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Apr 11, 2009 09:39 AM

Lunch in Venice

We're flying down from San Francisco to go to the LA Louver Galley in Venice to see a Deborah Butterfield exhibit. The gallery is on N. Venice Blvd. right near the beach. Any suggestions for good lunch places? We eat pretty much everything, but have never been to the Venice neighborhood before. Not interested in pretentious places with attitude. Thanks!

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  1. you lost me at Venice and "not interested in pretentious places with attitude."


    but honestly, try Gjelina's weekend brunch menu. It's pretty good

    3 Replies
    1. re: ronnie_gaucho

      Thanks for the Gjelina's rec. We're actually going on Wednesday, so I'll see what they have during the week.

      1. re: The Librarian

        Gjelina is also on Abbot Kinney - about three blocks further south from 3 Square. I don't think they do lunch during the week, but the food is good, portions small, good "off-the-map" wine selections, and higher on the snoot scale. If Hinano is a "1" on this scale, then 3 Square is a "4", and Gjelina is probably a "6.5".

        1. re: The Librarian

          Update on Gjelina - they are now open for lunch during the week.

      2. 3 Square on Abbot Kinney. It's a 10-minute walk from LA Louver. If you've paid for all-day parking, you might as well hoof it - parking is a hassle in the general area. Great food, beer & wine, and nice atmosphere (but it can be tight quarters when crowded). The food is kinda Bavaria meets California, but in a great way. Walk east on N. Venice Blvd, turn right on Riviera/Dell, walk on Riviera for a distance that would be the equivalent of about seven blocks, veer right on Westminster, cross Abbot KInney, turn right, walk to the end of the block, and you're there.

        If you want to walk through the Venice Canal neighborhood before/after, it's about three blocks to the southeast of LA Louver. The next major street to the south would be Washington. Hinano is a cafe/bar on Washington and a stone's throw from the sand. It's cash-only and a little on the divey side, so it rates high on "unpretentious." Great burgers, good beers, mostly locals, and nice folks serving you. If walking to here from LA Louver, head toward the beach, walk south on the Ocean Front Walk (the actual walk - not Speedway the alley) until you reach Washington, turn left and you're there. To walk the canals afterward, walk east on Washington for three blocks, go north on Dell for about two blocks, and this will take you into the Venice Canals. To get back to LA Louver, continue north on Dell, cross over Venice blvd to N. Venice, walk three more blocks, and your back at LA Louver.

        I hope you folks enjoy the exhibit and your stay. The weather should be pleasant. "June Gloom" can appear as early as April but I personally like it. And it's shoulder season for the nut-case factor in Venice. :)

        Hinano Cafe
        15 Washington Blvd, Venice, CA 90292

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

        2 Replies
        1. re: bulavinaka

          Thanks for the detailed directions. I have zero sense of direction! I like "shoulder season for the nut-case factor).

          1. re: The Librarian

            I'm the same - it can be months before I get a clue on the lay of the land. I've been in/around Venice for most of my life - otherwise, I'd be lost. For areas outside of LA's Westside, Mapquest is my friend.

        2. James Beach is on that block of S. Venice, right around the corner from Louver and has a great beachy atmosphere. I have always loved that place. The Abbot Kinney places mentioned before are also very good, but a bit of a walk. However, if you're in Venice, Abbot Kinney is a great place to visit. I also love Mao's Kitchen, on Pacific just north of Winward. It's very casual and they have great healthy-ish food and you can bring your own wine, if you'd like wine with your lunch. If you do go to Mao's, the Salt and Pepper Shrimp is insane. Whatever you do, DO NOT go to the Canal Club, also on the S. Venice Louver block. I literally had maggots crawl out of a sushi roll there. It was about 6 years ago, but I'll still never go back. Have fun!!

          1. Gjelina is very good and quite trendy and hot, but it is only open for brunch on weekends -- dinner only during the week. Hinano serves a very credible burger -- one of the best values in town -- but it really is a divy bar, not just close to being one.

            One suggestion for a good, casual lunch fairly nearby is 26 Beach, which is sort of funky with pillow-strewn seating in one of its dining areas and a wide-ranging menu featuring a big selection of burgers, entree salads, and a bunch of other choices. Most lunch mains would be in the $12-15 vicinity. On the north side of Washington west of Lincoln but not really beachside, they have parking in the back. My choice for decades for the essential Venice experience was the Rose Cafe, which had a bakery and salad counter and both indoor and outdoor seating. They served an assortment of three prepared salads with greens, as well as omelets and sandwiches, but unfortunately I have been warned of a significant downhill trend there the last few years.

            9 Replies
            1. re: nosh

              nosh beat me to it - 26 Beach gets my vote for solid food and zero attitude.

              1. re: nosh

                fwiw, to me, the food at 26 beach is head and shoulders above that served at rose cafe.
                the ambiance at rose cafe, though, is good.

                1. re: westsidegal

                  what about Sauce, i heard it just opened up, any good?

                  1. re: kevin

                    Poster mstinawu mentioned Sauce below. Others have posted on other threads as well, and the consensus has been good.

                    1. re: bulavinaka

                      i missed her missed below, my apologies.

                      how about james's beach for the fish tacos much heralded in the new flick "i love you man"

                      1. re: kevin

                        No apology needed - your response is another shout-out for Sauce.

                        I have to see that movie. Evidently, the production crew spend a lot of time on the boardwalk. :) I wonder if James' Beach got a bump up in business? They were one of the first restaurants to bring finer dining to Venice Beach that is still open. Any windfall from this movie is well-deserved just for that reason.

                        1. re: bulavinaka

                          now i gotta try those fish tacos.

                2. re: nosh

                  Rose Cafe may have gone downhill, but they still have the best apple tart tatin around.
                  Plus, yes, nice ambiance, food still good, and fun gift shop.


                  1. re: nosh

                    26 Beach was going to be my rec too, along with the above mentioned 3 Square.

                  2. Sauce on Hampton for fresh, SOLID, pleasantly priced food.