Favorite Santa Monica Restaurants

Santa Monica restaurants have a taste of something for everyone. From top-rated restaurants to familiar chains, Santa Monica’s restaurant scene includes everything from outdoor dining to contemporary California decor, making it one of the best places to visit in Los Angeles. We’re here to help you get started on where to eat like a local.

Brunching in Santa Monica

Angelenos, in general, take the art of brunching and grabbing a coffee seriously. While you’re visiting Santa Monica, you should do the same. Places like Huckleberry Café & Bakery, with homemade pastries and simple brunch dishes (think breakfast burritos and duck confit hash), have locals lining up around the corner…and that says a lot about this Santa Monica restaurant.

Bru’s Wiffle is another contender for locally favorite brunch spots. This top Santa Monica restaurant features everything from avocado fries to crispy rice balls and French toast, but waffles are the real stars here. Choose from waffle pizza, fried chicken and waffles, red velvet waffles and even churro waffles.

Located inside Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows, FIG Restaurant, attracts visitors and locals alike! Committed to fresh, seasonal cuisine, the menu sources ingredients from Santa Monica farmers markets and includes a variety of breakfast, brunch and lunch options to please any palate.

Urth Caffe is especially popular with locals because of its commitment to serving organic coffee and its wide selection of teas. The vibe at “Urth,” as the locals call it, is very upbeat, and the outdoor seating is a perfect place to unwind and enjoy Santa Monica’s year-round gorgeous weather.

Whether you are with a friend or enjoying a little me time, don’t leave without at least browsing the dessert selection. It’s decadent, over-the-top and everything that’s right with the world.

Urth Caffé
brunch restaurants
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Sandwiches in Santa Monica

Looking for something simple? Bay Cities Italian Deli & Bakery whips up some of the best sandwiches in the city. The lines can be overwhelming, so do what the locals do: place your order online for pickup.

Bay Cities is known for the Godmother Sandwich: prosciutto, ham, capicola, mortadella, Genoa salami and provolone cheese. Order yours with “the works:” mayo, yellow mustard, lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, onions, dressing and mild or hot peppers.

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santa monica cafes

The Best Montana Avenue Restaurants

After a long day shopping on Santa Monica’s Montana Avenue, head to Sweet Lady Jane Bakery and order a slice of cake. Slices are generous and perfect for sharing–or not. Don’t forget to check out other local favorites up and down this iconic street.

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Father’s Office

For one of L.A.’s most talked-about burgers, check out Father’s Office. You won’t find any ketchup here–and as celebrity chef and television personality Sang Yoon promises, you won’t need it. Pair your burger with an on-tap beer and enjoy one of Los Angeles’ most famous dining experiences.

Art’s Table

Art’s Table on the corner of Montana Avenue and 10th Street has everything from po’boys and burgers to lobster mac and more. Keep it traditional with a grass-fed beef burger, or try something different: their homemade turkey burger topped with garlic aioli and goat cheese.

R+D Kitchen

Locals swear by Ding’s Crispy Chicken Sandwich at R+D Kitchen. This American-style restaurant is an excellent place for a shopping break. Deviled eggs, Greek-style chicken and the Newporter salad all come highly recommended by locals, as one of the best restaurants in Santa Monica.

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Unique Santa Monica Dinners

Located on Pico Boulevard, away from the hustle and bustle of Santa Monica, lies Upper West: a creative yet approachable restaurant that’s become popular with locals. The constantly-changing menu features unique takes on classic dishes, like coffee-crusted Kurobuta pork tenderloin and seared crab cakes. Their expansive happy hour menu is available every day from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., and from 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. on Mondays.

Modern American meets tavern at The Independence in Downtown Santa Monica on Broadway. Serving up cocktails and happy hours, they’re a neighborhood favorite. Their menu features local and seasonal food, their ambiance has great energy…and they’re named after the railroad, the Los Angeles & Independence.

Date night

Michelin starred Rustic Canyon is the perfect romantic date night setting. This Santa Monica restaurant’s wine selection is superb, and its small farm-to-table plates perfectly capture the essence of California cooking.

Family eats

For family dining, try Stella Barra Pizzeria. The pizzas here are on the smaller side (compared to most pizza places) but the open kitchen allows guests to watch all the exciting action that typically happens behind the scenes.

Pub plates

For a more casual option, The Brixton gastropub serves a full menu (caprese flatbread, short rib poutines and more) alongside eight televisions for all your sporting needs.

Casual Santa Monica Bites

For Mexican with a twist, head to Benny’s Tacos & Chicken Rotisserie on Wilshire Boulevard. One of the most popular items, the California Burrito, has French fries inside; for dessert, try the Bavarian cream-filled churros. Patio seating lets you make the most of Santa Monica’s 300+ days of sunshine.

When you walk into Cha Cha Chicken, you might not expect much. Once you bite into the signature Jamaican jerk Cha Cha Chicken, you’ll know why this counter-serve beach shack is one of the most beloved in Santa Monica. Try the dirty rice with black beans and fried plantains, and don’t forget to BYOB.

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With recipes in Oprah’s magazine and raves from Zagat and Sunset, chef-owner Alan Jackson’s fast-casual chain Lemonade lives up to the hype. Its Santa Monica location has a rotating menu of seasonal goodies like citrus-poached salmon and herb-grilled chicken sandwiches. Be sure to try the lemonade: ranging from old-fashioned to blood orange, each of the seven is equally thirst-quenching.

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