Del Mar hotel right on the water in Santa Monica. The location and ambiance are both 10s, but the food is only good, not great. Come here because you want to enjoy a nice meal overlooking the water. You may leave with a bad taste knowing you just paid quite a bit for a meal that was only pretty good, but you ate beachfront in Santa Monica so tis expected.
  • Website
catch - fredel.jpg

PC: @ fredelromano

CASSIA

  • Trendy Southeast Asian Brasserie- $$$
  • Must Order:
    • Vietnamese Pot au Feu
    • Kaya Toast !!!
    • Vietnamese Coffee Pudding
  • Best For: Nice Dinner, Groups, Girls Dinner, Nice Date, Hot Spot, Trendy Dinner
  • Food 10. Ambiance 10. Service 10. Cassia is a new hot spot in the Los Angeles restaurant scene right now, it was named the #1 best new restaurant in LA by Los Angeles Magazine, and the praise is all well deserved! Brought to you by a collaboration between two power couples in the restaurant scene, whom combined bring experience from Mozza, Huckleberry, Milo & Olive, and The Spice Table, this place was bound for greatness from the get go. The ambiance here is really cool, imagine a rustic French brasserie went to Southeast Asia to pick up some flavor and spices, and then it wanted a more contemporary feel so hence, Santa Monica is where it landed. I like this spot because they switch things up from your usual American/ Italian cuisine. They serve a mix of Vietnamese/Chinese/Singaporean/French food…aka all the best flavors from around the world (along with their meticulous eye for culinary details) have been culminated onto 1 spicy, flavorful menu. Woop woop!
  • They now serve lunch as well as dinner; make a reservation for dinner. Bar area is open seating. Also there’s a nice side patio!
  • Website

CHINOIS ON MAIN 

  • Classic, Asian / French Fusion – $$$
  • Must Order:
    • Curry Lobster
    • Curried Oysters
    • Duck Pancakes
    • Spicy Miso Black Cod
  • Best For: Nice Dinner, Groups, Classic Meal
  • Open since 1983, Wolfgang Puck’s Chinois on Main is one of the first “foodie” destinations in Los Angeles. This place is kind of more for the older crowd, less hip, more classic.
  • Website

FATHER’S OFFICE

  • Casual Burger Joint – $$
  • Must Order:
    • Father’s Burger
    • Office Burger
    • Sweet Potato Fries
  • Best For: Casual Lunch/Dinner, No Reservations
  • Bomb burgers. Father’s Office is really popular for their burgers and a fun atmosphere – you have to be 21 + to enter. Yay exclusivity! Also, they take their decadent, meaty burgers seriously here – no substitutions, no ketchup, no mustard. No reservations!
  • Website

FORMA

  • Modern (cheesy) Italian – $$$
  • Best For: Brunch, Lunch, Dinner, and anytime you are craving cheese
  • CHEESE! If you love cheese you have to come here. They have these huge Parmesan cheese wheels that they mix the pasta in before serving. Plus they have a “cheese bar” with over 55 cheeses. Enough said.
  • Website

HILLSTONE – YAAS (8.9)

  • Nice, Asian / American Fusion –
  • Must Order:
    • Spinach Artichoke Dip
  • Best For: Nice Dinner, Parents, Business, Groups
  • Hillstone is part of the Hillstone restaurant group i.e.- Gulf Stream, R & D, and Bandera. This restaurant is Asian + American cuisine and the menu options range from  sushi to rotisserie chicken. Amazing combination though, because when deciding where to go for dinner you aren’t forced to make that difficult first cut between: sushi or anything else. This isn’t a “scene-y” LA place, good food, good service, nice decor, but don’t bring someone looking for the LA food scene to eat here. Hillstone and Gulf Stream (Culver City) are places I take my parents when they want a nice, but normal meal, especially after they’re a little freaked out by the trendy LA restaurant scene. The Texas in them gets confused when dishes are named “Liberated” or “Bountiful” and are brought out on plates that say, “what are you grateful for” (cough cough *Cafe Gratitude*).
  • Website
hillstone - fredel sushi line

PC: @fredelromano

HUCKLEBERRY – YAAAS (9.0)

  • LA Bakery / Cafe – $$
  • Must Order:
    • Maple Bacon Biscuit
  • Best For: Breakfast, Brunch, Lunch, No Reservations, To Go, Pastry
  • I love this place. Nice, welcoming atmosphere. The space itself is really small though so don’t come with a big group. If you come at a popular time there will be a line. Super casual – you order at the counter and then go a find a seat, I always stress out about finding a spot at places like this haha, but they are pretty good at helping you find seating once you have your number. Get a pastry, their baked goods are seriously delicious.
  • Website

IL RISTORANTE DI GIORGIO BALDI

  • Intimate, Authentic Italian – $$$/$
  • Must Order:
    • Burrata Appetizer
    • Crab Risotto
    • Any/All Pastas
    • Agnolotti in Corn Truffle Sauce
  • Best For: Nice Dinner, Special Occasion, Nice Date
  • I haven’t made it here yet, but I have only heard good things. It is a nice, family-run Italian restaurant, where the food here is the main focus (Italian + Seafood). This is a favorite spot with celebs, not because this is your typical “scene-y” LA restaurant, but because this place has established quite the reputation for having amazing food…and famous people still appreciate homemade pasta just as much as the general population, they just probably starve themselves 3 days prior. jk…kinda. Smaller restaurant so be sure to make a reservation.
  • Website

M STREET KITCHEN

  • Modern American – $$
  • Must Order:
    • Egg Sandwich
  • Best For: Brunch, Lunch, Happy Hour
  • Casual, but nice restaurant in Santa Monica – good food, nice atmosphere. Perfect for a good brunch or lunch where you don’t have to kill someone to get a reservation and it also won’t break your wallet.
  • Happy Hour: Mon-Fri, 4-6:30pm. $2 tacos, $5 guac and cheeseburgers, $7 nachos. $5 wine and sangria, $3 beers, and $6 well drinks.
  • Website

MERCADO

  • Modern Mexican – $$
  • Best For: Brunch, Lunch, Dinner, Date, Happy Hour
  • Mercado is all around pretty good – nice ambiance and good food. Don’t come here looking for really authentic Mexican food, this is LA + Mexican food.There are other locations in WeHo and Bev Hills!
  • Happy Hour: Mon-Fri, 5-7pm. Sat-Sun, 4-6pm. $7 margs, guac, tacos, and tamales.
  • Website

MILO & OLIVE – YAAAS (9.2)

  • Trendy Bakery / Pizzeria – $$
  • Must Order:
    • GARLIC KNOT!
    • Prosciutto and Burrata pizza (add egg)
  • Best For: Brunch, Lunch, Dinner, Small Groups, No Reservations, Pastry
  • Wow. First off I have to address how delicious the garlic knot is. Next I have to address that they have a prosciutto and burrata pizza; so right off the bat I loved this place, because pizza, burrata, garlic, and prosciutto basically encompasses  everything I love in life. Anyways the space used to be pretty small, but last year they  expanded and made the location much bigger, which is absolutely amazing because my one complaint was that the seating was always so limited. Now everyone can come enjoy a garlic knot whenever they please:). Also Milo & Olive has the same owners as Sweet Rose, Huckleberry and Cassia…a family of greatness.
  • Website

THE PENTHOUSE  – YAAAS (9.3)

  • Modern American – $$$
  • Best For: Nice Lunch, Brunch, Dinner, Special Occasion, Date, Nice Location
  • The Penthouse is located at the top of the Huntley Hotel, and it has AMAZINGGG views overlooking the water. The decor and ambiance are also spot on, modern, fresh, and decadent. This is probably my favorite view/ambiance of any restaurant in Los Angeles, that good. The food here is also really good, but you don’t come here because of the food alone, it is because of the atmosphere and location. Plz come here, but make a reservation.
  • Website

the penthouse PC jodzkoo

R & D KITCHEN

  • Modern American – $$
  • Must Order:
    • Deviled Eggs
    • Crispy Chicken Sandwich!
    • Ahi Burger
  • Best For: Lunch, Dinner, Groups, No Reservations, Parent Dinner, Business Function
  • R & D Kitchen is in the Hillstone Restaurant Group, along with Hillstone, Gulf Stream, and Bandera. These restaurants aren’t overly trendy or try to attract your typical LA scene, their focus is on great food, nice presentation, modern ambiance, and great service.
  • No reservations so expect a bit of a wait.
  • Website

TAR & ROSES

  • Trendy American – $$$
  • Must Order:
    • Oxtail Dumplings
    • Balsamic Glazed Ribs
    • Strawberry Desert
  • Best For: Nice Dinner, Date, Girls Dinner, Trendy Dinner
  • Imagine a trendy barn + a NYC hole in the wall came together to create this restaurant. Tar & Roses is a small-ish place, that has recently become pretty popular! There is a wood-oven that a lot of the food is cooked in, giving everything a smoky and flavorful component. Make a reservation (bar is open seating). They are only open for dinner.
  • Website

TRUE FOOD KITCHEN

  • Fresh Californian – $$
  • Must Order:
    • Edamame Dumplings
  • Best For: Casual Lunch, Groups, No Reservation, Vegetarians, Vegans, GF
  • Fresh, healthy dishes made from natural and locally sourced ingredients…very, very California (e.g. antioxidant teas, quinoa burgers, kale salads). Come to True Food and allow the inner healthy betch inside of you to bask in antioxidants, organic whole foods, and bio-dynamic wines. While this place is great for vegas/vegetarians there are meat options as well! The vibes here are earthy and open. Easy spot to grab lunch without having to plan ahead, they take reservations but you can pretty easily walk in without one. They have a really nice patio area!
  • This is a chain restaurant; there are other locations in El Segundo, Newport, and san Diego!
  • Website
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