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Lunch Santa Monica or vicinity --- Outdoor Seating a Must

I know there are a number of posts here about lunch in Santa Monica, but I'm hoping someone can point me in the right direction.

We're flying in from Buffalo and driving out to Palm Springs and wanted to stop somewhere for lunch. I was thinking Santa Monica was convenient. Looking for somewhere casual with outdoor seating. I'm very familar with LA, lived here for 3 months.

I was thinking of going somewhere on Abbott Kinney -- I looked at Gjelina or Joe's (I have been to Joe's a number of times). Although, Gjelina has gotten mixed reviews on these boards.

Huckleberry also appealed to me, but it's hard for me to tell what their outdoor seating situation is.

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  1. Joe's would be good, as would Gjelina. You might take a look at the Buffalo Club. They have a really nice patio out back.

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

    Joe's
    1023 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90291

    1. Huckleberry has a few two tops on the sidewalk on busy Wilshire, that's it. Doubt you can reserve them, either, and I always see a line when I drive by them.

      Abbott Kinney is Venice. Gjelina is really good, but very popular and hard to get into. I went by at lunchtime about two months ago and there was a line out the door.

      In that same area is Primitivo, which has a nice patio and is open for lunch. Decent food, large portions, IIRC.

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      Primitivo
      1025 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice, CA 90291

      1. Charming little French place on Main St. in Santa Monica called Madame Chou Chou. Good food.
        Lovely French couple runs it. Very nice patio in the back.
        Joe's is also very good.

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        Main St Cafe
        450 Main St, El Segundo, CA 90245

        Madame Chou Chou
        2518 Main St, Santa Monica, CA 90405

        1. other options that come to mind:
          26 Beach
          Wilshire
          Gaby's Mediterranean
          Coast at Shutters
          Lilly's Cafe
          Babalu
          Urth Caffe

          i guess it also depends on your budget and the type of food you want.

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          26 Beach
          3100 Washington Blvd., Venice, CA 90292

          Wilshire Restaurant
          2454 Wilshire Boulevard, Santa Monica, CA 90404

          Urth Caffe
          2327 Main St, Santa Monica, CA 90405

          Lilly's French Cafe & Bar
          1031 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice, CA 90291

          Babalu
          1002 Montana Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90403

          Coast
          One Pico Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90405

          4 Replies
          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

            you should check out whist at the viceroy hotel. they have a great lunch menu and a lot of patio seating.

            1. re: goodeats

              I personally love the patio at Whist & have had nothing but good food & wine there.

              1. re: Phurstluv

                Do they still serve fried artichokes? Man, those things were good!

                1. re: aching

                  Have not seen those, but they are in season, so one could hope!

          2. I suggest Zengo or Sonoma Wine Garden on the rooftop of Santa Monica Place. I've had good (not great) food at those places and it should be easy for you to get a nice table with a view. I would rule out Huckleberry, and neither Gjelina nor Joe's comes to mind when I think casual with outdoor seating.

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            Zengo
            395 Santa Monica Place, Santa Monica, CA 90401

            Sonoma Wine Garden
            395 Santa Monica Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401

            Gjelina
            1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291