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VENICE BEACH!!

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Studious32 Jul 31, 2007 04:44 PM

Hey I have a friend coming to visit me, we are headed to venice beach, CA. can anyone tell me somewhere good to eat, and any other information about venice would be greatly appreciated!!

  1. e
    ElissaInPlaya Jul 31, 2007 04:47 PM

    Absolutely -- which meal? Any food preferences or allergies? Price range? Low-key or sceney? What day (i.e. -- right now! or a week from Sat.) ?

    1. b
      Burger Boy Jul 31, 2007 04:48 PM

      26 Beach Restaurant 3100 Washington 1 block west of Lincoln
      Breakfast/Brunch everyday M-F they open at 11 Saturday & Sunday they open at 9. Get the french toasts, they are to die for. They have some of the best Hamburgers in the City and about 20 different entree salads, all with a great patio to relax in.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Burger Boy
        l
        LisaStitch Jul 31, 2007 04:56 PM

        I love 26 Beach, my favorites there are the pastas. Everything is in big portions so go when you're really hungry.

        I also recommend Chaya Venice - just had a great lunch there today - sushi, fish, meat entrees, I had a great chicken corn chowder and a burger... They also have a pretty trendy & happenin happy hour.

        General information about Venice Beach is that it's great for people-watching. Just walk along the beach where there are street vendors and performers set up, it's pretty interesting. Also, if you're into shopping, stroll along Abbot Kinney Blvd - very cute boutique shops there, mostly clothes but some other random stuff, and a few great bars (The Otheroom is a fave of mine) and restaurants (Lilly's, 3 Square, Hal's) along that stretch, as well as a godforsaken Pinkberry that recently materialized.

        Have fun!

      2. r
        rickaldridge Jul 31, 2007 04:57 PM

        On the beach, try Sidewalk Cafe. I great people watching place and the food is pretty good. A great place to take visiting friends. It is an excellent half way stop while walking along the boardwalk from Marina del Rey to Santa Monica or back.

        On Abbot Kinney Blvd, try Hal's Bar and Grill. Nice, great food, great atmosphere, a little pricey

        17 Replies
        1. re: rickaldridge
          c
          Corngum Jul 31, 2007 05:52 PM

          C&O Trattoria is the first place I like to take visitors because of it's big friendly atmosphere and amazing, addictive, garlic bread balls. It's on washington just west of pacific a half a block from the sand. There may be a line but it's worth the wait, portions are giant, honor system wine (headache wine but whatever).
          31 Washington Blvd, Marina Del Rey, CA
          (310) 823-9491

          Hama Sushi is decent sushi on winward blvd in the roundabout. The fish quality is inconsistent but usually on the good side. However if you want a really good sushi experience go to

          Kifune on washington. Sit at the very small sushi bar and prepare to get your mind blown. Big fish, high qual. Make sure you give the chef some of your sake!
          405 Washington Blvd, Venice, CA
          (310) 822-1595

          The best taco's in that area depends on what you like. If you want something quick my go to is Holy Guacamole, on Main Street in Santa Monica. Currently they have no sign on the front but they are next to a coffee shop call ground something.
          2906 Main St
          Santa Monica, CA 90405
          (310) 314-4850

          The best sit down hole in the wall is La Fiesta Brava on rose and 5th, it's connected to a small mexmarket (great butcher too).
          423 Rose Ave, Venice, CA
          (310) 399-8005 -

          The best mex food in all of venice however come from a truck on Lincoln and Flower. The best chorizo around and really really good Horchata. I don't know the name of the truck but it's there till about 200-230 am every day.

          Now on abbot kinney most of the food is a bit expensive save for a few small sandwhich shops and abbot kinney pizza.

          There are 3 places that are about 3 blocks east of main street right next to each other.

          Joes is super high end "american" cuisine. Lots of saucy dishes and red meat. I've never eaten there because its $$$ but the tasting menu looks amazing. (Not to be confused with joe's main street diner in santa monica, but also a very very good diner with excellent service)

          Next to that is Primitivo, a really amazing wine/tapas bar.
          Now i have to say it's a bit odd that the concept of tapas has been hijacked and converted in to overpriced dishes that are very very small and not affordable, but so be it. This place has very decadent, rich, finger foods and a standard menu as well. The best part about primitivo however is the tasting menu for their formidable wine selection. For about 15 bucks you get 3 glasses of amazing wine that an amature like myself would never have been able to select. You can even go sit at the bar and dig on a few glasses of wine before you head down to abbot kinney pizza.

          After primitvo is the mediterranian cafe. Decent breakfast, gelato, sandwhiches. It's good no doubt. but's it's whatever in the long run.

          So then you walk down a bit further and you'll find yourself passing Stroh's deli. It's my M/O to continue walking because i find strohs a prentious and underwheming experience. They try to make a big deal about how they buy food from local vendors and make up their menu day of. I think this lack of menu planning leads to generally bland food that is insanely over priced. Plus you have to deal with the hippies who run the place who think they are so great because they managed to buy a store with all the money they saved flipping grilled cheese at Phish shows. It's whatever, but they do have a great selection of soda.

          Finally you get to abbot kinney pizza which is okay/just above average pizza for the world but amazing for LA. Great venice attitude too.

          1407 Abbot Kinney Blvd
          Venice, CA
          90291

          Finally, for desert you'll feel frustrated because there is a lack of good desert in the area but fear not. Walk on down main street for about a mile in to santa monica and stop at bravo pizzaria. Their pizza is okay, was my fave for a while but now it's not. Their meatballs are fing amazing but you're hear for sweet, not savory. Get a cannoli. Enjoy it.

          If you must go to sidewalk cafe for a brewski get the chinese chicken salad, it's very good there.

          Not bad for my first post right?

          Oh one more thing, parking is impossible in venice. Ride a bike, walk, rollerblade (wimp) skateboard, bus it, rent a motorcycle but for god sakes don't drive. I live there and I can barely find a spot.

          1. re: Corngum
            hrhboo Jul 31, 2007 06:33 PM

            Welcome, and congrats on your first post. Just to spice up your life a little, I disagree with almost all of your recs!

            C&O, Hama, Kifune - awful awful awful. The best sushi in the area is either at Chaya Venice or Shima on Abbot Kinney. All of the others range from terrible to okay. Wabi-Sabi is decent but the cooked dishes are better than the sushi preparations. Best Italian is Via Veneto or Piccolo. Love La Vecchia too.

            Joe's has arguably the best food in Venice, and is up there with the best in LA. Same with Abbot's, some of the best pizza in LA hands down.

            Stroh's is good for what it is, there's nothing pretentious about favoring locally sourced foods and their menu is pretty much always the same. They usually have the same breakfast items, sandwiches, salads etc so I'm not sure where you got the idea that they make up their menus on the fly. It's also one of the few places you can get poutine in LA.

            I second your rec for Primitivo, I've always loved it despite dissenters. Meditirina is one of my favorite cafes in the area. A few blocks east is 3 Square Bakery and Cafe, excellent food and baked goods with a nice little selection of German wines.

            Best Mexican is definitely the truck you mentioned (La Oaxaquena is the name), along with the daytime truck that parks on 4th near Rose and the superb shack La Playita on Lincoln. All of these blow La Fiesta Brava and Holy Guacamole right out of the water.

            There are plenty of excellent dessert options in the area. Jin Patisserie has some of the most creative and wonderful desserts in this whole town, 3 Square has a large and delightful selection of baked goods and there's a Pinkberry on Abbot Kinney. Chocolat on Main has great gelato, as does Meditirina, and Urth Caffe has lots of good stuff too. Lilly's serves lovely French desserts too (killer choc souffle cake).

            For a really good burger, you can't beat Hinano. Awesome baguette sandwiches can be had at the French Market. Beechwood does New American better than Hal's ever could.

            There is really no good reason to ever go to Sidewalk Cafe, the Chinese chicken salad is much better at California Chicken Cafe on Lincoln.

            Whew! Sorry to be so wordy but this is my town too and I get passionate about it!

            1. re: hrhboo
              mollyomormon Jul 31, 2007 06:43 PM

              hrh, Have you been to Irori? I think it's better than Wabi-Sabi and at least on par with Shima (although I guess it's probably considered Marina Del Rey and not Venice).

              What's up with Stroh's sad cheese selection? I wish we had something this far west comparable to Cheese Stores of Silver Lake and BH...

              1. re: mollyomormon
                hrhboo Jul 31, 2007 06:56 PM

                Hi Mollyo! I agree with you about the cheese selection at Stroh's. Have you been to the Market Gourmet on Abbot Kinney? They have a great cheese selection and the staff are knowledgeable and helpful. For about $4-5 you can get a little cheese sampler plate of 5-6 cheeses, some dried fruit and a few nuts. Makes a perfect lunch with some crackers or some of their fresh bread. It's helped me get more familiar with the cheeses they carry. On most days they have a couple of free samples out too. Not really on par with Cheese Stores, but good enough for the area.

                I used to eat at Irori a few years ago and liked it a lot. Unfortunately, I've become so spoiled by Sushi Zo that I find it hard to eat sushi anywhere else!

                1. re: mollyomormon
                  y
                  yogachik Jul 31, 2007 07:20 PM

                  Mollyo - Stroh's started out with an awesome cheese selection, I think they just don't have the customers needed. I do love their jelly beans though, something about theirs are better than anywhere else.

                  Marmiton on Montana has great cheese - and so does Whole Foods. Not quite like the Cheese Stores, but pretty great.

                  1. re: yogachik
                    mollyomormon Jul 31, 2007 10:13 PM

                    I've actually been surprised with how great the selection is at Whole Foods. I've found epoisses there as well as the Cowgirl Creamery cheeses for good deals. Only problem is that sometimes they haven't been properly ripened. I'll have to check Marmiton and Market Gourmet per both your recs.

                    And hrh, I'm with you. Eating sushi anywhere else but Zo at this point always leaves me kicking myself at the end of the night because it just never measures up.

                2. re: hrhboo
                  cookie monster Jul 31, 2007 06:56 PM

                  hrhboo, i think we were separated at birth. i agree with all your picks and pans, except i have a soft spot for hal's because i love the turkey burger. and the bar. and i'd also add rose cafe or the firehouse cafe (both on rose and main) to the list if you're looking for a casual lunch/brunch.

                  and speaking of venice [maybe this should be a new thread] does anyone know what the deal is with: (1) the space where schatzi's has finally been put out of its misery, or (ii) the coming soon signs for "vert" in one of the spaces in the same building as 3 Square?

                  1. re: cookie monster
                    hrhboo Jul 31, 2007 07:04 PM

                    It's possible - I do love cookies! The Rose Cafe is awesome, it's such a great place for long leisurely breakfasts. I prefer the Brickhouse to the Firehouse though, but that's only because I'm in love with their breakfast burrito.

                    I had a few drinks at what used to be Schatzi (I'm not sure if they've changed the name or not) and they're trying to turn into more of an upscale, less kitschy spot. I've always loved the space, I hope it turns into something good!

                    I've also seen the signs for Vert, it's another branch of the Wolfgang Puck cafe of the same name that's been open at Hollywood and Highland for a while. I have never eaten there but it looks interesting.

                    1. re: hrhboo
                      c
                      CulverJack Aug 1, 2007 12:52 PM

                      Hey Venice locals and anyone else who may know - 3-4 years ago I read that there was a spot right on the boardwalk that was essentially a pub/cafe with some kind of beach take on Swiss food. It was supposed to be pretty good.... Ring any bells? Still there? TIA!

                      1. re: CulverJack
                        hrhboo Aug 1, 2007 12:54 PM

                        On The Waterfront Cafe. It's actually Swiss/German and has a great selection of beer on tap. I haven't tried the food except for snacky things like onion rings and chicken wings but they do have an extensive menu. I love going there on hot days and drinking in the sunshine, great people watching too.

                        http://www.waterfrontcafe.com/

                        1. re: hrhboo
                          c
                          CulverJack Aug 1, 2007 04:34 PM

                          Thanks!

                  2. re: hrhboo
                    Woolsey Aug 1, 2007 06:51 PM

                    Venice is definitely NOT my side of town - not because I dislike it, but it's just so dang far - but one of the few things that gets me to make the trek out there is a craving for Jin Pâtisserie. I enjoy lingering there more than Boule, even, if only for the more laid-back vibe in the front garden. It's a real gem of a place, both for the wonderful desserts and for the wonderful setting. I love it and have made a point of dragging friends all the way across town to experience the wonderful pastries with pots of Le Palais des Thés tea in the front garden.

                    Abbot's Pizza - yeah. Good stuff, too...

                    1. re: hrhboo
                      s
                      snowy Aug 15, 2007 01:24 PM

                      you should definitely go try out C&O's. Though it might be better to go with a group of people for dinner. Lunch would be okay for 2 or 3.

                      1. re: hrhboo
                        j
                        jencounter Aug 15, 2007 01:58 PM

                        Agreed on C&O. Terrible, terrible food. Noisy, long lines, and on really busy weekends, too much elbow bumping. They really pack the tables in that patio area. Once was enough for me.

                      2. re: Corngum
                        westsidegal Aug 1, 2007 12:19 AM

                        gotta disagree w/ hama sushi.
                        NOT up to par with any other sushi restaurant around on so many levels.

                        1. re: westsidegal
                          PlatypusJ Aug 1, 2007 07:12 PM

                          I agree. The last time I ate at Hama the food literally made me a little sad.

                        2. re: Corngum
                          v
                          victorward Aug 1, 2007 05:27 PM

                          wow. you bash stroh's but rush out (first thing!!) to C&O? C&O is responsible for the worst meal of my life in a restaurant. not even close. A1 sauce on chicken they call "marsala." and the garlic balls? dirt.

                          for dessert, by the way to the OP, go to Jin Patisserie, some of the finest chocolates and pastries in the city. on abbot kinney, across from stroh's.

                      3. l
                        Lonnie3 Jul 31, 2007 04:59 PM

                        It's not haute cuisine, but decent burgers, Mexican stuff, etc. at the place right on the boardwalk. Large outdoor patio - excellent place to sit, relax with your favorite bev and watch the unique goings-on at Venice Beach. Trouble is - can't remember the name of the place. Someone else here will know it. You really can't miss it, though.

                        Most of all - have FUN!

                        Lonnie

                        1. l
                          Lonnie3 Jul 31, 2007 05:02 PM

                          Haha - note the above. Sidewalk Cafe! Thanks, Rick!

                          5 Replies
                          1. re: Lonnie3
                            hrhboo Jul 31, 2007 05:23 PM

                            Sidewalk Cafe is a tourist trap and the food is really not very good at all.

                            James Beach is always fun and as mentioned above there are plenty of great places on Abbot Kinney.

                            1. re: hrhboo
                              PlatypusJ Aug 1, 2007 07:15 PM

                              I'll agree with hrhboo (as always). I don't think you'll find any good food on the boardwalk, with the possible exception of Zelda's Deli, which is on Westminster about 30 feet east of the boardwalk (and that's mostly only sandwiches). Boardwalk businesses have no incentive to offer good food (or wares) because they get plenty of customers based solely on location.

                              1. re: PlatypusJ
                                hrhboo Aug 2, 2007 10:35 AM

                                Good one, I completely forgot about Zelda's! Those tiny little doughnuts really help a hangover. The only *really* great food on the boardwalk is at Piccolo. Love it.

                                1. re: hrhboo
                                  i
                                  iluv2eat Aug 30, 2007 05:33 PM

                                  Umm...wow. You hrhboo, you changed 3 lives today. I woke up this morning craving doughnuts (watching a donut-centric episode of Curious George w/my little guy got it going) and as always, was about to give up (my husband suggested I go to Starbucks, for heavens' sake). Then I thought, on a whim, I'd quickly check chowhound. Saw this post fast (esp when you search "doughnut" & "venice" and headed to Zelda's immediately.

                                  We tore through our mini doughnuts and I can't turn back. When will I eat them again? Will they be as hot? As fresh? As crunchy yet soft? As perfectly cinnamon-sugared? Only time will tell. But lord, I can't wait to find out. Thanks for the tip, needless to say!

                                  1. re: iluv2eat
                                    hrhboo Aug 30, 2007 05:39 PM

                                    I'm so glad you enjoyed them! Sometimes for variety I get them with powdered sugar instead of cinnamon sugar. Blissful! And they're fried to order so they're usually always hot and fresh.

                          2. y
                            yogachik Jul 31, 2007 05:53 PM

                            What kind of information do you want on Venice? If it's tourist info, or parking info, or shop info - just google Venice Beach, CA.

                            For food - do you want to eat on the boardwalk? Eat on Abbot Kinney? Eat on Main Street? Do you want bar info? Will you have a car? Are you parking and walking, and if so, where are you going to park (i.e. Washington Blvd or Navy Ave)

                            1. Emme Aug 1, 2007 01:27 AM

                              Second the recs for 26 Beach, James' Beach, Lilly's, The Rose Cafe and Beechwood.

                              I also really like The Firehouse for good healthy breakfasts.

                              On the boardwalk/beach itself, Figtree's Cafe is good, especially for people-watching on the back patio. The rollerblading guy with the electric guitar and turban is often outside there.

                              For Thai, try Thai Boom nearby in Culver City.

                              1. b
                                brunello Aug 1, 2007 07:05 AM

                                Great Dinner just off the beach is

                                Piccolo Ristorante Italiano
                                5 Dudley Ave.
                                Venice, CA 90291
                                310 314 3222
                                http://www.piccolovenice.com/

                                They don't take reservations (which I think is great) so you may have to wait just a bit since they have a pretty loyal following. However, the price is great for rustic N. Italian cooking of this caliber and feels very homey. Plus, it's right off of the beach. My recommendation if you want to stay close to the beach verses going to Abbot Kinney.

                                1. b
                                  bombay07 Aug 1, 2007 09:17 PM

                                  I think the best burrito in Venice is at Mariscos Guillen on Venice and Ozone. (Often referred to as La Playita).

                                  Good cheap chinese at Mao's on the corner of Windward and Pacific.

                                  1. s
                                    sundevilstef Aug 2, 2007 12:15 AM

                                    My favorite restaurant in Venice is Casablanca on Lincoln and Rose. It is a few blocks away from the boardwalk, but well worth it. Awesome food, good prices, and unique atmosphere as it is Casablanca themed. The best part of the restaurant is the traditonal mexican lady situated in the middle of the restaurant grilling fresh homemade tortillas which are served to every table with an outstanding avocado salsa. I'd go for one of their tender calamari steaks as a main course. Food is good, prices are decent, and def. try their margaritas.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: sundevilstef
                                      b
                                      brunello Aug 2, 2007 01:18 AM

                                      I like Casablanca too and their back patio. I would consider it more that a _few_ blocks from the boardwalk (you'd most likely want to drive.) They have some really great fruit margaritas if you like those. They also have one my favorite "basic" margaritas as a Cadillac margarita on the rocks with just a little fresh chopped strawberries thrown in at the last minute.

                                    2. flavasista Aug 15, 2007 01:53 PM

                                      Joe's is popping up alot here & I definitely recommend it as well. If $ is a concern, definitely go for brunch - it is definitely affordable - there is nothing over 16 dollars on the brunch menu. Their burritos and side breads are so delicious & the patio is beautiful.

                                      Would you believe it was cheaper and healthier than the breakfast I had with my bf at the Original Pancake House?

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