Marina del Rey- First Timer
A Frame and Waterloo & City in Culver City are right near the Marina and are both very good. Santa Monica is about 5-10 minutes by car and offers many other great choices such as Capo, Chinois, Fig, Hostaria del Piccolo, Hungry Cat, Jiraffe, Melisse, Musha, Rustic Canyon and Whist.
For lunch or dinner i would recommend Cafe del Rey. Its right in the marina with a view of the boats and the water, great food and service. Consistently good. Very "Californian." For lunch, you might want to go to Joe's in Venice for a reasonable ($19) 3 course lunch.
If you want a very casual lunch there are a few places I really like in the area...
Mendocino Farms in the Marina has some of the best sandwiches in the city. Their Braised Lamb Sandwich made with slow braised lamb shoulder, mint pesto, goat cheese, balsamic vinegar, pickled red onions and arugula on toasted ciabatta is my favorite at the moment.
Lemonade on Abbot Kinney for dozens of salads and you can try as may as four on a plate.
Or Wurstkuche in Venice for some one of a kind sausages and beer.(the rattlesnake and rabbit is my favorite).
Welcome to LA.
although i like Lemonade, for salads, i prefer 26 Beach..
Lemonade's salads are pre-dressed and are scooped on to your plate.
26 Beach offers a wide array of inventive salads that they make to order and for which you can order the dressing on the side.
another difference between the two restaurants is that lemonade is a self-service restaurant in which you take your tray of food to the table yourself, while 26 Beach offers table service.
Funny, I think their Bockwurst is #1....
That said, I'm not sure I'd pick Wurstkuche as a "must-do / best of the area" lunch place. For me, that would have to, be without question, Venice Ale House.
Right on the beach, better food than Wurstkuche, better drink selection, better view, same price point. So it wins on all fronts. At least, IMO.