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Two people shown from overhead with plates of seafood and grilled fish at Crudo e Nudo.
Shellfish and more from Crudo e Nudo in Santa Monica
Ashley Randall

18 Superb Santa Monica Restaurants

All the best places to eat in the city by the sea

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Shellfish and more from Crudo e Nudo in Santa Monica
| Ashley Randall

Famous for its iconic pier and walkable Third Street Promenade, Santa Monica has the right kind of restaurant for just about everyone, from the casual to the fine dining end of the spectrum. While there are tourist traps galore (and a fair amount of restaurants that don’t necessarily stand out), there are also hidden gems and noteworthy destinations to be found all over the standalone city — and not just next to the ocean. From whimsical Midwestern fare to pristine Italian-style seafood, here now are 18 superb Santa Monica restaurants to try.

Added: Citrin, Crudo e Nudo, Socalo, Goodboybob, Cafe Ruisseau

Removed: Fritto Misto, Ingo’s Tasty Diner, Cha Cha Chicken, Tacos Por Favor

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Golden Bull Restaurant

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170 W Channel Rd
Santa Monica, CA 90402
(310) 230-0402
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Established in 1949, this historic steakhouse off PCH reopened in 2018 with a refreshed old-school vibe and fine-tuned chophouse menu. The dinnertime menu covers the classics with Caesar salad, shrimp cocktail, lamb chops, New York strip, and a bone-in ribeye. Cocktails are equally timeless, with Manhattans and martinis on offer.

2. HiHo Cheeseburger

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1320 2nd Street B
Santa Monica, CA 90401
(310) 469-7250
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Consider HiHo’s cheeseburger one of Los Angeles’s most exceptional burgers. Two wagyu beef patties are dressed with cheese and ketchup for one of the most affordable and satisfying quick meals on this side of town.

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

3. Tumbi Craft Indian Kitchen

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115 Santa Monica Blvd
Santa Monica, CA 90401
(310) 829-7200
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Tumbi is the work of longtime restaurateur and hotelier RJ Singh and chef Imran Mookhi. Dig into carefully made and wonderfully spiced Afghani-style seekh lamb kebabs, Goan prawn masala, and more.

4. Ye Olde King's Head

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116 Santa Monica Blvd
Santa Monica, CA 90401
(310) 451-1402
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Ye Olde King’s Head is undeniably the most famous British pub in town, due in no small part to its so-close-to-the-beach location and 40-plus-year legacy.

5. Interstellar

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109 Broadway
Santa Monica, CA 90401
(310) 310-8820
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Interstellar serves in the heart of downtown Santa Monica with a creative Asian-inflected daytime menu with standout coffee. The Japanese-leaning dishes like the chicken katsu curry and branzino ochazuke (tea-steeped fish) are particularly comforting.

6. Heroic Italian

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516 Santa Monica Blvd
Santa Monica, CA 90401
(310) 691-8278
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While Heroic started as a very good deli and wine bar, in more recent times it’s converted into a complete vision of Jeffrey Merrihue’s idea of really good Italian food in a relaxed setting. The sandwiches remain, and they are stellar, but the menu now dives into everything from meatballs and pizza to a wide array of excellent pastas.

A stacked Italian sandwich from a new deli, on a wooden board.
Heroic Deli & Wine Bar
Farley Elliott

7. Cassia

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1314 7th St
Santa Monica, CA
(310) 393-6699
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Bryant and Kim Ng's Cassia has been heralded by critics and diners alike for its elevated French-Vietnamese fare. Many of Cassia’s greatest hits are available through the pandemic including the kaya toast, laksa, and chickpea curry.

8. Citrin Restaurant

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1104 Wilshire Blvd Suite A
Santa Monica, CA 90401
(310) 395-0881
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Josiah Citrin’s namesake restaurant inside the former Melisse has reopened for upscale outdoor dining with a four-course menu priced at $145, though a la carte options are available too (and the bar area can accommodate diners right now). Two Michelin star Melisse, which now occupies its own space inside the building, reopens June 16 with a $295 per person gastronomical experience.

Lobster bolognese at Citrin in Santa Monica.
Lobster bolognese at Citrin
Matthew Kang

9. Rustic Canyon

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1119 Wilshire Blvd
Santa Monica, CA
(310) 393-7050
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Rustic Canyon is chef Andy Doubrava’s canvas to showcase Southern California's seasonal bounty with dishes like duck legs with preserved rhubarb and mustard cream, as well as cacio e pepe sourdough linguine.

10. Bay Cities Italian Deli & Bakery

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1517 Lincoln Blvd
Santa Monica, CA
(424) 268-8242
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This Italian deli offers what is likely the most iconic sandwich in all of Los Angeles: the Godmother. Bay Cities’ signature sub is filled prosciutto, ham, capicola, mortadella, Genoa salami, and provolone cheese, all contained in a crusty, house-baked roll.

11. Crudo e Nudo

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2724 Main St
Santa Monica, CA 90405
(310) 310-2120
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Main Street Santa Monica is seeing a bit of a renaissance these days, with newcomer Crudo e Nudo striving for simplicity and pristine seafood in its diminutive sidewalk layout. Think fresh oysters, Italian-style crudo, and grilled seafood. The restaurant only operates Wednesday to Sunday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., with coffee only from 9 to 11 a.m.

Two people shown from overhead with plates of seafood and grilled fish at Crudo e Nudo.
Plates of seafood and grilled fish at Crudo e Nudo in Santa Monica
Ashley Randall

12. Sunny Blue

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2728 Main St
Santa Monica, CA 90405
(310) 399-9030
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Onigiri, or Japanese rice balls, from Sunny Blue are available for takeout and delivery. The ones filled with miso beef and curry chicken are rightfully popular.

Onigiri from Sunny Blue.
Sunny Blue
[Official Photo]

13. Pasjoli

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2732 Main St
Santa Monica, CA 90405
(424) 330-0020
Visit Website

Fine dining vet Dave Beran serves up an elevated French bistro experience to-go and for dine-in through the pandemic. Favorites like the chicken liver-stuffed foie de canard brioche, steak au poivre, and whole pressed duck remain, while the rest of the menu offers California-inspired takes on classic French fare. It’s certainly one of the most polished restaurants to try in Los Angeles right now.

Beef tartare at Pasjoli.
Pasjoli
Wonho Frank Lee

14. Socalo

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1920 Santa Monica Blvd
Santa Monica, CA 90404
(310) 451-1655
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Mary-Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger have been serving Mexican food in Santa Monica for over three decades, so the Border Grill duo knows how to appeal to the neighborhood. The wide menu has everything from tacos and burritos for lunch to more hefty plates like tomahawk pork carnitas and seabass zarandeado for dinner.

A cut chicken burrito showing its insides, held up next to a blue wall. Farley Elliott

15. Fia Restaurant

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2454 Wilshire Blvd
Santa Monica, CA 90403
(424) 280-4196
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Michael Greco and chef Brendan Collins took over the longtime Wilshire restaurant to create a fresh, modern California menu with a gorgeous outdoor patio and approachable, well-executed dishes. The pastas are a highlight, including sweet corn agnolotti and black truffle cavatelli, while the lamb chops with eggplant parm and beef wellington are highlights on the entree section.

An outdoor bar with wooden table seating at night.
Fia Santa Monica
Wonho Frank Lee

16. Goodboybob

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2058 Broadway
Santa Monica, CA 90404
(323) 543-5973
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Goodboybob is nestled away in a production office-area of Santa Monica, but the reason to come are for the egg-laden chapati that work great with the shop’s ambitious coffee menu. If you’re hanging out on the outdoor patio through the afternoon, the shop has stellar wine options too.

Rolex Chapati from Goodboybob in Santa Monica
Rolex chapati from Goodboybob
Matthew Kang

17. Birdie G's

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2421 Michigan Ave
Santa Monica, CA 90404
(310) 310-3616
Visit Website

Head to chef Jeremy Fox’s ode to Midwestern fare for soul warming cooking and really good cocktails. The cast-iron cornbread served with chile-honey butter makes for a great starter, while the wood-grilled chicken never fails to satisfy. Consider the rose petal pie for dessert. 

birdie
Birdie G’s
Wonho Frank Lee

18. Cafe Ruisseau

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2834 Colorado Ave
Santa Monica, CA 90404
(424) 387-7689
Visit Website

Edward Ackah-Miezah opened Cafe Ruisseau in 2005, building the business by working coffee carts for busy studio types around Los Angeles. The enduring Black-owned Santa Monica and Playa Vista shops serve delicious coffee in bright, friendly environments that appeal to laptop warriors and neighborhood locals. Try the honey lavender latte.

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1. Golden Bull Restaurant

170 W Channel Rd, Santa Monica, CA 90402

Established in 1949, this historic steakhouse off PCH reopened in 2018 with a refreshed old-school vibe and fine-tuned chophouse menu. The dinnertime menu covers the classics with Caesar salad, shrimp cocktail, lamb chops, New York strip, and a bone-in ribeye. Cocktails are equally timeless, with Manhattans and martinis on offer.

170 W Channel Rd
Santa Monica, CA 90402

2. HiHo Cheeseburger

1320 2nd Street B, Santa Monica, CA 90401
A double cheeseburger on a wooden table with lettuce on top.
HiHo Cheeseburger
Fried Chicken Sandwich Studios

Consider HiHo’s cheeseburger one of Los Angeles’s most exceptional burgers. Two wagyu beef patties are dressed with cheese and ketchup for one of the most affordable and satisfying quick meals on this side of town.

1320 2nd Street B
Santa Monica, CA 90401

3. Tumbi Craft Indian Kitchen

115 Santa Monica Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401

Tumbi is the work of longtime restaurateur and hotelier RJ Singh and chef Imran Mookhi. Dig into carefully made and wonderfully spiced Afghani-style seekh lamb kebabs, Goan prawn masala, and more.

115 Santa Monica Blvd
Santa Monica, CA 90401

4. Ye Olde King's Head

116 Santa Monica Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401

Ye Olde King’s Head is undeniably the most famous British pub in town, due in no small part to its so-close-to-the-beach location and 40-plus-year legacy.

116 Santa Monica Blvd
Santa Monica, CA 90401

5. Interstellar

109 Broadway, Santa Monica, CA 90401

Interstellar serves in the heart of downtown Santa Monica with a creative Asian-inflected daytime menu with standout coffee. The Japanese-leaning dishes like the chicken katsu curry and branzino ochazuke (tea-steeped fish) are particularly comforting.

109 Broadway
Santa Monica, CA 90401

6. Heroic Italian

516 Santa Monica Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401
A stacked Italian sandwich from a new deli, on a wooden board.
Heroic Deli & Wine Bar
Farley Elliott

While Heroic started as a very good deli and wine bar, in more recent times it’s converted into a complete vision of Jeffrey Merrihue’s idea of really good Italian food in a relaxed setting. The sandwiches remain, and they are stellar, but the menu now dives into everything from meatballs and pizza to a wide array of excellent pastas.

516 Santa Monica Blvd
Santa Monica, CA 90401

7. Cassia

1314 7th St, Santa Monica, CA

Bryant and Kim Ng's Cassia has been heralded by critics and diners alike for its elevated French-Vietnamese fare. Many of Cassia’s greatest hits are available through the pandemic including the kaya toast, laksa, and chickpea curry.

1314 7th St
Santa Monica, CA

8. Citrin Restaurant

1104 Wilshire Blvd Suite A, Santa Monica, CA 90401
Lobster bolognese at Citrin in Santa Monica.
Lobster bolognese at Citrin
Matthew Kang

Josiah Citrin’s namesake restaurant inside the former Melisse has reopened for upscale outdoor dining with a four-course menu priced at $145, though a la carte options are available too (and the bar area can accommodate diners right now). Two Michelin star Melisse, which now occupies its own space inside the building, reopens June 16 with a $295 per person gastronomical experience.

1104 Wilshire Blvd Suite A
Santa Monica, CA 90401

9. Rustic Canyon

1119 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, CA

Rustic Canyon is chef Andy Doubrava’s canvas to showcase Southern California's seasonal bounty with dishes like duck legs with preserved rhubarb and mustard cream, as well as cacio e pepe sourdough linguine.

1119 Wilshire Blvd
Santa Monica, CA

10. Bay Cities Italian Deli & Bakery

1517 Lincoln Blvd, Santa Monica, CA

This Italian deli offers what is likely the most iconic sandwich in all of Los Angeles: the Godmother. Bay Cities’ signature sub is filled prosciutto, ham, capicola, mortadella, Genoa salami, and provolone cheese, all contained in a crusty, house-baked roll.

1517 Lincoln Blvd
Santa Monica, CA

11. Crudo e Nudo

2724 Main St, Santa Monica, CA 90405
Two people shown from overhead with plates of seafood and grilled fish at Crudo e Nudo.
Plates of seafood and grilled fish at Crudo e Nudo in Santa Monica
Ashley Randall

Main Street Santa Monica is seeing a bit of a renaissance these days, with newcomer Crudo e Nudo striving for simplicity and pristine seafood in its diminutive sidewalk layout. Think fresh oysters, Italian-style crudo, and grilled seafood. The restaurant only operates Wednesday to Sunday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., with coffee only from 9 to 11 a.m.

2724 Main St
Santa Monica, CA 90405

12. Sunny Blue

2728 Main St, Santa Monica, CA 90405
Onigiri from Sunny Blue.
Sunny Blue
[Official Photo]

Onigiri, or Japanese rice balls, from Sunny Blue are available for takeout and delivery. The ones filled with miso beef and curry chicken are rightfully popular.

2728 Main St
Santa Monica, CA 90405

13. Pasjoli

2732 Main St, Santa Monica, CA 90405
Beef tartare at Pasjoli.
Pasjoli
Wonho Frank Lee

Fine dining vet Dave Beran serves up an elevated French bistro experience to-go and for dine-in through the pandemic. Favorites like the chicken liver-stuffed foie de canard brioche, steak au poivre, and whole pressed duck remain, while the rest of the menu offers California-inspired takes on classic French fare. It’s certainly one of the most polished restaurants to try in Los Angeles right now.

2732 Main St
Santa Monica, CA 90405

14. Socalo

1920 Santa Monica Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90404
A cut chicken burrito showing its insides, held up next to a blue wall. Farley Elliott

Mary-Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger have been serving Mexican food in Santa Monica for over three decades, so the Border Grill duo knows how to appeal to the neighborhood. The wide menu has everything from tacos and burritos for lunch to more hefty plates like tomahawk pork carnitas and seabass zarandeado for dinner.

1920 Santa Monica Blvd
Santa Monica, CA 90404

15. Fia Restaurant

2454 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90403
An outdoor bar with wooden table seating at night.
Fia Santa Monica
Wonho Frank Lee

Michael Greco and chef Brendan Collins took over the longtime Wilshire restaurant to create a fresh, modern California menu with a gorgeous outdoor patio and approachable, well-executed dishes. The pastas are a highlight, including sweet corn agnolotti and black truffle cavatelli, while the lamb chops with eggplant parm and beef wellington are highlights on the entree section.

2454 Wilshire Blvd
Santa Monica, CA 90403

Related Maps

16. Goodboybob

2058 Broadway, Santa Monica, CA 90404
Rolex Chapati from Goodboybob in Santa Monica
Rolex chapati from Goodboybob
Matthew Kang

Goodboybob is nestled away in a production office-area of Santa Monica, but the reason to come are for the egg-laden chapati that work great with the shop’s ambitious coffee menu. If you’re hanging out on the outdoor patio through the afternoon, the shop has stellar wine options too.

2058 Broadway
Santa Monica, CA 90404

17. Birdie G's

2421 Michigan Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90404
birdie
Birdie G’s
Wonho Frank Lee

Head to chef Jeremy Fox’s ode to Midwestern fare for soul warming cooking and really good cocktails. The cast-iron cornbread served with chile-honey butter makes for a great starter, while the wood-grilled chicken never fails to satisfy. Consider the rose petal pie for dessert. 

2421 Michigan Ave
Santa Monica, CA 90404

18. Cafe Ruisseau

2834 Colorado Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90404

Edward Ackah-Miezah opened Cafe Ruisseau in 2005, building the business by working coffee carts for busy studio types around Los Angeles. The enduring Black-owned Santa Monica and Playa Vista shops serve delicious coffee in bright, friendly environments that appeal to laptop warriors and neighborhood locals. Try the honey lavender latte.

2834 Colorado Ave
Santa Monica, CA 90404

Related Maps