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NY foodies going on last minute trip to LA...overwhelmed with food choices

Sorry if I'm all over the place with this. We are staying in Santa Monica-willing to travel for dinner- would like to stay in the Santa Monica area during the day. Looking for dinner recommendations price is not a factor. We really enjoy Napa style cuisine (does that make sense?). Super fine dining is not really our thing because of my picky protein palate (chicken, beef, pork no seafood). I would also love lite meal recs for lunch in the Santa Monica area maybe a mexican/taco spot type place? If you feel there is a "must go/can't miss" spot in Santa Monica for anything (dessert/bakery/snack/food/cocktail) please let me know. My vacation is all about the food! Thank you Thank you

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  1. Check out Gjelina or if you're on the run try Gjelina Take Away next door, both in Venice. Great farm to table cuisine and small plates. Great pizzas too. FYI there will be a wait for a table at most times.
    http://www.gjelina.com

    Also in the area you might like:
    Rustic Canyon
    Fig
    Tar & Roses
    Superba Snack Bar
    Milo & Olive

    & Huckleberry for snack or lunch
    and Tinga for tacos.

    Enjoy

    9 Replies
    1. re: wienermobile

      re: gjelina
      my method of avoiding the wait for a seat is to show up for lunch at around 2pm and show up for dinner at 5:30.

      since i normally dine there alone, i'm not in a position to make a reservation.

      fantastic food.
      especially fantastic vegetables.

      1. re: westsidegal

        Gjelina's reservation policy is that they will only take reservations for parties of 6 or more. 15 is their max.

        1. re: wienermobile

          oh.
          thanks for letting me know.
          then my recommendations for arrival times stand.

          1. re: wienermobile

            To clarify, that's the policy for lunch /brunch. They do take reservations for smaller parties at dinner (don't know about a party of one, since i just wander in if I'm solo, but I've definitely made reservations for 2).

              1. re: wienermobile

                I hadn't looked at the policy on their website before, but I think that's got to be a case of a misplaced modifier. They definitely do take dinner reservations for smaller parties.

                1. re: cookie monster

                  Yep. Have made reservations for 2 before for dinner.

        2. Cocktails at the Huntley hotel penthouse bar in Santa Monica-amazing views!

          1. For excellent versions of Mexican pan dulce, La Monarca on Wilshire in Santa Monica is a quick easy stop. It's a nice alternative to more conventional coffee houses as well. Their lattes are good - their coconut latte goes well with their breads.

            1. Sonoma Wine Garden in the Santa Monica Place mall has the best view and serves decent California cuisine. Zengo, in the same complex, has a killer brunch at a decent price and is Asian-Latin fusion.

              Michael's on third street at the north end of the Promenade, was one of the chefs who started California cuisine. The patio there is very nice.

              Jiraffe is a very nice spot with California cuisine. I also concur with those who rec'd FIG in the Fairmont Sheraton, Tar & Roses, & Gjelina.... Most places in Santa Monica take advantage of the terrific farmers markets and local farms to create their menus.

              1. I'm a New Yorker that's lived in Santa Monica for 15 years. Here's my list for you:

                Mexican: Mercado, Border Grill, or Loteria
                Napa Style: Rustic Canyon, Michael's or FIG
                Can't miss burgers: Father's Office
                Can't miss view for brunch: Penthouse at the Huntley Hotel

                All are an easy walk (for New Yorkers) from downtown Santa Monica.