"Don't Miss" or "Steer Clear" Places?
Will be staying at the Inn at Venice Beach for a few days in June, and will be spending time mostly there, Santa Monica, and UCLA areas...
Anyone have any suggestions for Don't Miss places to eat as well as Steer Clear places?
We would like perhaps one or 2 nice places for dinner, plus we will be taking my 80 year old grandmother (who is in a wheelchair) out for lunch a few days and would like to know of some handicap accesible places that would be nice but not tooo fancy/$$$ for lunch.
Also if anyone knows of any attractions besides shopping/amusement parks in the area that we should hit up that would be great! I know my poor boyfriend wont be able to shop every day!
Thanks in advance!
Don't know how I could have forgotten this, but my favorite SM lunch spot is Le Petit Cafe, 2842 Colorado Ave. I seem to recall there's a wheelchair ramp, though you might need to drop off Mom and a pusher while you park. Charming neighborhood French (Alsatian, actually) restaurant, menu on the chalkboards, not bargain-priced but reasonable. I go there whenever I'm nearby at lunch time, usually spending about $20+. Good fish, nice bistro favorites.
For grandma, Lilly's French Cafe or Rose Cafe in Venice both have lovely patio options.
If you like Japanese, try Musha in Santa Monica - very good value for the food.
For Mexican, you might try Monte Alban on Santa Monica Blvd.
For a good morning pastry, if you don't hit 3 Square, try Amandine on Wilshire.
A great buttermilk donut can be found at Primo's at Sawtelle and National.
For fine dining, in addition to Josie and Jiraffe, if you like french, Melisse in Santa Monica on Wilshire at 11th is a great choice.
As hrhboo suggests, I love Via Veneto on Main. If you want to spend less and have some red and white checkered table italian, there's also La Vecchia Cucina down there, but I don't see that in any way as a Don't Miss.
Also concur on Nook Bistro or Violet for a more economical tasty down home experience.
For a unique burger experience, try Father's Office in Santa Monica or newly opened in Culver City.
A couple more ideas in Culver City would be the new Akasha or Fraiche.
You will definitely want to get to the Getty Museum complex in Brentwood, not too far from SM/Venice, just northwest of Sunset and the 405 freeway. Not just for the art, though they have one of my favorite Munch paintings and wonderful special exhibits. More for the impressive architecture, the amazing gardens, the expansive view from the coast to downtown, and even a tram! If you are there around sunset, consider dinner at The Restaurant at the Getty, surprisingly good and served in front of gigantic floor-to-ceiling windows.
For excellent Cal-American fare in a nice setting with fantastic value, make a reservation at Nook Bistro, on Santa Monica Blvd. at Barry in the hidden corner of a minimall in West Los Angeles. Much better than Literati 2 at considerably lower prices. Perhaps my favorite nonethnic restaurant on the westside.
For Asian-influenced small plates, consider Orris on Sawtelle in WLA or Musha near the coast on Wilshire in Santa Monica. For a Wolfgang Puck splurge, if you don't want to spend for Spago in Beverly Hills consider Chinois on Main, the original fusion restaurant in Santa Monica. Bold flavors, everything served to share, brash 80s decor, and not horribly expensive if you order mostly small plates and share one entree (the sliced filet in szechwan sauce).
Definitely get to Bay Cities Deli on Lincoln in Santa Monica, close by. Fantastic sandwiches, highlighted by their crusty, chewy, tasty rolls and topped with their pepper relish. Many love the Godmother, an assortment of high-grade specialty meats like prosciutto, others like something simple like turkey and cheese, others will guide you to the poor boy, where you should buy an extra roll because they stuff it with so much bologna. But I also have to recommend the meatball sub, which admittedly doesn't travel all that well, or some of their hot dishes.
You asked in another thread, I believe, for Thai. And here you mention UCLA. Since you probably are already familiar with In-n-Out Burger (there is one on Gayley near campus) my favorite restaurant in Westwood Village (adjacent to UCLA to the south) is Thai House, on Gayley across from the Whole Foods Market. Very nice for a Thai restaurant, especially in a student area, with carpeting, real glassware, and good service. I like their mee krob to start, the yellow curry, and while pad thai isn't my favorite dish they do a good job. Very moderately priced, with most nonseafood dishes less than $10. In Westwood Village, be sure to stop into Diddy Riese for their good, big cookies at miniscule prices (three for a buck) or their ice-cream sandwiches -- always a fastmoving line.
I have to agree about Thai House in Westwood. For some reason that has entered the realm of pure comfort-food for me. I highly recommend the duck curry. It's just about one of my favorite restaurant dishes anywhere, but it must be *hot* (temperature, not spicy). Their lad na is quite good as well (though better in Chicago (just about anywhere therein!)).
The only place I'd say don't miss near UCLA is Diddy Riese, a block or so from UCLA. I would say Shamshiri Grill may be don't miss as well, but this may be personal tastes.
I used to live in Venice Beach. For the most part, the food there is pretty lame. I would hesitate to recommend a single restaurant there, though I do have personal favorites.
I'd put Warszawa on my list if I were staying in Santa Monica. If it were easier to get to from Pasadena it'd be on the list permanently! Delightful middle-European food, friendly service, very posh-feeling but not as expensive as you'd think.
Spago (OK, it's $$$$)
Chez Mimi (good for your Grandma fo lunch)
Musha (lots of fun for dinner)
Bay Cities italian Deli
Santa Monica Seafood on 10th
Schatzi (maybe arnold is there, ya?)
Diddy reese Cookies
The Library Alehouse
Groundwork for coffee
most of the places on the third street prominade
If anyone wants to drag you all the way to Pink's in Hollywood, DON'T GO!
Same for Sweet Lady jane in WeHO.
Attractions? Well, as long as you avoid the food, go to the Third Street Prominade.
Main Street in Santa Monica is fun (and has good eating spots)
Also consider going just a little ways to Abbot Kinney on Venice, where there is good shopping and such
Could you miss the Venice Boardwalk?
There is Bergamot Station in Santa Monica, a good collection of art galleries, too
What have you liked at Literati II? My meals there have been disappointing, but maybe I've ordered the wrong thing. Also, Schatzi is closed and now that spot is called Hidden. I would consider that one a steer clear based on others' reviews, but I've not been so I can't say for sure.
If you want to eat right at the beach (which is pretty much the best attraction in Santa Monica and Venice), there's a cute little place called Figtree Cafe that's very reasonably priced and has reliably good food. I think only open for breakfast and lunch.
Both Chaya and Literati are overpriced and not very good at all. The Library is decent but I'd hardly deem it unmissable. Schatzi has been closed forever and the food there was shockingly bad. It's replacement Hidden is pretty and fine for drinks but I don't rate the food highly at all.
Joe's has a very reasonably priced lunch/brunch special which would be lovely for grandma and the rest of the family. It's a fantastic deal for wonderful food and service. Rose Cafe would be a great place to take your grandma too.
Piccolo off the boardwalk and Via Veneto on Main are both excellent but a tad on the pricier side.