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Sushi and sake at Soko in Santa Monica.
Sushi and sake at Soko in Santa Monica.
Fairmont Miramar

16 Superb Santa Monica Restaurants

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

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Sushi and sake at Soko in Santa Monica.
| Fairmont Miramar

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 16 superb Santa Monica restaurants to try.

Added: Cobi’s, the Lobster, Fia Steak, Ghisallo, Soko

Removed: Tumbi, Ye Olde King’s Head, Heroic Italian, Sunny Blue, Fia, HiHo Cheeseburger, Interstellar

Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; the latest data about the delta variant indicates that it may pose a low-to-moderate risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial transmission. The latest CDC guidance is here; find a COVID-19 vaccination site here.

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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. Soko

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101 Wilshire Blvd
Santa Monica, CA 90401

One of Santa Monica’s most exciting new sushi spots, the tiny eight-seat counter and the smattering of tables set at the side entrance to the Fairmont Miramar hotel are where chef Masa Shimakawa prepares stellar nigiri, sashimi, and other raw Japanese fare. Meaning “storeroom” in Japanese, Soko feels like a literal hole in the wall, but with the quality of a destination omakase spot. Thankfully there’s everything from a chef’s choice omakase to a full a la carte menu in case you want to choose your own sushi adventure.

Soko at Fairmont Miramar Santa Monica.
Soko at Fairmont Miramar Santa Monica.
Fairmont Miramar

3. The Lobster

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1602 Ocean Ave
Santa Monica, CA 90401
(310) 458-9294
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One of Santa Monica’s oldest restaurants, this ocean view destination opened back in 1950 as a seafood shack, developing into a modern two-story building with unfettered vistas. Longtime LA chef Govind Armstrong oversees the current seafood-focused menu with things like charred octopus, seared dungeness crab cake, grilled Maine lobsters, and wild king crab tagliatelle that tastes even better when out-of-town friends and family are footing the bill.

The Lobster’s New Look in Santa Monica
The Lobster in Santa Monica.
Wonho Frank Lee

4. 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 include the kaya toast, beef rendang, laksa, and chickpea curry.

5. 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, runs $295 per person (plus tax and gratuity) gastronomical experience.

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

6. 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 Pacific striped bass with Weiser family farms spinach and gigante beans or a Peads and Barnetts pork chop with smoked trout roe sauce. One of Santa Monica’s most storied and reliable places for modern California cuisine.

7. 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.

8. Cobi's

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2104 Main St
Santa Monica, CA 90405
(424) 238-5195
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Main Street Santa Monica needed a place like Cobi’s, a Southeast Asian-inspired dinner spot that has all the charm of a grandma’s home (or backyard), along with well-made curries, raw fish preparations, butter chicken, tartare, and grilled branzino that will please a crowd. Be sure to ask the servers for a solid bottle of natural wine to pair with the meal.

Dishes from Cobi’s in Santa Monica laid out with colorful plates and a wood table.
Dishes from Cobi’s in Santa Monica.
Katrina Frederick Studio

9. 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 noon to 10 p.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

10. Pasjoli

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2732 Main St
Santa Monica, CA 90405
(424) 330-0020
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Fine dining vet Dave Beran serves up an elevated French bistro experience on Main Street Santa Monica. 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. One of the most reliable upscale places to eat on the Westside, with the service and ambience to match the amazing food.

Beef tartare at Pasjoli.
Pasjoli
Wonho Frank Lee

11. 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

12. Fia Steak

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2458 Wilshire Blvd
Santa Monica, CA 90403
(424) 355-5437
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The Westside has an extravagant new steakhouse modeled very much after Chi Spacca, with chef Brendan Collins leaning into Italian chops like bistecca alla fiorentina and a fantastic lobster risotto served in a clubby, old school banquettes and a secret tucked-away dining room. The meals here will cost a pretty penny, but for all the caviar, truffles, and champagne to go along with the dry-aged meat, it might actually all be worth it.

Dry-aged bistecca from Fia Steak in Santa Monica in a metal pan.
Dry-aged bistecca from Fia Steak.
Wonho Frank Lee/Eater LA

13. 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

14. Birdie G's

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

15. Cafe Ruisseau

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

16. Ghisallo

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1622 Ocean Park Blvd
Santa Monica, CA 90405
(310) 399-4060
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Ocean Park’s handy Ghisallo has some of the best pizza by the slice in the Westside during the day, and an Italian-American comfort menu in the evenings from chef David Rodriguez, including a breaded Mary’s chicken parmesan, smoked ribs, and squid ink lumache with a crab and lemon filling. It’s the neighborhood restaurant this part of Santa Monica needed.

Chicken parm from Ghisallo in Santa Monica.
Chicken parm from Ghisallo in Santa Monica.
Ghisallo

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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. Soko

101 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401
Soko at Fairmont Miramar Santa Monica.
Soko at Fairmont Miramar Santa Monica.
Fairmont Miramar

One of Santa Monica’s most exciting new sushi spots, the tiny eight-seat counter and the smattering of tables set at the side entrance to the Fairmont Miramar hotel are where chef Masa Shimakawa prepares stellar nigiri, sashimi, and other raw Japanese fare. Meaning “storeroom” in Japanese, Soko feels like a literal hole in the wall, but with the quality of a destination omakase spot. Thankfully there’s everything from a chef’s choice omakase to a full a la carte menu in case you want to choose your own sushi adventure.

101 Wilshire Blvd
Santa Monica, CA 90401

3. The Lobster

1602 Ocean Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90401
The Lobster’s New Look in Santa Monica
The Lobster in Santa Monica.
Wonho Frank Lee

One of Santa Monica’s oldest restaurants, this ocean view destination opened back in 1950 as a seafood shack, developing into a modern two-story building with unfettered vistas. Longtime LA chef Govind Armstrong oversees the current seafood-focused menu with things like charred octopus, seared dungeness crab cake, grilled Maine lobsters, and wild king crab tagliatelle that tastes even better when out-of-town friends and family are footing the bill.

1602 Ocean Ave
Santa Monica, CA 90401

4. 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 include the kaya toast, beef rendang, laksa, and chickpea curry.

1314 7th St
Santa Monica, CA

5. 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, runs $295 per person (plus tax and gratuity) gastronomical experience.

1104 Wilshire Blvd Suite A
Santa Monica, CA 90401

6. 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 Pacific striped bass with Weiser family farms spinach and gigante beans or a Peads and Barnetts pork chop with smoked trout roe sauce. One of Santa Monica’s most storied and reliable places for modern California cuisine.

1119 Wilshire Blvd
Santa Monica, CA

7. 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

8. Cobi's

2104 Main St, Santa Monica, CA 90405
Dishes from Cobi’s in Santa Monica laid out with colorful plates and a wood table.
Dishes from Cobi’s in Santa Monica.
Katrina Frederick Studio

Main Street Santa Monica needed a place like Cobi’s, a Southeast Asian-inspired dinner spot that has all the charm of a grandma’s home (or backyard), along with well-made curries, raw fish preparations, butter chicken, tartare, and grilled branzino that will please a crowd. Be sure to ask the servers for a solid bottle of natural wine to pair with the meal.

2104 Main St
Santa Monica, CA 90405

9. 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 noon to 10 p.m.

2724 Main St
Santa Monica, CA 90405

10. 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 on Main Street Santa Monica. 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. One of the most reliable upscale places to eat on the Westside, with the service and ambience to match the amazing food.

2732 Main St
Santa Monica, CA 90405

11. 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

12. Fia Steak

2458 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90403
Dry-aged bistecca from Fia Steak in Santa Monica in a metal pan.
Dry-aged bistecca from Fia Steak.
Wonho Frank Lee/Eater LA

The Westside has an extravagant new steakhouse modeled very much after Chi Spacca, with chef Brendan Collins leaning into Italian chops like bistecca alla fiorentina and a fantastic lobster risotto served in a clubby, old school banquettes and a secret tucked-away dining room. The meals here will cost a pretty penny, but for all the caviar, truffles, and champagne to go along with the dry-aged meat, it might actually all be worth it.

2458 Wilshire Blvd
Santa Monica, CA 90403

13. 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

14. 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

15. 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

16. Ghisallo

1622 Ocean Park Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90405
Chicken parm from Ghisallo in Santa Monica.
Chicken parm from Ghisallo in Santa Monica.
Ghisallo

Ocean Park’s handy Ghisallo has some of the best pizza by the slice in the Westside during the day, and an Italian-American comfort menu in the evenings from chef David Rodriguez, including a breaded Mary’s chicken parmesan, smoked ribs, and squid ink lumache with a crab and lemon filling. It’s the neighborhood restaurant this part of Santa Monica needed.

1622 Ocean Park Blvd
Santa Monica, CA 90405

Related Maps