Discover the Top 25 Restaurants in Santa Monica

For those not living on the Westside, traveling to Santa Monica for a meal can be daunting with potential traffic and parking challenges. However, the journey is well worth it for the amazing food. Santa Monica boasts a fantastic array of restaurants, from destination-worthy sushi to diverse Italian cuisine.

Birdie G’s

Cuisine: American Creative

Since its 2019 opening, Birdie G’s has quickly become a top destination in Santa Monica. Chef Jeremy Fox offers market-driven New American cuisine with Eastern European influences, all served in a spacious, industrial setting at Bergamot Station. 

Signature dishes include a unique matzo ball soup with carrot miso and a delectable lamb dish served on crispy Persian-spiced rice. Don’t miss the strawberry rose petal pie for dessert, a modern twist on a classic Jello dessert.

Shunji Japanese Cuisine

Cuisine: Japanese

Shunji’s new Santa Monica location continues to offer some of the city’s best sushi through an exclusive $280 omakase. Chef Shunji Nakao and his wife Yuko Sakurai deliver a refined dining experience with a selection of kaiseki-style appetizers followed by meticulously prepared sushi, complemented by an exceptional sake selection.

Bay Cities

Cuisine: Delis

The Godmother sandwich at Bay Cities is a Santa Monica staple. Packed with an assortment of Italian meats, cheeses, and peppers, all on freshly baked bread, it’s a must-try. For a quicker experience, order online and pick up your sandwich, bypassing the usual lines.

Pasjoli

Cuisine: French

Pasjoli, by chef David Beran, offers a refined French dining experience. While the signature pressed duck is quite the splurge at $198, the appetizers like foie de poulet and beef tartare are consistently excellent. For a more budget-friendly visit, consider the bar menu available before 7 pm.

Cassia

Cuisine: Southeast Asian

Cassia blends Southeast Asian flavors with a contemporary touch. New menu additions include Singaporean-inspired dishes alongside favorites like kaya toast and beef rendang. The vegan-friendly mushroom satay and desserts like bananas foster pudding are also highlights.

Xuntos

Cuisine: Spanish

Xuntos brings a taste of Spain to Santa Monica with a variety of tapas inspired by regions like Asturias and Catalonia. From patatas bravas to Spanish-style empanadas, the menu offers a mix of traditional and hard-to-find dishes, complemented by a selection of Spanish wines and vermouths.

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Cobi’s

Cuisine: Contemporary Asian

Cobi’s offers an inviting atmosphere with floral decor and a lush outdoor patio. The Southeast Asian-inspired menu features standout dishes like raw kampachi in coconut dressing and black sugar boba-topped Thai tea pudding. Weekend brunch includes unique options like kaya French toast.

Crudo e Nudo

Cuisine: Seafood

Crudo e Nudo focuses on beautifully plated, locally sourced seafood. This small Main Street restaurant delivers a fresh take on crudo, along with vegan dishes and natural wines for a delightful dining experience.

Bread Head

Cuisine: Sandwich Shops

Bread Head, located inside JuneShine, offers sandwiches with an incredibly crispy focaccia crust. Open Wednesday to Friday, the limited but delicious menu includes options like the Mozzarella sandwich with pickled red onions and za’atar mayo.

Heavy Handed

Cuisine: Hamburgers

Heavy Handed serves up juicy short rib smashburgers and beef tallow fries from their brick-and-mortar location on Main Street. The addition of Straus Creamery soft-serve and a casual patio makes this a great spot for a gourmet burger.

Rustic Canyon

Cuisine: Californian

Rustic Canyon has been a Santa Monica favorite since 2006, known for its locally sourced, farm-to-table cuisine. Dishes like grass-fed short rib and amberjack crudo showcase the restaurant’s commitment to fresh, comforting flavors.

Father’s Office

Cuisine: Californian

Famed for its Office burger, Father’s Office also offers upscale bar food and an extensive beer list. The burger, with its unique combination of applewood bacon, arugula, and caramelized onions, is a must-try.

Shirubē

Cuisine: Japanese

Shirubē offers a well-priced array of Japanese drinking fare in a cozy setting. Highlights include flame-seared mackerel and dan dan udon, making it worth the trip to the Third Street Promenade area.

Ghisallo

Cuisine: Pizza

Ghisallo offers both Neapolitan-style and New York-inspired pizzas. With options like the Campesino, topped with prosciutto and rosemary, it’s a great spot for pizza lovers.

Élephante

Cuisine: Italian

Élephante offers a chic indoor-outdoor space with ocean views. The menu features seasonal California Italian cuisine, including standout dishes like whipped eggplant dip and soft polenta with crab.

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Layla Bagels

Cuisine: Bakeries

Layla Bagels serves Montreal-style bagels with creative toppings. The Pre-Jam, with seasonal fruit and cream cheese, is a must-try.

Lady & Larder

Cuisine: Cheesemongers

Lady & Larder is known for its charcuterie boards and sandwiches. Seasonal creations like the Venice Cowgirl highlight local produce and high-quality ingredients.

Milo + Olive

Cuisine: Californian

Milo + Olive offers wood-fired pizzas and housemade pastas. The garlic knot and bolognese are standout dishes, making it a popular all-day dining spot.

Berbere

Cuisine: Ethiopian

Berbere serves vegan Ethiopian cuisine with dishes like the colorful Eat the Rainbow stews and housemade injera. The citrus-infused Ethiopian coffee is also a highlight.

Huckleberry

Cuisine: Contemporary American

Huckleberry is a top choice for breakfast and brunch, offering farm-to-table dishes like a fried egg sandwich with gruyere and bacon.

Breakfast by Salt’s Cure

Cuisine: American

Breakfast by Salt’s Cure on Montana Avenue is renowned for its griddle cakes, which are perfectly crispy and doughy. It’s a casual spot for a delicious breakfast.

Sunny Blue

Cuisine: Japanese

Sunny Blue offers budget-friendly onigiri and sides like kinpira gobo. It’s a great spot for a light lunch or snack.

The Golden Bull

Cuisine: Steakhouse

The Golden Bull combines classic steakhouse fare with modern twists. Vegan options and excellent sides complement the traditional steak offerings.

Emmy Squared

Cuisine: Pizza

Emmy Squared offers Detroit-style pizza with a unique frico crust. The menu also includes garlic sticks, baked ziti, and pretzel bun burgers.

Forma

Cuisine: Italian

Forma is known for its cheese and charcuterie boards and pasta dishes tossed in giant cheese wheels. It’s a go-to spot for Italian dining.

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