Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Los Angeles Area >
Jun 14, 2007 09:05 AM

Novel Cafe question ...

I like to eat in the Novel Cafe in Westwood Village -- ate their yesterday in fact.

There is also a Novel Cafe in Santa Monica, but I don't think the two are related. The one in Westwood is sort of a semi-upscale cafe with sandwiches and pasta and burgers and breakfast. The one in Santa Monica is more like a used book store with a coffee shop inside.

But I haven't been to the one in SaMo for a long time, it might have changed.

My questions are:

Does anyone know if the Santa Monica and Westwood Novel Cafes are related?

And ...

There is a new Novel Cafe opening up on Ocean Park (also in Santa Monica) in the same mall as The Counter and Starbucks in what used to be a crappy video store. Is this new Novel Cafe related to the one in Westwood, the other Santa Monica Novel Cafe or is it a third entity called Novel Cafe?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I have been wondering about the Ocean Park location as well. God knows we need a decent lunch place there. I would love information as well. : )

    12 Replies
    1. re: cupcake

      If OP - WW, then'll you'll get that decent lunch place.

      The only drag is that the parking near that mall (actually up and down OP) is lousy. And the center island/no U turns makes it hard to even approach the place you want to go sometimes.

      But I'm rooting for something like Westwood ...

      1. re: PaulF

        What is the Westwood one like, in terms of hours and food? I am VERY curious. I go to that Starbucks on OP every day, and I keep trying to peer in to the new location. Are they open for breakfast? Dinner? anything really good? Thanks in advance.

        1. re: cupcake

          Also, I am PRAYING that it is nothing like the dreadful CARROWS and COCOS on Ocean Park. We live right near there, and there is nowhere to go for dinner that we can walk to, except the Counter, which we're tired of, and Vito, which I love, but is too heavy and expensive for all the time.

          1. re: cupcake

            Novel Cafe in WW is nice.

            They do have breakfast, though I'm not sure of the hours.

            I eat the same thing almost every time.

            I get the rosemary turkey burger with bacon and avocado. It comes on your choice of bun, I like the sesame. You can get some good thin cut fries or a mixed green salad.

            They serve chips and salsa on the table before your meal.

            Yesterday, my vegetarian friend had pesto pasta of some sort and finished the whole thing.

            I've had other sandwiches there, too.

            It's nothing at all like Carrow's or Coco's.

            I don't know what I'd compare it to, though ...

            It's not really upscale or trendy ...

            Hmmm ...

            It's the kind of place where someone took great care in describing the ingredients for each dish on the menu. I wouldn't call it fancy, rather, they provide decent descriptions because the people who eat there appreciate that sort of thing.

            Let's put it this way: In Westwood, the place if filled with business types from Wilshire Boulevard, there are not too many undergraduates eating lunch there.

            Here is a link to a review I once wrote. Note, I've been back since and the service is much better. The low marks for service was a one time thing:


            1. re: PaulF

              Thank you SO much, Paul!! It sounds like JUST what we've been needing here. I am VERY excited. Do you have any idea when they are opening? I really appreciate your help. : )

              1. re: cupcake

                Nope ... I just noticed the sign today driving up OP.

          2. re: PaulF

            I either bicycle by or walk by the NC on OP Blvd. every morning. We are going to try it shortly and will write it up when we do. Parking in that center isn't bad because they have a free / no gate underground parking garage that you enter off of OP Blvd. If coming from the east just enter the driveway halfway between 30th and 29th. If you are coming from the west then jog one block over to Pearl make a right on 30th a right on OP Blvd. and turn into the driveway in the middle of the complex.

            1. re: Servorg

              We dropped in last night for dinner. Menu consists of some healthier breakfast options that feature tofu in several guises and quite a few other egg dishes. The lunch and dinner menus are made up of sandwiches, wraps, salads and a few pasta dishes. I had their ahi tuna salad. It was fine, but nothing to make me want to rush back. My wife had a chicken, avocado, bacon and melted jack cheese sandwich with fries on rosemary bread. The rosemary bread was very strong tasting, almost like a rye bread type of taste in terms of strength. They serve a very generous amount of fries which are not skinny. The funny thing was my wife asked if they had ranch dressing for the fries and the woman (who I am assuming might be the owner or manager) who was serving us said they made their own and brought some out. It was tartar sauce as far as we could tell. Our tab for one entree salad, one sandwich with fries, one ice tea and one coke was $27.68 + tip. Not exactly cheap but not over the top either.

              I will say that the service was very good. The woman who acted as our waiter was terrific. Friendly, enthusiastic and efficient.

              Their hours are 8 am to 11 pm. That is really late for this area and I can imagine they may well cut their closing time back if they find out that the sidewalks and streets have all been rolled up at 9 pm.

              The nice thing is that they serve all of their menu from opening until closing, so if you are looking for a place that has a nice breakfast menu for dinner then the Novel Cafe on Ocean Park Blvd. would be a good bet.

              Located on the north side of Ocean Park just barely west of 30th Street in the same little mall with il Forno and The Counter.

              1. re: Servorg

                SERVORG!! I was THERE when you were!! I heard your wife comment on the dressing. My daughter and I went in for tuna melts. And I agree, it was fine, but nothing to rush back for. They have a lot of kinks to iron out.

                1. re: cupcake

                  The hounds were roaming in a pack! (g) Did you find out if the woman who was waiting tables was the owner? She seemed very nice and concerned that we have a good experience.

                  1. re: Servorg

                    I didn't ask, but it seemed like she was more than a waitress. I was looking at their muffins that she said they now bake...I'll probably try one next week. I was a tad irritated that the coffee was cold and the turkey soup had very little turkey, but we're desperate to find places to eat in the neighborhood, so I'll give it another try. How funny that we were there at the same time!!

                2. re: Servorg

                  It SOUNDS like the same menu as Westwood.

                  Which is cool, I eat there all the time.

          3. Yes, they are related. There is also a Novel Cafe on Pier, right off of Main Street. Lazy Daisey on Pico is also somewhat related - the owner is the sister of the owner of the three Novel Cafes.

            1 Reply
            1. re: SMOP

              i was at the novel cafe in ocean park today and i was impressed to say the least! i usually go to the novel on pier but i decided to try something new today. i ordered their special, a spinach and shrimp linguini and it was FAAAABULOUS. it had this creamy alfredo sauce and the flavors were to die for. i stayed for a while to use their wireless and they didn't rush me in the least bit. they made me feel comfterable the whole time. i loved the down home coffee shop feel. My server was so cute and efficient and did i mention hiiiilllllarrrious. id go back just to hang out with her. i heard that they may be opening a fourth does anyone know if this is true??