There have been fantastic restaurants everywhere we’ve lived, however LA is in a league of its own. Even the so-so restaurants were still really good. I was going to have this post cover the whole LA area, but it seemed a little daunting. We lived in Santa Monica, so I decided to make it easy for myself by keeping this list limited to there. Even keeping it those bounds, it’s still a long list! Some of these are chains, so Santa Monica isn’t the only place to go for it. I’m including them still because Santa Monica was were we first tried it.
Robata Bar is connected to Sushi Roku, it is smaller and more of a bar/tapas type place. Although you still have the option to order from the Sushi Roku dinner menu while eating here. We preferred this of Sushi Roku, partly because of the roomy booth seating, but also because we really liked their skewers. The skewers are small portions, which I like. We would order a wide variety and taste a bit of everything. Some favorites were the chicken stuffed mushrooms, bacon wrapped tomatoes, wagyu and lamb.
Meat on Ocean
An amazing place for both steak and seafood. Their menu even has information on the cow the meat comes from including a print of its nose (which is similar to a human finger print I guess). The restaurant is large and airy, they even have the big side windows they open up. You have an amazing view of the ocean and the pier, with the ferris wheel lit up at night. The staff is professional and very friendly. Scott loves their cheese and charcuterie board; we would often sit at the bar on the end next to the chef doing the boards. It was fun to chat with him and see him take pride in his work. This was another spot we would take friends and family too. One friend we brought was amazed with his steak and over a year later still talks about it!
Maestro’s Ocean Club
This one is actually Malibu, but I had to include it. Maestro’s may be a chain, but you won’t come across one with views like this one. It’s right on the water and on a few occasions we saw dolphins while we ate! We would go on Saturday’s at brunch, so it wasn’t too busy. Durning Saturday brunch they also had some playing the piano and singing. I don’t usually like live music (I know I know, everyone loves live music. I just think it’s just too loud and I feel like it takes away from the experience), but here it was really good! And then the food is spectacular! You seriously can’t go wrong with whatever you order. It’s on the very high end, so we would save it for special occasions.
Our go to for sushi! They also have booths (we love booths), and amazing fresh sashimi and and variety of rolls!
I’m not a big fan of Italian food, but this restaurant is fantastic! Also their desserts are amazing!! Another large, spacious setting, with dishes made with quality ingredients. A favorite of mine was the squid ink mafaldine pasta!
Best cupcakes! They also have amazing cake, cookies, cheesecake and bars. We would go to the location on San Vicente, or just order it on doordash. Once again, high quality ingredients, and everything made from scratch, with not random ingredients you wouldn’t know how to pronounce. I am a HUGE fan of cheesecake, and not only does SusieCakes have the best cupcakes, their cheesecake is to die for! I seriously miss it so much haha. They have a few other location, including SF, so if there’s one near you-you HAVE to try them out!
These are the best donuts I have ever had in my entire life! We happened upon it one day while eating dinner at Mendicino Farms. We looked and saw people with donuts so decided to try one. They are made fresh throughout the day so you will never eat a donut that’s just been sitting out all day. No preservatives, no strange ingredients! The combination of the high quality ingredients, unique falvors, and freshness, makes for the best donut shop ever! We came here with family after eating at North Italia one summer evening. After getting the donuts we stopped on some steps nearby to enjoy them. That fun family memory may play a part in them being my favorite. However, anyone who has had these will tell you that it’s not just the good memories. They really are just that fantastic!
This is one of my favorite lunch spots. They also have great grab and go snacks that I loved-inculding a healthy cheesecake! They also have a variety of drinks, bottled and ones made fresh. They have great breakfast scrambles, amazing salmon dishes, top quality beef and awesome tacos! Writing about this place is making me miss it too haha. Healthy dishes prepared with top ingredients! We would often order it online since it wasn’t in walking distance. I did eat there once in person for lunch and it’s a cute place with good seating.
This is a very authentic Chinese restaurant, which is one of the reasons we liked it so much. It’s on San Vicente, a couple floors up so you have a pretty cool view. As you can see from the picture above, we tried a lot of dishes haha! We even tried the beef tripe once!
Penthouse in the Huntley Hotel
This was a favorite for brunch. We came here for dinner a few times and it’s really good, but brunch during the week wasn’t as busy and I’m a sucker for high end breakfast food! The food is worth the visit, but the view from the top in equally impressive! A 360 panoramic view of Santa Monica! There’s also a glass elevator you can take so you can see the view as you get higher and higher! And if you need to use the restroom-use the last stall which also has an awesome view!
Santa Monica is home to a lot of foods that we consider the best [insert food here] ever. HiHo has the title of best burger ever! They’re made with waygu beef which makes all the difference! They also have the perfect sized bun! Anyone else feel like so many burgers have a huge bun, plus too many toppings, that you can’t even fit it into your mouth?? These buns are the perfect size. Their menu is very simple, and everything is made with seriously high standards. I will say, they can be a bit…particular? But that’s what comes with quality I suppose. For example, I once asked if I could get extra pickles and he said they can’t do that because they make the pickles in house and they need the batch they made to last all night. Scott loves tomatoes and asked about getting tomato on his burger, they said they don’t put tomatoes on their burgers because tomatoes are seasonal. And they don’t want to be serving subpar tomatoes in the off season, so they just don’t use them at all. But like I said, they really are the best burgers you’ll ever have. They also have a banana cream and key line pies that are made in house and are equally fantastic.
Flower Child and Mendocino Farms
These are my two favorite healthy options, similar to Laughing Planet in Portland. Filling, yet healthy and nutritious meals! The interior to both is also a nice laid back setting. Flower Child has an upstairs where they have yoga! Flower Child also has the best gluten free cookies and brownies! Scott fell in love with them, and it wasn’t till later he even realized they were gluten free!
Tumbi Craft Indian Kitchen
This one opened up while we were living there. We went in expecting your average Indian meal, but the dishes were fancier and more unique than any Indian place we had been to! They stay true to what makes Indian food amazing, but put a classy twist on the dishes. It isn’t a ‘classy’ restaurant per ce, I just can’t think of a better word to describe their dishes haha. If you like Indian food (or even if you don’t) you should go here and try their amazing dishes!
I really could go on and one about all there is to eat here, but those are the ones that really stuck with me.
- Fig in the Fairmont hotel
- Demitasse Café
- Sweet Lady Jane Bakery
- The Lobster
- Del Frisco’s Grille
- Earth Bar
It’s good we left, because we spent way too much money on food when we lived there! It was a fun experience though, and Santa Monica will always have a special place in my heart because that’s where I rekindled my love for running!
Have you been to Santa Monica and eaten at any of these restaurants? Any I didn’t mention, that you would have included?