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Jul 29, 2009 10:11 PM

Is there a non-touristy restaurant in SM with great outdoor seating/view?

i have friends from out of town (from a very cold country) and they would love to sit somewhere outside and pretty with view. But they are foodies too - how do we have both and avoid tourist traps at the same time? Thanks!

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  1. I have to say that excellent restaurants with beautiful outdoor seating (with or without a view) in Santa Monica will certainly draw tourists, but that wouldn't necessarily make it a "tourist trap" (which to me denotes a place that can only get someone to dine there once because the food and service is usually so bad - hence it relies on tourists who dine there only the one time).

    For instance, Michael's on 3rd St. north of Wilshire has one of the most beautiful patio's in town (but no "view" of the beach or anything else except the patio itself) and, while the food is good, it's not the most brilliant, cutting edge food in town.

    I think the patio at the Buffalo Club on Olympic Blvd. is also very pretty and I actually like the food there better than at Michael's.

    If you want outside seating plus view and have pretty good food (for the most part) then The Lobster at the foot of the Santa Monica Pier would be a good choice.

    We haven't dined at Catch in the Casa del Mar Hotel, but it gets pretty good reviews here. I think it has a view but not sure about the patio dining option.

    The Lobster
    1602 Ocean Avenue, Santa Monica, CA 90401

    Buffalo Club
    1520 Olympic Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90404

    Michael's Restaurant
    1147 3rd St., Santa Monica, CA 90403

    7 Replies
    1. re: Servorg

      The view at Catch is astonishing. No outdoor seating, though. The food soars.

      1. re: Servorg

        I love, love Lobster...great views, great food and nice beach ambience. I have taken family, friends and customers and always have great service.

        1. re: Servorg

          Catch is really, really good. Very pretty room & excellent crudos.

          I would also venture up the coast, way up past Pepperdine in Malibu, to Geoffrey's. The view is to die for, the food is very good, better than the Lobster, IMHO. And they do serve brunch.

          Tourist traps, and not worth the food, but has the same view as Lobster, basically, are Duke's of Malibu and Gladstones at PCH & Sunset.

          Geoffrey's Malibu
          27400 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu, CA 90265

          1. re: Phurstluv

            A midpoint between, both in quality and in distance, is The Chart House, on PCH between Sunset and Topanga. Nice place for drinks and maybe bar apps. You frequently see dolphins in the surf here.

            Moonshadows in Malibu is supposed to have a good chef - I haven't been there in years, so I dont know for sure.

            1. re: gsw

              Personally I like the Chart House, but it doesn't seem to get any love on CH. I think it's a little pricey, but the quality has always been fine.

          2. re: Servorg

            I think it would be fair to say that the food at Michael's is better than merely good. Michael's has true foodie status. A vertible who's who of chefdom have done time in that kitchen. Certainly better than Buffalo Club or The Lobster. And pricier too.

            Buffalo Club is more fun. Lobster is tourist-y but the food (I've been once) is pretty good.

            Catch is quite good. You can put together a very interesting meal there. It might have an amalgamation of odds and ends, in that the meny is exactly harmonius, but I don't mind that.

            Geoffrey's, IMHO does have "very good" food. It really feels like the pricy kind of high end, no name restaurant you'd get in europe. I'd rate it good at best. I like the atmosphere of the place - feels more like a hidden spot in St. Tropez rather than Malibu.

            1. re: foodiemahoodie

              I echo the Catch recommendation. Even though it's not outside, it feels like it is.

          3. The original comment has been removed
            1. I always enjoy the patio and food at I Cuigini in Santa Momica.

              1. For an outdoor breakfast...Figtree's at Venice Beach has announced an 8am to 9am happy hour, 50% off your breakfast.

                1. On the edge of Santa Monica, I'd suggest Wilshire if you can get seated on the patio.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: Emme

                    If you're willing to drive north to Malibu, they might like Malibu Seafood. Nothing order and bring your food to picnic tables. You can't beat the view, the food's decent and on a sunny day...nothing better

                    1. re: JPomer

                      Love Wilshire, Emme, but it really has no view.

                      Love malibu seafood, too, but all it really has is view. If you go, remember it's BYOB and closed on Mondays.

                      1. re: Phurstluv

                        argh i was thinking outdoor seating... what? other people and tables aren't a view?