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NYC to Santa Monica - Now i have to find some good food!

  • j

Just moved from NYC to Santa Monica and looking for some good restaurant recommendations. Living in Santa Monica Canyons and looking for recommendations for both quality dinners, brunch spots and good places for mid-week take out / to go. Any help greatly appreciated!

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  1. Here's a great place to start: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/673604 | RESULTS: Ultimate Los Angeles Restaurants 2009: The Top 25 [Post #1 of 2]

    1. I'm from NYC too. I live in Silver Lake but I have lots of friends in Santa Monica and eat there all the time. Here are my favorite places.

      Buddha's Belly (amazing Asian fusion cuisine)
      Barney's Beanery (just all around great food)
      Cafe Crepe (like being in Paris)
      El Cholo (one of the best Mexican restaurants in Los Angeles)
      Border Grill (fancy Mexican)
      Urth Caffe (yummy, healthy food. and it's really spelled that way!!)
      Sushi Roku (nobody else seems to like it on this site, but it's my favorite sushi restaurant in the country, and everybody else loves it.)

      Stay away from any place that serves "raw food." I so wanted to like it but I just don't. It's weird because I like raw foods. I mean, I eat salads and fruits and all kinds of things raw. But somehow these restaurants I'm talking about turn raw food into something strange and yucky.

      2 Replies
      1. re: sillygoosedown

        Have to disagree on Barney's Beanery and El Cholo (haven't been to Cafe Crepe or Buddha's Belly). My SM favorites (I'm sure I'm forgetting something!):
        Bay Cities (Godfather)
        Musha
        Tacos Por Favor (chorizo and cheese tacos)
        Cora's
        Father's Office
        Fraiche
        Via Veneto
        Gjelina (it's in Venice but close enough!)
        Bar Pinxto

        1. re: whatsfordinner

          concur on barney's and el cholo (unless it's green corn tamale season, and even then i go to the el cholo on western)

          agree with gjelina, via veneto, musha, and bay cities, as well as amandine and anisette for brunch below.

          assuming since you live here, you have a car :) i'll throw in some places that are a few minute drive to neighboring brentwood, venice and west LA.

          also for breakfast, try snug harbor or bread and porridge, as well as Omelette Parlor down on Main St.

          like ji-raffe.

          for oaxacan, i think it's worth the few minute drive to west la to Monte Alban.

          for a Mexican breakfast, head to Gilbert's El Indio on Pico.

          for yam fries and banana cream pie, try Babalu on Montana.

          for custard tarts and british imports, Tudor House on 2nd street.

          for fish'n'chips, Ye Olde King's Head.

          for breakfast, brunch, lunch and such, 3 square in Venice

          for a healthy breakfast option, Firehouse in Venice, Jinky's on 2nd, and A Votre Sante in Brentwood (they have healthy lunch and dinner too).

          for Polish, Warszawa on Lincoln

      2. Here is a recent thread that should be of help finding good chow in the SM and immediate surrounding area: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/687404

        1. Here's a few more that may or may have been on other lists, but are definitely within a comfortable radius of Santa Monica Canyon:

          Amandine
          Anisette
          Caffe Delifini
          Chinois on Main
          Fritto Misto
          Huckleberry
          Josie
          Le Paine Du Jour
          Melisse
          Rustic Canyon
          Whist at the Viceroy
          Wilshire

          10 Replies
          1. re: bulavinaka

            Good list! I forgot to add Joe's pizza.

              1. re: whatsfordinner

                Joe's Pizza is worthy but remarkably overrated. While I agree that it may have the best thin crust in LA, the rest of the pizza is generally flavorless and forgettable. It's basically the exact same average (no better) slice the OP could have just had in NYC - which to many Angelinos makes it the holy grail of pizzas.

                1. re: Arthur

                  Gotta agree with you there, Arthur. It's decent pizza, but nothing spectacular, especially coming from NY.

                  1. re: Phurstluv

                    Joe's really Blows. I had such high hopes (tho' Joe's in NYC is hardly a destination spot). The look and the smell are close but that crust really sucks. First bite, is barely passable, then, by bite two, you've got a piece of cardboard in your hand with about as much flavor as a pizza delivery box. You want a NY slice, Vito's on La Cienega is all there is.

                    1. re: Ciao Bob

                      Agree, it's not great at all. Good thing I didn't waste $ on a whole pie, just a slice. Must be the water.

                      1. re: Ciao Bob

                        A Joe's slice really needs a greasy topping like pepperoni to give it the proper flavor and moisture. I love Vito's but wish they would cook the crust more consistently. Often it's either undercooked and limp or overcooked like a cracker. I also have to mention La Bottega Marino in WLA for NY-style pizza, but they are pies only.

                        The thing about the water is myth and a copout imo. There are places in LA like Lamonica's that claim to ship their dough from NYC, but their pizza is no better or worse than the rest. The real issue is the lack of skilled pizzaiolos and sufficiently hot ovens. Also, Californians have a warped notion of how well done pizza crust should be, and will return a properly charred crust as "burnt." It's a bit like the problem in Asian restaurants where customers return food that's "too spicy."

                        1. re: a_and_w

                          Good point about playing to the audience. Hadn't thought about that.
                          Fortunately, I have not noted the Vito's problems that you have. I find it quite consistent.
                          I would love, Love, LOVE a reliable brick-oven pizzeria that properly chars a crust. Casa Bianco in Eagle Rock does it great but the lines and the distance.

                          1. re: Ciao Bob

                            We really like Casa Bianca too when we live in Pasadena and could go early enough to avoid the line.

                2. re: bulavinaka

                  I grew up in the Canyon, still live there and I love all of your suggestions bulanaka. And Caffe Delfini is right in the Canyon and gets lots of neighborhood people AND has good food. Huckleberry is soooo good for breakfast and lunch as well as take out.