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Essential Santa Monica Restaurants To Know About Right Now (Summer 2017)

Santa Monica, famous for the Pacific Ocean, 3rd Street Promenade and the Santa Monica Pier, offers locals and tourists a number of dining destinations. From cheap bites, healthy eats, and seafood to fine-dining establishments, there are a ton of great places to eat if you know where to look.
Michaels Santa Monica- Verified Jarone
(credit: Michael's Santa Monica)

1147 3rd St.
Santa Monica, CA 90403
(310) 451-0843

Longtime Westside Michael's restaurant recently upgraded the interior of the restaurant along with appointing chef Miles Thompson at the helm of the historic kitchen. Guests can enjoy the market-driven dishes and drinks in the luscious garden patio or in the dining lounge, elegantly appointed with owner Michael McCarty's museum-caliber collection of artwork. Thompson's progressive menu includes signatures such as the Dungeness crab chawanmushi, buckwheat sourdough bread and the duck breast.

Wexlers Deli- Verified Jarone
(credit: Vanessa Stump)

Wexler's Deli
616 Santa Monica Blvd.
Santa Monica, CA 90401
(424) 744-8671

Wexler's Deli expanded into Santa Monica in May 2016 as chef Micah Wexler and partner Michael Kassar continue to their commitment to serving real Jewish soul food while providing a place of community, pride, familiarity, and quality. Wexler's uses old-school methods to handcraft their signature meats and smoked fish – all brined, cured, smoked, and sliced in-house – along with house made condiments and freshly baked breads and bagels baked to Chef Wexler's specifications from 7th generation bakers at Hawthorne, California's Etchea Bakery. Along with a large variety of bagels with smoked fish, menu favorites include the Big Poppa and The Newman.

Erven - Verified Jarone
(credit: Wonho Frank Lee)

514-516 Santa Monica Blvd.
Santa Monica, CA 90401
(310) 260-2255

Erven is a plant-based new-American cuisine restaurant from chef Nick Erven and Midcourse Hospitality Group. Open for dinner Tuesday through Saturday, Erven provides guests with a sophisticated dining experience, featuring a seasonal menu depending on what inspires Nick at the market. Popular items are the black garlic chick pea fritters and a Thai style burrito with fried rice and tempura sweet potato.

Melisse - Verified Jarone
(credit: Matthew Kiefer)

1104 Wilshire Blvd.
Santa Monica, CA 90401
(310) 395-0881

Mélisse is led by two Michelin starred chef Josiah Citrin. A neighborhood staple for over 17 years, Citrin has turned Mélisse into one of the city's premier fine-dining destinations for contemporary French cuisine. Serving farm-to-table cooking before it became a trend, Citrin's signature dishes include egg caviar and lobster bolognese.

North Italia- Verified Jarone
(credit: North Italia)

North Italia 
1442 2nd Street,
Santa Monica CA 90401
(310) 382-2460

Fox Restaurant Concepts debuted North Italia in Santa Monica on May 30, 2017, the third location in Los Angeles. At North, chefs start from scratch to create handmade pizza and pasta using only the best ingredients to craft inspired dishes from the garden, farm, and sea. The Santa Monica menu offers a great selection of both traditional Italian cuisine and lighter fresh fish dishes, bringing the traditions of Italia to life for a modern palate. Try their popular black Mediterranean mussels or bacon & egg and prosciutto pizza and enjoy a cocktail like the Sicilian margarita.

(credit: Justin Leyvas)

1416 4th St.
Santa Monica, CA 9040
(310) 526-7121

Mercado Santa Monica was co-created by Jesse Gomez & Chef /Partner Jose Acevedo in 2012 and since has expanded to mid-city Los Angeles and Hollywood. They take pride in offering seasonal items on their menus such as Chef Jose's Farmers' Market Vegetables, Elote, Rajas Poblanas, & Squash Blossoms. A few of their most popular items on the menu are Chef Jose's Carnitas, the Spicy Cucumber/Jalapeno Margarita, and not to mention their homemade flan with Rompope.

The Albright- Verified Jarone
(credit: Kristen Beinke)

The Albright
258 Santa Monica Pier
Santa Monica, CA 90401
(310) 394-9683

The Albright, a local family-owned restaurant located on the Santa Monica Pier, is celebrating their 40th anniversary this year. The longest running restaurant on the Pier is known for their Lobster Roll which made with fresh lobster chunks, light mayo chives, fresh celery and served New England Style on a toasted roll as well as their spicy seafood soup. The local favorite is seasoned and filled with clams, mussels, cod, langoustine, squid, shrimp and jasmine rice it is a hearty and delicious option for any seafood lover.

Sweetfin Poke- Verified Jarone
(credit: Alex Krohn)

Sweetfin Poke
829 Broadway
Santa Monica, CA 90401
(310) 395-1097

Sweetfin Poke reimagines Hawaii's traditional "soul food" with its delicious, healthful poke bowls. With five locations across Los Angeles and one upcoming in Silver Lake and DTLA, the fast-casual restaurant serves customizable and signature bowls from a menu created by chef Dakota Weiss. Two popular seasonal bowls are the Spicy Tuna and Spicy Yuzu Salmon, while another hugely popular one is the Mango Albacore. Make sure to try their lemonades like the seasonal banana colada and red white & blueberry lemonade.

Cassia - Verified Jarone
(credit: John Linden)

1314 7th St.
Santa Monica, CA 90401
(310) 393-6699

Cassia celebrates Chef Bryant Ng's Chinese-Singaporean background and his wife Kim's Vietnamese heritage with French-inspired plates that weave in Southeast Asian flavor profiles. They only use sustainable seafood, and feature a variety of options from seafood towers to Vietnamese Sunbathing Prawns, but Chef Ng's signature dishes include a Vietnamese take on the classic French pot-au-feu, grilled steak frites, and an Asian-inspired, house made charcuterie platter.

Capo - Verified Jarone
(credit: Amy Barnard photography)

1810 Ocean Ave.
Santa Monica, CA 90401
(310) 394-5550

Serving modern-Italian cuisine, Capo is an organic farmer's market restaurant serving simple but delicious dishes. Pair one of their popular dishes like the prime flannery beef, white corn ravioli or Capo's biscotti chocolate plate with a superb wine list curated by their server/sommelier staff. Seasonal offerings include: white asparagus from Holland, fresh ceps/porcini from Northern California and fresh Extra virgin olive oil from Fontodi Vineyards in Panzano, Italy.

FIG - Verified Jarone
(credit: Christian Horan)

101 Wilshire Blvd.
Santa Monica, CA 90401
(310) 319-3111

FIG Restaurant, located inside the Fairmont Miramar Hotel in Santa Monica, is a seasonal, Mediterranean-influenced bistro, serving wood-fired dishes made with locally-sourced ingredients from hand-selected farmers and purveyors in California. The bistro, named after the Moreton Bay fig tree that is the centerpiece of the courtyard at the hotel's entrance, is made up of a dining room with sliding doors that open up to the terrace and pool, pewter bar and a private room. Chef Yousef Ghalaini's farm-to-table driven menu includes the popular bread balloon along with wood-fired dishes for breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner.

Water Grill- Verified Jarone
(credit: Alan de Herrera)

Water Grill
1401 Ocean Ave.
Santa Monica, CA 90401
(310) 394-5669

Located on scenic Ocean Avenue, Water Grill serves a wide range of high quality seafood dishes. Their menu takes inspiration from the ocean and with selections changing daily, serving the freshest, and often first-of-season catches. Their signature menu item is their ice shellfish towers, while other menu favorites include the New England lobster roll, and their wild Ross Sea Chilean sea bass.

Flower Child - Verified Jarone
(credit: Flower Child)

Flower Child
1332 2nd St.
Santa Monica, CA 90401
(310) 382-2901

Brought to Santa Monica by True Food Kitchen's Sam Fox, Flower Child is a fast-casual café with a bohemian feel. Serving health-minded salads, bowls & wraps, to stay or go, it is the chain's first California location. With a plethora of healthy and vegan options, popular dishes include the Mother Earth bowl and the Flying Avocado wrap.

Herringbone - Verified Jarone
(credit: Marie Buck)

1755 Ocean Ave.
Santa Monica, CA 90401
(310) 971-4460

Located in The Seychelle at Ocean Avenue South, Herringbone Santa Monica features ocean to table flavors with an emphasis on line-caught seafood and high-quality meats. The coastal charm of the Santa Monica outpost is achieved through live trees, lush greenery and a number of nautical themed pieces and artwork. Favorites on the market-driven menu include the whole fish cevice and buffalo octopus. Guests can also enjoy seasonal offerings like their oyster hour from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30pm Monday-Friday. Also make sure to add a $5 glass of rose to any lunch item order.

Belcampo - Verified Jarone
(credit: Lauren di Matteo)

Belcampo Santa Monica
1026 Wilshire Blvd.
Santa Monica, CA 90401
(424) 744-8008

Belcampo is a farm, processing plant, and butcher shop all in one, helmed by CEO and co-founder Anya Fernald. At their Southern California flagship location in Santa Monica, they serve rustic, elegant, California cuisine and farm-inspired craft cocktails paired with a full-service butcher shop. Popular dishes include the Belcampo Burger with their Belcampo steak frites. Also, available only at their Santa Monica location by request is their off the menu Belcampo Poutine.

Inotheke - Verified Jarone
(credit: Acuna Hansen)

606 Broadway #101
Santa Monica, CA 90401
(310) 458-3366

Modern Greek restaurant Inotheke specializes in flavorful Mediterranean dishes and a carefully curated wine list. Designed with an emphasis on seasonal and fresh ingredients, their menu currently features seasonal offerings like their Lamb Exohiko. Popular items on the menu include the Lamb and Orzo or the Grilled Octopus Salad, which go great with any of their Greek wines.  

Rustic Canyon- Verified Jarone
(credit: Emily Hart Roth)

Rustic Canyon Wine Bar and Seasonal Kitchen
1119 Wilshire Blvd.
Santa Monica, CA 90401
(310) 393-7050

The award-winning farm-to-table restaurant features hyper-seasonal, market-driven fare in a stylish and sociable setting. The daily-changing menu from Jeremy Fox at Rustic Canyon is inspired by the Santa Monica Farmers' Market which is down the street. Signature dishes include the Pozole Verde, Local Rice Porridge with duck leg carnitas, and the Flannery Cote De Boeuf for two.

Milo & Olive- Verified Jarone
(credit: Emily Hart Roth)

Milo & Olive
2723 Wilshire Blvd.
Santa Monica, CA 90403
(310) 453-6776

Milo & Olive is a bakery and pizzeria that serves as the bread baking hub for the Rustic Canyon Family of Restaurants. Known for its wood-fire pizzas and house-made pastas and pastries, the menu also includes seasonal salads and wood-fired vegetables. Favorites include the pork belly sausage & kale pizza, breakfast pizza and the fresh tagliarini bolognese.

tallulas- Verified Jarone
(credit: Rick Poon)

118 Entrada Dr.
Santa Monica, CA 90402
(310) 526-0027

Tallula's is the latest addition to the Rustic Canyon Family of restaurants where Executive Chef Mario Alberto's menu features ingredient-driven, rustic, Mexican comfort food made with fresh, organic, and sustainably sourced ingredients. Taking over the long-standing Tex Mex restaurant, Marix, where partners Josh Loeb and Zoe Nathan used to go as kids, the restaurant is named after their daughter and offers a fun and relaxed dining experience in a colorful space filled with lush plants and beachy, south-of-the-border décor.

Tar & Roses- Verified Jarone
(credit: Tar & Roses)

Tar & Roses
602 Santa Monica Blvd.
Santa Monica, CA 90401
(310) 587-0700

Tar & Roses by chef Andrew Kirschner merges classical cuisine with modern sensibilities. Crafting a menu around a wood-burning oven, flavors are globally inspired and preparations are both sophisticated and comforting. Signature dishes include their oxtail dumplings and the whole fried snapper which can be paired with a bold and varied wine program touting as many as 80+ bottles on the list each night.

lunetta - Verified Jarone
(credit: Erin Doll)

2424 Pico Blvd.
Santa Monica, CA 90405
(310) 581-4201

Lunetta serves rustic American cuisine in the Pico District of Santa Monica. The restaurant is a collaboration between partners Raphael Lunetta (formerly of JiRaffe) and Divide + Conquer, Inc.'s Daniel Weinstock and Mike Garrett (Maple Block Meat Co.). Located adjacent to Lunetta All Day, the trio's modern diner and first collaboration, Lunetta brings a more refined approach with a menu steeped in local California ingredients and chef/partner Raphael Lunetta's signature touch where simple, clean flavors take center stage.

Jarone Ashkenazi is a freelance writer who covers: restaurants, bars, dating, relationships, sports and other lifestyle topics. View more work at Connect with him on Twitter at @JaroneAsh.
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