The Best Restaurants in Santa Monica That Live Up to the Hype

Updated 09/04/18

While downtown tends to steal the spotlight when it comes to trendy Los Angeles restaurants, you'd be remiss to overlook Santa Monica's burgeoning foodie scene. Of course, you can't skip the spaghetti rustichella at Bestia or the minestra nel sacco at Rossoblu in DTLA, but we're making the case that you should look beyond the high-rises and extend your view to the eateries on the sunny Westside. Convinced to make a reservation at one of the best restaurants in Santa Monica? Ahead are eight local haunts that we think live up to the hype.

Rustic Canyon

Serving up drool-worthy dishes like pork belly and foie gras with potato purée (pictured), it's not hard to see why this Santa Monica favorite earned a coveted spot on Los Angeles Times food critic Jonathan Gold's 101 best restaurants in L.A. this past year.

Milo + Olive

By morning, this Santa Monica bakery boasts an array of pretty pastries and steaming hot organic coffees. By night, the bustling Wilshire restaurant has customers lining up out the door for a taste of its perfectly cooked al dente pasta and woodfire oven–baked pizzas.


This popular Santa Monica restaurant's modern, nautical-themed décor is almost as good as the seafood dishes it serves up. You can't go wrong with seared albacore tuna paired with a California white wine (pictured).

Tar & Roses
Tar & Roses

Los Angeles chef Andrew Kirschner crafts modern rustic dishes using a woodfire oven at this Santa Monica favorite. You'd be remiss not to order the cheesy whipped potatoes (pictured), a dish which, in itself, is worth making a reservation for.

Esters Wine Shop & Bar

Located right around the corner from the hustle and bustle of Santa Monica's Third Street Promenade, Esters Wine Shop & Bar boasts a laid-back atmosphere complete with delicious wines and seasonal dishes.

Lauren di Matteo

Part butcher shop, part sit-down restaurant, Belcampo is a Santa Monica spot that belongs on any carnivore's Los Angeles eatery bucket list. Order the steak frites (pictured) or the burger at this Westside hot spot, and you will not be disappointed.


Boasting a seasonally driven prix fixe menu that features artfully crafted dishes like this New Zealand snapper with persimmons and radishes, Josiah Citrin's chic French-new American restaurant is a must-dine spot for any self-proclaimed foodie.


Leave it to chef Michael McCarty to elevate a humble dish like deviled eggs to an Instagram-worthy appetizer, which is just one of the many items you should order when you visit this artfully decorated Santa Monica restaurant.

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