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From Casual Pizza to Classy French Cuisine, Santa Monica Has It All

Written By: Michael Darling Santa Monica Restaurants

Coastal breezes and seaside views already make Santa Monica one of the best-loved towns in Southern California. The city has a long history of notable restaurants with vintage classics like The Lobster and contemporary favorites like Rustic Canyon. Looking for your new favorite spot? These new Santa Monica restaurants are sure to become future classics.

 

1 | Beachy Vibes Santa Monica Restaurants

Surfer Rose

Must Order Item: The Spicy Meatball

Surfer Rose specializes in thin-crust pizzas with toppings from traditional pepperoni to an al pastor pizza with marinated pork and pineapple. “We’ve created a menu that we hope speaks to our neighbors, including traditional and non-traditional pizzas…and a tiki-inspired cocktail menu,” says co-owner Ivan Torres.

Native Knowledge: While Surfer Rose is mostly a pizza place, it’s also a great taco Tuesday destination with $6 tacos and $8 margaritas. Happy hour specials include cheap drinks and bar bites as well as $10 frozen cocktails! 

Surfer Rose
2460 Wilshire Blvd
Santa Monica, CA 90403
310.828.2115

 

2 | Classy Cuisine Santa Monica Restaurants

Pasjoli

Must Order Item: Canard à la Rouennaise à la presse

Inspired by Parisian markets, Pasjoli uses local produce for a modern take on California-French fusion. Chef Dave Beran says the duck press (which must be pre-ordered) is “one of our favorite tableside presentations and truly showcases both the beauty and luxury of classic French cuisine.”

Pasjoli
2732 Main St
Santa Monica, CA 90405
424.330.0020

 

3 | Keep it California Santa Monica Restaurants

Socalo

Must Order Item: Pollo Norteño

Chefs Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Milliken return to Santa Monica with Socalo—a zero-footprint restaurant. The Pollo Norteño—a half chicken covered in guajillo sauce, cotija cheese and an apple herb salad—is a favorite of manager Lauro Alvarez. “It’s a specialty chicken that’s smaller, so it holds more flavor,” he explains.

Socalo
1920 Santa Monica Blvd
Santa Monica, CA 90404
310.451.1655

 

4 | Head in the Clouds Santa Monica Restaurants

Interstellar

Must Order Item: Orange Maple Latte

Inspired by the ownership’s Korean-American heritage, Interstellar will have food, coffee and wine that will bridge cultures. Enjoy breakfast, lunch or dinner with beverage options of coffee, beer, wine and sake! Interstellar opens this March. 

Interstellar
109 Broadway
Santa Monica, CA 90401
310.310.8820

 

5 | Great for Date Night Santa Monica Restaurants

Citrin

Must Order Item: Whole roasted dirty chicken with salsify, chanterelle and chervil

In 2019, Josiah Citrin split his Michelin two-star restaurant, Melisse, into two different restaurants. While Melisse remains in a different form, Citrin is an à la carte, high-end neighborhood restaurant. Citrin’s favorite dish at his namesake restaurant is the dirty chicken, saying that “it hits all the marks on being juicy and tender with a crispy skin.”

Citrin
1104 Wilshire Blvd
Santa Monica, CA 90401
310.395.0881

 

6 | Intimate Dining 

Melisse

Must Order Item: Uni Cromesqui

The reimagined Melisse is a tasting menu experience, which is limited to 14 diners at a time. The multicourse menu is seafood-heavy with items like Dover sole, but it’s not all ocean life; other servings include poulard baked in hay. According to Chef Joseph Citrin, the highlight of the experience is the uni cromesqui, which he calls “an umami bomb in a single bite.”

Melisse
1104 Wilshire Blvd
Santa Monica, CA 90401
310.395.0881

 

7 | Awaken Your Taste Buds

Onda in Santa Monica Proper Hotel

Must Order Item: Inside-Out Turkey Quesadilla

Jessica Koslow preached the gospel of avocado toast and artisanal jams at her hip café, Sqirl. At Onda, she’s teamed up with Gabriela Cámara, one of Mexico’s greatest chefs, to create a unique fusion of American hipster chow and Mexican flavors. Dishes like the inside-out turkey quesadilla exemplify this blend.

Onda in Santa Monica Proper Hotel
700 Wilshire Blvd
Santa Monica, CA 90401
310.620.9917

 

8 | Knives and Fire

Osen Kappo

Must Order Item: Sea Bass

Chef and owner Damon Cho prides himself on traditional Japanese cuisine made from scratch. His team of chefs has over 80 years of experience and created a menu that includes kushiyaki, hotpot and sushi.

Native Knowledge: Try one of the omakase menus. Let the chefs assemble a handpicked menu, ranging from a nine-piece sushi dish or $60 to 11 pieces of sushi and 11 pieces of sashimi for $150.

Osen Kappo
702 Arizona Ave, Ste BB
Santa Monica, CA 90401
310.260.0085

 

9 | Secret Garden

Fia

Must Order Item: Cavatelli with Parmesan and freshly shaved black truffle

Fia’s indoor/outdoor space has a homey vibe that makes the 300-seat restaurant feel cozy. Chef Brendan Collins’ menu draws influence from around the world, including Italian pasta and beef Wellington.

Native Knowledge: If you want an intimate dining experience, book one of Fia’s private bungalows.

Fia
2454 Wilshire Blvd
Santa Monica, CA 90403
424.280.4196

 

10 | Meet You at the Bar! 

S Bar at Katsuya

Must Order Item: Midnight Run

Just a few minutes from Santa Monica is the new S Bar. This intimate lounge next door to Brentwood’s acclaimed Katsuya has delicious bar bites like Wagyu tacos. However, the real focus is on the cocktails with drinks like the refreshing tequila-centric Midnight Run.

S Bar at Katsuya
11777 San Vicente Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90049
310.554.6550

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