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Santa Monica Area restaurant recommendations


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There's a little sushi place near our apartment called Ninjin - it's on 6th and Colorado and really tasty. Next door to it is a darling Italian place with the yummiest pasta called Fritto Misto.

Both nice little treats.

Enjoy Santa Monica - we just moved here. PM me if you would like to meet up or for other recommendations.

We live next door to Border Grill which is really good too.

Edited by LoveToEatATL (log)

Patti Davis

www.anatomyofadinnerparty.com

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Enjoy Santa Monica - we just moved here.  PM me if you would like to meet up or for other recommendations.

We live next door to Border Grill which is really good too.

LoveToEatATL, welcome to sunny Southern California!

Border Grill is not bad, but I personally like Ciudad in downtown LA, the Two Hot Tamales' other place.

Russell J. Wong aka "rjwong"

Food and I, we go way back ...

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I'd say try either The Lobster Restaurant at the top of the Santa Monica Pier or Marisols at the end of the pier on a Thursday night and then go to the free concert on the pier. A true taste of Santa Monica.

Capt. Hongo

Captain Hongo

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We ate at Abode last Saturday afternoon. I don't think we really got the true Abode experience. They were serving a limited menu of only brunch items, which I thought was very weird considering we were eating at 1pm on a warm, sunlit day in breezy Santa Monica. Short Ribs Hash and Two Eggs with Toast and Sausage seemed like extremely odd choices for the afternoon. Luckily there was a very small selection of lunch entrees featuring mostly seafood. Holly had a salad of Arctic Char and Mixed Greens with Miso Vinaigrette and White Asparagus. It was fine, if not completely inspired. The Char was beautifully cooked and clean and the greens were definitely farmer's market procured . . . or at least inspired. My Halibut with Baby Summer Squash, Multi-Colored Carrots, and Roasted Baby Potatoes was slightly more inspired. The seasonal dish was perfect for the moment. The fish was cooked beautifully and the light nage or butter and stock emulsion (not sure what it was exactly, just guessing), was spot on. I had no idea what roasted potatoes were doing there though, especially since most of them were overcooked. I felt like the cooks took a big spoonful of the potatoes from the brunch menu and slapped them on the plate. They were clunky and misplaced. I hope that I sent a message when I didn't touch a single one after my first bite to satisfy my curiosity.

The wine list was somewhat limiting I thought. Mostly standard names and a few select French wines. I would definitely bring my own bottle if I were heading back for dinner. We asked to review the dinner menu which seemed FAR more exciting than the meal we ate. I felt, especially after taking a look at some of the dinner highlights, like we were served a sort of half-ass menu for the slow, touristy weekend afternoons.

The dining room was beautiful and I can imagine it just sparkles in the evening. Plush leather banquettes, warm woods, pink rock salt candle holders, and warm/creamy draperies accented the room. The bar lounge seemed particularly inviting.

All in all, I"m not rushing back. With so many other new restaurants on my agenda, I think it may be awhile until I make it in again.

R. Jason Coulston

jason@popcling.com

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thanks All for your suggestions, i just got back from my trip and made best use of a lot of the suggestions, i did Chinois on Main, very much the Puck experience, but the food was quite solid. i also did Adobe which i highly recommend to anyone who hasnt.

a friend roped me into a steakhouse on Ocean BOA? or something like that? the name escapes me but it was so so... i should have stuck with eGers comments.

I made it also to the farmers market, small but excellent, thanks for the suggestion, i also went to Chaya Venice on main, which was decen sushi, and Catch, the restaurant at the Casa Del Mar Hotel, which was fantastic, though the service was a bit slow.

Thanks for the fantastic suggestions again, Zagat has nothing on eG for local knowledge

maher

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  • 6 months later...

My b.f. and I will be in Santa Monica for a long weekend (Feb 8-11). Most of our time will be spent catching up with friends - but I'd like to go someplace nice for dinner Sunday night. A friend recommended Lucques, which looks and sounds wonderful - though it's also a bit pricey. I'm not ruling it out, but I'd love to hear some other recommendations.

Being from S.F., we're a bit spoiled. So any eGulleteers have recommendations? Locally sourced is always good - and if a celeb sighting is thrown in, all the better... But nothing too fancy (i.e. jacket/tie is pretty much out of the question). Thanks!

Eric in SF

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My b.f. and I will be in Santa Monica for a long weekend (Feb 8-11).  Most of our time will be spent catching up with friends - but I'd like to go someplace nice for dinner Sunday night.  A friend recommended Lucques, which looks and sounds wonderful - though it's also a bit pricey.  I'm not ruling it out, but I'd love to hear some other recommendations. 

Being from S.F., we're a bit spoiled.  So any eGulleteers have recommendations?  Locally sourced is always good - and if a celeb sighting is thrown in, all the better...  But nothing too fancy (i.e. jacket/tie is pretty much out of the question). Thanks!

EJCSanFran,

The last time I wore a jacket and tie at a restaurant in Los Angeles was ... :unsure::unsure: I really don't remember. Anyways, dress code is completely California casual.

Although not in Santa Monica, Lucques is a very good place. They have a Sunday Night Supper for $40, which is really a good bargain. Is that price a bit much for you? Across the street from Lucques is a new French brasserie called comme Ça, owned by David Myers of Sona. Caution: The place is quite loud. Mind you, the food is quite good. Neal Fraser's Grace Restaurant has a Sunday evening "Burger Night," along with their regular menu.

Closer to Santa Monica, there's Joe's Restaurant in Venice. They have a prix fixe menu for $61 and a tasting menu for $75. Border Grill in Santa Monica is a nice choice, if you're into upscale, modern Mexican food from the "Too Hot Tamales."

Over in Culver City is Fraiche Restaurant. If you do plan to go there, make reservations, even on a Sunday night. Chef Jason Travi is doing great things there. Unfortunately, I haven't eaten there yet. :sad:

I hope this helps. And please give a full report afterwards ...

Russell J. Wong aka "rjwong"

Food and I, we go way back ...

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Hi Russell - Thanks for the tips. I'd already reserved at Border Grill for a night out with an old friend and we're all looking forward to it. And I did not know about the prix fixe at Lucques on Sundays - sounds like the perfect solution. I reserved our table today. Again, much obliged for the recommendations. --Eric

Eric in SF

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  • 1 year later...

Need to give this thread a little bump...

Hello, everybody - I will be staying in Santa Monica from this coming Thursday until Sunday afternoon. I realize this is short notice, but I was wondering what was the very best of the best in the Santa Monica area. Price is no object, as I will likely only be here this one time and would like to try whatever you all think is tops food-wise. I was hoping to try a tasting menu or two, but would basically just like good food in general. I'm not locked in to any specific type of food, and am open to anything delicious. OpenTable has led me to seriously consider Melisse, Il Grano, and maybe an omakase at Katsuya; is there anything better or any restaurants I may have missed? Thanks for all the help, everyone! :smile:

Edited by lhollers (log)
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I had a very lovely meal at Bar Pintxo (tapas at 109 SM Blvd) just last evening. Will be writing it up with photos in the next few days, but it was quite a find. A long wait, yet, but worth it. I also dined at Drago Italian and found it overpriced for what it was.

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Carolyn -- Looking forward to hearing about Bar Pintxo.

lhollers -- I think Il Grano is in West LA rather than in Santa Monica proper, if we're being technical. If you want to stay in Santa Monica and price is no object, besides Melisse, Michaels is a classic as is Valentino's. And, if you want your Wolfgang Puck fix, there's Chinois on Main. All are in different parts of Santa Monica but nevertheless . . .

In the somewhat more frugal category, lately we've had lovely meals at Santa Monica Seafood (I love the cioppino). Also enjoy brunch/lunch next door at Huckleberry. The table wait is sometimes annoying (order at the counter, wait for a table to be available, then wait till your food is delivered) but the food has always been good. If you're in that area, wander up the street for this hole in the wall Russian/Polish (I know, they'll be insulted 'cuz I didn't get it exactly right) deli/market with amazing sausage. It's the one on the south side of the street though there is another Russian market on the diagonally across the intersection.

If you want to cross the city line -- such as for Il Grano or something else, there are even more options.

So long and thanks for all the fish.
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Thanks for the recommendations! I didn't want to make it sound like we were restricted solely to Santa Monica for dining; that's just where we will be staying. I am, however, more than willing to make a trip to surrounding areas for a great meal! I hadn't heard of Michaels, but I will certainly check it out now...thanks again, and if you can think of anything else, please let me know!

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Okay, since RJ is out of the country right now, I'll ask the questions he would ask (aside from price which you've already covered). How are you planning to get around? LA is vast and you can get to many places by walking or transit easily in the Santa Monica area and have really great food. More options are available if you have a car for some or all of the time. And, how far are you willing to travel which, in LA, really means how long are you willing to spend traveling to and from food? There's amazing Chinese, for instance, if you're willing to go to the San Gabriel Valley but that's really, really far. On the other hand, you might just be the kind of person willing to go 1-2 hours out of your way for great Chinese food.

So long and thanks for all the fish.
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We are there for a Moot Court tournament at Pepperdine Law, so we won't have all day, every day to go around. However, we do have some time open on Thursday night, Friday during the day, Saturday night, and possibly Sunday afternoon. We do have a rental car, but I was hoping to stay within a reasonable distance from our hotel in Santa Monica (right by the pier). Anything more than 15/20 min. away is probably out, though I certainly don't think this will limit my options as far as fine dining! :smile: As I said, I had considered Melisse, Il Grano, Urasawa, Katsuya, Bistro LQ, and some others. If you have dined at any of these places, or can think of any that I am missing, please let me know! Basically, I just want a fantastic tasting menu one night and one great lunch. The rest of the time, I will be more than happy to check out smaller cafes, restaurants, street vendors, etc.

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Well, you have to dismiss Urasawa immediately -- he only takes reservations one to two months in advance so this weekend is definitely out. The best Katsuya is in the valley and I doubt you want to drive that far. L.A. is not known for street vendors since that is something which requires people to be on street and it isn't really a walking town (unless you want to go to some of the shadier areas where the taco trucks are, but I wouldn't recommend it).

Honestly, a 15-20 minute drive *IS* somewhat limiting. Your best bet might be Joe's on Abbott Kinney in Venice or Chinois on Main. I'm also a fan of Jiraffe on Santa Monica Boulevard. I also ate at Drago last weekend and while good, not spectacular for the money.

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  • 7 years later...

Not a lot of current info in this thread~so let's bump it up. I will be staying 4 nights in Santa Monica next month. Where do you like to eat? Taco trucks, local hideaways always appreciated, fun places, etc. Not ruling out high-end but don't want to break the bank. I've never been to Santa Monica, btw. 

 

Also: where is the Sunday farmer's market in Santa Monica? I'm thinking it would be nice to pick up some stuff that we can pack in the cooler to eat on the drive back up to the Bay Area on Monday. Always been curious about what southern CA markets have that we don't. Thanks!

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Here is a link to the Santa Monica Farmers Markets with locations and times.  The Wednesday downtown market is biggest, followed by the Saturday market in the same location. The Sunday market on Main St. is a smaller market (30 farmers vs 75 farmers on Wed and 50 on Saturday) so I'm not sure if you'd see anything unusual there but it's a pleasant thing to do on a Sunday morning.

 

I lived in Santa Monica for quite a few years but it's been a while so I won't try to recommend any restaurants.

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