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best 2 days of food in Santa Monica Area and beyond

I will be staying in the Santa Monica Area next Wednesday and Thursday. I need two lunches, two dinners, and two breakfasts, and of course bakery spots for snacks in between. One dinner I am taking a date on so of course the food has to be innovative but I also want the ambiance and space to be beautiful (preferably in West Hollywood). The farthest I want to drive is 30 minutes but of course they're exceptions.

So far for BREAKFAST I have:

Square One Dining, Griddle Cafe, BLD

Bakery:

Joan's on Third because I saw the Coconut Cupcake on the Best Thing I Ever Ate on Food Network, Arleen's Cupcakes also seen on Food Networks Cupcake Wars

For Lunch I don't really have any Ideas

Dinner:

Wood Spoon for the Chicken Pot Pie seen on the Best Thing I Ever Ate on Food Network, Simon LA, Osteria Mozza, Jitalda Thai Restaurant

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BLD Restaurant
7450 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036

Square One Dining
4854 Fountain Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90029

Jitalda Restaurant
5233 1/2 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90027

Wood Spoon
107 W 9th St, Los Angeles, CA 90015

Osteria Mozza
6602 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036

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  1. For lunch you might try Langer's Deli for the best pastrami on earth (also on The Best Thing I Ever Ate). Well worth the trip. They close at 4pm daily and are closed on Sunday.
    http://www.langersdeli.com/

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    Langer's Delicatessen
    704 S Alvarado St, Los Angeles, CA 90057

    4 Replies
    1. re: wienermobile

      For lunch in Santa Monica you might try Umami Burger. I really like the Manly Burger, with Beer-Cheddar Cheese, Smoked Salt Onion Rings and Bacon Lardons.
      http://www.umamiburger.com/

      -----
      Umami Burger
      850 S La Brea Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036

      1. re: wienermobile

        I have been to both Langer's and Umami Burger. Any other Burgers places you reccomend?

        -----
        Umami Burger
        850 S La Brea Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036

        1. re: lovesfood11

          You can try this link for some of the best burgers in Los Angeles:
          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7010...

          1. re: lovesfood11

            I'll echo the sentiments of some of the other contributors so far: You may be underestimating our traffic congestion... I'll give you my 2 cents, based on a "realistic" 30 minutes geographic radius of Santa Monica:

            Burgers: The Golden State (on Fairfax). Rustic Canyon has a decent burger too. Father's Office.

            Breakfast: John O'Groats is hipper-than-thou these days, but the food is still solid. Stan's Donuts in Westwood is an institution. And yes, go to Cora's.

            Lunch: Lemon Moon (on Olympic, near Santa Monica), or try the Serbian fare at Metro Cafe in Culver City, or try the Persian food (Attari Sandwich Shop, Shaherzad, Saffron Ice Cream) all along Westwood Blvd. (AKA Tehrangeles)...

            Bakery: Bite Bar (on Pico, near Santa Monica) has excellent croissants, and a cult following from many respected LA Hounds. Amandine (on Wilshire) is very good also. Avoid Huckleberry on weekends (too crowded).

            Dinner: Chego (West LA/Palms) is run by the Kogi truck people, and is quite good.
            Sawtelle (AKA Little Osaka) is rife with excellent eateries (FuRaiBo, Place Yuu, Blue Marlin).
            Capo is very expensive Italian, but the food is great, and it's star-studded (for what it's worth).

            Sushi: Mori Sushi (on Pico), Kiriko (on Sawtelle), Sushi Dokoro KiRaLa (Beverly Hills).

            Ramen: Santouka (in the food court at Mitsuwa Market on Centinela)

            -----
            Shaherzad
            1422 Westwood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90024

            Kiriko
            11301 W Olympic Blvd Ste 102, Los Angeles, CA 90064

            John O'Groats
            10516 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90064

            Lemon Moon
            12200 W Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90064

            Santouka
            3760 S Centinela Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90066

            Blue Marlin
            2121 Sawtelle Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90025

            Place Yuu
            2101 Sawtelle Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90025

            The Golden State
            426 N. Fairfax Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90036

            Father's Office Bar
            1618 Montana Ave, Santa Monica, CA

            Mori Sushi
            34320 Pacific Coast Hwy Ste B, Dana Point, CA 92629

            Chego
            3300 Overland Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90034

      2. My first piece of advice, don't let the Food Network guide you too much..

        Breakfast
        Square One for their French Toast
        I would actually go Mexican or Chinese on the second breakfast - Chichen Itza or Seafood Harbour (8AM and 10:30AM opening times)
        scatch Griddle and BLD (Griddle is about quantity more than quality and BLD is standard upscale food)

        Bakery
        Vanilla Bake Shop - Santa Monica ( for cupcake/dessert shots)
        Joans on Third is a great bakery (they have a lot of savory/sweet options)
        LA Mag had an issue of 20 top bakeries. I went to about 18 of them and these were the top 2 for sweets. I still have the PDF issue if you want it.

        Lunch
        Pizzeria Mozza, not Osteria
        Kogi BBQ Truck (I hate to recommend it because that company is run by a bunch of arrogant a-holes)
        Langer's is a good recommendation is you like pastrami (some of the best in the US)

        Dinner
        Animal is a must ( poutine, pork belly sliders, maple biscuit with foie gras)
        The Bazaar (for your date, great drinks and decent, very innovative food)
        the four dinner places you mentioned would not make my cut unless you specifically wanted Thai.

        -----
        BLD Restaurant
        7450 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036

        Vanilla Bake Shop
        512 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401

        Chichen Itza
        3655 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90007

        Kogi
        Los Angeles, CA, Los Angeles, CA

        Pizzeria Mozza
        641 N. Highland Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90036

        5 Replies
        1. re: albatruffles

          I went to Pizzeria Mozza when it opened and it was great. What do you like to get there? And I would love to see the 20 top bakeries.

          -----
          Pizzeria Mozza
          641 N. Highland Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90036

          1. re: lovesfood11

            I've enjoyed most of the pizzas, just need to let them cool down a bit to enjoy the flavors. Also, like the crostini and the butterscotch budino. Just provide an e-mail for the pdf and I'll send it over.

            Also, exile did a very good burger review/ranking:

            http://exilekiss.blogspot.com/2010/04...

          2. re: albatruffles

            Does The Bazaar have a menu online?

            1. re: lovesfood11

              http://www.thebazaar.com/
              click on Rojo y Blanca at the SLS

              http://www.kevineats.com/2008/11/baza...

              1. re: albatruffles

                THANK YOU

          3. We just tried out La Cachette Bistro in Santa Monica and really liked it. They have an express menu at lunch that is a great deal for $15, appetizer entree and dessert and you can also order a la carte. Also in Santa Monica on Main-we like La Grande Orange's homemade English muffins-the rest of the breakfast stuff is good but the muffins are spectacular.


            La Grand Orange
            2000 Main Street
            Santa Monica, CA 90405-1010

            -----
            La Cachette
            Little Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90067

            1 Reply
            1. re: jpie

              Great food and beautiful ambiance at Spago and Lucques.

              -----
              Spago
              176 North Canon Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

              Lucques
              8474 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90069

            2. > I will be staying in the Santa Monica Area next Wednesday and Thursday. I
              > need two lunches, two dinners, and two breakfasts, and of course bakery
              > spots for snacks in between. One dinner I am taking a date on so of
              > course the food has to be innovative but I also want the ambiance and
              > space to be beautiful (preferably in West Hollywood). The farthest I
              > want to drive is 30 minutes but of course they're exceptions.

              Depending on the time of day, you may be hard-pressed to get from Santa Monica to the Fairfax / Hollywood vicinity in 30 minutes. Most of the places you mention are in this area, and Wood Spoon is downtown, which is at least another 15 minutes.

              > So far for BREAKFAST I have:

              > Square One Dining, Griddle Cafe, BLD

              Griddle Cafe is an interesting scene but the food is nothing special. Square One and BLD are both really good. I love the french toast at Square One and the "Ode to Butterfields" poached eggs at BLD.

              > Bakery:

              > Joan's on Third because I saw the Coconut Cupcake on the Best Thing I
              > Ever Ate on Food Network, Arleen's Cupcakes also seen on Food Networks
              > Cupcake Wars

              Joan's is a good choice, too.

              > For Lunch I don't really have any Ideas

              > Dinner:

              > Wood Spoon for the Chicken Pot Pie seen on the Best Thing I Ever Ate on
              > Food Network, Simon LA, Osteria Mozza, Jitalda Thai Restaurant

              Simon LA is an interesting scene but nothing special for food. Mozza is great, though I prefer the pizzeria to the osteria. Jitlada is also great -- be sure to order from the southern Thai specialties menu. I haven't been to the Wood Spoon yet.

              In Santa Monica, you might consider:
              - Father's Office
              - Cora's Coffee Shoppe for breakfast or lunch
              - Caffe Luxxe for excellent coffee

              Close to Santa Monica:
              - Intelligentsia (in Venice) for amazing coffee
              - Jin Patisserie (in Venice) for tea and snacks
              - 26 Beach (in Venice) for lunch or dinner (they have great burgers).
              - 3 Square Cafe + Bakery (in Venice)

              1. Your options and many of the recommendations here are great, but MOST are farther than 30 minutes away from Santa Monica.

                Here's my list for you:

                breakfast - Amandine, Huckleberry, or Coast at Shutters (for expensive, but beautiful ambiance),

                lunch: Bay Cities Deli, Father's Office, Annisette, Fritto misto

                Dinner: for your date - go to Bazaar in Weho, other good dinner options: Musha in Santa Monica, Hide Sushi or Orris in West L.A., Osteria Latini in Brentwood, Gjelina in Venice, Waterloo & City in Culver City,

                bakery: Susie Cakes in Brentwood, Brentwood Country Mart for Ice cream,

                -----
                Musha
                424 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401

                Osteria Latini
                11712 San Vicente Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90049

                Father's Office Bar
                1618 Montana Ave, Santa Monica, CA

                Gjelina
                1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice, CA 90291, USA

                2 Replies
                1. re: ElissaInPlaya

                  agree with lots of these!

                  breakfast: Griddle and Square One are both good, or Anisette

                  lunch: agree with Bay Cities and FO, Mariscos Chente, Monte Alban, or Jitlada if you can get over there; Shamshiri, Sunnin Lebanese cafe (pair with Persian bakery on Westwood)

                  bakery: Amandine, SusieCakes, 3 Square, Elysee in Westwood, the Persian bakery on Westwood blvd whose name is escaping me... but on Westwood between Olympic and Santa Monica blvd; Stolichnaya Bakery next to Whole Foods in West Hollywood, Mashti Malone's in Hollywood if you happen to go to Jitlada and stop on the way back... ; Jin Patisserie, Via Dolce on Montana in Samo, Cafe Luxxe on Montana, Emil's Swiss Pastry, Comparte's (for Chocolate)

                  Dinner: Gjelina, Bazaar, Wilshire, Musha, Orris, Palmeri, Pecorino, Ji-Raffe, Melisse

                  happy tripping!

                  -----
                  Jitlada
                  5233 1/2 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90027

                  Monte Alban
                  11927 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA

                  Musha
                  424 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401

                  Mashti Malone's
                  143 N Maryland Ave, Glendale, CA 91206

                  Jin Patisserie
                  1202 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291

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

                  Shamshiri Restaurant
                  19249 Roscoe Blvd, Northridge, CA 91324

                  Sunnin Lebanese Cafe
                  1779 Westwood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90024

                  Emil's Swiss Pastry
                  11551 Santa Monica Blvd 90025, Los Angeles, CA 90025

                  Via Dolce
                  1627 Montana Ave, Santa Monica, CA

                  Stolichnaya Bakery
                  7875 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA

                  Pecorino Restaurant
                  11604 San Vicente Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90049

                  Mariscos Chente
                  4532 S Centinela Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90066

                  Gjelina
                  1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice, CA 90291, USA

                  SusieCakes
                  2043 Westcliff Dr, Newport Beach, CA

                  1. re: Emme

                    Some how the truely outstanding croissants and chocolate croissants at Bite Bar and Bakery got left off all the responses. Also, great breakfast generally. They have a savory bread pudding breakfast item that is really delectable. Dinner on Friday and Saturday nights only at the moment.

                    -----
                    Bite Bar & Bakery
                    3221 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90405

                2. Wood Spoon is not where you want to go for dinner. Lunch, perhaps - and at that hour it will be a quick drive downtown, whereas at night it could take an hour to get there. Besides, it's a very uninspired room, so is better suited for lunch.

                  Absolutely Cora's for breakfast. And absolutely Gjelina for dinner.

                  -----
                  Wood Spoon
                  107 W 9th St, Los Angeles, CA 90015

                  Gjelina
                  1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice, CA 90291, USA

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: yogachik

                    I've heard alot about the pot pie at Wood Spoon, and am tempted to try it, although I am not a big fan of pot pies... I was wondering are they a one-trick pony, or is the rest of their menu good as well?

                    -----
                    Wood Spoon
                    107 W 9th St, Los Angeles, CA 90015

                    1. re: mdpilam

                      It's a good overall restaurant and a safe choice. I wouldn't go out of my way to eat there, but it's a nice alternative to the upscale business-y restaurants downtown.

                  2. It cannot be stressed enought that many of these suggestions while great, are not, in any way shape or form, close to (30 minutes or less) Santa Monica. At the wrong time of day, it can take nearly thirty minutes to get from one corner of Santa Monica to the other. Even with local knowledge of every trick there is (I drive all over L.A. for work) it just isn't practical to go to anything downtown or even the far side of West Hollywood unless this is based soley on chasing down specific spots--in which case you'll just need to spend a little more time in the car. So fire up the Google9000 or whatever interweb mapping device you prefer and make sure you aren't planning something that explodes your day.

                    Now, with that being said, there are enough suggestions here to fill your state with delictatble vittles right on the Westside. And I've just added a couple more!

                    Breakfast-- Annisette. Go on Wednesday and check out the Farmer's market right outside the front door.

                    Lunch--Fraiche Santa Monica. You could also check out the Farmer's Market from here if you go on Wednesday. For that matter you could also slide Annisette up into this slot.

                    Dinner--FIG at the Fairmont for a menu spiked with the foodie equivalent of crack, e.g. tongue braised in tomatillo sauce with breakfast radish, and all sorts of well prepared standards. It is both innovative but also very easy for people with various tastes and palettes. OR, since it sounds like you like Italian, just outside of S.M. in Brentwood is Vincenti. It isn't innovative like Bazaar is innovative, but this is really polished Italian food a la Osteria Mozza, Valentino, Angelini Osteria (Gino Angelini is the former chef at Vincenti) etc.

                    Dark Horse possibilities that are right outside S.M. and would be something to consider if geo-scheduling becomes important:
                    -- Nook (small, casual, not for your date night but really tasty fun food)
                    -- Tofu-Ya (Korean tofu cafe in the aformentioned "Little Osaka corridor)
                    -- Torafuku (actually part of a small Japanese chain in Tokyo obsessed with rice. They also make their own tofu. Only go if you are thrilled by these two things)
                    -- Westside Tavern (incidentally right next door to Torafuku. In addition to a bunch of thoughtfully prepared classics there are some gems for the more chowy crowd--the squash blossoms are irresistable...unless of course you are at a point where you consider them passe in which case, make the drive out to Bazaar. And the cocktails here are effing awesome.)

                    Bakery--all have been mentioned.

                    Let us know what you choose and how it was!

                    -----
                    Angelini Osteria
                    7313 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90036

                    Torafuku Restaurant
                    10914 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90064

                    Vincenti Restaurant
                    11930 San Vicente Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90049

                    Westside Tavern
                    10850 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA

                    Osteria Mozza
                    6602 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036

                    1. Been lurking on this thread because I've been trying to bite my lip trying not to mention how much effort, frustration and time it will take to travel two and fro between Santa Monica and the general West Hollywood area and surrounding neighborhoods for your meals. Unless you are on vacation and have tons of time on your hands, consider shifting a lot more of your meals to the Westside, or plan on hanging out in those neighborhoods for two of your three meals and snacks in between each day.

                      IMHO, all of these recs posted here that I'm familiar with are solid. You just need to set your food priorities, decide if you want to stew in traffic for the majority of your free time, camp out in the WeHo/Hollywood/Melrose/Beverly area, or select more eateries that are most Westside-centric.

                      If I were to attempt hitting meals on from the Westside to the WeHo area and had time on my hands, I'd be on the road from Santa Monica to WeHo before 7AM, take in a leisurely breakfast out there, fill time with shopping, do a bake shop stop, do more shopping, then enjoy lunch, and head back to Santa Monica for dinner - back on the road to the Westside no later than 3:30PM. You could also do your bake shop stop before heading back to Santa Monica. The general WeHo area and its surrounding neighborhoods have some horrid traffic issues, but the shopping around there is excellent. Minimize the first by driving during off-peak hours, and take advantage of the second as there are tons of unique shops around there.

                      1. If I were to be willing to drive anywhere in Los Angeles. For my date is The Bazaar my best option food wise and ambiance wise?

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: lovesfood11

                          Apologies for answering a question with a question, but could you give some examples of places that you've been (anywhere, not just LA) that come close to your idea of an ideal date place?

                          1. re: Peripatetic

                            Probably none all of the places I have been to have been super casual.

                          2. re: lovesfood11

                            I would say it is the most innovative and has the most wow factor. Sure there are other places but not knowing you or the person you are taking, it would be hard to go wrong in terms of food. It is a scene and it isn't inexpensive, but it is hard to argue with the food (even on this board) and definitely has a "date night" fanciness to it.