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Heading to Santa Monica & LA for the first time from the UK, planning to eat my way around the city! Where should I go?

morz82 Sep 6, 2012 04:46 PM

Hi everyone,

I'm doing a trip around the States this month and one of my stops is Santa Monica for 2 weeks.

Me and my friend plan to get well and truly acquainted with the food in the city. We're big fans of ribs, burgers, lobsters, chicken, steaks but open to anything that you think a couple of tourists shouldn't miss.

We have a car so can travel about. We're going to hit In-N-Out burger first!

Thanks all!

(heading to SF and Vegas after but will post on that board) :)

  1. j
    Jerome Sep 8, 2012 04:36 PM

    if you go to in n out, suggestion - order the "double double animal style" and get the fries "well done." not secret menu - you can find it online.
    If you go to chez jay for food, only order the sand dabs. they do a good job with these local fish and most other things on the menu are weak. If you get a salad, they are one of the few places that still make Green Goddess dressing, and it's not bad. So i'd limit the food to those.

    1. Servorg Sep 7, 2012 09:14 AM

      The latest Mexican restaurant in Santa Monica for a nicer dinner is Mercado. http://www.thrillist.com/links/266377...

      1. y
        yogachik Sep 7, 2012 08:15 AM

        On Main Street, head to Chinois, Chaya Venice and wander from bar to bar for drinks, don't miss 3110 if you want to have a night out.

        The Bungalow shouldn't be missed for drinks, have dinner at Fig first.

        Rose, in Venice, has a few Only-in-LA spots like Oscars, Supurba, Cafe Gratitude.

        1 Reply
        1. re: yogachik
          morz82 Sep 8, 2012 07:14 AM

          Brilliant, thank you!

        2. d
          Dirtywextraolives Sep 6, 2012 09:27 PM

          Some more places that are cheap to not so cheap :

          For drinks-
          Chez Jay
          The Penthouse at the Huntley
          Catch at Casa del mar

          Zengo for Sunday Brunch
          Ocean Ave Seafood for decent lobster &raw bar

          Musha for Japanese izakaya
          Bar Pinxto for tapas & good Spanish wines
          Ye olde Kings Head for darts & pints

          Huckleberry for delish bakery items
          Milo & Otis, also bakery & decent CA pizza

          Wilshire & the Whist at the Viceroy for swanky dinners
          Tar & Roses for trendy contemporary cuisine
          Melisse for uber fine dining
          Capo for Italian fine dining

          Casa Escobar for cheesy gringo Mexican
          Umami burger for trendy but tasty burgers

          Enjoy & have fun!

          13 Replies
          1. re: Dirtywextraolives
            New Trial Sep 7, 2012 01:38 AM

            Whist has moved to a "small plates" menu and not for the better in my view.

            1. re: New Trial
              Dirtywextraolives Sep 7, 2012 03:32 PM


            2. re: Dirtywextraolives
              cdub Sep 7, 2012 09:31 AM

              for drinks, i'd add copa d oro. very good happy hour.

              1. re: Dirtywextraolives
                Ciao Bob Sep 7, 2012 09:33 AM

                That would be Milo + Olive -- while they do elevate, it is not Otis :)

                1. re: Ciao Bob
                  Dirtywextraolives Sep 7, 2012 03:33 PM

                  OMG - rofl!! I knew eventually I was going to do that, I can never remember that for some reason, it subliminally comes out as Otis!! Showing my age!! Thanks for correcting that, Ciao Bob!

                  1. re: Dirtywextraolives
                    morz82 Sep 8, 2012 07:15 AM

                    Thanks guys this info is much appreciated, can't wait to try Huckleberry and Zengo

                    1. re: morz82
                      Dirtywextraolives Sep 8, 2012 10:52 AM

                      Try to get seated on the patio for brunch, if it's a sunny day. To ensure that, I would make an earlier reservation, it tends to get crowded & people tend to linger.....

                      1. re: Dirtywextraolives
                        bulavinaka Sep 8, 2012 11:08 AM

                        I think Dirtywextraolives is referring to Zengo. Zengo has a big airy room with a nice patio from which you can view the Pacific. A restaurant with a good ocean view and that serves good food is rare in this town. For a closer view of the ocean and good food to match, I'd throw a black horse rec in for Geoffrey's in Malibu. It feels more like you're at a restaurant in a vacation resort somewhere in the tropics (when the weather is warm and balmy as it often is from July-September), but the lapping waves and the ocean views are mesmerizing.

                        Huckleberry has great food, but the dining room leaves a lot to be desired, and outdoor seating consists of a few tables in front, directly off the sidewalk and Wilshire Blvd (it's pronounced wil-shur, not wil-shy-ur here in LA - blasphemy!). Go Huckleberry early for a great breakfast and minimal amount of noise.

                        1. re: bulavinaka
                          Dirtywextraolives Sep 8, 2012 11:33 AM

                          Exactly, thanks for clarifying that, I didn't realize it was unclear.

                          1. re: Dirtywextraolives
                            bulavinaka Sep 8, 2012 12:05 PM

                            My pleasure - I always enjoy your posts and recs; I guess, otherwise I wouldn't always be drawn to them. I was just looking at those two recs from the OP's POV, who probably has no inkling of either...

                            1. re: bulavinaka
                              Dirtywextraolives Sep 8, 2012 03:34 PM

                              Right, I guess I didn't realize the information I posted was not terribly clear. And it was a similar line I posted around the same time, on another thread, where the particular line would have made more sense. Unlike this last sentence!

                              I enjoy your posts and astute observations on this board also, even though I tease you about being long winded, ;-))

                              1. re: Dirtywextraolives
                                bulavinaka Sep 8, 2012 05:37 PM

                                >>...even though I tease you about being long winded, ;-))<<

                                I need to shut up sometimes - a lot.

                                1. re: bulavinaka
                                  Dirtywextraolives Sep 8, 2012 06:37 PM

                                  Oh, jeez, don't we all?! ;0))

              2. n
                nosh Sep 6, 2012 08:08 PM

                A few cheap and good places not to miss in Santa Monica:

                Bay Cities Deli -- on the east side of Lincoln near Broadway -- famous for the Godmother sandwich, made with Italian cold cuts. What really excels there are the rolls, crusty and excellent. Don't overlook the hot side to the right nearer the doors -- meatball sub, really good potroast meal, no wait.

                Tacos Por Favor -- S/E corner of Olympic and 14th -- best taqueria in the area. Somewhat higher priced tacos (about $2.50) but also bigger. Best known for their chorizo and cheese, which is very rich, but good carne asada or al pastor or carnitas. Don't miss the salsa roja/hot sauce on their salsa bar -- best on the westside.

                Tommy's Burger -- S/W corner of Pico and Lincoln -- a legitimate sister of the original west of downtown on Virgil. Known for their chili-cheeseburger. Ask for your fries well-done, extra-crispy. (Avoid the raft of imitators with one "m" or "ie" in their names.)

                Amandine -- just over in W.L.A./Brentwood on the north side of Wilshire a block+ west of Bundy -- one of the best and certainly the least expensive croissant in SoCal. Good for a light breakfast -- omelettes just ok, but their quiche and their french toast are excellent. Great slices of cream pies/tarts for dessert.

                1. ipsedixit Sep 6, 2012 07:52 PM

                  This is sort of well-discussed.

                  Here's a quick search with a bunch of ideas. http://www.chow.com/search?query=west...

                  Read through that and let us know if you have more specific questions.

                  Enjoy your visit.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: ipsedixit
                    morz82 Sep 8, 2012 07:15 AM


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