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Rose Cafe
Rose Cafe
Wonho Frank Lee

The 16 Essential Venice Restaurants, Winter 2017

One of America's coolest neighborhoods has some serious dining gems

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Rose Cafe
| Wonho Frank Lee

There are few neighborhoods that have undergone such a dramatic revitalization over the past few decades as Venice. What was once an artist community has gentrified over the years to become what has widely been considered the hippest neighborhood in LA.

GQ even dubbed Abbot Kinney "the coolest block in America," and it's easy to understand why. The Bohemian-chic area has been a hub of activity for restauranteurs, in no small part thanks to Travis Lett's blockbuster success with Gjelina and, a few years thereafter, Gjusta on Sunset Avenue around the corner.

But it isn't just young chefs that have made Venice such an outstanding place to eat, as beachy shacks like Hinano Café have been doing their things long before the area was populated with hipsters and the tech community. Whether you're looking for Muscle Beach poke shacks or Rose Avenue icons, here are the 16 essential restaurants in Venice, presented roughly from northwest to southeast

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
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Rose Café-Restaurant

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Jason Neroni’s remake of the iconic 1979 Rose Café that opened up in the once artistic community is still a staple in the neighborhood. From your morning soy milke chai latte to evening tagliatelle with Santa Barbara uni, this restaurant megaplex has it all.

It seems Gjusta can do no wrong, with just about everything coming out of the kitchen being crazy delicious. And now that the restaurant and bakery has graduated from milk crates, there are few reasons not to stop in for breakfast, lunch, hell even dinner.

Plant Food and Wine

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There are many a vegan restaurant in Venice, but chief among them is probably Plant Food and Wine. With its fig tree-adorned patio and sleek design, Plant Food and Wine helps redefine notions of plant-based eateries.

Banh Mi

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It isn’t always easy to find great Asian food outside of the SGV and Koreatown. Thankfully Venice has Banh Mi, the Vietnamese eatery that (shocker) specializes in the baguette sandwiches that come with a slew of assorted fillings.

Wurstküche

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With supremely hip, industrial digs with a sausage-focused menu with everything from the classic to blends of rattlesnake and rabbit, it’s no wonder Wurstkuche has found a happy home in Venice and the Arts District.

Gjelina

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There may be no restaurant that encapsulates Venice more than Gjelina. It’s no wonder Travis Lett’s vegetable-centric cooking that pushed LA’s small-plates movement forward is still one of the toughest reservations on the block.

There are few other places than on LA’s hippest street where a restaurant could get away with brown rice sushi. Shima manages to pull it off and remain Abbot Kinney’s sushi go-to.

The Tasting Kitchen

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This Abbot Kinney mainstay has become a local favorite or some of Venice’s best cocktails and pastas to soak it all up.

Salt Air

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With a seafood-centric menu in its airy, white-washed digs, this Abbot Kinney bistro is a reliable spot to soak in beachy vibes.

Poke-Poke

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Hawking the Hawaiian staple before the craze ever swept Los Angeles was Poke Poke. This takeout window across from Muscle Beach is offered the perfect beach-side snack with the now familiar build-your-own model.

Superba Food + Bread

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The Superba brand has certainly had its fair share of drama over the years, but now all seems to be well with Superba Food & Bread, the casual all-day eatery with exceptional pastries and an extensive menu with something for everyone.

South End

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It’s easy to forget that you’re dining in a strip mall at South End. This cozy wine bar is quite the place to gather with friends over rustic pizzas and charcuterie boards.

Scopa Italian Roots

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It’s been quite a few years since bar maestros Steve Livigni and Pablo Moix opened up Scopa Italian Roots with Top Chef contestant Antonia Lofaso. Enter its brick walled digs on any night of the week and find a restaurant with the same bustle and buzz as one that just opened its doors.

Charcoal

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Chef Josiah Citrin’s ode to wood-fired meats may not have the same price tag as your local barbeque joint, but that’s to be expected of the man behind Melisse. This is a more elevated approach to backyard cooking, with large, family-style plates and lots of vegetables to go around.

C&O Trattoria

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Do you love garlic rolls? It’s a question that doesn’t really need to be answered. Come in to feast on large portions of Italian-American fare and excessive quantities of the garlicy stuff—just don’t bring a date.

Hinano Cafe

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This iconic burger shack just steps from the Venice Beach pier has been slinging casual fare and brews since 1962. A favorite of both rock legends and locals, there is little argument that this one of LA’s most beloved dives.

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Rose Café-Restaurant

Jason Neroni’s remake of the iconic 1979 Rose Café that opened up in the once artistic community is still a staple in the neighborhood. From your morning soy milke chai latte to evening tagliatelle with Santa Barbara uni, this restaurant megaplex has it all.

Gjusta

It seems Gjusta can do no wrong, with just about everything coming out of the kitchen being crazy delicious. And now that the restaurant and bakery has graduated from milk crates, there are few reasons not to stop in for breakfast, lunch, hell even dinner.

Plant Food and Wine

There are many a vegan restaurant in Venice, but chief among them is probably Plant Food and Wine. With its fig tree-adorned patio and sleek design, Plant Food and Wine helps redefine notions of plant-based eateries.

Banh Mi

It isn’t always easy to find great Asian food outside of the SGV and Koreatown. Thankfully Venice has Banh Mi, the Vietnamese eatery that (shocker) specializes in the baguette sandwiches that come with a slew of assorted fillings.

Wurstküche

With supremely hip, industrial digs with a sausage-focused menu with everything from the classic to blends of rattlesnake and rabbit, it’s no wonder Wurstkuche has found a happy home in Venice and the Arts District.

Gjelina

There may be no restaurant that encapsulates Venice more than Gjelina. It’s no wonder Travis Lett’s vegetable-centric cooking that pushed LA’s small-plates movement forward is still one of the toughest reservations on the block.

Shima

There are few other places than on LA’s hippest street where a restaurant could get away with brown rice sushi. Shima manages to pull it off and remain Abbot Kinney’s sushi go-to.

The Tasting Kitchen

This Abbot Kinney mainstay has become a local favorite or some of Venice’s best cocktails and pastas to soak it all up.

Salt Air

With a seafood-centric menu in its airy, white-washed digs, this Abbot Kinney bistro is a reliable spot to soak in beachy vibes.

Poke-Poke

Hawking the Hawaiian staple before the craze ever swept Los Angeles was Poke Poke. This takeout window across from Muscle Beach is offered the perfect beach-side snack with the now familiar build-your-own model.

Superba Food + Bread

The Superba brand has certainly had its fair share of drama over the years, but now all seems to be well with Superba Food & Bread, the casual all-day eatery with exceptional pastries and an extensive menu with something for everyone.

South End

It’s easy to forget that you’re dining in a strip mall at South End. This cozy wine bar is quite the place to gather with friends over rustic pizzas and charcuterie boards.