Discover Things the Locals Eat & Do in Santa Monica


  • Like Italian food? Bay Cities Deli & Market – closed on Mondays – I always buy two hot fresh-baked loaves.  Famous for the Godmother sandwich but I prefer the tuna or caprese. For a sit down meal with wine just a block away is the low-key, cheap, kid and veggie friendly Italian restaurant. Fritto Misto. You can order a la carte or build your own pasta and sauce, finish off your meal with the flourless chocolate cake, one portion is enough for 3 people to share.
  • Santa Monica Seafood – The market sells a large selection of fresh fish, live crabs and lobsters, frozen seafood, wines, beers, cheeses, breads and numerous other items you might need to prepare a delicious fish meal. I always buy the ceviche and the crab cakes. There is also an Oyster Bar and a café offering a variety of hot and cold seafood dishes for both dine-in or take-out. Kill two birds with one stone by walking next door to Huckleberry!
  • Huckleberry  local artisan Bakery & Café, owned and operated by Josh Loeb and Zoe Nathan who also own Rustic Canyon Wine Bar both are born and raised in Santa Monica. It’s not cheap because everything is made on site, using the best quality ingredients, including organic flour and pantry staples, Vahlrona chocolate and farmers-market produce. The menu changes regularly with the seasons and on the culinary team’s whims. Everything is delicious and I love their coffee.
  • Like donuts? DK Donuts – home of the #O-Nut – first twist on the popular croissant and donut hybrid. Open 24 hrs, DK’s is your one-stop shop for donuts, sandwiches, smoothies, coffee & more! They deliver and ship overnight. There is always a line, I’ve actually seen a Japanese tour bus pull up outside.
  • Sidecar donuts – gourmet donuts with unusual ingredients and flavors. I don’t normally eat donuts, but these are so yummy!

  • Did you know that Santa Monica has a large British community? See for yourself by going to a British pub (AGE 21+). The most famous one is the Kings Head Pub & Shoppe they sell lots of British Goodies and pies in the shop, if it’s hot outside get a 99er icecream cone with a Cadbury chocolate flake inside! The restaurant serves traditional food and afternoon teas.
    Walk up the street to the Brittania.
  • Father’s Office a small gastro-pub on Montana Ave. Get the burger, they are famous for it, no substitutions allowed.  It gets very busy and noisy inside so try off peak hours.
  • Like Mexican food? Gilbert’s El Indio Restaurant – cash only. $1 taco Tuesday – it’s a hole-in-the-wall local Mexican hangout on Pico with old decor and pictures plastered all over the walls. It’s especially popular with families and high school teens.

    Tacos por Favor on 14th & Olympic – has hearty, cheap burritos and tacos – there is a line outside at lunchtime.
    Lares Mexican restaurant – is cheap but more upscale than Gilbert’s , make sure you get a table upstairs  they have mariachis or solo guitar singers playing up there

Best Part of Santa Monica Beach

Places to go in West LA and Westwood

  • Santa Monica doesn’t have an In n Out Burger so go to the one in Westwood and be sure to go to Diddy Riese afterward for their world famous $2 fresh-baked cookie and ice cream sandwiches
  • Just outside of Santa Monica in West LA is Sawtelle Japantown (J-town). Take cash, some of the best Japanese places are cash only. You’ll keep on going back to eat ramen at Tatsu Ramen and sushi at Kula Revolving Sushi Bar or Hide or Kirioko, Daiso is an “everything is a $1.50” store, Buy cream puffs at Beard Papa’s and bubble tea at Volcano Tea House. Nijiya Market – a Japanese supermarket. Further down the street is Plan Check kitchen a hipster burger place.

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