HOME > Chowhound > Los Angeles Area >


Do Chowhounders eat on Ocean Ave in Santa Monica?

Is it just me or are there few places for a foodie to hit in Santa Monica? I am looking for something in the $20 entree price range - $40 ish per person tax tip and a drink. Something with a nice ambiance like Boa, Tengu, or Ainsette. But are these places poor quality in exchange for location? Bar Pinxot is a gem. I know of Musha and have so so feelings for it. Where do the SaMo locals go that are tired of Urth and or World Cafe (and obviously no CPK or PF Chang!) ? West of Lincoln streching from Montana all the way south to Venice. Thanks!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. anisette is anything but 'poor quality'. frankly, it's spectacular. get thee there immediately.

    1. I love to pop into Ocean Ave when I am on that side of town. Their wines-by-the-glass list and fruits de mers platter are a little slice of heaven.

      6 Replies
      1. re: bodie

        Ocean Ave. anytime! ( same owners as Water Grill downtown )

        1. re: RicRios

          The entrees @ Ocean Ave are all more than $20; it's much higher priced than what the OP is looking for (w/ the exception of their happy hour specials)

          1. re: archer

            That isn't exactly the case. OAS offers a lot of food at a lot of price points. Steaks and most of the fish entrees are over $20 but the pasta dishes, entree salads, crab cakes, chowders, steamed mussels and clams are all under or around $20. If you want bone-in ribeye or dayboat scallops, expect to spend substantially more.

            1. re: bodie

              True, but who eats pasta @ OAS? Although I love steamed mussels or clams for dinner, other than that or salad, there is not a single fish entree (including white fish, mahi mahi, etc) that is less than the high 20s--30s, making it nearly impossible to get out of there for $40 all in. I like OAS, but it's expensive for a regular dinner. http://www.oceanave.com/

          2. re: RicRios

            I didn't know that. what great trivia. i like the food there. simple, basic, great for sunday lunch.

            1. re: RicRios

              The oysters at Ocean Ave. are wonderful and there is a discount with a KCRW card.

          3. Your geographic parameters open up all of the Abbot Kinney restaurants. Have you been to any of the many, many choice along that stretch of restaurant "roux"?

            1. Everything on Ocean Ave is BLAND and expensive. Ironically, when a non bland trying restaurant opened (Abode), it was terrible anyway and flopped. It's a tourist hell, like Restaurant Row on La Cienega. My pick--drinks at Makai and pizza at the Mulberry St. place. (Richie whatever, but same pizza taste as Mulberry. I like it.)

              2 Replies
              1. re: Adsvino

                really? including the ivy? anisette is right around the corner, and I also enjoy the food at sushi roku, although it is far from my favorite japanese it is anything but bland.

                1. re: lotta_cox

                  Speaking of....
                  Just ate lunch at The Ivy at the Shore in Santa Monica...
                  why does the food taste different than the Ivy on Robertson?

              2. If you like something a little more lowbrow, how about The Galley? We love it. The fried shrimp are really good. If you go on a Sunday night and sit at the bar, most of the items on the bar menu are half-off. You can easily put together a fun and tasty dinner that way.

                The Galley Restaurant
                2442 Main Street, Santa Monica, CA 90405

                1 Reply
                1. re: Debbie W

                  I like a lot of things about the atmosphere and food at the Galley, but it is FAR above the OP's price point.

                2. It's not exactly on the main drag of Ocean, but I'm fond of Cora's Coffee Shop. Occasionally the food is underspiced, but their handful of Mexican dishes are very agreeable interpretations, particularly their huevos rancheros.

                  1. Plenty of winners in Santa Monica that are either affordable or worth the spend.


                    - Cora's
                    - La Serenata
                    - Cha Cha Chicken
                    - Babalu (just on the wrong side of Lincoln, but worth driving the extra couple blocks)

                    Not as cheap-ish:

                    - Anisette
                    - Sunday brunch at Loews
                    - Chinois on Main
                    - La Vecchia

                    1. I think Santa Monica is foodie heaven. I love Anisette, Pinxto, Musha, Rustic Canyon, Catch, Whist, Primitivo, Capo, and on Main St there's Chinois and Chaya. There's Father's Office, and I also like the Galley. In Venice, there's Joe's, Primitivo and Axe on Abbot Kinney, also Wabi Sabi and Lilly's and Beechwood.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: yogachik

                        the vast majority of the places on your list charge substantially more than the price that laurenb (the op) wants to pay.

                      2. Lots of good eating on that side of Santa Monica. Cora's Coffee Shoppe is good - I love thier BLT salad. I eat at Cha Cha Chicken alll the time - wonderful. I also enjoy Ocean Avenue Seafood - they have some nice wine flights with oysters on the half-shell. I've never sat in their bar for happy hour, but I understand its a good value.

                        I really like Chez Jay - great little red-checked tablecloth steak joint. Another similar place is the Galley down on Main Street.

                        I've never had a bad meal at El Texate on Pico, but I'm mystified by it - it's always empty at lunchtime! What's up with that?

                        1. there really isn't much that's reasonable and/or fabulous on ocean ave itself. ma'kai is small portioned, trying to be hip and trendy, uninteresting flavorless fare. the only place that is consistent is il fornaio, but it's nothing to write home about. i've had good meals (particularly the more expensive sunday brunch) at i cugini, but i think it breaks your price point.

                          expanding to your montana to venice range..
                          kreation organics kafe on montana has healthy reasonable food; good salads, apps, and chicken
                          babalu has a great grilled veggie salad, yam fries, and good brunch as well as the pies
                          they're no anisette, but cafe montana and 17th st cafe on montana have nice ambiences
                          warszawa on lincoln esp at happy hour
                          fritto misto is pretty good for italian, though i'm not sure if it's the ambience you crave
                          agree w/ the rec for lilly's

                          1. ICugini is pretty decent for italian food on Ocean Ave. It's also not a total rip off like most the restaurants on that stretch of the street. Oh, and Makai is overpriced and confused fusion garbage. You can't eat ambiance.