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Brunch in Santa Monica

What's up, LA? I'm headed out west this wknd and was hoping that you could steer me in the right direction. I'm having brunch with some buddies in Santa Monica on Saturday, and was wondering what some of your favorites are. I'll be near the Fairmont Hotel (101 Wilshire Boulevard - Santa Monica, CA 90401), if that helps.
Waterside/a good view would be ideal. Many thanks in advance...

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  1. Zengo. I've been there for a brunch a few times, most recently this past weekend. $35 for all you can eat (made to order, not a buffet) and drink from a variety of brunch cocktails. Food ranges from good to great, with only a couple of dishes we didn't like (after making it through the whole menu with a large group). Great patio on the roof of Santa Monica place overlooking the promenade.

    Menu: http://www.richardsandoval.com/zengos...

    1 Reply
    1. re: jsandler

      Great, thanks! I will check that out, jsandler.

    2. There are plenty of nearby brunch options (others will chime in here), but if you're feeling particularly lazy, the Fairmont Miramar Hotel actually houses FIG, a great restaurant with a solid breakfast and lunch, and boozy but tasty cocktails. I love the corned beef hash, bloody marys, and FIG mojito. Another thing to consider is "FIG at 5". Between 5-6pm, Tuesdays-Saturdays, FIG's ENTIRE menu (including drinks!!!) is 50% off. It's a ridiculously good deal. Just saying. :)

      3 Replies
      1. re: phamschottler

        Awesome, thank you! I saw FIG on Opentable, in fact. This just may work out perfectly!

        1. re: LeahBaila

          Fig worked really well for our group last May. Nice atmosphere, with some tables overlooking the pool area.

      2. The brand new Superba Food & Bread just opened on Lincoln Blvd in Venice. I can't wait to try it. Here is their brunch menu at this link:

        1 Reply
        1. re: wienermobile

          Thanks for the link! I've been reading about this place!

        2. Can never go wrong with a brunch at Gjelina in Venice. Great Food.

          5 Replies
          1. re: wienermobile

            That would be a dream. What do you think the wait would be on a Saturday at opening (11:30am)?

            1. re: LeahBaila

              They actually open at 9am. Wait might run about 30 minutes maybe longer if its a really nice day. See if you can make a reservation. A walk around Abbott Kinney is a nice thing to do during your wait.

              1. re: wienermobile

                Ahhh...just saw the weekend hours. Thank you!!

                1. re: LeahBaila

                  Love Gjelina. And if it's too crowded for your liking, there are tons of other places nearby.

                  Salt Air (also on Abbot Kinney) would be a good back up -- beautiful interior, good food (I love their salmon), beer, wine, and beer- and wine-based (non-liquor) cocktails, and a much better environment for conversation.

                  If you care more about atmosphere than food, Feed Body & Soul is a beautiful restaurant with fun cocktails (also beautiful) and has been great for me for group dining. I haven't actually had their food, but I hear it's fine but not the best of what Abbot Kinney has to offer.

                  1. re: phamschottler

                    Fantastic. Thank you for the Salt Air rec!

              1. re: orythedog

                Didn't see your post. I just recommended it above.

              2. Not been myself, but the Penthouse at the Huntley might be an option. I assume the view/ambiance is way better than the food....

                For food (without much ambiance), I like Huckleberry (kind of pricey) or Bru's Wiffle (affordable; unfortunately, not that close to you, relatively-speaking).

                5 Replies
                1. re: ilysla

                  Thanks ilysla! I will look in to these. :)

                  1. re: LeahBaila

                    Finally! Someone got my user name right!

                    Hee, hee.

                    1. re: ilysla

                      Both Huckleberry and Bru's are great, but for a weekend-getaway-fun-lunch-with-friends, I'd avoid them unless you're willing to sacrifice comfort and conversation (both are always crowded, cramped, and loud).

                      The Penthouse is a cool space. Only been for drinks, but it's steps from the Fairmont.

                      1. re: phamschottler

                        I'd say this is definitely true of Huckleberry. I've only been to Bru's twice, but, aside from the long wait, it seemed relatively comfortable inside. But, I agree that it's not a getaway type of place.

                  2. re: ilysla

                    Penthouse has the best ocean view of any restaurant in Santa Monica.

                  3. My cousin and I have been to Farmshop on 26th Street for Sunday brunch a couple of times in recent months and have really liked it--had a really nice fritatta last time with gorgeous pea tendrils and some other lovely green on top. Very tasty. It's also nice there because it's in the Brentwood Country Mart, which is a nice old place (for LA) that's been revived in recent years, and you can walk around and window shop the little boutiques after. They also have wonderful deli stuff with all kinds of imports for sale. Get a reservation on open table.

                    1. I would go to Tavern.

                      With a close second being Milo & Olive.

                      12 Replies
                        1. re: ipsedixit

                          re: milo and olive
                          the food is great.
                          but, as of the last time i went, all the seating was communal and no reservations were accepted.
                          the waits are often long.
                          a couple of times, after ordering, the hostess was having the patrons switch their seats in order to defrag the communal tables.

                          the whole set up doesn't, imho, make for an ideal place to spend time with friends. i go there when i'm alone so that the seating difficulties won't bother me and i can focus on the food.

                          1. re: westsidegal

                            So true wsg - I struggle to understand the whole point of milo + olive.

                            Is it just a half-assed (though delicious) restaurant "front" because what they really want to do (and make the bucks doing) is catering/baking?

                            Food is great but it is so user-unfriendly. The seating is a joke but the kitchen is massive. Hell the huge counter takes up so much space that could be used for diners (if they wanted them).

                            I guess it makes sense if what they really want it for is to do baking and catering.

                              1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                Especially for the purpose of this thread, I would advise against M&O as well. It can be super crowded and super annoying.

                                Aside from that, I've had the pleasure of dining here a few times during non-peak hours (just after breakfast and very early for dinner) and very much enjoyed it. In fact, it was quite relaxing. The space is pretty but casual, well-lit in the afternoon, and I could slowly sip coffee or wine with my meal.

                                For anyone who cares, I believe they are in the process of expanding their dining area into one of the empty spaces nearby (I think).

                                1. re: phamschottler

                                  I wandered about that, phamschottler. I drove by today and saw that the resale clothing store next to M&O had a sign that they had moved. It sure would make sense for M&O to expand their seating by taking over the space next door.

                              2. re: Ciao Bob

                                Like Huckleberry, Milo and Olive (in my eyes) is a take-away counter that happens to have some chairs and tables for those who can tolerate a fair amount of discomfort.

                                1. re: bulavinaka

                                  Yes - well-put. And I am guessing that is an excellent business model since they keep re-doing it. But is sucks for those of us who like to eat-in and cannot tolerate that fair amount.

                                  1. re: bulavinaka

                                    Take out for M+O works really well. I've noticed the few times I've done it that the order seems ready at least quite a few minutes prior to their stated time. I think I'm going to try to arrive "early" to make sure the pizza doesn't cool down too much!

                                    1. re: bulavinaka

                                      I actually enjoy dining at the bar at M&O; it's a rather convivial atmosphere and the overall din does not bother, nor detract from the experience.

                                      In fact, I find the experience at M&O about 10x better than waiting 2-3 hours for dim sum at Sea Harbour or flaccid XLB at DTF.

                                      But that's just me.

                                      Maybe the drive to Santa Monica makes the scene at M&O more palatable for me, but then again I love driving. Even in traffic.

                                      1. re: ipsedixit

                                        ipsedixit, I like the bar at M&O too. But then, I always prefer bar dining (I like looking into kitchens/ bars).

                                        I recommend others to try M&O when the breakfast or lunch rush has died down, because I very much enjoyed my experiences there.

                                        Huckleberry's too crazy (crowded) for me though. I like it just as much as the next person, and I get stuff to go from them all the time, but I've only had the patience to dine in once. I feel like I can't breathe in there.

                                        Also, sorry LeahBalla for straying so much from the topic you posted! :)

                                        1. re: phamschottler

                                          Yeah, I've become a big fan of bar dining. Esp. since I dine solo so often nowadays.

                                1. Catch at Casa del Mar or the restaurant at Shutters would be my picks.. Both have beautiful ocean views with great food.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: yogachik

                                    Thanks! The location of Catch looks amazing.

                                  2. Anyone been to Border Grill brunch? Menu looks good.