A table with plates of food

Local Restaurants in Santa Monica

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. Continue reading to find the best food in Santa Monica and eat like a local.

Local Santa Monica Brunch Spots

Angelenos, in general, take the art of brunching and grabbing a coffee seriously. Fit in with the locals by visiting favorite Santa Monica hot spots like Huckleberry Café & Bakery, serving homemade pastries and simple brunch dishes (think breakfast burritos and duck confit hash) that have locals lining up around the corner.

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.

You can find some amazing local restaurants for brunch in Santa Monica. Check out our complete guide for the best brunch spots in Santa Monica.

outside of urth caffe
father at son fig restaurant

Sandwiches in Santa Monica

Looking for something classic? 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.

Shoop’s is family-owned and has been operating since 2000. Shoop’s is a European deli & cafe that specializes in breakfasts, sandwiches, salads & soups. Shoop’s also stocks a wide range of German, Dutch, and Scandinavian imported foods and has the most extensive selection of candy in Santa Monica.

mother and daughter at kreation kafe

The Best Montana Avenue Restaurants

After a long day shopping on Santa Monica’s Montana Avenue, head to Rori’s Artisanal Creamery where you will be welcomed with rich, velvety ice creams using locally sourced, premium ingredients, creating decadent flavors that captivate the palate with each spoonful. 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.

Try Local Foods in Santa Monica’s Neighborhoods

Santa Monica is also home to eight different neighborhoods, all with their own personality. Check out each one below and discover your next favorite spot.

inside a local restaurant in santa monica
Try the best of the best

Unique Santa Monica Dinners

Located on Pico Boulevard, on the edge 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.

Located on Ocean Avenue atop a hill with beautiful panoramic views of the famous Santa Monica Pier and beach, The Lobster internationally recognized dining destination embedded in Santa Monica’s history. Renowned Chef Govind Armstrong carefully curated the menu, offering lunch, dinner, dessert, and a fantastic happy hour. This restaurant is a must-visit for a memorable dining experience.

Date night

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 North Italia. North Italia offers an indoor and outdoor patio and serves freshly made pasta dishes to wood-fired pizzas. The stylish yet cozy ambiance provides for a delightful family dining experience.

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 280+ days of sunshine.

Cha Cha Chicken is a family-run, Caribbean favorite on Ocean Avenue. 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.

Berbere is a plant-based Ethiopian restaurant located in downtown Santa Monica. Berbere seeks to inspire the Los Angeles community to live healthier lives. They believe you don’t need to sacrifice a great-tasting meal in the pursuit of nutrition, so their menu is designed to maximize both.



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