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Mar 20, 2008 09:40 AM

Ethnic Santa Monica Restaurants

Any suggestions? Are there even any good ones???????

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  1. Off the top of my head:

    Monte Alban
    Poom Thai
    Port Royal Cafe
    Lighthouse Buffet

    All of the above are discussed in other threads.

    I'm not counting French, Italian, or Japanese places as "ethnic", but there are plenty of those too.


      Musha on Wilshire near 5th Street for great Japanese pub food.

      1. Three Square in venice has a bunch of Austrian/German dishes

        There is a Ukranian grocery store on Wilshire in Santa Monica

        I suppose you could call Bay Cities Deli an ethnic place, but it's a stretch. The food is good, though.

        Tacos Por Favor, La Playita, and the taco trucks on Rose and Lincoln in Venice for Mexican food.

        Monte Alban is the best ethnic option in Santa Monica

        You're a short drive from Sawtelle in West LA, which is all Japanese.

        1. "ethnic" could mean anything!

          Chez Mimi
          Several good Indian spots, like that one next to the Continental Shop.

          1. What kind of ethnic? SM is filled with them. The best are Monte Alban, Tacos Por Favor, Musha...

            16 Replies
            1. re: yogachik

              What I meant by ethnic is Ethiopian, Lebanese, Persian, Indian, Armenian...not Japanese or really different stuff. I've eaten at that Indian restaurant on Pico and like 26th which is just OK. I am from NYC where we have everything- and most of everything is GREAT.What is the Indian next to the continental shop? What is the name of the Ukranian grocery store?

                1. re: Servorg

                  Second Sham, which almost always impresses during my weekly delivery orders. Try the shawarma, moutabaal, and fava beans, esp. if you like garlic.

                  1. re: Servorg

                    Oh, man, I just read the menu and my mouth is watering! And I'm at Main and Pico, so.....lunch today!

                  2. re: kbo516

                    No Lebanese in Santa Monica, but Sunnin is just down the road in Westwood. Tons of Persian in West LA, just run a search on the board. I think that branch of Akbar that you've eaten at is closed, which is no real loss since it wasn't good. I like Nawab for Indian at Wilshire and 17th. The Ukrainian store is called Ukraina Deli and carries Russian, Ukrainian and Armenian food. Also, you really should try Musha if you haven't.

                    1. re: mollyomormon

                      I used to love Nawab. Lately, I think they have declined somewhat. The last time I ordered the bindhi bahji, I got a pile of onions and very few okra.

                      1. re: mollyomormon

                        I like Nawab too -- nothing spectacular but the best I've found in the immediate vicinity. All India Cafe is also OK if you stick to chicken tikka masala.

                        1. re: a_and_w

                          Have you tried Gate of India on Santa Monica near Ocean? Very popular with the British ex-pats.

                          1. re: New Trial

                            No I haven't but thanks so much for all the recommendations. Any other great dive spots I should know about?

                            1. re: kbo516

                              It would help to know what you've tried but found lacking.

                            2. re: New Trial

                              I haven't but passed it the other day on my way to Richie Palmer's. Any particular recs at Gate of India? Also, do you know if they deliver?

                              1. re: a_and_w

                                I like the curries, particularly the saag--they are not afraid to believe you when you tell them spicy. Service can vary widely though. I think I saw that they do delivery but am not sure.

                        2. re: kbo516

                          Javan is almost in Santa Monica on Santa Monica.

                          Does Cuban count? Babalu.

                          And second all the votes for Warzsawa, Musha, and Monte Alban.

                          1. re: Emme

                            What do you like at Javan? Also, where is Babalu?

                            1. re: a_and_w

                              Babalu is at 11th and Montana. I'd be curious as to why you'd consider it a Cuban restaurant, Emme. Also, most the food I've had from there has been very marginal although I had a good peanut butter chocolate cheesecake a couple weeks ago.

                              1. re: mollyomormon

                                They definitely have Cuban specials at Babalu, though most recently, I've been in charge of picking up pies from there, or having brunch, which has some Cuban dishes but mostly an American palate.