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Best Italian / Seafood / Mexican in Santa Monica

Suggestions? Any with a view?

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  1. The Lobster has a great view, and serves seafood. I can't really say whether it's the best in SaMo, since I haven't been there in ages. But note, it's a prime tourist spot, so they really don't always try very hard. Catch at the Casa del Mar used to serve some nice crudo.....again, can't say as I haven't been there recently. Also has a good view.

    As for Italian, there's a few really good spots : La Botte, Capo are both pretty high end and expensive. Hostaria del Piccolo is very good and much more casual.

    As far as Mexican goes, what exactly are you looking for? Cheap or Haute? Tacos? Burritos? Combo platters?

    4 Replies
    1. re: Dirtywextraolives

      I'd add The Hungry Cat, Il Grano. Mori (sushi) to the seafood.

      Italian - does Brentwood count? Vicenti and Toscana.

      Mexican - Monte Alban.

      1. re: foodiemahoodie

        Some of those are not in Santa Monica..... Sure there are LOTS of Mexican, Italian & seafood places in the west side neighborhoods of l.a.

        1. re: Dirtywextraolives

          Better to drive another minute or two and get the good stuff. You're right, but I kinda consider SanMo anywhere west of the 405 between Pico and San Vicente.

    2. Mercado http://www.mercadosantamonica.com/ is good for that area. For more of a dive Mexican try Tacos Por Favor http://www.tacosporfavor.net/ in their original location on Olympic and 14th.

      1. For seafood with a view - go directly to Catch at Casa del Mar. Lobster is a tourist trap.

        For Mexican, it depends what you seek, but nothing with a view.

        For Italian, nothing with a view, but I highly recommend Piccolo on Dudley in Venice. It's probably one of the best Italian restaurants around.

        3 Replies
          1. re: yogachik

            I didn't mind being stuck in a trap with a grilled 3 lb spiny lobster...we had a tasty meal, nice view from window at lit up pier and sunset and attentive, unhurried service...

            for mexican, i agree with emme about gilberts

            1. re: yogachik

              The Lobster is a lot better than it should be considering its location.

            2. I love the in house made pastas at Superba Snack Bar just over the border in Venice

              Very nice raw bar at Water Grill Santa Monica

              1 Reply
              1. re: wienermobile

                had only ever been to the downtown location before, but had to go to a birthday dinner at Water Grill Santa Monica last week, and quite enjoyed my platter from the raw bar.

                i do like catch, and i like watching the sunset at the Lobster, but you can do that with a drink in hand elsewhere.

                Mexican, i like Gilbert's El Indio, as well as the close but not in samo Monte Alban.

              2. Unfortunately, most of the view places serve up some pretty crap food. If you feel like going a little south to Venice, Piccolo is pretty good. Not really a view per se, but if you walk out of the place and turn right, the beach is right there. I think there is a hotel or two that might have rooftop dining, can't beat that view!

                4 Replies
                1. re: schrutefarms

                  I know Hotel Erwin has a rooftop terrace, but not sure if they serve food up there or not. Drinks, yes.

                  1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                    You know, I was going to mention Hotel Erwin, because the view really is spectacular, but, like you, I'm not certain they serve food. I have definitely had some cocktails there, though :)

                    1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                      Yeah, it's a great view of the Venice Beach Boardwalk and out into various directions. Better for drinks, and they do have food but it's not quite gourmet.

                      1. re: kevin

                        Erwin roof serves food - a bar menu.

                  2. Tacos Puntas Cabras, on Santa Monica (no view), for seafood tacos. Bring your own beer. For full service Mexican, I've enjoyed Lula on Main St. No view at either. The Blue Plate people have that "taco bar" on Ocean Ave, which does have a view; but, I wasn't very thrilled with it.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: Wayno

                      Yea, BP Taco is pretty mediocre. Not really Mexican, more like gringo-hipster-tourist trap. Tasty drinks, though.

                      1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                        I have heard, but have not yet been, that a good place for drinks with a great view in SM (besides, e.g., the Penthouse at the Huntley - which I really like), is the upstairs bar at the Shangri-La Hotel. Been meaning to check it out if i ever go out drinking again.

                        1. re: Wayno

                          Love the view at the top of the Shangri-La, but it's a weird room (ugly and cramped) and the outdoor area feels unsafe to me. I can never get comfortable in that bar.

                    2. Modern Mexican at La Sandia on top floor of Santa Monica place. A Richard Sandoval restaurant. No view from restaurant but decor is nice and it's just steps from the pier for before/after dinner walk.