Best Food in Santa Monica
Food & drink
Dining in Santa Monica, CA is more than a meal, it’s an experience. Both visitors and locals come seeking the best food in Santa Monica and find renowned restaurants and top-notch chefs’ spreads throughout the city. Santa Monica restaurants are so appealing to master chefs and cooks because of the city’s prime location, proximity to Los Angeles, adventurous clientele and the access to the freshest ingredients at the top-rated farmers market. And, of course, the year-round sunshine and temperate climate mean outdoor dining is always on the menu.
Travel safely and sustainably to help maintain Santa Monica’s beauty while staying healthy with these tips.
Top restaurants in Santa Monica
With so many restaurants to choose from, including casual eateries, fine dining and everything in between, you will have no problem finding a great place to eat. Whether overlooking the ocean on an outdoor patio, stumbling upon an unbeatable happy hour or brunch or embarking on a highly recommended foodie adventure, have fun finding your next favorite meal.
Santa Monica’s compact size means that visitors can find a variety of restaurants — cuisine, price and atmosphere — in close proximity to each other. Santa Monica offers a number of outdoor dining options with varied and international cuisine. Whether you are seeking the ideal Southeast Asian dumpling, an iconic California diner or a Michelin-star establishment for an elegant date night, you’ll find it in Santa Monica. Where will you start your next culinary adventure?
Santa Monica isn’t just a good eating town, it’s an international dining destination and reputed birthplace of “California” and “fusion” cuisine – marked by an artistic blend of culinary styles and the freshest of organic ingredients. Tar & Roses is a perfect example of the effortless melding of fresh ingredients and sophisticated recipes, while Lunetta ensures they are using the freshest ingredients available through their seasonal menu.
Santa Monica was on the vanguard of the local foods movement long before it became mainstream, and the use of sustainable, organic ingredients is central to the cooking approach of the leading chefs around town. Santa Monica’s close ties to California farmers have resulted in many amazing farm-to-table restaurants. Michael’s ingredients commonly incorporate produce from the farmers market.
It’s no secret that healthy living in Southern California is popular; however, it’s not limited to yoga on Santa Monica’s beaches. There are an abundance of healthy dining options throughout the city. You’ll find innovative restaurants that use locally sourced organic ingredients in vegetarian and vegan dishes, proving that what’s good for you can taste good, too. Be sure to check out Margo’s, Sugar Palm, Tu Madré and Papille Gustative, which all serve up vegetarian and vegan options.
Fresh ingredients at Santa Monica’s farmers markets
Part of the reason that so many world-renowned chefs set up shop in Santa Monica is due to its numerous, bountiful farmers markets. Named by Travel + Leisure as the best farmers market in the country, Santa Monica’s four weekly farmers markets attract the city’s residents and local chefs with the freshest produce, flowers, meats, cheeses, nuts, fish, and more.
If you visit any of Santa Monica’s farmers markets, you will likely find chefs and restaurant owners purchasing fresh ingredients for their restaurants.
Location is everything
Because of Santa Monica’s compact size, you will rarely require a car to move between hotels, restaurants and other attractions. Most of the city’s hotels are located within walking distance to restaurants, bars, attractions and to Santa Monica Neighborhoods. Santa Monica’s proximity to the beach creates a relaxed and approachable restaurant scene—there are no restaurants in Santa Monica where a coat and tie are required.
Most of the well-known and popular restaurants in Santa Monica are located in or around our main streets and neighborhoods. Explore some of the more popular restaurant hotspots: