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Seeking recommendation in Santa Monica area for casual Friday lunch!

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Seeking recommendation in Santa Monica area for casual Friday lunch!
We 3 will be heading west this weekend for a family bat mitzvah, arriving mid-morning at LAX. As our bodies will be on central time, we will need to find some lunch after we get out of the airport. We will have a car.

I am clueless about what is available in the Santa Monica/ Pacific Palisades area in terms of kosher, or vegetarian, or dairy. Ethnic is good. Near the beach would be nice. Moderate pricing. Any recommendations?

Thanks, p.j.
p.s. If you are ever coming to St. Louis, please post on the Midwest board!

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  1. There are not very many kosher restaurants (whether meat or dairy) in Santa Monica/West L.A., though there are some. If you can eat vegetarian food in a restaurant that also serves trayfah, you might try Fritto Misto on 6th and Colorado in SaMo -- it's best known for build-your-own-pasta, and the eponymous fritto misto (minus the trayfah squid, of course) is pretty tasty.

    There is a very tasty Indian restaurant, all vegetarian (which includes paneer, so it'd be dairy), on Wilshire and 19th called Chandni. Their food is plentiful, good and cheap. Another Indian restaurant further west (bet. 16th and 17th on Wilshire) is called Nawab of India; it is not strictly vegetarian, though there are a lot of vegetarian dishes, and it is more expensive, but also decent.

    If you want a real ethnic experience and can go inland a bit, directly across from the Sony Pictures studios at Washington and Motor is an Ethiopian place called Fassica. Ethiopians follow a dietary code that is as strict as kashrut, so vegetable dishes are ONLY vegetables (but dairy, of course). It is quite good -- there are better Ethiopian restaurants, but further still inland, on Fairfax between Olympic and Pico.

    I believe both places open at 11.00 -- don't underestimate how long it will take to get your bags, travel to the car rental lot, and navigate your way out of the Gehenna that is LAX.

    By the way, not for nothing, but don't forget our legendary traffic when planning your day. If you're counting on being somewhere for sunset (which is at 19.00 exactly on Friday), make sure you plan for 15 mph average speed... the traffic is absolutely unbelievable.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Das Ubergeek

      Das Ubergeek,
      Thanks so much for all your suggestions. We do eat out, just not non-kosher meat, so Indian restaurants usually work well for us. I think we will head up to the Malibu Beach Grill, or to the Pico-Robertson area for Israeli, depending on our cravings and timing. We don't have a fleish restaurant in St. Louis, so if a good one is available, we will usually try to patronize it.
      I always figure at least an hour to get luggage & rental car, but it sounds like I need to figure on more time at LAX. I haven't been to LA in 34 years, and am dreading the traffic. In St. Louis, everything we want to go to is 10-20 minutes away, i.e. within 15 miles. (Gehenna:We had the Hinnon Valley behind our hotel in Jerusalem last year! It is now a lovely park below the Old City).
      We are having dinner Fri. 5pm at Modo Mia, in Santa Monica/P.P., only 5 blocks from the shul. So we should be able to manage being on time for 7 pm. I hope!
      Thanks again, p.j.

    2. Two suggestions...

      Take Lincoln Blvd North from the airport and to to either,

      Washington Blvd and hang a left and go almost all the way to the beach and to El Tarasco for great cheap mexican tacos with great Salsa. Then go for a walk in the sand, you'll be a little over a block away.

      Keep going on Lincoln and just north of Broadway is Bay Cities Italian deli. They do a nice Caprese sandwich for the vegetarians (sorry, not vegan) and my favorite The Godmother, a heaping pile of Salami and other meats. Grab some salads for sides and take a table outside.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Kevin B

        Both are good suggestions for tasty food, Kevin, but not good for people keeping kosher dairy (or vegetarian)... salami is made from pork.

        1. re: Das Ubergeek

          I got the impression from "ethnic is good" that not everyone in the group had the same dietary restrictions. Both places have options that could keep you veggie though not strictly kosher with careful ordering.

          I might also suggest Tony P's on Admiralty in Marina Del Rey. Lots of vegetarian options and the patio looks right out onto the boats. Food is hit or miss though but the atmosphere is great.

          1. re: Kevin B

            Kevin,
            Thanks for your suggestions. I do appreciate them. To elaborate on Das Ubergeek, ethnic is good because we like to try different cuisines, and we can usually find good veggie options at Indian and Asian restaurants.
            Mexican is problematic, because many "authentic" restaurants use lard in their cooking. My cousin mentioned a Mexican place called Dave & Kay's, in Pacific Palisades, that uses only vegetable oil for cooking. Anyone familiar with it?
            Thanks, p.j.

      2. what about juliano's raw, all the food is veggie and raw of course, even vegan i think.

        real food daily is vegan or vegitarian too.

        how abut cora's coffeee shoppe on ocean ave by the beach where you can get salads, like caprese or egg dishes and huevos rancheros (made with cannelinni white beans cooked in olive oil, not lard as i have heard), pancakes, and the nice veggie quiche. not a bad option, but it is not a vegetarian or kosher restaurant.

        and i can't remember a single kosher restaurant in santa monica for what it's worth, the valley, pico-robertson area, fairfax is a different story though.

        1. Hello all, and many thanks.
          We drove up to the Malibu Beach Grill for lunch on Friday, and had a delicious lunch. Joyce, the owner, was delightful and very helpful. The place was smaller than I imagined, but perfect for the occasion. We sat outside on one of the six tables, under an awning, enjoying the scene on the Malibu Pier and the sunshine.
          My husband and daughter had the hamburgers with mushrooms sauteed in balsamic sauce. The meat was incredibly fresh. I honestly have to say that I have not had such fresh tasting "chop meat" in years. yum. Their side of french fries was good, but had cooled off a bit by the time it got to our table. Admittedly, it was cool and breezy outside.
          I had my first-ever chicken burrito (after years of beans & cheese and rice). The grilled chicken was delicious, with a few crisp bits of charred meat, and the burrito was filled with rice, beans, guacamole, cilantro, onions(?) and I forget what else. Perfectly gooey. The fried tortilla chips were a bit greasy for my taste, and a home-made salsa, with a bit more kick than what was served, would be welcomed.

          Friday, late afternoon, we had an early dinner at Modo Mia in Pacific Palisades. All the food was very good, service, for our large group, was very attentive and accommodating.

          We didn't get to the Pico-Robertson area, or get to try any of your other suggestions, as we were fed by my cousins the rest of the weekend. Next trip!
          Thanks for your help, LA hounds! p.j.