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Solo dining in Santa Monica

Taking myself on a little vacation and would love some recommendations on where to eat. Staying at the Viceroy so walking distance would be great but I'll have a car so will drive if its really worth it. Thinking about going to Melisse for sure. As a single female traveling alone it would be nice to have some fun suggestions on where to maybe meet some new people.

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  1. If you walk a few minutes north on Ocean, you run into the .santa Monica place mall. The dining level on the top has a few decent choices. Sonoma Wine garden has decent wines by the glass, and Zengo has a happy hour, I believe.

    A few minutes walk to the south is Main Street, SaMo. Go to .stella & Rossi or Barra for salads, pizza , beer & wine.

    1. Walkable:
      Chinois On Main
      Cora's Coffee Shoppe
      Stella Barra
      Pier Burger
      Umami Burger
      Border Grill
      Blue Plate Taco
      Wednesday & Saturday Farmers Market (2nd & Arizona)
      Sunday Farmers Market (Ocean Park & Main St)
      & Tuesday Night Santa Monica Museum Food Trucks (Ocean Park and Main St)
      also Water Grill (opens this summer)

      Not walkable but well worth it:
      Rustic Canyon
      Superba Snack Bar
      Cafe Graditude
      Milo & Olive
      Sweet Rose Creamery
      Tar & Roses
      Bay Cities Italian Deli

      Welcome to LA

      3 Replies
      1. re: wienermobile

        It really depends on the person and what he or she is used to whether a distance is walkable. I am in general agreement with you that most L.A. residents would not walk to the places on your second list, but my sister, a Manhattan resident would probably consider half of those places (Bay Cities, Huckleberry, Rustic Canyon, Tar & Roses, maybe even Superba) quite walkable.

        1. re: PeterCC

          I agree, but with a solo female at night I feel some of those distances are safer in car or cab. In a group or in daytime those distances are all fine.

        2. Sushi bars can be very friendly, with lots of chances to interact with the ita-mae and fellow patrons.

          I'd recommend 3 sushi bars in West L.A.: Mori Sushi (corner of Pico & Gateway), Kiriko (near Olympic & Sawtelle) and Shunji (also on Pico). All are easily within driving distance of the Viceroy, with excellent food.

          2 Replies
          1. re: J.L.

            If you are really adventurous and on a all expenses paid expense account, you can hit up all three within one evening.

            Now that would be a great meal.

            1. re: kevin

              Time is more the limiting issue, if you plan to do this...

          2. Milo and Olive. While not walking distance, it is a great place to strike up a conversation with other diners. Seating is either at the counter or at the 2 communal tables. Even if you have to wait in line (no reservations), you are likely to meet friendly people. Also, the food is great!!

            1. Freddy Smalls is a short cab ride, great food and fun place to meet people.

              Tar & Roses is Walkable, if you can get a seat at the bar, it's a lot of fun and fabulous food.

              1 Reply
              1. re: CharlesKochel

                Tar and Roses is walkable, and I've had a couple great solo meals at the bar.

              2. Fig Happy Hour 5-6 is great food and fun place to meet people. It gets busy at 5, everything on the menu is 50% off.

                1. Los Angeles Times just did a story "Jonathan Gold's best beach cities restaurants" on dining in this area with many of the restaurant discussed in this post:

                  1. No reason to drive.

                    Eat at the bar at Hillstone. Bar at Chez Jay (not for the food, for the crowd, although the Fiondella Steak is good). Bar at Stella Rossa, Capo, Casa del Mar's Catch.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: yogachik

                      Stella Rosa is now Stella Barra. Same people. Same food. New name.

                      1. re: wienermobile

                        That's what I was curious about. I thought the name had changed but I could not remember if actually did change.

                        Was Stella Rosa also a brand of wines ?

                        Maybe that's why there was a name change.

                        But anyhow I think some people still do in fact call it Stella Rosa.

                        1. re: kevin

                          They wanted their new Hollywood restaurant and their Santa Monica restaurant to have the same names. Branding.

                    2. Chinois on Main is Wolfgang Puck's longest-running restaurant, and still serves great food with bold flavors and has excellent service. There are seats on the rear counter that look into the open kitchen that provide fun entertainment for those interested in food. For solo dining, stick with the small plates -- it won't be very expensive.

                          1. re: PeterCC

                            LOL, I tried to edit this one out, as none of them are walking distance, but the edit didn't take and it posted anyway! A never mind button is needed....

                        1. Fig - Tender Greens - Blue Plate Taco - Shutters or Casa del Mar Lobby - Milo & Olive (very long walk) Enjoy!

                          1. The counter/bar at Capo's. You meet interesting, upscale people.

                            At Marder's previous restaurant - I met a girl I nearly married while dining solo.

                            But you don't feel especially solo - it's a small, friendly bar.

                            Pricey though.

                            7 Replies
                            1. re: foodiemahoodie

                              Which restaurant ?

                              yeah, sometimes dining solo can be a plus.

                                1. re: foodiemahoodie


                                  Is that now James Beach or is it Canal club ?

                                  Can you describe the bar at Capo further ?

                                  I did quite enjoy the tiny bar at Rustic Cyn too, which was pretty darn friendly and I do believe it was owed also by Mr. Marder.


                                  1. re: kevin

                                    Rustic Canyon is owned by Josh Loeb and Zoe Nathan (Huckleberry, Milo & Olive, Sweet Rose Creamery)

                                    1. re: wienermobile

                                      I could have sworn he owned that along with Capo.

                                      1. re: kevin

                                        Josh Loeb, the co-owner of Rustic Canyon was the former wine director at Capo and Broadway Deli, both owned by Mr. Marder.

                                        1. re: PeterCC

                                          Hmm, maybe it was that that rang a bell in the old brain.