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Any recommendations on Santa Monica Dining?

Moved into the Santa Monica area recently and wanted to know where the best eats are for fine dining? I use to watch Top Chef religiously lol and I am aware Top Chef Stefan Richter (my fave) has Stefan's at LA Farm in the area. Has any one been there? Recommendations and thoughts are greatly appreciated?

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  1. Probably one of the finest dining experiences in S.M. Would be Melisse

    1 Reply
    1. re: budlit

      Just checked out their website and reviews...looks awesome! Theyre going to be on the LA Restaurant week list...im going :) Thanks

    2. Some of my Favorites in the Santa Monica and Venice area:
      Rustic Canyon
      Milo and Olive
      Superba Snack Bar
      Tar and Roses
      Stella Bara
      Chinois on Main
      Sweet Rose Creamery


      2 Replies
      1. re: wienermobile

        I been to Tar and Roses and loved it :) I'll def check the other places out...Thanks so much! BTW have you been to Stefan's at LA Farm? Just wanted your recommendations and thoughts of it before I check it out

        1. re: wienermobile

          2nd Tar & Roses. I wouldn't consider it fine dining, but the food and atmosphere are really top notch!

        2. Great recs.
          Joes and Musha can be added

          1 Reply
          1. Tacos Punta Cabras
            R+D Kitchen
            Father's Office
            Cora's Coffee Shoppe

            5 Replies
            1. re: Servorg

              Looks like I have a foodie adventure ahead...thanks!

              1. re: mafihala

                The very best thanks that you can provide is if you take the time to come back here (or start a new post if you'd rather) and talk about where you ended up, what you ate and how you liked it.

              2. re: Servorg

                To the OP, how important is the "fine dining" aspect I like Servorg's list (at least, in terms of the one's I've been to myself), but I wouldn't consider Tacos Puntas Cabras, Father's Office, Huckleberry, or Amandine "fine dining" (although they're all very tasty).

                1. re: ilysla

                  While those you culled out of my post are fine, they aren't "fine dining" by any stretch of the imagination, but wanted to share them anyway (figuring that very, very few people exist on only "fine dining" exclusively).

                  1. re: Servorg

                    No, I absolutely agree they're all worth visiting.... I just didn't want the OP to think that they were "fine dining" and by surprised when he/she walked in (esp to a place like Father's Office)!

                    To the list I'll add (my usual recs)

                    SM Seafood (for the tuna melt!)
                    Hostaria del Piccolo
                    Monte Alban
                    The tamales at the Brentwood Farmer's Market

              3. stefans has a good burger -- i was unimpressed with the food other times ive been there.

                kevin's post on valentino reminds me how great that place can be.

                agree on chinois and shunjis

                2 Replies
                  1. re: mafihala

                    i finally went to shunji's based on the hounds recs here -- it was incredible, not to be missed -- i regret not going there sooner and have been 2X now in a week.

                1. Got a good list going.

                  Would add these high enders:
                  Giorgio Baldi

                  This low ender:

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: Ciao Bob

                    Shit, I'm overdue on that GB visit.

                      1. re: Ciao Bob

                        What you have ?????

                        And do you remember what they had on the list of desserts?

                        Years ago, i think i had the best fucking chocolate mousse i've ever had there (though, of course, Shunji's is exceptional too).

                        1. re: kevin

                          kevin, im not a huge truffles guy, but your post earlier and this one reminded me of the best truffles dish ive had in la which was fresh pasta with butter and white truffles shaved over the top at Georgio Baldi...it was a long time ago but I'm sure it was well over $50

                          shunji brings the heat, even dessert!

                          1. re: kevin

                            I have [sic] fritto misto (zucchini, artichoke hearts, calamari), spaghetti bottarga, zuppa di vongole. Delicious. All of it.

                            I don't fucking eat dessert.

                            1. re: Ciao Bob

                              kevinitis is spreading, I see...

                      2. re: Ciao Bob

                        ____ (insert f-bomb or s-bomb here)!

                        That ___ is beyond ____'in exceptional.

                      3. Since the OP refers to the Santa Monica "area," I'll assume that may extend to Malibu, and given the reference to "fine dining," I'm assuming price isn't much of an object; thus, I'm throwing Nobu Malibu and Nikita into the mix. Can't beat the location in terms of natural beauty.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: Wayno

                          Geoffrey's Malibu has a great view and the food and service is quite good also, makes for a fine brunch setting. Mercado is wonderful, BP Oysterette has a mean fried clam plate and SM Seafood makes a solid cup o' chowda...great list, really a fabulous dining experience.

                          1. re: CharlesKochel

                            I would not include Malibu. Venice and West L.A. (west of the 405) would be more reasonable.

                        2. Upper West (not fine dining, but mid-level dining)
                          Hungry Cat

                          1. Maison Giraud in Pacific Palisades
                            Tasting Kitchen in Venice
                            n/naka in Culver City/West LA line

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                              N/naka is definitely fine dining. Not in SM but close enough. Take the 10 to Overland. A great experience.

                              1. re: Baron

                                Yes, although it's not SaMo, I felt it needed to be on the list, as we really have little in the way of true Fine Dining....

                                Add to my list also, Il Piccolo in Venice....

                              2. I would add Locanda Portofino. I'm grateful to have this place walking distance for my local Italian.

                                  1. Very good raw bar at Santa Monica's Water Grill.