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Any recommendations on Santa Monica Dining?

mafihala Nov 18, 2013 12:35 PM

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. b
    budlit RE: mafihala Nov 18, 2013 01:02 PM

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

    1 Reply
    1. re: budlit
      mafihala RE: budlit Nov 18, 2013 01:22 PM

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

    2. wienermobile RE: mafihala Nov 18, 2013 01:09 PM

      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
        mafihala RE: wienermobile Nov 18, 2013 01:24 PM

        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
          black_lab RE: wienermobile Nov 18, 2013 06:15 PM

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

        2. CharlesKochel RE: mafihala Nov 18, 2013 01:14 PM

          Great recs.
          Joes and Musha can be added

          1 Reply
          1. re: CharlesKochel
            mafihala RE: CharlesKochel Nov 18, 2013 01:29 PM

            thanks :)

          2. Servorg RE: mafihala Nov 18, 2013 01:17 PM

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

            5 Replies
            1. re: Servorg
              mafihala RE: Servorg Nov 18, 2013 01:30 PM

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

              1. re: mafihala
                Servorg RE: mafihala Nov 18, 2013 01:35 PM

                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
                ilysla RE: Servorg Nov 18, 2013 02:04 PM

                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
                  Servorg RE: ilysla Nov 18, 2013 02:09 PM

                  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
                    ilysla RE: Servorg Nov 18, 2013 03:04 PM

                    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. j
                jessejames RE: mafihala Nov 18, 2013 01:19 PM

                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: jessejames
                  mafihala RE: jessejames Nov 18, 2013 01:31 PM

                  Thanks for the feedback!

                  1. re: mafihala
                    jessejames RE: mafihala Nov 18, 2013 01:35 PM

                    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.

                2. Ciao Bob RE: mafihala Nov 18, 2013 02:18 PM

                  Got a good list going.

                  Would add these high enders:
                  Giorgio Baldi

                  This low ender:

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: Ciao Bob
                    kevin RE: Ciao Bob Nov 18, 2013 03:46 PM

                    Shit, I'm overdue on that GB visit.

                    1. re: kevin
                      Ciao Bob RE: kevin Nov 18, 2013 03:58 PM

                      I fucking went last night.

                      1. re: Ciao Bob
                        kevin RE: Ciao Bob Nov 18, 2013 04:04 PM

                        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
                          jessejames RE: kevin Nov 18, 2013 04:52 PM

                          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
                            Ciao Bob RE: kevin Nov 19, 2013 09:48 AM

                            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
                              J.L. RE: Ciao Bob Nov 19, 2013 09:51 AM

                              kevinitis is spreading, I see...

                      2. re: Ciao Bob
                        J.L. RE: Ciao Bob Nov 18, 2013 04:49 PM

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

                        That ___ is beyond ____'in exceptional.

                      3. Wayno RE: mafihala Nov 18, 2013 02:46 PM

                        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
                          CharlesKochel RE: Wayno Nov 18, 2013 03:28 PM

                          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
                            foodiemahoodie RE: CharlesKochel Nov 18, 2013 04:40 PM

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

                        2. j
                          Juji RE: mafihala Nov 18, 2013 02:53 PM

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

                          1. d
                            Dirtywextraolives RE: mafihala Nov 18, 2013 04:58 PM

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

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: Dirtywextraolives
                              Baron RE: Dirtywextraolives Nov 18, 2013 05:36 PM

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

                              1. re: Baron
                                Dirtywextraolives RE: Baron Nov 18, 2013 06:00 PM

                                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. re: Dirtywextraolives
                                budlit RE: Dirtywextraolives Nov 19, 2013 07:30 AM

                                Love Maison Giraud

                              3. y
                                yogachik RE: mafihala Nov 18, 2013 05:42 PM

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

                                1. ipsedixit RE: mafihala Nov 18, 2013 07:48 PM


                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: ipsedixit
                                    J.L. RE: ipsedixit Nov 18, 2013 07:49 PM

                                    Bless you...

                                    1. re: J.L.
                                      ipsedixit RE: J.L. Nov 18, 2013 07:50 PM

                                      Thank you father.

                                  2. wienermobile RE: mafihala Nov 18, 2013 07:59 PM

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

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