Top Ten Local's Favorite Restaurants in Santa Monica, Los Angeles
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Top Ten Local's Favorite Restaurants in Santa Monica, Los Angeles

Santa Monica - endless white beaches, a sweeping Pacific Ocean coastline, urban walkways and shopping areas - and of course, world-class dining, from gourmet cuisine to casual fare. With access to some of the freshest seafood, and an emphasis on seasonal fare, Santa Monica’s restaurants offer a mix of Latin American, Asian, and European cuisine.

Third Street Promenade

Located in the heart of Santa Monica, Third Street Promenade is a pedestrian-only shopping and dining mecca, bustling with tourists, locals, and street performers at all times of the day and week.

Dining on/around Third Street Promenade:

  1. Monsoon Café: Featuring excellent Pan-Asian and Sushi fare, the best about Monsoon is its daily happy hour (Mon-Sun 4-7pm). Try the Miso eggplant, California roll, and Spicy yellowtail, and choose from a selection of well drinks––a first-class dinner too cheap to be true!
  2. Houston’s: Comfortably elegant, Houston’s lies a bit on the pricey side, but for a first-class steak, a huge wine selection, and chic atmosphere, this is the place to go. On weekends, reservations are recommended.
  3. Buca di Beppo: The cozy ambiance and hearty family size portions are perfect to share. Although everything tastes great on the menu, try the warm Tomato Spinach Salad with goat cheese and spiced pecans for starters, and then ask for the special Prosciutto Basil Garlic Pizza (not always on the menu). For dessert, order some gelato della casa.
  4. Ye Olde King’s Head: The relaxed, truly British atmosphere makes this pub a great place to enjoy some bangers and mash (smoked sausages and mashed potatoes), mouthwatering chicken curries, and apple pie a la mode. The terrace is a great place to sit and people watch.
  5. Greek Cuisine Stop and Café: Located right on the Promenade, this little café serves great gyros, souvlakis and the best hummus and pita on the promenade. Try some baklava for dessert. (Note: This restaurant has no liquor license)

Main Street/Ocean Park

South of Third Street Promenade, Main Street is another eclectic and trendy shopping and dining destination.

Dining on Main Street:

  1. Hidden Restaurant & Garden Lounge: Santa Monica’s newest hot spot features colorful fare from Japan, Spain, Vietnam and Italy, prepared by separate chefs. Enjoy contemporary music and romantic ambiance on the palm tree garden terrace while feasting on gourmet delicacies such as the Mini Brasato (slowly braised beef marinated in Italian Barolo wine), the tapas (selection of meats and cheeses) and the Pineapple Crème Brulee.
  2. World Café: This is another great place to go for happy hour (Mon-Sun 4-7pm) Enjoy great deals on beer and wine and the freshest $5 dollar Mojitos in the funky bar lounge area, or dine on the lush patio. Best dinner bets: Pancetta-wrapped shrimp, Sesame-crusted Ahi tuna, and the wood-fired pizzas. On weekends, reservations are recommended.

Santa Monica Canyon

Known simply as "The Canyon" to locals – this little village in itself lies just north of Third Street Promenade along Pacific Coast Highway, and holds some of Santa Monica’s best dining options.

Dining in Santa Monica Canyon:

  1. Marix Tex Mex: Go on Mondays for $ 3 Margarita Madness or Tuesdays for Fish tacos ($1.50 each). From the menu, try the Santa Fe chopped salad with cilantro lime dressing to start. The Carne Asada is sublime!
  2. Patrick’s Roadhouse: This little bright green shack is a place where locals, tourists and celebrities alike gather for a hearty breakfast or lunch. For the big appetite, try the Governator Special (a tribute to Arnold Schwarzenegger, a frequent visitor)—it’s a scramble of everything needed for big muscles. For the light appetite, try the Lox and Bagel Plate, and for the sweet tooth, the Chocolate Chip Pancakes are to die for. (Note: Patrick’s Roadhouse is only open for breakfast and lunch; weekdays until 3pm, weekends until 4 pm)
  3. Delfini: This little, romantic hideaway features simple and fresh Italian cuisine in a small, candle-lit dining room. All pastas are homemade. Try the Bresaola (thinly sliced Italian aged beef) with arugula and parmesan to start, and then the Linguini in pesto-tomato sauce. For dessert, the Bacio (chocolate and hazelnut ice cream, encased in dark chocolate) is a must!

Useful resources

  • Santa Monica website ( – get comprehensive info on local attractions, entertainment, events, shopping and dining.
  • Los Angeles Area Dining Guide ( – get more info about Santa Monica and surrounding areas
  • Santa Monica Pier ( – check out what’s happening on Santa Monica Pier, the West Coast’s only amusement park right on the water.

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Comments (2)
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