Moving to Santa Monica's Main Street
- 1newyorkguy Dec 17, 2008 05:27 PM
I already enjoy Urth...
Please hit me with your local favorites!
Pretty much everything on Abbot Kinney is great - Joes, Primitivo, Lilly's, Gjelina, AK, Axe
On Main - Chaya Venice, Library Alehouse -- these are my favorites.
Wonderful area -- near the ocean, trendy but comfortable, a great mix of people. But food is expensive. The Galley has an old-time vibe, but the steak prices are up there. The Library Alehouse is fun and has a nice back patio on sunny days, but a burger or fish & chips are well over $10. Joe's is a great brunch in the teens, but is expensive for dinner.
Four blocks over to the east on Lincoln you get the value -- Tommy's Original for chiliburgers, Chihuahua Taqueria across the street, some Thai and burgers as you head south. Bay Cities Deli is just a bit north.
None of the restaurants we all listed are "rip offs". They are all very good restaurants. If you have a particular budget in mind, please let us know, but you asked for favorites. However, if you ask me, Urth is a "rip off", as it's expensive for what it is, and not all that great, often bland. I haven't gotten out of there for less than $25 or $30, which is in the range of what you see in these responses.
Nosh, I don't think the Galley prices for steak are too steep, especially when you consider you can get a 12 oz top sirloin and a choice of the following for $24 - "Choice of Baked Potato, Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Steak Fries, Onion Rings, or Rice. Choice of Broccoli, Asparagus, Lightly Creamed Spinach, Canned Corn or Vegetable of the Day"
Servorg, I didn't mean to imply that the Galley's steaks are too steep; I've enjoyed some very fun group celebratory meals there. I only meant that with all of the old nautical-themed rope and weathered wood, the prices for the preferred steaks weren't bargains. I thank you for pointing out what may be the value on their menu. Otherwise, I think the Galley prices are a bit more than Taylor's, though the neighborhood is more convenient for me. And when I'm on that street and focused on food, I'd much prefer Chinois, which is really special and flavorful but probably costs more, even if you stick to the small plates as I frequently recommend.
The problem isn't the best of Main Street, which is Chinois and the Galley and even the Library Alehouse for the back patio and burgers. The problem, and where I feel dissatisfied, are the places like the Omelette Parlor where they charge premium prices and move people in and out in droves for food that is mediocre. And you almost always have to pay for valet on Main Street or Abbot Kinney or luck into a meter, while parking usually is free along Lincoln. I didn't introduce "rip-off" to the discussion, and I'm willing to pay for a view of sun glistening off of water if you get to the shore. But I merely pointed out that for value, heading a few blocks east from Main to Lincoln might be beneficial for someone new to the neighborhood.
"you almost always have to pay for valet on Main Street or Abbot Kinney or luck into a meter,"
Too funny, we went to Main Street today for dinner forgeting this fact. Ended up driving away and eating somewhere else. I guess I'm cheap, but paying for parking and then tipping the valets make me mad.
If BBQ might be your thing, Baby Blues at 444 Lincoln is well thought of.
Also the new Whole Foods Market on Lincoln & Rose provides many eating options that will probably be less expensive than most restaurants mentioned so far\, including many different buffet bars for different kinds of foods.
Tip for The Galley -- they have a daily happy hour and some of their bar menu selections are 50% off, a great way to have a burger or chicken sandwich, etc. On Main Street, I like Lula's for better than average Mexican food, and killer margaritas. Library Alehouse has great ahi tuna burgers, and Joe's on Abbot Kinney is great for everything. Welcome to the left coast's west side!
Library Alehouse has taken a serious nosedive in the quality of their food. The back patio used to be a standard site for my wife and I to take out-of-town guests. Used to be.
Never been to Liberty Alehouse -- maybe check that out.
It's going to be a touchy subject for some -- but on the other side of "Shitty Santa Monica," aka The Prominade, you'll find Montana. And on Montana you'll find the best (rivaling Blind Tiger in NYC) craft beer bar in America, Father's Office (the Montana location is key; the new FO was a necessary expansion, but regrettably has none of the character of the Montana branch). They also have a good burger. (good is a rhetorical understatement used to mitigate the throngs of haters. it's much better than good.)
Have to totally disagree here. First, character at FO went out the window as soon as Sang Yoon took it over. Of course, Sang Yoon also created a reason to actually go to FO in the first place, but being packed like sardines into that place is not character. It's a trial you go through to get the food and good beer.
As a long time patron of FO I'd say the new branch bests the old in every conceivable way except that I can't walk there.
1. The menu is much more expansive at the new location. It seems like the space has a larger kitchen and Sang Yoon is a guy you want cooking more food, not less.
2. The new FO serves cocktails. Very good cocktails. They don't shake a thing (a little restrictive but usually the right call), pour top shelf liquor, and even brew their own bitters. They also focus on classic cocktails that most bars have long lost the patience and art to mix correctly. These are cocktails the way they're meant to be served.
3. On some nights, you can even talk to your friends at a table you can obtain without brawling with a rival gang of vultures circling for a four top.
That said, I still visit the Montana branch because it's so convenient that I can easily do a crowd check before I go to plan b.
You're totally right about Library Alehouse. It's merely average now and it used to be quite good. So what's the appeal now without good food? Daily Pint has a better selection of beers and spirits (at least what I want to drink anyway).
I'm not disagreeing to be disagreeable, but merely to reply in kind.
As to 1., FO is a bar, not a restaurant. I love it because it has one of the most diverse and well-maintained set of craft beer taps in the country. They do have some good grub, though. But I agree that the new location has more selection (they even have more taps).
As to 2., see 1. I appreciate people who enjoy cocktails and recognize that, given the diligence given to the beer, FO likely has great cocktails. It is just not why I like the place.
As to 3., I never went with more than one other person. We had a very methodical routine to getting the same seats at the bar everytime. I can't remember ever having finished our first beer before getting two seats.
You're allowed to disagree without a disclaimer and I totally appreciate your perspective. FO has a wonderful selection of beer and that's as good a reason as any to love the place. I happen to go for the food and beer (now cocktails) second but I can see getting really into working through the taps.
I'll just say that I've been to Father's Office on Montana approximately 20-25 times (a staggering amount of repeat visits to any place in a town with so many new places to try) since Sang Yoon took over the place and I had the easygoing experience you describe maybe 1 out of every 4 visits. That does not count the many times that I walked by because it was overcrowded.
It sounds like you've got a great run going there and I don't want to jinx it but the irritating crowd in the place is well-documented.
Perhaps my love for the new locations cocktails and expanded menu has blinded me to the fact that the old location is less crowded though.
I live in this area and one of the best things about it is the easy access to the 10. Sawtelle is a short drive except during evening rush hour, and is definitely my #1 lunch and dinner destination
howdy, we grabbed a very tasty lunch from cha cha chicken, not far from your locale. Split an excellent bottle of sake at Musha, with food the usual fun and flavorful.
as a former new yorker i put some effort into this for you... the restaurants on the top of each section are closer in proximity to main street and as you scroll down they get further away but everything is in either santa monica or venice with the exception of hide which is in west la.
axe - weekends only
tacos por favor
yeah, definitely three square is pretty good, the last time i was at library the meals were pretty good, but that was aoubt a yr and a half ago, and already well-sluiced from all the beers. joe's is good, though i haven't been in a while. the cheese rolls at rockenwagner bakery are addictive as hell. shoops is ok for a makeshift deli at best, i like it, though it is sorely overpriced. jame's beach is not half bad, a nice $10, oh wait, now $12 burger.
wilflour is ok for pizza. danny's deli on winward near the venice beach boardwalk is not too shabby either.
The French Market is also a nice, low-key spot that's often overlooked. It's on Abbot Kinney, but closer to Washington Blvd.