If you’re new to the Santa Monica area or planning to visit there soon, you’re probably not familiar with its food scene yet. There are some truly amazing restaurants and eateries in the city. We’ve found many that qualify as “best” across multiple categories. These award-winning eateries are absolute must tries if you’re going to be there for a few days. Here are the ten best restaurants in Santa Monica that are worth a try while you’re there.
Tar & Roses
Tar and Roses is a unique establishment that serves New Amerian fare. They’re reasonably priced and the restaurant opens its doors at 5:30 pm for evening dining. Chef and owner Andrew Kirschner is professionally trained and has an extensive background in the food industry. His passion for precise culinary preparation is shown through the dishes that include locally sourced high-quality ingredients. His earlier experimentation has led to a unique and innovative style of food preparation. Tar & Roses serves dishes that offer a rustic touch and their menu is brimming with a variety of comfort food. You’ll find outdoor seating available at the restaurant along with small and large sized plates and a generous beer and wine list.
The Misfit Restaurant + Bar
The Misfit Restaurant and Bar serves American cuisine with a variety of comfort foods on the menu with selections that are prepared for health-conscious patrons without sacrificing an ounce of deliciousness. They also offer a variety of handcrafted cocktails which are the hit of the gastropub located on Santa Monica Blvd. They open their doors at noon and serve lunch through dinner meals with a happy hour and late night food offerings. You can get some great deals on drinks during happy hour but be warned, they do draw a significant crowd in the evening.
The Water Grill is a sophisticated restaurant specializing in a variety of seafood options. They also feature a raw bar in addition to their other menu offerings. You can depend on daily menu updates which keep their food contemporary and it gives their patrons a great variety to choose from and it seems that there’s always something new to try. The restaurant is moderately priced and located on Ocean Avenue. They open at 11 am and offer late night food as well. If you’re health conscious, they also offer healthy options with a little something for everyone. The somewhat rustic environment is relaxing yet charming. It’s a good idea to call for reservations or reserve your table online because the wait can be long if you try to drop in for a meal.
Cha Cha Chicken
Cha Cha Chicken is a Caribbean style restaurant that is affordably priced. They offer a variety of Caribbean fare with jerk chicken as their most popular dish. They serve guests at the counter instead of a traditional sit-down and order type meal, and the setting is open air. It offers a funky vibe so if you’re up for something a little more laid back, check them out at their Ocean Ave location. It’s one of the better places in the city to get late night and comfort food. The restaurant offers outdoor seating and they open their doors at 11 am so whether you go for lunch or dinner, they’ll be there to serve you, but you’ll have to carry your own food to the table.
The Lobster is one of Santa Monica’s premiere seafood eateries. This restaurant is located on Ocean Avenue and it offers a scenic backdrop that transforms your meal into a dining experience. The prices are moderate. You can expect to find some of the best Maine lobster in town here. The establishment opens its doors at 11:30 am and offers lunch starting at this time and it runs late into the night with a variety of comfort food options. This is one of the better choices in the area if you’re in the mood for seafood, but they have other menu offerings as well. The Lobster offers late night food as well as happy hour food. If you only have time to visit one restaurant when you’re in Santa Monica, we recommend the Lobster.
The Hillstone restaurant is an upscale establishment that specializes in steaks, burgers and other American menu offerings. Hillstone is a chain that is moderately priced and they also offer healthy options on the menu. They provide late night food and comfort food as well. Hillstone opens at 11:30 am and serves lunches, dinners and late night food.
If you’re a fan of Mediterranean fare, the FIG is a restaurant that you simply have to try. They’re located inside the Fairmont Miramar Hotel on Wilshire Blvd. The restaurant opens at 7 am and serves breakfasts, lunches, and dinners. They specialize in farm to table foods and offer a happy hour with specials on food and drinks during the event. The prices are not cheap, but they’re not expensive either.
Cassia is a moderately priced restaurant on 7th Street offering upscale French-Asian cuisine. You have your choice of dining indoors or outside on their classy yet casual patio. They serve a variety of seafood options along with menu items for health-conscious patrons. They open their doors for business at 5 pm.
Rustic Canyon specializes in Californian style fare with small plates and a casual dining setting. They offer outdoor seating and with your meal, you can enjoy a beverage from their unique wine list, for which they’re so well known. The restaurant opens at 5:30 pm and serves dinner and they have specials on their happy hour drinks.
Melisse Restaurant is located on Wilshire Blvd and it is one of the more upscale yet cozy restaurants in town. You should plan on making reservations for this chic French New American style restaurant for a fine dining experience you’ll not soon forget. Patrons highly recommend saving room for dessert. The prices are high but the meals and environment are exquisite. The doors open at 5:30. pm