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Aug 18, 2007 04:43 PM

Dinners in LA / Santa Monica

We will be staying in Santa Monica for 4 nights and would love some recommendations for dinner places. We are interested in having one or two very nice dinners (exciting, experimental food) and one or two lighter dinners (aka asian or good salads). We are staying at Shutters in Santa Monica, but will have a car and are not opposed to driving up to 30 mins for good food. Food quality is more important than price. Thanks for the help.

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  1. Here is a link to a previous review and link to a photo spread on Musha in Santa Monica. Basically Japanese pub food. Great place at a great, reasonable price.

    1. Don't need a car when some of the city's best restaurants are within walking distance.

      Definitely go to Catch at the next door Casa del Mar
      Definitely Abode - everyone here loves their tasting menu
      Chinois is always very good (Puck's chinese restaurant)
      Chaya is one of my favorites (Chaya Venice), an asian fusion brasserie
      Via Venetto for amazing italian
      And I love Whist, at Viceroy, but seem to be alone in this.
      Also, Penthouse, if only for the view - have drinks and appetizers before heading over to Musha, which is a must.

      Go to Father's Office for a burger, if you can squeeze it in somewhere, and walk over to the Lobster for a great view and drinks (but Catch has as good a view).

      1 Reply
      1. re: yogachik

        I second Via Veneto and Musha.

        For Asian, high end experimental dinner, Urasawa for an omakase you'll never ever forget.

        In SM, I like Jiraffe, Melisse, Josie, and Abode as well.

        Try to get to Bay Cities Deli as well for a sandwich, or not necessarily a lighter dinner, but The Counter allows you to design your own burger.

        You might also head down to Venice to Chaya as suggested or even 26 Beach, James' Beach, Rose Cafe, or Lilly's French Cafe.

        For salad, Tender Greens in Culver City is good, but one of my favorite salads in the city, albeit very pricey, is at The Ivy... dang that grilled veggie salad and apple tarte tatin. One of my other favorite salad or healthy, lighter places is Newsroom Cafe (on Wilshire).

        Tender Greens
        9523 Culver Blvd, Culver City, CA 90232

        26 Beach
        3100 Washington Blvd., Venice, CA 90292

        Urasawa Restaurant
        218 N Rodeo Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

        Melisse Restaurant
        1104 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90401

        Jiraffe Restaurant
        502 Santa Monica Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90401

        Bay Cities Italian Deli
        1517 Lincoln Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401

        Lilly's French Cafe & Bar
        1031 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice, CA 90291

        2901 Ocean Park Blvd Ste 102, Santa Monica, CA 90405

        Rose Cafe & Market
        220 Rose Ave, Venice, CA 90291

        Newsroom the Espresso Cafe
        530 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401

        113 N Robertson Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90048

      2. For your nicer dinners I would absolutely recommend Josie and Wilshire (try to sit in the outdoor patio at Wilshire). You will not go wrong at either place!

        1. Jiraffe is my favorite restaurant here in Santa Monica. Wilshire, Josie, and Melisse are also good. Joe's in Venice is another place I often take folks from out of town. Going there for lunch/brunch is very reasonable.

          Musha is my favorite Japanese place, Before I moved here, Tengu in Westwood was a place my friends always took me - Asian-fushion plus sort of an LA experience with music playing in the background. There is a Tengu in Santa Monica now, though my experience there was not as good as the original. You might want to consider Nobu in Malibu as well for one of your nicer meals (combines the nice + exciting/experimental).