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Long weekend in Santa Monica/Malibu

Hey everyone.

Due to a family function in July, this Boston-based traveler will find himself in Santa Monica and Malibu soon. I was looking for places to grab some good eats while on the West Coast and would love to hear your recs.

I'll need a really nice (price not a prob, so long as it's worth it) dinner spot for 2 on a Friday night, then some casual places for lunch and breakfast.

Any thoughts? Thanks!

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  1. For lunch, I recommend Malibu Seafood on PCH. It's a casual seafood stand that is pretty decent.

    I'm sure there are a ton of places in Santa Monica, but you might want to try Nobu in Malibu for sushi, if that's your thing.

    5 Replies
    1. re: WHills

      There's much better sushi to be had than Nobu. I'd suggest heading over to Sawtelle Blvd in West LA and trying out Kiriko or heading over to National Blvd for Sushi Zo. Both are first rate sushi places. They cannot match the celebrities at Nobu, but they definitely have better sushi.

      In Santa Monica, for a nice dinner, you could try Josie, Joe's on Abbot Kinney (Venice), Michael's, or Jiraffe.

      If you want good Mexican, I suggest Monte Alban in West LA -- it's the best Oaxacan in LA and something that is really difficult to find elsewhere in America.

      If you're up for a burger, try out Father's Office. It can get crowded, but even the dissenters on this board will generally acknowledge that it's a good burger. And they've got a great beer selection on tap.

      1. re: glutton

        I finally got around to Monte Alban and their barbacoa de chivo is some serious yum. It really is equal to the praise.

        I also agree big time with all the other posters above and below that Malibu Seafood is a much better value than all the other casual Malibu/PCH seafood joints.

      2. re: WHills

        Ditto the recommendation for Malibu Seafood. Lovely fish & chips, great steamed mussels. Very casual environment, but superb quality of food.


        1. re: WHills

          Oh, yeah - the Places link.

          Malibu Fish & Seafood
          25653 Pacific Coast Hwy, Malibu, CA 90265

          1. re: WHills

            Lots of great recomendations from Emme, bolavinaka, and glutton; I would second these except for Lilly's and Jiraffe - because they are not my personal favorites.

          2. For dinner try The Lobster in Santa Monica - great seafood - good view. Geoffreys in Malibu can be a bit inconsistent but very lovely. BOA Steakhouse in Santa Monica is good. Have drinks outside at The Viceroy by the pool.For breakfast/lunch - Shutters in Santa Monica is good and the view is nice. The Georgian Hotel serves a good breakfast on the porch - as well as Jinkys in Santa Monica. For a great dive bar breakfast try Hinano in Marina del Rey - greasy, old fashioned breakfast. Have fun!

            1. For three solid casual lunch choices and one a notch above casual, go to Abbot Kinney Boulevard in Venice.

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

              Joe's Restaurant
              1023 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice, CA 90291

              3 Square Cafe
              1121 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291

              1009 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291

              1. I highly recommend that you try the recently opened Anisette by Alain Giraud on Santa Monica Blvd (between 3rd Street Promenade and 2nd Street).

                1. Santa Monica and Malibu are 20 minutes apart. How long will you actually be in Malibu, meaning, which meals and how many?

                  Allegria in Malibu is incredible italian and is open for lunch. Via Veneto in Santa Monica is also incredible italian and great for 2 on a Friday night.

                  I also recommend Anisette in SM for lunch, and Library Ale house for lunch, also in SM.

                  Breakfast: Anisette, Jinkys, Jack and Jills, or go to Montana Avenue and take your pick from many, many great breakfast and lunch spots. Just choose a menu you like.

                  1. Dinner for 2 on a Friday night, Malibu-convenient: Saddle Peak Lodge. Really nice, really expensive, really good, and a quintessential southern Cal. experience. It's on Piuma Rd. in the mountains overlooking Malibu. Take Malibu Cyn. Rd. up from the coast, turn right on Piuma (there is a sign for the restaurant on Mal. Cyn. Rd.) and drive maybe half a mile, maybe a little more. Very much a special-occasion restaurant.

                    1. Agree w/ other posters w/ recs for Santa Monica dinner - Josie, Jiraffe, Melisse (if you like French).

                      In addition to brunch, Joe's does great dinner as well.

                      For breakfast in addition to the Montana and 3rd st area places, I'd also consider Rustic Canyon's brunch, as well as Snug Harbor and Bread and Porridge.

                      For an easy lunch, try Bay Cities Deli on Lincoln.

                      For great Oaxacan, try Monte Alban, or if you'd like tacos, Tacomiendo.

                      Another great Japanese option is Musha on Wilshire at 5th.

                      If for some reason you're craving fish'n'chips, try Ye Olde King's Head pub, as well as for sticky toffee pudding.

                      For a good cupcake, try stopping into Vanilla Bake Shop.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: Emme

                        I love Snug Harbor for breakfast. It has a great 1950s small town diner feel but with a LA touch. Plus I love a place where I can sit at the counter, watch the cooks make hash browns and sip a cup of coffee while I read the newpaper.

                        Another good place for breakfast is Almandine on Wilshire (near Bundy) not far from Snug Harbor. They have the best French pasteries on the Westside (beautiful coissants, danishes, broiche, etc.). They also make good French omelettes and quiche. Plus, they are run by the Japanese so you know the food is more quintessentially French than anything you can find in France.

                        1. re: mielimato

                          Any pastry or dessert described with "banana," or "chocolate," at Amandine is a slamdunk...

                          1. re: bulavinaka

                            oh yes, how could i forget to mention the banana chocolate danish???!!!

                      2. I really love the Rose Cafe for a casual breakfast.

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

                        1. If you will be in the Malibu area for dinner; I highly recommend the Sage Room. It's at the corner of PCH and Kanan Dume Road.. Italian; but the real deal... the owner, Claudio is from Italy; and the food there is fabulous...

                          1. Thanks everyone for your recs... this was very helpful!

                            1. Other good Santa Monica rec:

                              Father's Office for beer and gourmet hamburgers
                              Bay Cities Deli for great sandwiches and sides, esp the Godmother
                              NY style pizza at Joe's or Richie Palmer's

                              1. Try Paradise Cove Rest on P.C.H (that would be Pacific Coast Highway) in Malibu
                                1 mile south of Kanan Rd. No worries, every local knows where it is. Good Food,
                                great breakfast, most important, location, location, location. Right on the water and
                                perfect for a beach walk after. Inside/Outside dining as well. Bring jacket just in case
                                you never know about weather here in July. I personally recommend the creamy
                                New England Clam Chowder and a loaf of Sourdough bread along with a Bloody Mary
                                does it every time. Enjoy Phone # for a Reservation or not (310)457-2503 Casual

                                1. I like both Neptunes Net and the Reel Inn, both of which are on the PCH, for a causal beach side lunch.

                                  The Reel Inn has decent food. Display case of fresh uncook fish. You order what you want, tell them how you'd like it cooked, and they call you when it is ready. There is both indoor and outdoor seating. On the patio, you have a view of the sea and can watch the surfer's surf (although the bad thing is that you also have the PCH between you and the ocean). But it has a great causal, beachy feel.

                                  Neptune's Net is more of a dive. Plus the food is not so good...you can have thing either steamed or fried. I'm go for the sandwiches (and icy cold beer). But I love this place because of the vibe and ambiance. Also on the PCH, you can see the sea and watch all the bikers on their Harleys roll in.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: mielimato

                                    I think the quality is better at Malibu Seafood. The fish in the display case at the Reel Inn never looks as fresh as the fish at MS.

                                  2. One Pico ... really nice spot for dinner.

                                    Rose Cafe ... good spot for bfast/lunch.

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

                                    One Pico
                                    1 Pico Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90405