There’s no shortage of amazing food places in Santa Monica. From Mexican to Italian to Thai, this Los Angeles suburb has it all. When the options are endless, picking a restaurant may seem like an impossible task. I’ve composed a list of 10 incredible food places in Santa Monica to try on your next visit based on aesthetics, ambiance, service, and most importantly of all, the food.
1. Lula Cocina Mexicana
Whether you’re looking to have an intimate dinner with your SO or are trying to have a girl’s night with a group of friends, Lula’s is the perfect place for both. Located blocks away from the beach, this unique Mexican restaurant delivers on decor and makes a mean margarita. Not only does Lula’s have authentic Mexican cuisine, they offer a number of vegetarian and vegan options as well. A spacious patio, reasonable prices, and fast service creates a welcoming atmosphere for Santa Monica natives or anyone visiting from out of town.
2. Rosti Tuscan Kitchen
A delicious casual eatery on Montana, Rosti Tuscan Kitchen presents as one of the more affordable Italian food places in Santa Monica. Their BYOB policy invites customers to bring their own wine, and establishes an inviting atmosphere for a fun first date or dinner with the family. With free parking on the street or in their lot, Rosti offers both indoor and outdoor seating. The service is impeccable and food not to be missed, all while giving the customer family-owned vibes and traditional Santa Monica neighborhood charm.
3. Thai Vegan
Don’t let the vegan friendly title keep you away from trying this hidden gem of Santa Monica. Close to the pier, beach, and downtown Santa Monica, Thai Vegan offers delectable dishes at low prices; who doesn’t love that? This restaurant is cozy, casual, and encourages family style eating, perfect for a low-key night with friends or a relaxed date with your SO. You order at a window, take a number, find a seat (inside or outside), and enjoy your meal.
4. R+D Kitchen
With more of a business-casual feel to it, R+D is a great place to take the parents, impress coworkers, or dress up and go on a date with your loved one. Reviews rave about the excellent staff, who provide friendly and personable service. Although priced on the higher end, the food delivers in all departments and will keep you coming back for more. This restaurant doesn’t take reservations and stays on the busier side, so make sure you get there early if you’re on a time crunch. And FYI; the crispy chicken sandwich is to die for. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
5. The Courtyard Kitchen
Although Courtyard serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, I highly recommend coming here for brunch. As it’s namesake implies, the restaurant is in a courtyard located in-between buildings, and makes for aesthetically pleasing Instagram photos while also keeping it cozy. It’s general ambiance makes you feel like you’re in wine country or a quaint village, rather than a big city. Serving delightful traditional American food, The Courtyard Kitchen delivers on both food and atmosphere.
6. Swingers Diner
In the heart of downtown Santa Monica, Swingers presents as a unique late-night or early-morning quirky diner, perfect for after a night out on the town or Sunday brunch with friends. With a menu stock full of health-conscious options, this restaurant is friendly to vegans and vegetarians alike. It’s decor reminiscent of the 70’s, Swingers will give you major throwback vibes. The staff hustles hard to get the food out fresh and fast, leaving customers satisfied and coming back for more.
7. The Misfit Restaurant + Bar
Casual, trendy, and offering a full bar, The Misfit is located right off of the Third Street Promenade. Dark and sexy, the general ambience gives off a very film noir vibe, leaving you feeling as though you’ve been dumped straight into a detective novel. A charming spot for food and drink, The Misfit presents a reasonable happy hour and fair prices, considering it’s prime location. Whether you’re grabbing drinks with friends or spending an intimate dinner with your SO, this bar and restaurant is sure to leave a lasting impression.
8. True Food Kitchen
Based in the Third Street Promenade mall, True Food Kitchen is a healthy restaurant that caters to meat eaters, vegetarians, and vegans alike. Serving farm-to-table food, the staff is knowledgable about their product and quick to serve customers. Good for either lunch or dinner, this restaurant is kid-friendly and casual while also offering a full bar. If you’re hesitant about trying True Food because of it’s ultra-healthy vibe, don’t be; it’s food is so good you won’t even remember that it’s guilt free.
9. Ye Olde King’s Head
Ye Olde King’s Head offers it’s customer a traditional British pub experience. Perfect for breakfast and brunch and located blocks away from the Third Street Promenade, this food place has an outdoor patio perfect for people watching as well as indoor seating reminiscent of England. It also has a bar directly adjacent to the restaurant, as well as a small shop that sells traditional British delicacies next door. You’re sure to get a unique experience if you choose to stop by this Santa Monica pub.
10. Cha Cha Chicken
Serving authentic Caribbean cuisine near the beach, this family-owned food place in Santa Monica is cute, cozy, and reasonably priced. Another BYOB restaurant, Cha Cha Chicken encourages it’s customers to bring your own and stay a while. With all outdoor seating (don’t worry; there are heaters) and Caribbean inspired decor, this restaurant brings a casual atmosphere and beach vibes to the table. There’s no need to visit the islands when the islands are being brought to you.