Staying at Shutters, any Santa Monica tips?
NYC gal visiting Santa Monica and staying at shutetrs (never been before, dno't know area at all). Any reccomendatsions for interesting eats? Am partial to Middle Eastern, Ethipian, and any casual French bistro type places. Saw the sushi postsings, but my weekend getaway companion is pregnant and off sushi for now.
It's definately not ethnic, but very close by is Chez Jay, a long time Santa Monica dive restaurant/bar. The prime rib is average but the sand dabs are quite good. Also close by is The Galley, reputed to be the oldest continuously running restaurant in Santa Monica. If you like steamed clams, this is the place. Steaks are OK but reasonably priced. Do a search on this board for both places and you'll see a variety of comments. For upscale, expensive (but good) hotel food there's One Pico in your own hotel and Oceanfront at the Casa del Mar hotel across the street. Even if you don't eat at Oceanfront, go to Casa's bar to watch the sunset. It's sort of scene but a view of the Santa Monica beach and sunset that money couldn't buy. Their bar menu is reasonably priced and good. and the hotel itself is magnificent, dating from the 20's.
I second all of TomSwift's suggestions, and if you're willing to walk a while (or take a taxi or shuttle bus - the Big Blue Bus is really nice, actually), you can get to loads more good places. JiRaffe is a great choice for French bistro food, and it's relatively near you. Again, this isn't exactly ethnic, but Chinois on Main is a pretty classic SoCal fusion restaurant. There's no really good Ethiopian or Middle Eastern near you as far as I know.
The only casual french bistro would be Lilly's on Abbot Kinney in Venice -- or Marmiton on Montana Avenue. I recommend Chaya Venice on Main Street, Holy Guacamole for tacos (very casual), Chinois on Main, Whist at Viceroy, and you can walk to any of the restaurants along Ocean, from your hotel, and have fun and find a great meal.
The Tide Shuttle is 25cents and will take you all around - your hotel will have a map and bus schedule (every 15 minutes, I believe).
At night, enjoy a glass of port on the patio at Shutters. Look out at the ocean. Listen to the waves lapping on the beach. Feel the 80 degree weather. In March.
Cafe Crepe on Third Street Promenade across from Santa Monica Place is very tasty and serves French cafe fare like crepes, baguette sandwiches, and panini (not French I know).
Sham on Santa Monica Blvd. near 7th is the best Mediterranean I can think of nearby. I dig the cool decor and the food is very good, but the service can be quite lacking at times.
Cora's Coffee Shoppe on Ocean would be a great spot for brunch or lunch. They've got a good burger and tasty brunch dishes made with gourmet ingredients, but the wait on weekends can get kind of long.
Ocean Ave Seafood is great for very solid and fresh seafood. I've had a great salmon dish there in some kind of berry (cranberry?) sauce and king crab legs that were impeccable. They've got a great oyster happy hour there that's a deal.
Closest Ethiopian would probably be Fassica in Culver City but that might be hard to get to without a car. Most other Ethiopian is clustered on Fairfax towards the Miracle Mile area.
Will you have access to a car? If so, there are numerous other places just slightly further in West LA and Westwood that would fit the bill for Middle Eastern.
Does anyone know if the Falafel King in the Third Street Promenade is the same as the one in Westwood Village? If so, it's walking distance from Shutters and the one in Westwood is my favorite Falafel in all of Los Angeles.
I think there is also a Le Pain Quotidien on Santa Monica Blvd. Another more casual choice. Not "French bistro" per se, but casual and always good for a nice lunch, I think.
re: Tom P
Can vouch for this...was there starting at noon today locked in a meeting, and didn't emerge until just after 5...great clouds across the horizon before the sun went down...perfect place to decompress while waiting for traffic to die down before heading east... (oh- we had hotel catered buffet lunch - baked salmon, fresh string beans, spinach salad, and pasta primavera...fish was surprisingly moist!)
Just at the corner of Pico and Ocean Ave, a block from your hotel, is Cha Cha Chicken, a great little casual outdoor place that serves good Caribbean themed chicken. Not sure how authentic it is - kind of a pan-Caribbean thing, like jerk chicken enchiladas - but its always good, and inexpensive. The chicken is always great quality, and the setting is wonderful on a sunny day.
Cora's Coffee Shoppe has great food but it's crowded at lunchtime. Go at 1:30 or 2 or something like that to beat the crowds.
Main St. is a good place to check out restaurants. I like the Mexian restaurant down there - forget the name - and I really like The Galley - kind of a retro dark seafood place with good steaks and seafood - good solid American cooking. The other end of the spectrum is Ocean Ave Seafood; and The Lobster. Both good seafood joints.
Check out the food court at Santa Monica Place. I like the Kebab place - the hidden secret of the Kebab place is that they have some good Persian dishes like Gormeh Sabzi.
Perhap's Sam's by the Beach in Santa Monica canyon? Mediterreanean cuisine. It'd be a long but gorgeous walk (or rented bike ride?) from Shutters, either along the beach bike/walkway, or up via the palisades walkway.
You could cab it back to the hotel.
Then again, you are a NYC gal, so you may be used to longer walks than some of us here. :-)
I also highly recommend taking a ride on the Ferris wheel on the Santa Monica Pier (an easy stroll from Shutters) at sunset. Spectacular view of the bay and the city.
If you find yourselves wandering on Main Street, you might check out Panini Garden for lunch. They have a very casual, pretty rear garden seating area, great for decompressing from the Santa Monica scene. Good sandwiches, some with a French flair.
Enjoy your visit.