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AWE SNAP! My parents are coming to SM (The best ___ will help)

It's a southern thing - a farm chownder, harvesting & preparing my wild fish, fowl and game. We barter crappie for fresh eggs....like our dumplins' flat, our ribs dry and slaw on our Q. Bread is from scratch, unless is wonder bread for soppin' ~ and gravy is served on the side...every meal...soooooo,

My maw & paw (age: mid 70's) are coming to Santa Monica for 7 days, They Do Not Drink & budget is not a big deal, although they are not the beverly hillbilly's.

Casual is key and good food a must. Atmosphere need not be too loud. Breakfast is early and lunch and supper. I live in Topanga Canyon and work in SM, so I'm familiar, but thought we'd have some fun with this & I'm taking the challenge myself.

Sooooo, What is the best ____ in Santa Monica. ( for the characters described above )

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  1. Huckleberry for breakfast/brunch.

    1. Take them for a Croque Madame for lunch at Amandine http://www.amandinecafe.com/ and a burrata omelet at Cora's for breakfast http://www.corascoffee.com/ and have drinks (Virgin Mary's for them and one with high octane for you) and appetizers at the Lobster http://thelobster.com/ as the sun goes down.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Servorg

        I have not had the Croque Madame and I am a huge fan of Amandine. Best croissant, especially for $1.95 (take-out). I really like their quiche with ham (or turkey) and cheese and onion and/or spinach or zucchini or tomato or red bell) and their french toast with 2 thick slices of brioche (great dish to share). Omelets and most sandwiches there are ok. Their dessert case is wonderful -- the key lime or lemon, the berries over cream pies/tarts, I don't think I've had any chocolates.

        Order at the counter and then choose a table inside or a couple in front and a few out back. Substantially more pleasant and less hassled than Huckleberry or Milos and Olive at substantially less of a price tag.

      2. How about Fig at the Fairmont? Tasty vittle, and a mighty purdy view of the pool...

        1. How about Musha?
          That'll rock their world, no?

          And maybe this is the time and place for ROC Star Dumpling? You did say they liked their "dumplins' flat" right?

          1 Reply
          1. re: ipsedixit

            I would second Roc Star, but it's also not exactly in Santa Monica.

          2. super fabulous, some unique observations I have not thought of and most will get a try, as I have about 21 meals to recommend, 15+ in SM, I'm going to mix a "rock your world" (Musha, Tar & Roses) with some calming & classics (Amandine, Cora's, The Lobster, Fig)

            How about Hinano Burgers to go for a picnic on the beach with the kiddos, will they allow this? Keep um' coming, (purdy, schrute farms...classic)

            1 Reply
            1. re: CharlesKochel

              Hinano's is 21 and over. That said you could order to go and take the burgers out to the kids.

            2. Bay Cities is great for taking to the beach. Bay Cities is great for taking anywhere. Bay Cities is just great.

              29 Replies
                1. re: kevin

                  Okay, I'm changing my last statement. Bay Cities is just great except for the wait. And the parking. And the fact that you can't beat the lunch lines and get a sandwich in the AM for lunch, because the bread goes soooo soggy.

                  1. re: schrutefarms

                    Order online, no wait. Parking still sucks though.

                    1. re: schrutefarms

                      Order on line at Bay Cities and it's ready for pick-up in 45 minutes in back with no waiting.

                        1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                          I've always just given up and parked a few blocks away. By the time you've walked there, you've still beat the people who are still waiting to get in the lot.

                          1. re: schrutefarms

                            I found this online:

                            "2) Avoid the Parking Lot: On busy days, the line to get into the parking lot can stretch nearly an entire block down Lincoln. I’ve seen fisticuffs almost break out over parking spaces. Fortunately, there are alternatives. I usually park at one of the many meters along Lincoln or Broadway. If there are none available, I’ll slip into the Vons lot across the street. Either way, it will almost always be faster, and much less of a headache."

                            1. re: Servorg

                              I've learned not to risk the parking in any beach community-maybe in winter, when there aren't a lot of tourists, but I'd be too scared to try it in Spring/Summer. It always sounds like a good idea until your car gets towed :) I speak from experience!

                              1. re: schrutefarms

                                I have resorted at times to going into the store whose lot I've parked in to purchase something, and then I visit the adjacent place I actually have come to buy something from.

                                1. re: Servorg

                                  I can usually find street parking on broadway even at lunch time.

                                2. re: Servorg

                                  I think that Vons has a guard for what it's worth. But if you sleep him a sandwich that may help matters.

                                  1. re: kevin

                                    "But if you sleep him a sandwich..."

                                    I hate to "roofie" the guard just to get a sandwich, but if you think that's the way to go who am I to argue. ;-D>

                                    1. re: Servorg

                                      I think someone "roofied" my sausage and pepper, I usually eat 1/2 and take 1/2 home butoaskj sdkfj d feeling adl a bit sleepy now... hahaha

                                    2. re: Servorg

                                      Don't really know, I've only risked it once, and still went into the store to pick up a few things. But they do employ parking security, probably for this very reason......

                                      1. re: Servorg

                                        They would have made the Third Reich prowd.

                                        1. re: jgilbert1000

                                          See, you don't want to try and park far from the market in an "out of the way spot". No, no no. You gotta park right up front, as close as you can. Then you need to stroll on into Vons like you own the joint, pushing a cart that you've grabbed from the lot. At that point, now that you've lulled the spec op's guy into a false sense of security, you go back out the other door without the cart, turn away from your car, and head for your true objective...

                                      2. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                        There is a huge supermarket parking lot directly across the street (on Lincoln). I park there. Caveat: I also buy a beverage from the supermarket, just to keep it honest.
                                        I agree about ordering on line and picking up in the back.

                                        Does anyone know if there is a slow time at Bay Cities?
                                        I live close by and would like to shop there, if there is no congestion.

                                        1. re: cujo

                                          The slowest time is when they open at 9am. Their parking lot is empty. It starts to get busy after 10-10:30.

                                    3. re: schrutefarms

                                      As we speak, I'm munching a bay cities sausages and pepper with provolone & marinara. I ordered online and walked from work, so we can make this work...man a full order is quite heavy to carry back :-0~~

                                      1. re: CharlesKochel

                                        I usually get their hot chicken parm sandwich or their hot pastrami on their Italian bread with the works. Great mac & cheese too.

                                        1. re: wienermobile

                                          i do like that pastrami but its been years since i had.

                                          it's definitely a gut buster.

                                  2. re: schrutefarms

                                    Bay Cities is excellent -- their sandwich rolls are superlative, really crusty with a chewy interior and sourish taste. They are known for the Godmother -- a combo of Italian meats with provolone cheese. If you can accept "the works" -- lettuce, tomato, onion, mayo and mild or hot pepper relish -- there are almost freshly-made sandwiches already composed and waiting in some straw bins. The hot side is the relatively unappreciated gem -- chicken parm sandwiches, a really good pot-roast dinner with sides, the pastrami, lasagna -- and never a lengthy wait there.

                                    OP is not alone -- if the parking lot is too packed, drop everyone off and have the driver circle the block.

                                    1. re: nosh

                                      Yeah, if you get a sandwich from the steam table area, i.e. where the meatballs are at along with the eggplant parm which I really like there is almost no wait on line.

                                        1. re: Servorg

                                          I prolly don't agree necessiarly with that line completely if we expand the best to outside of LA, then we got NY and other cities to deal with too.

                                          1. re: Servorg

                                            But having said that it is a damn good eggplant parm, it already is covered with cheese but if you want more cheesy don't stop them when they add on more cheese.

                                    2. Blue plate Oysterette if they like fish & seafood

                                      Zengo has a nice, reasonable brunch with an Asian-Latino fusion bent

                                      Curious Palate, in the same complex has decent sandwiches and salads, I'm sure they will do to go

                                      Agree w Tar & Roses, but reserve early, does get loud

                                      Mercado or Tinga for Mexican.....

                                      Casa del Mar's Catch (is it still there & called that?) or One Pico at Shutters for upscale with a view

                                      Jinky's or Omelette Parlor for casual breakfast or lunch

                                      51 Replies
                                      1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                        great list...does the penthouse at the huntley have appetizers and is it still worthy if you don't drink?

                                        1. re: CharlesKochel

                                          It has a killer view, and I'm sure they'll make mock tails for your maw & paw, but I honestly never have eaten there.....perhaps some other 'hounds can say.......

                                          1. re: CharlesKochel

                                            Penthouse has a limited appetizer menu and very expensive drinks, but gorgeous view. Catch is still very much there, with great food in a fantastic room with views.

                                            1. re: yogachik

                                              When I was last at Penthouse, they had "happy hour" prices on wines by the glass, as well as some of the appetizers. Both were okay, but not great. During Happy Hour, you may not get a table with a great view, unless you get there when they open.

                                          2. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                            I had two terrible food experiences at Blue Plate Oysterette.
                                            The kitchen forgot to wash the lettuce and I got a mouthful of sand or fertilizer. Yuck.
                                            The second time, the kitchen forgot to drain/blot the residual oil from my fried clams. The clams were in a pool of oil. Hard to believe the waiter didn't notice prior to serving it.
                                            I do not intend to give them a third chance.

                                              1. re: cujo

                                                Wow, that sucks..... Did you send the items back, and did they make it right?

                                                1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                  The lettuce incident caused me to lose my appetite. I did not send it back. I should have.
                                                  The fried clams incident: I told the waiter. He offered a pile of paper napkins. I accepted and blotted the grease, myself. When he presented the check, he offered me a fresh order of fried clams. I think he did this to insure a good tip. I declined his offer and left a 15% tip.

                                                  I know I could/should have been more assertive. I am amazed they are still in business..

                                                  1. re: cujo

                                                    They have a decent lunch crowd plus the tourists, so.....

                                                    But I've been several times, almost always order the fried clams, and have never had a problem like you describe. Oh well. More Ipswich clams for me..... I'd kill for them..... ;-)

                                                    1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                      The Water Grill will be opening very soon on Ocean Ave, near BP Oysterette. Never had a bad experience at WG downtownl location. I expect I will enjoy the SM location, too. I think BP Oysterette will fold shortly after Water Grill opens.

                                                      1. re: cujo

                                                        I agree with you.

                                                        The BP Oysterette is *okay*...nothing special, in my opinion at least not what I'm used to in the way of seafood. '
                                                        But, Santa Monica, being on the ocean, should have some decent seafood and I'm hoping Water Gilll will bring it.

                                                        1. re: cujo

                                                          WG in DTLA has not been good since the remodel.

                                                          I would not hold your breath on the SM location.

                                                          1. re: ipsedixit

                                                            No, it has not.
                                                            However it doesn't hurt to hope.
                                                            It's Santa Monica, after all....people expect great seafood.

                                                            1. re: latindancer

                                                              WG used to be one of my favorite restaurants in all of LA. Now I might go there for the raw bar, if that.

                                                              If reality met expectations, where are all the good (not even great) seafood restaurants in SM? And how do explain the popularity of The Lobster, which is to great seafood like fishnet stockings are to Martha Stewart.

                                                                1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                  There are no great seafood restos in SM...... I've been waiting 17 years for them.... For now, I am happy with BPO serving NE favorites that I grew up with, I guess I really can't complain about that....

                                                                  I can't explain anything in SaMo.... Tourism is all I've got.....

                                                                    1. re: CharlesKochel

                                                                      Yea.... We'll see.... I'll wait to see what they do, got a feeling they will be a bit overpriced due to location... And I know ipse's word is pretty much gospel....boy's got it going' on....as far as food, if he says it's not been up to par, that's all I need to stay away.....

                                                                      1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                                        "as far as food, if he says it's not been up to par, that's all I need to stay away....."

                                                                        I have only one thing to say about that: "Trust, but verify."

                                                                        1. re: Servorg

                                                                          I have only one thing to say about that: "Trust, but verify."

                                                                          Three of us have verified.


                                                                          1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                            That still doesn't prove the thesis. I have to verify it personally, or it doesn't really mean much...and I hope everyone else here feels the same way...after all, the proof IS absolutely in the fish (or pudding)...

                                                                        2. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                                          Has anyone recently been to The Hungey Cat in SM? They are supposed to have excellent seafood.
                                                                          This is soft shell crab season. SM seafood has them available.
                                                                          Has anyone tried their soft shell crabs? If yes, please report.

                                                                          1. re: cujo

                                                                            I have been consistent and its always good. As far as the crabbers, I'll check tomorrow. - iffn' they Serve"with the back" I'll stop...report tomorrow~~ck

                                                                            1. re: cujo

                                                                              If you go to Hungry Cat, I must insist you get the Kumquat Martini. It's amazing and kumquats are in season right now!

                                                                              1. re: cujo

                                                                                The soft shells at giorgio baldi were really great.

                                                                                1. re: cujo

                                                                                  The Hungry Cat is consistently good. Excellent seafood and excellent cocktails. 1/2 price oysters on Monday nights is a fabulous deal. When soft shell crabs are in season, no one prepares them better.

                                                                                  1. re: maudies5

                                                                                    Someone mentioned SSCrabs were in season? I'll give them a call if I don't get a reply. thanks, ck

                                                                                    1. re: CharlesKochel

                                                                                      Make sure to make a reservation, if they will take them..... They get very crowded, very quickly, and walk ins end up limited to the oyster bar, which has about six seats....

                                                                                    2. re: maudies5

                                                                                      Thanks. I will contact them today.

                                                                                      1. re: cujo

                                                                                        Hungry Cat will serve SScrabs starting tonight!
                                                                                        Santa Monica Seafood Cafe will begin serving them on monday.

                                                                              1. re: CharlesKochel

                                                                                Since you and your 'rents are coming from Topanga or SaMo, don't forget about Malibu..... The Reel Inn, though we haven't been I quite a while, was serviceable for simple fish & seafood, and even better but even more casual is the Malibu Seafood shack up the road past 'bu Canyon.

                                                                                1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                                                  Agree. We do reel inn often, an easy, laid back consistent place with good basic grilled fish, a staple for me. Good thought: taverna tony they may enjoy for lunch or the evening music as my pops plays piano quite well

                                                                              2. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                I refuse to get into another discussion about seafood in S Cal.
                                                                                I have no idea where *any* good (not even great) seafood restaurants are in Santa Monica and over the years I've lowered my expectations of it ever happening. It's a shame what's happened to Water Grill.
                                                                                Tourists seem to flock to The Lobster. I've been there once, years ago, and once was enough for me.
                                                                                I'd say, and bet my bottom dollar, Martha Stewart has more possibility (or is it probability?) in her quest for a man by wearing fishnet stockings than a new, stellar, high quality seafood restaurant being opened in Santa Monica.

                                                                                1. re: latindancer

                                                                                  Martha Stewart with fishnet stockings ? I don't get what this has to do with seafood in Santa Monica though I may have missed something farther up in the thread.

                                                                                  But on the Santa Monica seafood note, you would think that it would have great seafood but that is not the case at all.

                                                                                  In fact, most of the seafood in Santa Monica if I'm not mistaken comes from the East Coast, save for a couple oysters here or there and Santa Barbara uni.

                                                                                  1. re: kevin

                                                                                    Looks like you'll need to find your way over to Fishing with Dynamite http://eatfwd.com/ in Manhattan Beach to slurp with the fishes...

                                                                                    1. re: Servorg

                                                                                      Slurp with the fishes ?

                                                                                      And what's this whole thing about Martha Stewart in fishnets is this some internet photo thing these days ?

                                                                                      1. re: kevin

                                                                                        Channeling my inner "Godfather" as it were...I think the operative imagery is fish, in whatever form, although I do think that if Martha were actually dressed in fishnet stockings I'd imagine she'd be in the "freshest" of moods...

                                                                                        1. re: Servorg

                                                                                          My bad. I still missed out on part II of the film.

                                                                                          With the MB joint, is he promising to serve great seafood unlike the bunch of crappy places in SM ?

                                                                                          Maybe I'll hit it up after a patty melt at Pann's. That sounds like a decent double lunch opportunity.

                                                                                      2. re: Servorg

                                                                                        The name of the restaurant is offensive to every ocean conservationist. Fishing with dynamite is an activity that is illegal, immoral and irresponsible. I cannot understand how LeFevre did not know this. Or perhaps he did and thought he was being funny or clever. NOT.
                                                                                        In any case, I did send him an e-mail and requested that he change the name of his restaurant. So far, he has not responded.

                                                                                        1. re: cujo

                                                                                          Perhaps he can rename it "Shooting Fish in a Barrel"

                                                                                          1. re: cujo

                                                                                            Are you surprised? I'm sure he'll go through the time & expense to change all of his menus, logos, letterhead, signage....just because you emailed him. Lighten up,it's supposed to be humorous.....

                                                                                            1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                                                              It may be humorous to you, as well as LeFevre. It is not humorous to anyone who cares about the ocean, coral reefs and all of the living organisms that are growing extinct due to dynamite fishing. Some of your favorite seafood is becoming extinct, thanks to ----you guessed it---dynamite fishing.

                                                                                              I am one of many who complained to LeFevre.
                                                                                              before he opened the place, when he still had time to change the name without financial loss. Even more people have contacted him since the restaurant opened.

                                                                                              He may be a talented chef, despite his ecological insensitivity. I am inclined to believe he has already alienated more diners than he will ever understand or realize. Time will tell.

                                                                                              1. re: cujo

                                                                                                Is he serving fish he shouldn't be or is this all about the name?

                                                                                                1. re: JAB

                                                                                                  "...or is this all about the name?"

                                                                                                  I'm channeling my inner Shakespeare right this moment...

                                                                                                2. re: cujo

                                                                                                  hi, my name's linus, and i care about the ocean, coral reefs and all of the living organisms that are growing extinct due to dynamite fishing.

                                                                                                  and i don't give a damn lefevre has called his restaurant "fishing with dynamite."

                                                                                                  and i've got cash dollars to wager the number of diners alienated by the name of this restaurant is BEYOND insignificant, statistically or otherwise.

                                                                                                  1. re: linus

                                                                                                    Time will tell. I think you are mistaken.

                                                                                          2. re: kevin

                                                                                            <missed something farther up in the thread>

                                                                                            Yes, apparently, you did.

                                                                              3. re: cujo

                                                                                The last time I ate at BP Oysterette, the potatoes in the clam chowder were raw. Yuck! I sent it back.

                                                                        3. Happy hour at Fig is the best in SM. Only one hour (5-6), but plenty of time to order a feast that is 50% off. Gets busy, so better to get th3re early. Then you can walk it off along the beach cliffs.
                                                                          Cha Cha Chicken is an old standard.. spicy, and walking diatance to beach
                                                                          Mr. Marcel is nice to sit outside and people watch in the middle of the promenade. French bistro style.
                                                                          Cafe noir on main st is another french bistro place, that makes for a nice dinner on the south side of sm.
                                                                          Blue plate oysterette is good for oysters. Also next to beach cliffs.
                                                                          Stella rosa pizzeria is a good casual pizza joint.. very nice pizzas
                                                                          Last one I think worth r3commending is Brick and mortar for sitting outside, or outdor brunch. Gets loud inside, but nice to choll outside, right off main st.

                                                                          Good luck

                                                                          1. Sunday chicken dinner at Farmshop in Brentwood.

                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. re: Wayno

                                                                              Maybe, so long as you don't let them see the price on the menu or the check,,,or you might be dealing with serious shock.

                                                                            2. Probably 5th-ing the Huckleberry reccomendation. but they also have a family style dinner on thursday that is pretty awesome. usually involves some fried chicken, starter, side, and dessert for ~35 per person. just gets full if you get there late. anyways, might be worth looking into dinner wise

                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                              1. re: hdado

                                                                                I have never found that place to be comfortable at all, the seats, the tables, the crowds, any of it. And I'm far from being close to 70 years old..... At least Farmshop has comfortable tables to sit at.......

                                                                              2. You should take them by Krispy Kreme right when the sign comes on!

                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                1. re: schrutefarms

                                                                                  The Krispy Kreme on Wilshire in Santa Monica does not fry their own donuts there -- they are made offsite and shipped in. I asked. Krispy Kreme is only special when they are warm, fresh, light, and delicious. A couple hours later they are an overpriced, mediocre donut.

                                                                                  1. re: nosh

                                                                                    WHAAA....???? I only went to that locale once, just figured I caught them when they were't too fresh...Okay, then, never mind about Krispy Kreme.

                                                                                2. any minute now I'm expecting our noble leaders at chound to slide their holy grail of a post about this is no longer about the food...so with this known, I intervene...I don't care what anyone calls their restaurant, they own it. BPO, overpriced, fired ~ Huckleberry, of course ~ Cora, yep, musha, why not ~ Croque Madame at Amandine, I'll have one myself before they arrive ~ Fig, of course ~ the huntley penthouse, yep, Hinano's, to go on the pier ~ Bay Cities, as long as the guard is rufied ~ Hungry Cat, Yes ~MARTHA STEWARt IN FISHNETS, not happening ... there are some others mentioned we will try and a peak to peak from Fernwood Topanga to Saddle Peak Lodge for brunch is a go. Start time is not until the last day of the month, so I'll share an itinerary soon, keep the recommendations coming, name your restaurant what you please and for goodness sakes get us an affordable Seafood Restaurant in SM, WG your up and even though you hit a rough spot, I'll give you some love, twice. So, thanks again for all the great ideas, keep them coming and I'll update as we go on southern style conservatives taking on greater SM like the hillbilly's from BH! ~~ck

                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: CharlesKochel

                                                                                    Do you think your folks would be up for something like Tacos Punta Cabras? https://www.facebook.com/TacosPuntaCa... It might be outside their comfort zone, or it might be a home run. Something to not err on the caution side and throw that sucker to the wind about?

                                                                                    1. re: Servorg

                                                                                      Geez, I hope so, I have not made it here myself...but a 63' degree quail egg and some serious tacos is a ticket. They love the out of the box choices, because they think it's crazy me and my 3 1/2 year old daughter eat anything creative and fall in love with most of it, so as long as "normal" is offered, off the hook is encouraged. I'll check it out next week myself. ~thanks, nice recommendation.