5 MUST-TRY Restaurants in Santa Monica [Best Food in CA]

Whether you’re shopping on the Promenade or strolling the famed amusement pier, a day out in Santa Monica is sure to make you hungry!

And that’s a good thing, because the culinary scene in Santa Monica is having a major moment right now.

From casual cafes and diners to Michelin Star restaurants and tasting menus, this city has something for everyone. Regardless of your palate, budget, or dietary concerns, you won’t go hungry here!

There are hundreds of restaurants throughout LA, but today we’re focusing strictly on what Santa Monica has to offer. Here are the top five restaurants to try in Santa Monica in 2020.

Huckleberry Café

There’s only one downside to Huckleberry Café: the long lines!

But with food this good, that’s to be expected.

Located on Wilshire Blvd just a few blocks from downtown Santa Monica, Huckleberry is a casual, country-style café. Open daily for breakfast and lunch, this restaurant boasts a fresh farm-to-table menu.

Between the baked goods and the incredible breakfast options, the hardest choice will be deciding what to get. Almost everything on the menu is organic, making classics like fried egg sandwiches simply incredible.

On Thursdays and Fridays, they re-open from 5:30 to 9 pm to host Hot Chicken Nights. At Huckleberry Cafe, you’ll find some of the best organic chicken meals and chicken sandwiches around.

It can be a bit of a challenge to grab a table, but it’s totally worth it.

Birdie G’s

In the mood for American comfort food with a Jewish twist? Birdie G’s is the place to be!

Chef Jeremy Fox, with a Michelin Star and James Beard nominations under his belt, serves up tasty dishes based on the comfort food he grew up eating as a kid. From beef stroganoff to duck confit to matzo ball soup, the entire menu pays homage to Fox’s grandmother — and it’s delicious.

Industrial chic with a rustic vibe and an open kitchen, the cocktails at this local favorite are just as good as the food itself.

Birdie G’s opens daily at 5 pm for dinner, and there’s one thing to remember when you sit down to eat:

You MUST save room for the rose petal pie.


Looking for an upscale experience along the Third Street Promenade? Dialogue is it.

This restaurant recently received a Michelin Star, and we know why:

Chef Dave Beran.

Beran is a James Beard Award winner, and once you start eating his 20+ course tasting menu, you’ll see why he deserves it.

To call it delicious is an understatement. But the artistry of the plating is perhaps even more impressive. Each dish looks like a work of art. If it wasn’t so incredibly tasty, it would be a crime to eat it.

The tasting menu changes with the seasons, so you can be sure you’re getting the freshest ingredients at all times.

Just be aware that Dialogue is not the sort of restaurant you can just walk into and grab a table. It’s quite the opposite. This restaurant only has three tables and an eight-seat counter, able to accommodate only 18 people at a time. You don’t make reservations for Dialogue, you buy tickets to the experience, and what an experience it is.

To heighten the experience, alcoholic and non-alcoholic drink pairings are available. We recommend the non-alcoholic pairing so you can get the most out of the flavors in each dish.

HiHo Cheeseburger

In the mood for an American classic? Head toHiHo Cheeseburger. Located on 2nd Street in downtown Santa Monica, this restaurant is a local gem. It’s comfortable, casual, unpretentious, and delicious — everything a great burger place should be!

So what makes the HiHo cheeseburger so special?

It’s made with 100% grass-fed wagyu beef.

The HiHo cheeseburger pairs perfectly with salted fries, a soft bun, and drippy, melted cheese. There’s no question about it, this is one of the tastiest burgers you’ll find in the LA area.

On a vegan diet? Don’t worry, HiHo has a gluten-free, vegetarian option made with a meatless vegan patty.

And if a burger just isn’t enough, they also serve milkshakes and yummy desserts, like banana cream pie and key lime pie.

Heroic Italian

Heroic Italian is sort of like two restaurants in one: a deli on one side and a wine bar on the other. In addition to towering sub sandwiches (if you like meat, get the OMG sandwich), you can also enjoy incredible Italian plates and fresh seafood.

And, as you might expect, there are lots of Italian and California wines to choose from.

Heroic has a cozy, comfortable vibe. Located in downtown Santa Monica, it’s the perfect place to stop for lunch or dinner when you’re craving authentic Italian food.

The lunch menu consists of a series of deli sub sandwiches as well as an array of fresh salads, all made with locally sourced organic produce.

The dinner menu kicks it up a notch with beautiful Branzino fillets, Santa Barbara cod, and fresh pastas with sauces that will make your mouth water.

Heroic Deli & Wine Bar is one of those places that you want to visit often, because you’ll want to try every single item on the menu.

Other Great Restaurants to Try in Santa Monica

This town is definitely stepping up its culinary game. Here are a few more incredible restaurants that are definitely worth a visit:

In Summary

It’s time to rethink Santa Monica. The current culinary scene proves that there’s more to do than shop, walk the pier, and watch the sun set.

Whether you’re in the mood for a quick breakfast, an all-American burger, or a tasting experience, Santa Monica has whatever you’re looking for. Sorry West Hollywood, we still love you, but there’s a new kid in town.

Caitlin Sinclair is the Business Manager at Sway, a luxury apartment community in Santa Monica.

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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