BREAKFAST & FIRST THINGS
1014 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica | (310) 451-2311
The beloved crown jewel of the Rustic Canyon restaurant empire puts out dishes we crave all day long. A sunshine slice of what home cooking should be, this is Zoe Nathan and Josh Loeb’s love letter to their hometown, sealed with the kiss of a lemon posset or oozy blueberry brioche.
Cora’s Coffee Shoppe
1802 Ocean Ave, Santa Monica | (310) 451-9562
They’ll have you at the vintage signage at this casual patio spot but make no mistake, this is brunch fare at its best.
15317 Antioch St, Pacific Palisades | (310) 573-1335
We love the tasty simplicity of the healthy smoothies and wholesome entrees at this three-squares spot.
1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice | (310) 450-1429
It’s a toss-up deciding whether breakfast, lunch or dinner is best at this thoroughly original Venice mainstay. From lemon buckwheat ricotta pancakes to their legendary pizza combos, it’s the best possible version of a next-level neighborhood bistro.
15324 Antioch St, Pacific Palisades | (310) 459-4200
Our fave take on the LA juice craze, Juice Crafters strikes a nice balance between uber-healthy and ‘I can actually pronounce that!’ ingredients.
Superba Food + Bread
1900 Lincoln Blvd, Venice | (310) 907-5075
Everything about this spacious indoor/outdoor bakery-meets-café is classic California dining, as sophisticated as it is casual. Ditch your diet and don’t skimp on the bread: trust us.
Ivy at the Shore
1535 Ocean Ave, Santa Monica | (310) 393-3113
The picket-fenced Robertson location may be the more famous of the Ivy restaurants but this kitschy Ocean Avenue outpost serves one of the best classic salads (and fries) in the city, sans the paparazzo-packed sidewalks.
320 Sunset Ave, Venice | (310) 314-0320
We’re still dreaming of our last meal at this cute-as-a-button nod to a utilitarian lunch counter. From creative sandwiches like the Porchetta Banh-Mi to sweet little coffees like the Whippersnapper, Travis Lett and his cheery staff have another hit on their hands.
Santa Monica Seafood
1000 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica | (310) 393-5244
This bustling hive of fishmongering is the spot for fresh catches and their accoutrements. And a seat at the counter for fresh oysters and a glass at happy hour is the definition of ‘good afternoon’ as far as we’re concerned.
Milo & Olive
2723 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica | (310) 453-6776
A clean-lined concept centered on the massive pizza oven, M&O makes the city’s best meatballs as well as a mean pizza pie. Salads, Italian wines and a blissful baked goods selection have made us regulars.
1427 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice | (310) 392-7575
Gjelina Takeaway is Gjelina’s mellowed out, come-as-you-are younger sister. Order up a slice and claim a makeshift seat beneath the climbing Bougainvillea.
Cocktails, Coffee + Treats
Esters Wine Shop & Bar + Cassia
1314 7th Street, Santa Monica | (310) 899-6900
A lively homage to all that’s most convivial about wine, Esters is the kind of place you’ll find any excuse to visit. It’s a cozy yet Deco-glamorous spot for happy hour inside, yet it’s an equally al fresco dream during balmier nights. The array of delicious bites curated by Rustic Canyon prove the food is more than mere afterthought. Pop on over to neighboring Cassia for a complementary meal to cap off your wonderful evening.
Sweet Rose Creamery
225 26th St #51, Santa Monica |(310) 260-2663
This vintage-inspired ice cream shop churns out small-batch artisanal flavors to pine for (we’ll see you again shortly, Salted Caramel).
925 Montana Avenue, Santa Monica | (310) 394-2222
In a land overrun with artisanal coffee klatches, Caffe Luxxe stands out for its signature roasts and inventive drinks. The Shakerato and the classic cappuccino are staples.
101 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica | (310) 899-8530
The Fairmont Miramar Hotel got a much appreciated revival with the opening of The Bungalow, a hip day-to-night destination for drinks, snacks and general merriment ‘where Wilshire meets the sea’.
2518 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica | (310) 828-3300
Angelenos, especially westside ones, tend to be viewed as soft on proper cocktailing. Thanks to Cadet, we’ve suddenly come a very long way. The scent of kindling firewood filters this warm redbrick tribute to a faintly Parisian cirque and though the brunch and dinner here are fantastic, Joey’s concoctions (like the French Margarita or the Gin & Juice) steal the show.
Blue Plate Oysterette
1355 Ocean Avenue, Santa Monica | (310) 576-3474
This beachy-chic take on a New England crab shack never fails to warm our Maine-loving hearts.
1119 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica | (310) 393-7050
A ceaselessly inventive ode to seasonality, this wine bar and kitchen has been with us for the better part of a decade and has cemented its status as a date night standby.
1810 Ocean Ave, Santa Monica | (310) 394-5550
The stars may come out for Giorgio Baldi, but we prefer this special occasion Italian mainstay when we’ve got something to celebrate.
1616 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice | (310) 396-9333
This light-filled little boho brasserie turns out splendid seafood dishes and fresh takes on bites like pea toast and grilled octopus.
147 West Channel Rd, Santa Monica | (310) 459-8823
We love this dimly lit no-fuss Italian classic tucked into a little corner of Santa Monica’s Rustic Canyon neighborhood.