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Lunch in Santa Monica?

My wife and I are visiting Santa Monica today shopping in the 3rd St. Promenade area. Any chow hound recommendations for lunch? Any style, cuisine or price point is ok. Looking for fun and delicious.

Sorry for the late request. Thanks for your advice.

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  1. Avoid everything on the Promenade itself (except maybe Sugarfish). Surrounding the Promenade you have amazing choices from Umami Burger at Fred Segal to Musha, and pretty much anything on the roof of the Santa Monica Place - especially The Market

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    Fred Segal
    500 Broadway, Santa Monica, CA 90401

    Musha
    424 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401

    1 Reply
    1. re: yogachik

      musha, to the best of m knowledge, opens at 6pm

    2. I would go for the Border Grill on 5th for Mexican food with a gourmet touch.

      http://www.bordergrill.com/bg_sm/bg_s...

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      Border Grill
      1445 4th St., Santa Monica, CA 90401

      1. FIG at the Fairmount.Miramar

        1. What Yogachik said, except that Musha is not open for lunch.

          In Santa Monica Place I like Zengo for their Latin Asian fusion served on small plates. The back of the restaurant has a nice balcony view of the Promenade.

          People like the Curious Palate in the Market but I haven't had the chance. There's a recent post about it.

          Joe's serves up nice NY style pizza slices.

          Tender Greens is opening up later this summer.

          Rustic Canyon and Huckleberry's are a short walk on Wilshire

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          Musha
          424 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401

          Zengo
          395 Santa Monica Place, Santa Monica, CA 90401

          The Curious Palate
          395 Santa Monica Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401

          15 Replies
          1. re: Ogawak

            I second Zengo and Umani Burgeri. Also For great sandwiches Bay Cities Italian Deli home of their famous Godmother sandwich a few blocks away on Lincoln Blvd, Great hot fresh italian bread.

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            Bay Cities Italian Deli
            1517 Lincoln Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401

            Zengo
            395 Santa Monica Place, Santa Monica, CA 90401

            1. re: wienermobile

              But Bay Cities deli is mainly for take out, there are a few cement tables and seats in front of the store and that's it. And who wants to sit in the rain and fog, even for a BC sub??

              PS - I like their hot subs better, chicken parm, meatballs are all good and you don't have to wait as long in line.

              1. re: Phurstluv

                I like the Godmother with a little "age" on her, so the OP and his wife could buy one and take it home for the "morrow" if they liked...and to speed up the process "pre-order" - http://www.bcdeli.com/order.php - and the whole "wait till you drop from hunger" thing is seriously downsized...

                1. re: Phurstluv

                  I don't think I've ever tried the hot subs! Which one would you recommend? The Tomato Mozzarella is my second after the Godmother

                  The hard part is getting out of there with out extra olive oil, bread ect..

                  1. re: AAQjr

                    The Bay Cities hot subs I like are the special Wednesday Sausage & Pepper Hoagie, the surprisingly good hot pastrami, the chicken Parm and of course their meatball.

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                    Bay Cities Italian Deli
                    1517 Lincoln Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401

                    1. re: wienermobile

                      OP here. Thanks to all the posters. Very helpful.

                      After mulling the alternatives, we went o Border Grill. We had enjoyed their place in Vegas and Mexican sounded like fun. Mistake.

                      *. In sunny Santa Monica, the room is long, dark and gloomy. Expecting bright colors, we got a downbeat style.

                      *. Guacamole and salsas were good. Fresh taste. Warm chips.

                      *. My wife's chile relleno was room temperature. Though embarrassed, she did ask them to warm it up. They did cheerfully, returning a nuked plate.

                      *. My chicken quesadilla was fine. Straightforward with no surprises.

                      *. Atmosphere and service were what you would expect in a 300 unit chain. Pleasant and uneventful. But, this is a 3-4 unit company. Menu was way more routine than we expected. Upon launch, the two hot tamales offered a fresh and vibrant take on Mexican
                      food. The meal today, though ok, felt like a corporate effort delivered by bored employees. No zap, no sizzle.

                      Too bad. Will keep searching during our next trip to Santa Monica.

                      Thanks again for your posts.

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                      Border Grill
                      1445 4th St., Santa Monica, CA 90401

                      1. re: cortez

                        Told ya it was cold and rainy here today, you should have ended up at FIG, at least it's in a hotel, with valet, and incredible food. I went there for lunch when it was raining but it didn't bother us any since it was so nice inside!

                        You have to realize, Santa Monica is not sunny 365 a year!! And especially late spring and early summer, it's just how they roll.

                        I personally believe Feniger (who's a great chef but way to busy with her own floundering venture, Street) and Milliken have been phoning it in for a long time. I only rec Border Grill to people unfamiliar with Mexican cuz it's approachable without being gringo

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                        Border Grill
                        1445 4th St., Santa Monica, CA 90401

                        1. re: cortez

                          i'm sorry you had such a disappointing experience - Border Grill is a bit of a tourist trap. i wish i had seen this post earlier because for Mexican i would have recommended La Serenata on 4th Street instead...

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                          La Serenata
                          1416 4th St, Santa Monica, CA 90401

                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                            I thought I read that La Serenata had closed recently (or was about to close) and will be replaced this Summer by a new Mexican restaurant called Mercado, from the owner of Yxta.

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                            La Serenata
                            1416 4th St, Santa Monica, CA 90401

                            1. re: New Trial

                              crap. after seeing your post i did a quick Google search and found the info on Grub Street...

                              http://losangeles.grubstreet.com/2011...

                              apparently it closed at the end of April, but judging from the restaurant's website one would think it's still open...so i checked MenuPages and wouldn't you know they have it marked as "Closed."

                              argh! thanks for the update/correction. i'm sorry to see it go, i've had some lovely meals there.

                        2. re: wienermobile

                          Oh, I must try the pastrami. Please tell me it's like real pastrami and not that fake corned beef style Langers crap ( ;P )))

                          1. re: Phurstluv

                            It is not Jewish style like the incredible Langer's or Brents, it's more like the Hat or Johnnie's but much leaner.. it sure is good on their Italian bread.

                          2. re: wienermobile

                            the pastrami sandwiches at Bay Cities are delicious!

                          3. re: AAQjr

                            I know, I'm a great food shopper and I always end up w a full basket, can't leave there w out extra cheese, bread, oil, etc.

                            I really liked the chicken parm and the meatballs, but those are the only two I've tried.

                    2. The Promenade is a challenge, but far from a disaster. First off there is Primi at The Market in the mall at the south end of the promenade. Primi is a Pierro Selvaggio enterprise - there's a restaurant, a pasta store (where they sell a variety of fresh pasta by the pound) and across the way a Salumi shop. Primi is very good. There's an interesting restaurant in the Nordstums called The Blue Stove - check out their menu online. Locanda del Lago is pretty good Italian. I've never had a bad meal there. And as other hounders have pointed out. a short walk will take you to IlFornaio, The Ivy, La Botte, Hostaria Del Piccolo, Fig, Pinxto, The restaurant in the Shangri La. And the Misfit Bar (in what was formerly Anisette).

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: foodiemahoodie

                        We went to the original Primi on Pico Blvd. near Rancho Park a few times when it was open and if this is a rerun of that restaurant I can't get too excited. It was okay, but pricey. But time will tell.

                        1. re: Servorg

                          I thought Primi on Rancho Park was pretty good. And I went there plenty of time. Never ever did I have close to a bad meal there. And they had the best maitre d's in down - Donato Poto - now co-owner of Providence.

                          I've been to the new Primi - and the food I tried was pretty good. (a Caesar, pasta bolognese, veal tonato, alfredo). All were decent and good enough in my memory that if a friend wants to mee there - I would have no complaints). If I had any complaint it would be that the portions were on the small-ish side.