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Two weeks in Santa Monica...what to eat, where to eat it!

Hey all,

Foodie-in-training (and on a budget) from Manhattan heading out to Santa Monica for 10 days in mid-August and want to taste some of the city's gems! I'm staying with a friend near the Third Street Promenade area and will be without a car for most of my weekday breakfasts and lunches. I'm an adventurous eater, and don't mind walking far, I'd love to explore the area beyond the promenade/mall/pier.

I'm looking for:

-A few places for breakfast and/or lunch that have solid food but are either very casual with a friendly staff or take-out. I'm one of those people who is relatively uncomfortable sitting at a restaurant alone, but will have a few days where my host will be working during the day and I'll be on my own before another friend flies out to join us. (Last time I was in town, I made myself brunch every day before heading out for the day to avoid sitting awkwardly alone at restaurants, but my inner-foodie was appalled at missing so many opportunities for great eats...I'm determined to overcome my fear this time around)

-Any other great breakfast/lunch spots in walking distance of Lincoln Blvd/Santa Monica Blvd for when I'll have company

-The best brunches in Santa Monica; I'll have company and a car for this one!

-Some great, budget friendly happy hour and/or dinner spots (with friends and a car) I've heard that The Yard has a good happy hour...any thoughts? Is the HH menu enough to get a sense of the restaurant, or is it better served with a dinner visit?

-Any interesting places for my fellow east-coast friend and I to occupy ourselves during the day
while our friend is at work (aside from the obvious promenade)

I have a great appreciation for craft beer, so I'd love to make it out to Father's Office, I've heard great things about their bar snacks as well, any thoughts?

Any advice is much appreciated, thanks so much!

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Father's Office
1018 Montana Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90403

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  1. This thread will get you started on Santa Monica breakfast spots: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/788256 Since you say you don't mind walking you can also easily go south to Pico Blvd. and the little breakfast, lunch and dinner place (Michael D's) attached to the bowling alley on Pico. Also drop down on Main St to places like M Street Kitchen http://mstreetkitchen.com/ (what was Le Grande Orange) and the great Japanese snack place, Sunny Blue for fresh made O Misubi...Another very "old school" breakfast place on Main St. is Joe's Main Street Diner. You're going to be close to Swingers (which I think has slipped a bit but is still serviceable) which has long hours so you can go early or late. Finally, Jinky's over on 2nd Street is another good place to do breakfast or lunch.

    -----
    Swingers
    802 Broadway, Santa Monica, CA 90401

    Jinky's Cafe
    1447 2nd St Fl 1, Santa Monica, CA 90401

    Joe's Main Street Diner
    2917 Main St, Santa Monica, CA 90405

    Michael D's Cafe & Catering
    234 Pico Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90405

    sunny blue cafe
    2728 Main St, Santa Monica, CA 90405

    1 Reply
    1. re: Servorg

      It is no longer called Michael D's, SO, it is now named Oceanside Cafe.

    2. For lunch: A bit south of where you're staying is Bay Cities Deli, on the east side of Lincoln a couple of blocks south of Santa Monica Blvd. An Italian deli, not extraordinarily different from what you might get in NYC, but very popular and known for their delicious Italian rolls. Good sandwiches, but I like the hot side even more (and no lines) -- meatballs, lasagna, and fantastic potroast.

      Tacos Por Favor, on the S/E corner of Olympic at 14th. Good, basic Mexican, the best hot sauce on the westside. A large menu, but I'd start with the soft tacos -- many love the chorizo and cheese.

      Amandine, in W.L.A. a few blocks east of the Santa Monica border (see the "wave" sculpture) on Wilshire. A wonderful bakery with the best croissant in L.A. Omelettes good, french toast and quiche better. A short bus ride from where you are staying.

      For dinner (or a splurge lunch) -- Gjelina, on Abbott Kinney in Venice a couple blocks north of Venice Blvd. Known for vegetables from their woodburning oven. Great gnocchi, interesting salads, I love their charred pizzas, great butterscotch pot de creme for dessert. Shared dishes, moderate by L.A. standards, inexpensive by NYC.

      Those would be my don't miss recs.

      -----
      Tacos Por Favor
      1406 Olympic Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90404

      Gjelina
      1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291

      25 Replies
      1. re: nosh

        NB - Bay Cities Deli is not open on Mondays. And if you regularly eat Italian food in Manhattan, you won't find this place very extraordinary at all.

        Zengo, in the Santa Monica Place Mall on 2nd and Broadway, has the best deal on brunch, according to some recent recs on this board.

        Most places that are "walkable" for you may not be in your budget, you are in an expensive part of town, on the ocean, and in a tourist area.

        With that said, my recs for walkable spots, but may be a bit pricey for your budget are:
        Joe's of Bleeker St (pizza)
        Blue Plate Oysterette
        Bar Pinxos
        FIG in the Fairmount sheraton
        Musha for Itzykaya
        Border Grill
        Cha Cha Chicken
        Chez Jay

        Don't know the Yard House's HH menu, but if you like craft beer, it should appeal.

        -----
        Chez Jay
        1657 Ocean Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90401

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

        Musha
        424 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401

        Cha Cha Chicken
        1906 Ocean Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90405

        Zengo
        395 Santa Monica Place, Santa Monica, CA 90401

        1. re: Phurstluv

          I LOVE Chez Jay!!! It is so much fun and very...retro is not the right word...rat-packish? that's not quite right either. My husband and I were in for business, staying at Le Merigot and had such a fun time there w/ another friend! Good food, good drinks. I do enjoy a drink in the lovely windows at Casa Del Mar esp during June Gloom fog. Drinks at the Viceroy are quite nice too.

          -----
          Chez Jay
          1657 Ocean Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90401

          Casa Del Mar
          4552 Riverside Dr, Chino, CA 91710

          1. re: MRS

            Chez Jay has a great funky charm. But I'd skip the food. Drink it up! And there are place you can walk to and do a little prowl. Food is much, much better at Casa Del Mar and Whist. But both places are also good for a drink.

            -----
            Chez Jay
            1657 Ocean Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90401

            Casa Del Mar
            4552 Riverside Dr, Chino, CA 91710

            1. re: foodiemahoodie

              Oh. TOTALLY agree about the food, but OP states she's on a budget, and even though I fudged and rec'd FIG, I doubt FIG, Casa del Mar OR Whist would be in her budget.

              1. re: Phurstluv

                Fig is half off from 5:30 to 6:30 - everything on the menu is half off.
                Fraiche has happy hour all night long, and well worth a visit. Bar menu is fantastic. Loews has happy hour from 4-8 every day and the food is great, with great views.
                Father's Office is a must, all the food is good.
                The Yard for beer selection, also Otheroom

                -----
                Otheroom
                1201 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291

                1. re: yogachik

                  Great points, yogachik. Forgot all the places are offering great HH deals.

                  1. re: yogachik

                    I like the Yard overall, the fish tacos are great, and even better when they are have price at happy hour for like all of fucking 6 bucks or so, their tap beer list is swell, and they even had turducken over thansgiving, kinda eclectic if you ask me. the skirt steak with horseradkish creme fraiche and grilled grapes is good, and there burger, ground up in house is pretty darn good so good that you can eat sans any veggies or cheese and it still tastes pretty damn good. usually, i like double fried or even thrice fried french fries but it just diddn't seem to work here.

                    joe's pizza.

                    that new italian on broadway and 7th.

                    Cora's coffee shoppee shoppe for some homemade caramel ice cream, a slice of peach pied with fresh whipped cream and great loosely formed Wagyu style kobe beef burgers. and nice frittatas to boot, before the whole aritisanal frittata craze started up.

                    1. re: kevin

                      I've gone five times or so. Never had a bad experience there, but never had a great experience there either.

                      1. re: sushigirlie

                        coras, imho, is a good blind date place to go.
                        food not too exotic, not too messy, isn't a huge investment, and not so interesting that it will take your attention away from the date.

                        1. re: westsidegal

                          I like Cora's too. I just think we happened to have a ton of Chez Jay's b/c that was the goofy mood we were in. I didn't think the food was amazing...but it wasn't awful, either. It was food. We had a ton of drinks, had dinner and had a ton of laughs.
                          That said, we met other friends at Casa Del Mar for drinks and apps the next night and also had a great time-justa very different vibe.

                          -----
                          Chez Jay
                          1657 Ocean Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90401

                          Casa Del Mar
                          1910 Ocean Way, Santa Monica, CA 90405

                          1. re: MRS

                            Chez Jay's = Casual Eaters & Serious Drinkers

                            -----
                            Chez Jay
                            1657 Ocean Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90401

                            1. re: Servorg

                              oh...well, good to know. we were in from NY. Had already eaten at all "the" spots during the week. I guess we were up to serious drinking at that point in the week. I just recall it being an awfully good, carefree night for all of us. Definitely NOT the BEST food ever...

                              Also walking distance from our hotel b/c didn't have car service that night as I recall..

                              1. re: Servorg

                                hahaha, i like that, ok, i'm sold i'm gonna hit up chezy jay soon.

                      2. re: yogachik

                        Thank you all for the great recs, happy hour tips are awesome! I'm willing to splurge for a couple meals, but half off the entire menu is a deal I can't really resist :)

                        1. re: CarlyNYC

                          where's halff on all the menu items???

                          1. re: kevin

                            FIG

                            -----
                            Fig
                            100 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401

                        2. re: yogachik

                          It's actually 5:00-6:00 pm that FIG does half off and they're only open for dinner Tues-Sat.

                          1. re: yogachik

                            Trying this again..... It posted in the wrong place. It's 5:00-6:00 pm that FIG does half off and they're only open for dinner Tues-Sat.

                            1. re: yogachik

                              yogachik,
                              the current happy hour deal now runs from 5pm to 6pm.
                              also, they've completely removed mention of the happy hour from their website, so i fear that this deal may not last much longer. . .

                            2. re: Phurstluv

                              food no good at Chez Jay, I heard the owner passed away a few years back, is it still good?

                              What drinks should i get there? Mixed drinks? just beers?

                              and if i have to order food, starving or whatever what to get?

                              -----
                              Chez Jay
                              1657 Ocean Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90401

                              1. re: kevin

                                stick to the basics at a dive bar, whether it's food or drinks.

                                1. re: kevin

                                  you have to get the famous mashed potatoes at Chez Jay (apparently, the secret ingredient is bananas) because they're famous. I don't know that the food was ever very good there, having been both before and after the owner passed....Otherwise, try to stick with something basic from the menu.

                                  -----
                                  Chez Jay
                                  1657 Ocean Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90401

                                  1. re: mollyomormon

                                    I think they are actually scalloped potatoes (at least they have always been so in the past) as they hide the "banana bombs" better than do mashed... ;-D>

                          2. re: Phurstluv

                            fwiw,
                            since CarlyNYC is from NYC,
                            i'd skip Joe's and for that matter all LA pizza recommendations.

                            bringing coal to newcastle. . .

                        3. Happy Hour, Copa D'Oro is a must, great prices, awesome cocktails.

                          I had a fantastic sour beer (and very good food too) at the Yard last time I was there, but haven't been there for Happy Hour. This is a gem and one of my favorite places in SM.

                          Father's Office on Montana is very tiny, btw, forewarned is forearmed

                          The Rooftop restaurant at the Huntley Hotel has really good drinks, but haven't been there for happy hour.

                          Brunch at Zengo is all you can eat and imbibe for 35, sounds very worth it to me with a very foodie brunch menu. haven't tried it yet, gonna be a first date anniversary meal in a few weeks though.

                          If you're looking for something scenic for Brunch, Dukes of Malibu has a lovely sunday brunch, all you can eat, carving station, good food (not great and not foodie food), but a fantastic locale, when we were there we had waves crashing on the rocks next to our window.

                          We had a great brunch last week at Cora's Coffee Shoppe. The salmon variation on Eggs Benedict was superb.

                          Joe's of Bleeker St has maybe the only pizza a New Yorker would eat in LA. For California style pizza, Abbot's Pizza Co, a walk up joint, has a lot of unusual slices. Avoid the Pico branch at all costs, go to the Abbot Kinney Branch.

                          The Godmother sandwich (I like it spicy) at Bay Cities Italian Deli (very very close to the intersection of Lincoln and Santa Monica) is one of LA's favorite sandwiches. I would consider it a must.

                          and they're not eateries, but Cafe Luxxe on Montana has excellent coffee and Funnel Mill (very near your intersection) has phenomenal coffee. The former has no wifi, the latter is closed Sundays.

                          -----
                          Father's Office
                          1018 Montana Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90403

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

                          Abbot's Pizza Co
                          1407 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291

                          Cora's Coffee Shop
                          1802 Ocean Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90401

                          Funnel Mill
                          930 Broadway, Santa Monica, CA

                          Copa D'Oro
                          217 Broadway, Santa Monica, CA 90401

                          Zengo
                          395 Santa Monica Place, Santa Monica, CA 90401

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: jadekarrde

                            imho, if you are used to NYC italian food, Bay Cities is not that special.

                            1. re: westsidegal

                              I've only had sandwiches at Bay Cities, so I can't comment on other items there, but the Godmother sandwich stacks up to any NYC Italian cold cut sandwich.

                          2. Head to the Santa Monica's Farmers Market on Wednesday or Saturday. There is always a restaurant serving food....and there are lots of samples!

                            1. If you want a great LA Mexican experience you must go to El Cholo on wilshire an 11th. El Cholo is the original Mexican food place in LA. Chez Jay is a great dive bar with a good breakfast. Zengo is wonderful. Stay away from places directly on 3rd street but Santa Monica places are good. Britania bar across from hooters has great prices lunch specials and pints.

                              -----
                              Chez Jay
                              1657 Ocean Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90401

                              Zengo
                              395 Santa Monica Place, Santa Monica, CA 90401

                              13 Replies
                              1. re: reneannalee

                                I have to disagree with your El Cholo rec. Border Grill is far better for sit down dining. Maybe by August the new Mexican eatery across from Border Grill will have opened. My favorite Mexican eatery in Santa Monica is Tacos Por Favor at 14th and Olympic.

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

                                Tacos Por Favor
                                1406 Olympic Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90404

                                1. re: whatsfordinner

                                  Yes, Yxta might be a better Mexican pic as well.

                                  1. re: whatsfordinner

                                    While i would agree there are better Mexican restaurants than El Cholo, it is worth going there just or the green corn tamales. It is a fairly unique dish, and they do it well.

                                    Rustic Canyon has a really good burger, can't say much about other things on the menu. But Father's office has the most original take on a cheeseburger and is worth trying, especially if you like craft beer, they have a marvelous selection there.

                                    If you're into ice cream try Angelato at 3rd St and Arizona, very good quality of gelato and lots of flavor choices.

                                    -----
                                    Angelato Cafe
                                    301 Arizona Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90401

                                    1. re: Iceman

                                      Rustic Canyon beat out all the other contenders in LA for their roast chicken in that epic "roast chicken" battle post by Exilekiss and his posse posted a few months ago.

                                      1. re: Servorg

                                        >>...in that epic "roast chicken" battle post by Exilekiss and his posse posted a few months ago.<<

                                        He's been throwing himself and his posses into more and more of those epic ventures over the past year or so - gotta wonder what his current foodessey is and when he will resurface... We all need to kick in with a lifetime prescription of Lipator 40 for him...

                                        1. re: bulavinaka

                                          shit, i need lipitor and a salt lowering drug, bc everything we eat out at has way too much salt in it, even the stuff that does not even taste like it has any salt in it.

                                      2. re: Iceman

                                        I have always been put off by Angelato's tourist-trap price range. Is it as good as Sweet Rose Creamery or other ice cream places within 15 minutes drive?

                                        -----
                                        Angelato Cafe
                                        301 Arizona Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90401

                                        Sweet Rose Creamery
                                        225 26th St #51, Los Angeles, CA 90049

                                        1. re: coffeebrownies

                                          No, Sweet Rose Creamery is much better, IMO

                                          -----
                                          Sweet Rose Creamery
                                          225 26th St #51, Los Angeles, CA 90049

                                      3. re: whatsfordinner

                                        although if price is a consideration El Cholo is roughly half the price and has a funner atmo, but yeah, for food Border Grill is a tadbit better but not much. it's glory days seem to be long gone.

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

                                        1. re: kevin

                                          I think it's worth going to Border Grill for two things: wild mushroom quesadilla and green chickpea salad. The green chickpea salad, in my opinion, is better than anything than Real Food Daily has on its menu.

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

                                          Real Food Daily
                                          414 N La Cienega Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90048

                                          1. re: sushigirlie

                                            i would add their margaritas to your list, sushigirli.

                                            1. re: sushigirlie

                                              Thanks for the rec on the green chickpea salad! i'm definitely going to check that out...

                                        2. re: reneannalee

                                          I just went to El Cholo on Western, where I used to go when I was in college. I was shocked at the service, lousy. Disappointed in the menu, very small and not cheap. Nothing a la carte, maybe 25 items total. They are know for their margaritas, and green corn tamales. I had a green corn tamale, and it was nothing special, I have much better at other places. I think people like it because it is an institution, which I understand, but this one didn't make it for me anymore.
                                          My husband had three soft tacos for 16 dollars, I could have gotten much better at the taco trucks for a lot less money.

                                        3. You'll certainly be close enough to consider Rustic Canyon for dinner. Huckleberry is also not that far off and offers excellent pastries and other savory breakfast items. You are also within walking distance from Urth Caffe.

                                          -----
                                          Rustic Canyon Wine Bar
                                          1119 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401

                                          Urth Caffe
                                          2327 Main St, Santa Monica, CA 90405

                                          Huckleberry Cafe
                                          1014 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401

                                          5 Replies
                                          1. re: Servorg

                                            i have mixed feelings on Huckleberry. it's way too expensive for the most part, but its slabs of chcolate layer cake w buttercream frosting are beyond delicious, and only 5 bucks a slice when you compare it to say it's coffee cakes which are roughly four bucks half the size and half as delciious. also, their fried chicken was terrible, one of the worst i have ever tried, maybe bc it wasn't fried chicken but rather a bad version of shake and bake.

                                            1. re: Servorg

                                              I love Huckleberry's caramel fleur de sel bars...incrredible!

                                              Last time I was there I ordered their version of their Croque Monsieur, utterly disappointing. They really need to re-think this dish or take it off the menu. On the other hand, my friend's salad with warm goat cheese was out of this world good!

                                              1. re: Funwithfood

                                                Those salted caramel bars are incredible and probably the best deal on the menu at $2.50 a square. I also love their prepared salads and the trio of prepared salads at $12.50 gets you three big helpings of each plus a slice of their delicious bread. It's a large enough serving that I can usually make two meals of it.

                                                  1. re: Funwithfood

                                                    Huckleberry's caramel square is one of the best things to eat in this big city -- if you will guiltlessly allow yourself the indulgence.

                                                    For a more balanced menu item, I like the smoked salmon sandwich they offer on the weekend.

                                                1. The newly reopened mall at the end of the promenade has a bunch of restaurants and food stalls on the roof. This must be the best view of any food court in America, and an ideal eat-alone spot. There is more on the food at Santa Monica Place elsewhere on Chowhound.

                                                  1. Lots of good recs here. If you want some good but cheap sushi, head to Hide (cash only) when you have the car. Interesting area to walk around. Sometimes called Little Osaka as opposed to Little Tokyo which is downtown.

                                                    -----
                                                    Hide Sushi Japanese Restaurant
                                                    2040 Sawtelle Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90025

                                                    1. I think you'll like Huckleberry - don't worry about eating alone there - so many of the diners are self-absorbed that they won't even notice you or anyone else. :) Honestly though, give the place a shot, and if you don't feel comfortable, you can order out. The closest park is Lincoln Park, but just be aware that it and just about all parks and public spaces around Santa Monica have pretty substantial homeless populations. I'm not against this, but I think it should be mentioned because it is s sensitive subject. Huckleberry also has tons of pastries and sweets on display, and their breads are fantastic. Their passion fruit poisset, maple bacon biscuit, their hashes and salted caramel bar are tops on my list.

                                                      Beer? Father's Office is the obvious choice, but as already mentioned, be aware of the issues. They do have great beers on tap and the food is very good to excellent. The Daily Pint on Pico is all about serious brews but no food. I've heard good things about Upper West on Pico as well.

                                                      -----
                                                      Father's Office
                                                      1018 Montana Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90403

                                                      Daily Pint
                                                      2310 Pico Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90405

                                                      Upper West
                                                      3321 Pico Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90404

                                                      5 Replies
                                                      1. re: bulavinaka

                                                        is the duck hash at huckleberry really good bula?

                                                        I may have to try, i still haven't tried that. but i ain't touching their fried chicken w a ten foot pole nor even a tent pole.

                                                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                            damn, guess who's going to zengo tomorrow morning?

                                                            1. re: kevin

                                                              ha! i expect a detailed report :) and if you remember, will you ask them if it's one of the dishes that can be made gluten-free?

                                                            2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                              That sounds ridiculous(ly delicious) ! And their cocktail menu looks amazing...definitely going to check out Zengo!

                                                              -----
                                                              Zengo
                                                              395 Santa Monica Place, Santa Monica, CA 90401

                                                        1. Here are some places walking distance from the Promenade that I consider "best ofs"

                                                          Musha

                                                          Jiraffe

                                                          Bay Cities

                                                          Fig

                                                          Zengo

                                                          I would add Huckleberry, but I live near the Promenade and consider it slightly too far to walk to.

                                                          -----
                                                          Jiraffe Restaurant
                                                          502 Santa Monica Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90401

                                                          Musha
                                                          424 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401

                                                          Zengo
                                                          395 Santa Monica Place, Santa Monica, CA 90401

                                                          11 Replies
                                                          1. re: sushigirlie

                                                            Good list sushigirlie, I would just add Blue Plate Oysterette.
                                                            http://blueplatesantamonica.com/bpo/h...

                                                            -----
                                                            Blue Plate
                                                            1415 Montana Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90403

                                                            1. re: wienermobile

                                                              Live a block from there but haven't been there; always seems too crowded.

                                                              1. re: wienermobile

                                                                blue plate oysterette flies their fish in from the east coast. their preparation is very east coast. if you are visiting california from the east coast, i don't see why you would pay the freight to eat east coast food. . . .

                                                                1. re: westsidegal

                                                                  Their cost of food is about what you pay on the East Coast, so the cost of the freight does not seem to apply.

                                                                  And most of these recs are based on the OP's parameters of being within walking distance of the Promenade, and have already been mentioned upthread.

                                                                  1. re: Phurstluv

                                                                    'the freight' that i was referring to was the freight to transport the poster to the west coast.
                                                                    when i go out of town, i try to eat food that i can't get at home because when one factors in the cost of the travel, imho, it makes no sense just to duplicate experiences that wouldn't require travel/hotel.
                                                                    i do see your point about proximity to the promenade, though. i lost track of that requirement. my bad.

                                                                2. re: wienermobile

                                                                  I tried Blue Plate Oysterette and thought it was just okay. The oysters and clams on the half shell were good. Other things, not so much. The "ceviche" was disappointing. It consisted of thoroughly cooked (indeed, overcooked, even were it not ceviche) shrimp and squid in a Mexican-influenced sauce. Mariscos Chente has far superior ceviches. Ceviche with cooked seafood is lame lame lame. Also poor was the prawn cocktail, in which the prawns had a fridge taste and texture.

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

                                                                  Blue Plate
                                                                  1415 Montana Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90403

                                                                3. re: sushigirlie

                                                                  I would add Huckleberry, but I live near the Promenade and consider it slightly too far to walk to.
                                                                  ~~~~~~~~~~
                                                                  that's an easy stroll for a Manhattanite ;)

                                                                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                    And the OP had already said they will also be basing (with someone else) from Lincoln and Santa Monica Blvd.'s at least once on this trip, so that is a very easy stroll to Huckleberry.

                                                                  2. re: sushigirlie

                                                                    Jiraffe is a classic.

                                                                    -----
                                                                    Jiraffe Restaurant
                                                                    502 Santa Monica Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90401

                                                                    1. re: Funwithfood

                                                                      You know what. No one has mentioned Jiraffe in ages. And there used to be a place named Rix right next door. And there used to be a joint named Blueberry were Jack n Jills is at I believe.

                                                                      -----
                                                                      Jiraffe Restaurant
                                                                      502 Santa Monica Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90401

                                                                  3. Ill skip santa monica because its covered. But abbot kinney is a stones throw away. some great places to eat there as well. Capri for italian, French market cafe in the afternoon for a sandwich.Lillys, Abbots Pizza company, primitivo, Gjelina and of course Hals Bar and Grill are all wonderfull and wont break your bank.

                                                                    -----
                                                                    Gjelina
                                                                    1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291

                                                                    23 Replies
                                                                    1. re: Valabar

                                                                      speaking of Abbot Kinney, perhaps i missed it but i don't think anyone mentioned Lemonade yet...

                                                                      -----
                                                                      Lemonade
                                                                      1661 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90291

                                                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                        i like lemonade, but somehow the attraction to their food hasn't had much staying power.

                                                                        if i'm in the neighborhood, it's fine, but i don't find myself actually getting in the car to go there anymore. i certainly wouldn't walk there from the promenade.

                                                                        1. re: westsidegal

                                                                          Same here. I would eat there all the time if it were walking distance because of the tastiness/healthiness combo. For destination places, however, it's all about the tastiness.

                                                                          1. re: sushigirlie

                                                                            For destination places, however, it's all about the tastiness.
                                                                            ~~~~~~~~~~~
                                                                            for a long weekend or a week, sure...but indulgence at every meal for 2 solid weeks might be overkill for even the most devoted Chowhound :)

                                                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                              like New Orleans for a week, it was all great, but by the end of that week I was kinda sorta maybe wanting some sushi by then.

                                                                      2. re: Valabar

                                                                        Would you walk to AK from 3rd street?? Maybe I have just lived here too long.....

                                                                        1. re: Phurstluv

                                                                          Someone in reasonable walking shape (especially someone used to walking in cities on the east coast) could do that in about 50 minutes. If you take a look at Google and click on the bus symbol it can be done in less than half that (Google shows the route and the stop and which LA Rapid Transit bus route number to take).

                                                                          1. re: Servorg

                                                                            Still doubt I would suggest to someone to walk for about an hour to get to, um, a place like Lemonade. I like Lemonade, and think they have decent food, but a two hour walk? Suppose OP is on vacation and would love to stroll along Ocean Avenue and has all day to do it. Wish I had that kind of time. But that's just me.

                                                                            1. re: Phurstluv

                                                                              I think offering it as an option is a good idea. Whether the OP elects to take advantage is always up to them, or not.

                                                                              1. re: Phurstluv

                                                                                OP said she'd be without a car for *most* of the weekday lunches, not all. plus, she may very well decide to check out Venice Beach at some point during her stay, in which case the options along AK would be very convenient.

                                                                                you're right that it's a bit more than a hop, skip & jump from the Promenade, but i think it's still worth offering those suggestions.

                                                                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                  I'm sure the OP is very adept at navigating public transit as well. Lots of bus lines cover the general Venice area so... We forgot to mention 3 Square Bakery and Cafe, but there's one off the 3rd Street Promenade, on the third floor of Santa Monica Place, as well as stands at the Arizona/3rd Farmers Market...

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

                                                                                  1. re: bulavinaka

                                                                                    All great suggestions, I'm so looking forward to this vacation! I'll have all the time in the world to stroll by the beach(much needed for an overworked Manhattanite). Last time I was out I stayed with the same friend and ended up walking along Ocean past Venice Beach until I hit the Marina...I'll have several days of wandering around on my own while my friend is at work, so even recs that seem out of the way are useful; they may not be destination spots, but I may very well just wind up in the neighborhood anyway.

                                                                                    1. re: CarlyNYC

                                                                                      so even recs that seem out of the way are useful; they may not be destination spots, but I may very well just wind up in the neighborhood anyway.
                                                                                      ~~~~~~~~~~
                                                                                      that's what i figured - as a transplanted Manhattanite myself, i personally think these things are much more walkable than many other Angelenos do ;)

                                                                                      and if you end up in the Marina, 26 Beach - on Washington Blvd just East of Abbot Kinney - is another option:
                                                                                      http://www.26beach.com/

                                                                                      or if it's early and you just want coffee and a light bite, Joni's...
                                                                                      http://www.joniscoffee.com/

                                                                                      -----
                                                                                      26 Beach
                                                                                      3100 Washington Blvd., Venice, CA 90292

                                                                                      1. re: CarlyNYC

                                                                                        If you're going to walk the beach, consider Abbot Kinney in Venice for food options as well, the beach walking path (there's also a bike path and bike rentals around) from Santa Monica to Venice a much nicer, and easier, walk than the fairly heavily traveled Main Street to Abbot Kinney route you're likely to take to get to Venice via streets.

                                                                              2. re: Phurstluv

                                                                                Not a bad walk -- quite nice to walk through Santa Monica down Main Street. I used to do such walks regularly. Then I got a job.

                                                                                -----
                                                                                Main Street Cafe
                                                                                12939 Main St, Garden Grove, CA 92840

                                                                                1. re: sushigirlie

                                                                                  should i offer you condolences or congratulations about the job?

                                                                                  1. re: westsidegal

                                                                                    Never get a job -- worst mistake ever.

                                                                                    1. re: sushigirlie

                                                                                      will obey you on this.
                                                                                      completely trust your judgement here.

                                                                                      1. re: sushigirlie

                                                                                        Wait 'till you have kids, or have you crossed that rickety bridge yet? ;)

                                                                                        1. re: bulavinaka

                                                                                          "...or have you crossed that rickety bridge yet?"

                                                                                          I assess it more like the final scene in Thelma & Louise...

                                                                                          1. re: Servorg

                                                                                            Me too, SO, me too.......ain't no going back, either, you can always quit your job ;p)

                                                                                            1. re: sushigirlie

                                                                                              darn, sushi girlie especially you, how can one afford to eat so well and not have any job???

                                                                                              but i concur on the factor that it is very difficult to have leisurely walks around the city like a classic flaneur francesse if you happen to have a jobbey job.

                                                                                              But yes jobs suck. i sure wish going to restaurants and eating great food were free, but i seriously digress.

                                                                                2. Fritto Misto on 6th and colorado is one of the best most reasonable italian places in santa monica. Also Drinks at the Ivy is always a lark.

                                                                                  -----
                                                                                  Fritto Misto
                                                                                  601 Colorado Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90401

                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                  1. re: Valabar

                                                                                    I second Frito Misto!!!! Wonderful pasta!!

                                                                                  2. used to live in SaMo, and i love how walkable an area it truly is... my thoughts (most suggested already...):
                                                                                    -Musha - go with the arriving friend so you can share more
                                                                                    -Huckleberry - i know some think it's overpriced, but i have enjoyed it every time i've been... prefer to sit outside myself... have had a few good egg dishes and last time i believe a tuna salad special
                                                                                    -Bay Cities - not necessarily a must given where you're coming from, but good if you want to have something that LA folks tend to wax poetic about
                                                                                    -Father's Office - it's an experience, but not weekday lunch
                                                                                    -Babalu - if you make it up to Montana, which I'm guessing you will, it's good for lunch - Yam Fries, Roasted Veggie Salad, and banana cream pie
                                                                                    -Caffe Luxxe - also on Montana, good for coffee/pastry/breakfast
                                                                                    -Blue Plate Oysterette - raw bar, yum
                                                                                    -Santa Monica Seafood - more pricey, but good stuff
                                                                                    -Brunch - Zengu is in SaMo, but with car... and if you want to shell out $68 pp, head to Scarpetta in Beverly Hills. just there. SO worth it.
                                                                                    -Tudor House - on 2nd street. British/Continental, specialty store, and nice place for tea and a biscuit or sweet
                                                                                    -Cafe at Fred Segal - decently good food, plus entertainment factor (hey, you asked for interested places to occupy yourself!)
                                                                                    other thoughts...
                                                                                    please skip El Cholo... i grew up going to the one on Western. we went yearly for green corn tamales. it's not the same as it used to be. and the one in SaMo is worse, IMO. no reason not to go to Border Grill for more refined fare, but when you have compatriots and transportation, go a little farther.

                                                                                    have fun!

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

                                                                                    Fred Segal
                                                                                    500 Broadway, Santa Monica, CA 90401

                                                                                    Scarpetta
                                                                                    225 N Canon Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

                                                                                    8 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: Emme

                                                                                      I believe that the Montana Ave. Father's Office does do Friday lunch.

                                                                                      Well, I just checked and they aren't. I'm almost sure that they had opened for Friday lunch for a while. But looks like it didn't warrant keeping it going.

                                                                                      -----
                                                                                      Father's Office
                                                                                      1018 Montana Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90403

                                                                                      1. re: Servorg

                                                                                        servorg, i have been for friday lunch at the culver city location but yeah, maybe the sm location was never open for lunch on fridays. personally, nowadays, i just hightail it to the locale in culver city more roomy, expansive, decent patio seating of sorts, did i mention more spacious? and i think they offer a couple extra tidbits in the way of food variety over teh montana sm locale.

                                                                                      2. re: Emme

                                                                                        they may want to skip scarpetta bc it mighta actually have a location in new york.

                                                                                        yeah, office don't serve lunch on weekdays.

                                                                                        oh, banana cream pie sounds great, but does it beat the pan?

                                                                                        someone should also mention a good burger spotte since NY is seriously lacking in that area but getting better by the year.

                                                                                        1. re: kevin

                                                                                          nice catch on Scarpetta - the original is in NYC.

                                                                                        2. re: Emme

                                                                                          fwiw, ocean av seafood has a happy hour deal on raw oysters.
                                                                                          can't remember what i paid, but do remember thinking it was a good deal and the oysters were delicious.

                                                                                          1. re: westsidegal

                                                                                            Oyster Hour is from 4 pm-6 pm. Monday through Friday, featuring oysters at $1.50.

                                                                                            -----
                                                                                            Ocean Avenue Seafood
                                                                                            1401 Ocean Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90401

                                                                                          2. re: Emme

                                                                                            Emme, thanks for the suggestions! I didn't realize Conant opened a Scarpetta in Beverly Hills..I've been to his NY location a couple times for work, and it was delicious, but not something I can really afford otherwise.

                                                                                            -----
                                                                                            Scarpetta
                                                                                            225 N Canon Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

                                                                                          3. A few additional options that are walkable in that area: Bar Pintxo for tapas [mentioned by Phurstluv but with an inadvertent misspelling, which might make it harder to find], Fraiche (more for the drinks than the food now, which is a shadow of its former self but still ok), Hosteria del Piccolo (pastas and pizzas) on Broadway and 6th, King's Head (for fish and chips and pub drinks), La Cachette Bistro (for the French tapas more than the full meals) on Ocean near Pico, Misfit (nice bar, decent food) on Santa Monica Blvd. between 3rd and 2nd, Umami at Fred Segal (for good, gourmet burgers), Warszawa has a very nice happy hour (and decent Polish food, if you are so inclined)

                                                                                            -----
                                                                                            Ye Olde King's Head
                                                                                            116 Santa Monica Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401

                                                                                            Warszawa Restaurant
                                                                                            1414 Lincoln Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401

                                                                                            Bar Pintxo
                                                                                            109 Santa Monica Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401

                                                                                            Fraiche Santa Monica
                                                                                            312 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90403

                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                            1. re: New Trial

                                                                                              Misfit (nice bar, decent food)
                                                                                              ~~~~~~~~~~
                                                                                              good to know! been keeping my eye out for CH feedback on this one since they're gluten-free friendly.

                                                                                            2. Father's Office's burger is great. I second someone's Cha Cha Chicken suggestion, and would highly suggest the jerk chicken enchiladas. Musha is a pretty nice, fancier izakaya. Try their rich cheese risotto if you go.

                                                                                              -----
                                                                                              Father's Office
                                                                                              1018 Montana Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90403

                                                                                              Musha
                                                                                              424 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401

                                                                                              Cha Cha Chicken
                                                                                              1906 Ocean Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90405

                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                              1. re: tenxtone76

                                                                                                Giorgio Baldi Ristorante -
                                                                                                www.giorgiobaldi.us - 114 West Channel Road, Santa Monica - (310) 573-1660

                                                                                                La Botte Ristorante -
                                                                                                www.labottesantamonica.com - 620 Santa Monica Boulevard, Santa Monica - (310) 576-3072