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Dining alone in Venice Beach (visiting from MSP)

  • t

I will be visiting LA (from Minneapolis) later in the month and will be spending two days in Venice Beach, without car. I will be eating at least one or two breakfast/lunch/dinners alone. At night, I prefer a bit of atmosphere with great food, maybe a place where the bar gets some traffic and offers the full menu. During the day, anything goes. Any suggestions for dining solo?

On a side note, I will have access to a car for one evening and one day (Saturday) so what else should I try that is a short drive away? I'm sure I can do some research on the LA board to get answers to this one.

I've never been to LA so I'm looking for some signature LA dining experiences (esp. things that might not be easily had in the Midwest). I'm pretty open to types of cuisine (sushi, Mexican, any types of Pacific Asian cuisine, regional American, etc.) and no special needs like being veg or anything.

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  1. For one of the nights you should go to Hal's (on Abbott Kinney st) and sit at the Bar. They have live jazz on Sunday's and Monday's. Half price wine list on Tuesdays. The restaurant is modern, lively and fun. Personally I think their turkey burger is amazing, but they also offer some other goodies like their chicken and a penne pasta dish. If you are there over a weekend, have brunch at Joe's (also on Abott Kinney). Great bloddy mary.

    1. For breakfast, try 3 square bakery and cafe on abbot kinney

      For a bar with action, father's Office in Santa Monica is crowded. I personally don't like it due to the owner's ignorance and attitude, but the food is good, as is the beer. Supposedly one of the best burgers in town. Also in SM is the Library alehouse. Good food, less attitude than FO, easier to get through the door.

      1. i like cora's on ocean & pico for breakfast or lunch

        1. Hi Tasmy!

          I second the recommendation for 3-square (breakfast) and Joe's (lunch or dinner).

          Father's office offers a phenominal burger (get it medium). It's very crowded, so you'll either feel trapped or make new friends, depending on your personality. Also, you won't be able to walk there from Venice. It might be worth a cab ride, though...

          Sushi Mori on Abbot Kinney is decent Sushi, steer clear from the horrible place on Winward Circle. For mind-blowing sushi, try Sushi Zo, it's about a 10 minute drive from Venice. What it lacks in atmosphere it more than makes up for in taste.

          Mao's Kitchen offers inexpensive but tasty "Chineesey" food. It's on Pacific near Venice Blvd.

          If you feel like taking a cab, The Lobster in Santa Monica is a great choice for a tasty lunch with a view of the ocean and Santa Monica Peer. It's not cheap, but you also get to check out the peer.

          Also, although it's not the best frozen yogurt, you should get something at Pinkberry, which is on Abbot Kinney. It's become a craze in Los Angeles lately.

          Finally, for a taste of Venice, to go Zelda's Deli, which is on the Venice Boardwalk on Westminster. Their mini-doughnuts are the perfect "day-at-the-beach" snack. I recommend the powdered sugar and the cinnamon sugar. Wash the doughnuts down with a juice from the juice shop next door. They'll hack open a cocoanut and let you slurp out the milk!

          4 Replies
          1. re: PlatypusJ

            Actually, I think you may have meant Wabi-Sabi since Mori is much farther (Gateway and Pico) and much better. Another sushi option on Abbott Kinney is the semi-hidden Shima (brown rice sushi), better than Wabi-Sabi but also very low key. For the O.P., in addition to some of the suggestions already made by others, it might be worth a walk (or cab, depending on where in Venice Beach you will be) up to Main Street Sanata Monica to try Chinois (Wolfgang Puck's very expensive but excellent take on Chinese--full menu available at the counter so you can chat with fellow diners or watch the food being prepared as you prefer) or Chaya Venice (Pacific Rim cuisine--I don't recall if the full menu is available at the bar or just sushi is). For a fun lunch along the Venice Boardwalk, grab some sausages from Jody Maroni's and watch the street scene.

            1. re: New Trial

              Thank you New Trail, I *did* mean Wabi-Sabe

              1. re: PlatypusJ

                where's the deli in venice with the donuts and coconut juice in the shell? never noticed it before. thanks.

                1. re: kevin

                  Hey Kevin,
                  Zelda's Deli is on Westminster Ave. on the first floor of the brick apartment building that touches the Boardwalk. For reference, the street has a peace sign painted on it, and it is directly West of that gothic looking apartment building with all the gargoyles and statutues on the roof. The deli's entrance does not touch the boardwalk, rather, it touches the alleyway that is perpendicular to the boardwalk. The juice shop is also on the first floor of this building, as is the Common Grounds (or is it Higher Grounds?) coffee/tea shop.

          2. Beechwood (Washington Blvd at Abbot Kinney) is about a mile from the beach (don't know exactly where you'll be staying) but it's a lively scene with good food, and the bar might be a good option for a solo diner. www.beechwoodrestaurant.com

            1 Reply
            1. re: PlonkMan

              Ditto on Beechwood. Also, you should know that Santa Monica's "Big Blue Bus" is a very easy way to get around the area, including parts of Lalaland.

              For your Saturday driving day, I'd recommend lunch at Lucque's (still a best kept secret) and then adventure to downtown to eat at Blue Velvet. The downtown trip on Saturday night from Venice won't take more than 20 minutes. Pretty close to your experience probably at 112 Eatery.