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A double cheeseburger on a wooden table with lettuce on top.
HiHo Cheeseburger
Fried Chicken Sandwich Studios

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10 Delicious Things to Eat in Santa Monica

Eater editors’ favorite dishes on the Westside’s idyllic beachfront neighborhood

This is a series celebrating the best dishes to eat in various neighborhoods across Los Angeles. Today we’re in Santa Monica, a Westside hub that’s best known for its iconic pier and walkable Third Street Promenade. Though Santa Monica doesn’t get much credit as a dining destination, scratch beneath the surface to find everything from roasted goats to grilled pig’s tails and old-school Italian sandwiches. Here now are Eater editors’ favorites in the neighborhood.


Roasted goat at Tar and Roses

Roasted goat at Tar and Roses.
Roasted goat at Tar and Roses
Cathy Chaplin

In the eight or so years since chef Andrew Kirshner opened Tar and Roses, the restaurant has settled into its neighborhood well, serving up dependably good small plates and pitch-perfect wine pairings in convivial surrounds. While dining at Tar and Roses is a solid choice on any occasion, plan ahead and reserve a roasted goat for an out-of-the-ordinary dinner. The goat, rubbed in Moroccan spices and cooked overnight in the CVap and finished in a wood-burning oven, arrives wonderfully tender on the inside and caramelized on the outside. A trio of accoutrements including pickled tomatoes, banana raita, and harissa, roasted vegetables, and couscous add the finishing touches. 602 Santa Monica Blvd., Santa Monica. —Cathy Chaplin

Godmother sandwich at Bay Cities Italian Deli

Godmother sandwich at Bay Cities
Godmother sandwich at Bay Cities
Cathy Chaplin

The Bay Cities Godmother sandwich is a top-five all-time Los Angeles dish, at least in terms of its saturation within the minds of Angelenos everywhere. The hefty Italian sandwich’s crusty bread is layered through ham, prosciutto, mortadella, salami, capicola, and lots of provolone cheese before being finished off with shredded lettuce and mild peppers. In a city that often gets a bad rap for wanting to eat healthy (especially near the beach) this is a wonderful antidote that everyone can (and does) get behind. 1517 Lincoln Blvd., Santa Monica. —Farley Elliott

Tonnarelli amatriciana at Uovo

Plate of red sauce pasta on a white plate at Uovo. Tonnarelli amatriciana at Uovo.
Tonnarelli amatriciana at Uovo
Wonho Frank Lee

Of the numerous excellent pastas at Uovo, the tonnarelli amatriciana stands at the top. It’s because of the sturdy tonnarelli noodles that offer a more present bite and a gently yielding texture, soaking up the amalgam of tomato and pork fat just a little more elegantly than the more common and tubular bucatini. Typically pasta restaurants only serve thin bacon-like strips of pork jowl, which don’t provide enough fat and flavor. Uovo makes sure diners get meaty little bites of guanciale as a declaration of how this amatriciana is better than other restaurant’s versions. 1320 2nd St., Santa Monica. —Matthew Kang

Double HiHo cheeseburger at HiHo Cheeseburger

A double cheeseburger on a wooden table with lettuce on top.
HiHo Cheeseburger
Fried Chicken Sandwich Studios

In case anyone forgot, Southern California is all about burgers. Visitors are always shocked at our plentiful meat between bun options, along with favorites like breakfast burritos and doughnuts. For the sake of this discussion, we’ll tackle the double HiHo cheeseburger in Santa Monica. Step up to the sleek counter, order the double HiHo cheeseburger made with grass-fed, New Zealand wagyu beef with twice-cooked french fries, take a number, and wait. It won’t take long for staff to deliver two mustard-grilled patties with American cheese, butter pickles, ketchup, and a sweet onion jam. It’s a solid burger, with fries that are equally pleasant and pair wonderfully with beer. The food and beer will set you back slightly under $20 — a steal by LA standards for staples this good. 1320 2nd St., Ste. B Santa Monica. —Mona Holmes

Green posole at Rustic Canyon

Green posole at Rustic Canyon.
Green posole at Rustic Canyon
Cathy Chaplin

Santa Monica stalwart Rustic Canyon always seems to find a way to reinvent itself. Having passed through some of the city’s best chef hands, from Evan Funke to Jeremy Fox to current executive chef Andy Doubrava, the upscale restaurant — which likes to think of itself as a wine bar with a little more space — has consistently turned its menu in all manner of interesting directions. One years-long staple dish, though, is the green pozole, loaded with clams and mussels, that earns its happy flavor zap from pureed chiles and citrus. It’s the kind of modern California comfort food that Rustic Canyon thrives on. 1119 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica. —Farley Elliott

Prime rib at Golden Bull

Prime rib at Golden Bull.
Prime rib at Golden Bull
[Official Photo]

Hidden along a side road just steps from the beach, Golden Bull endures as Santa Monica’s throwback steakhouse, a clubby mid-century feel with dark booths and stiff drinks. The menu has just the right amount of nostalgia, but with modern execution from chef Greg Daniels. The prime rib is the dish to order here — a good-sized 14 ounce cut bathed in French onion soup-style jus with Yorkshire pudding and a side dish. The meat’s intense flavor belies its texture, almost fork-able tenderness. This is the best prime rib available every night west of La Cienega. 170 W. Channel Rd., Santa Monica. —Matthew Kang

Blueberry cornmeal cake at Huckleberry Bakery and Cafe

Blueberry cornmeal cake at Huckleberry Bakery and Cafe.
Blueberry cornmeal cake at Huckleberry Bakery and Cafe
Matt Armendariz

When it comes to baked goods, Huckleberry does just about everything right. At or near the top of that class, though, is the restaurant’s delightfully soft blueberry cornmeal cake, which is perfect as a breakfast treat, post-meal delight, or really any time in between. The cake works best with a dollop of whipped cream, but its otherwise unadorned save for the heavy studding of juicy blueberries that permeate the golden top. 1014 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica. —Farley Elliott

Ravioli at Fritto Misto

Ravioli at Fritto Misto.
Ravioli at Fritto Misto
Mona Holmes

Earlier this year, Santa Monica’s Fritto Misto moved from its original location into Nyesha Arrington’s shuttered Native. The restaurant pledged to keep prices the same for pasta and wine. With a coat of fresh paint, they’ve transformed the corner of 7th and Santa Monica. The downtown Santa Monica residence is a comforting sight with the same unfussy, straightforward Italian menu. On the menu is pasta from Florentyna’s Fresh Pasta Factory, a build-your-own pasta option, and decadent cream sauces for days. Order the jumbo ravioli in all its old-school splendor, stuffed with prosciutto, mortadella, and chicken. It’s tossed in a garlic cream sauce with caramelized onions, sun dried tomatoes, and pancetta. The dish is undeniably rich and sharing is a good idea. Another good idea is supporting a mom and pop restaurant with staying power for nearly 30 years. 620 Santa Monica Blvd., Santa Monica. —Mona Holmes

Grilled pig’s tail at Cassia

Grilled pig’s tail at Cassia.
Grilled pig’s tail at Cassia
Cathy Chapln

Bryant and Kim Ng’s Cassia continues to be one of Santa Monica’s best overall restaurants, serving polished Southeast Asian fare in an energetic dining room. The menu meanders through raw seafood and charcuterie to grilled meats and noodles. It’s a big event, and the prices are hefty to match. The pig’s tails come blackened from the grill and are served along crisp butter lettuce and nuoc cham. The tail is pretty substantial, with candy-like edges and tender meat. Gelatinous chunks fall right off the bone, ideal for stuffing into the lettuce and dipping into nuoc cham for a smoky-meaty-sweet-savory bomb of a bite. Oof. 1314 7th St., Santa Monica. —Matthew Kang

Foie de poulet à la Strasbourgeoise at Pasjoli

Hollowed out brioche with chicken liver at Pasjoli.
Foie de poulet à la Strasbourgeoise at Pasjoli
Cathy Chaplin

Though chef Dave Beran’s neo-bistro Pasjoli is still quite new to the neighborhood, it’s already attracted a steady following of locals gathering at the bar or swinging in for a thoughtful dinner on most nights. Whether its one’s first meal at Pasjoli or a return visit, the foie de poulet à la Strasbourgeoise is an absolute must-have. Comprised of a smooth lobe of chicken liver forced into hollowed-out brioche and adorned with truffle shavings, chives, and coarse salt, this dish fires on all rich and decadent cylinders — savor every stupendous bite. 2732 Main St., Santa Monica. —Cathy Chaplin

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