Sit-down Restaurants in Santa Monica Beach
Right on the beach, inside Shutters on the Beach, 1 Pico is an upscale beach restaurant known for its brunch and lunch, serving up a solid mix of seafood, American- and Italian-inspired dishes, from pork chops to beef carpaccio. You’ll be in good company here, as A-list celebrities are regularly spotted as guests. For a more casual dining on the beach, Shutters’ other restaurant, Coast, has a more waterfront café feel to it. Open for lunch and dinner, it’s also popular on the weekends for brunch, with entrees like lemon ricotta pancakes and eggs benedict.
An Ocean Avenue favorite, Cora’s Coffee Shoppe is an unpretentious, quaint café that serves mostly locally sourced, organic dishes. The bougainvillea canopy encloses the outdoor patio, creating a secret garden that can be a nice escape from the Santa Monica bustle just outside. Come for brunch or a late lunch and enjoy unique dishes like the burrata caprese omelette or jidori chicken breast tacos.
Another celebrity favorite, BOA Steakhouse, is popular with both locals and tourists. While BOA is known for its steaks and oysters, the table-side Classic Caesar salad presentation always is a crowd- pleaser. Also, seasonal cocktails are a nice accompaniment, such as the Boa 405, a unique cocktail featuring 42 Below Vodka, fresh strawberries, simple syrup, fresh lemon sour, balsamic vinegar, and cracked black pepper. Be sure to make a reservation, as the place is usually packed.
For an upscale, but not stuffy dinner with the ocean just outside, Water Grill’s Santa Monica location offers a seafood dining experience for the adventurous at heart. The menu has an entire page just for the raw bar, featuring oysters from all up and down the east and west coast. For the seafood lover, there are a number of different whole fish entrees, such as European sea bass or New Zealand pink bream.
Last, but not least, for a true beach ambiance, take in Cha Cha Chicken, which feels as much of a Caribbean experience that you can get in California; open-air, Caribbean music, and all. Specialties here include the Cha Cha Chicken, smothered in Jamaican jerk sauce and coconut fried chicken. Bring your own beer and make a day of it.