Local Guide: Venice + Santa Monica Restaurants
I'm what you would call an Angeleno. I was born in Los Angeles 30+ years ago, went to USC, and have been a resident of Venice Beach for over 5 years. We are blessed with an incredible food scene in these parts and since I've had a ton of inquiries on Local LA guides, I figured I would kick off the series with my favorite Venice + Santa Monica Restaurants. If you're visiting or just looking for something new to try, these are spots that my hubby + I go to often and/or recently discovered. My goal is to update this post quarterly so you always have the latest + greatest.
Venice + Santa Monica Restaurants
Morning, Noon + Night Restos
- Rose Cafe - right on the border of Santa Monica + Venice, Rose is a stunning restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating. They consider their food "Southern California Cuisine with an International flair." Whatever it is, it's delicious, fresh, and very rich! You will never leave this place hungry. I suggest going for Brunch or Dinner but prepared to wait if it's on the weekend. Tip: the bar area is open seating and has all the best options from the main restaurant menu.
- Blue Stone Lane - another great spot on Rose Ave! BSL, an Australian coffee shop, recently opened a full menu spot where the old Cerveteca used to be (RIP!) and it's YUM. For dinner make sure to get the Halibut Tacos and Tiger Prawns.
- Little Ruby’s - the Australians are taking over! This spot recently opened up in the heart of Santa Monica just a few steps away from the 3rd street promenade. While most restaurants in that area are super touristy, this spot isn't. Their breakfast, salads, burgers and bowls all feature fresh local produce and you can taste it. Andy opts for their fried chicken sandwich during lunch and I love their green egg bowl for breakfast.
- Gjelina - I don't know that Gjelina needs introducing. It's probably the most notable restaurant on Abbott Kinney with it's scrumptious pizzas and pastas. The annoying thing is that you have to make a reservation pretty far in advance or be ready to wait A LONG time to get a table. Andy and I haven't been in YEARS because of this.
- Local Kitchen + Wine Bar - another Cali cuisine restaurant that's off the beaten path in Santa Monica. Great for double dates but not large groups as their seating situation is pretty minimal.
- Stella Bara - great for families and anyone looking for delicious pizza off Main Street in Santa Monica. I can't go to Stella Barra without getting their caramel pot de creme for dessert... it's TO DIE FOR.
- Scopa - a treat yourself Italian restaurant with delectable brunch and dinner. The restaurant is beautifully decorated and their bar is A+. We typically go here for anniversary dinners or birthday celebrations. This is definitely a reservations kind of spot!
Breakfast + Brunch:
- Rooster Truck - technically the Rooster Truck is always moving around LA but most Saturdays out of the year it is parked on Abbot Kinney in front of Blue Bottle Coffee. Get the Rico Suave and thank me later!
- Egg Slut - if you go before 9am chances are their won't be a line. Either way the Venice line is nowhere near the one Downtown LA. Our go-to: The Fairfax add bacon + Avocado.
- Great White - a casual cafe in the heart of Venice (right by the Venice sign + across from Egg Slut). I'm OBSESSED with their fried chicken sandwich!
- Uovo - the founders of Sugarfish opened Ouvo earlier this year and it is one of my favorite Italian restaurants for their simplicity and price point. There's no frills here. About 16 pasta dishes all made with fresh pasta flown in from Bologna, Italy and maybe two side options. That's it! The quality is incredible and EVERY dish is mouth watering. For the two of us we usually order 3 dishes as 1 per person isn't typically enough.
- Sugarfish - if you like sushi then Sugarfish is a MUST during any visit to LA. There's multiple locations in Los Angeles and two on the westside of Los Angeles: Santa Monica + Marina Del Rey. The wait at MDR is much more bearable than Santa Monica, TBH.
- Fathers Office - I would consider this the best gourmet cheeseburger I've ever had. Note: there's no ketchup or modifications which can be problematic if you have a picky S/O (cough, cough Andy!)
- North Italia - technically a chain but still delicious Italian right off 3rd Street Promenade. Great if you're doing a touristy day in Santa Monica and want something with a nice atmosphere that's not too pricey.
- Barrique - the most romantic Italian spot right off Abbot Kinney. This restaurant is in a little house and it's EVERYTHING. Bring your S/0 for a magical night - you can't go wrong with anything on the menu.
- Elephante - bevvies with a view. It's very rare to find a rooftop spot in Santa Monica or Venice that's not associated with a hotel. This new spot boasts amazing cocktails and ambience with a view of the Pacific Ocean that's to die for. I haven't eaten here (just drankkks!) but I've heard the food is pretty good as well.
- The Lincoln - cocktail bar right off of Lincoln Blvd. in Venice. Definitely a great pre or post dinner spot if you're doing a Friday or Saturday night with friends.
Happy dining!! Always happy to answer any Qs or provide suggestions for your LA visits (send me a DM). I love my city and it makes me so happy when people have great experiences here.