Places to Eat in Santa Monica

When staying at The Ambrose, guests are never far from the best Santa Monica attractions, including the popular beaches, the Santa Monica Pier, and the Third Street Promenade. From our laid-back residential neighborhood, Mid-City, travelers can easily access Santa Monica’s renowned shopping, restaurants, museums, and local events—with the benefit of having a restful place to return to after a full day or night on the town.

THE MISFIT RESTAURANT & BAR

A lively farm-to-table restaurant and bar, The Misfit serves a bang-up menu in a historic setting, the 1929 clock tower in downtown Santa Monica. Order the signature Misfit cocktail with gin, carpano, and orange bitters. The Misfit Restaurant + Bar: 225 Santa Monica Blvd; 310-655-9800

HUCKLEBERRY CAFÉ & BAKERY

Santa Monica sweethearts Josh Loeb and Zoe Nathan have been selling artisanal pastries since 2009. Everything here is handmade, including the almond milk in your morning latte and the preserves spread on your housemade English muffin. Huckleberry Cafe: 1014 Wilshire Blvd; 310-451-2311

TARTINE

Morning buns you’ll dream about, bread that is flavorful enough to be considered a meal. This bakery is an enduring craze for all the right reasons. Get your slice of the deliciousness at Tartine: 1925 Arizona St.

R+D KITCHEN

The Santa Monica outpost of this popular restaurant chain is a modern, light-filled space with a hearty, no-fuss menu. Whether you’re here for lunch or for dinner, you want the crispy chicken sandwich with vinaigrette slaw. R+D Kitchen: 1323 Montana Ave; 310-395-3314

RUSTIC CANYON WINE BAR AND SEASONAL KITCHEN

For an upscale dinner, book a table at Rustic Canyon Wine Bar, where a daily menu offers thoughtful, seasonal plates. We love the polenta with fresh ricotta and strawberry-pine nut sofrito, as well as the local, grass-fed hanger steak with green garlic and marrow butter. Rustic Canyon Wine Bar: 1119 Wilshire Blvd; 310-393-7050

SOCALO

Enjoy creative takes on Cal-Mex for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Start with chilaquiles in the morning, hit Santa Monica for the day, and end with a platter of grilled arrachera? Sounds like a perfect day to us. Socalo: 1920 Santa Monica Blvd, 310.451.1655

FATHER’S OFFICE

Chef Sang Yoon’s gastropub is best known for the so-called Office Burger: a dry-aged beef burger with arugula, blue cheese, onion compote, and sweet bacon. NOTE: Father’s Office is strictly for patrons 21 and up. Father’s Office: 1018 Montana Ave; 310-736-2224

MILO & OLIVE

Get baked goods in the morning and wood-fired pizzas in the afternoon at Milo & Olive restaurant. (We love the roasted potato pizza with caramelized onion, parmesan, and rosemary cream). Milo & Olive: 2723 Wilshire Blvd; 310-453-6776

BREAD & PORRIDGE

Breakfast aficionados will love Bread & Porridge, which focuses on pancakes, omelets, and waffles (you can get salads and bowls of pasta if you’re more of a lunch-person). But you really should try the pancakes, which come stuffed with chocolate chips, fresh blueberries, or a mix of bananas and pecans. Bread & Porridge: 2315 Wilshire Blvd; 310-453-4941

LOCAL KITCHEN & WINE BAR

Split small sharing plates (black truffle risotto arancini, Monterey-style calamari, prosciutto-wrapped asparagus) while lingering over a bottle of line. Local Kitchen and Wine Bar: 1736 Ocean Park Blvd; 310-397-9007

THYME CAFÉ & MARKET

Owned by Chef Maire Byrne—the woman behind Local Kitchen and Wine Bar—Thyme Cafe & Market is an approachable neighborhood spot that serves everything from pre-made to-go dishes (kale and sweet potato enchiladas; asparagus with lemon parsley gremolata) to a full-service dinner. Thyme Cafe & Market: 1630 Ocean Park Blvd; 310-399-8800

GOURMET FOOD TRUCK LOT

On Tuesday nights, food trucks line up by the California Heritage Museum for a weekly food truck fest. Grab a picnic blanket and find a spot on the museum’s lawn to enjoy the different mix of food trucks selling a range of cuisines. Regular options include seafood tacos from The Surfer Taco, and coconut curry and samosas from India Jones Chow Truck. California Heritage Museum: 2612 Main Street; 310-392-8537

SIDECAR DOUGHNUTS & COFFEE

Looking for a sweet treat? Stop by Sidecar for Santa Monica’s favorite scratch-made doughnuts, which range from traditional buttermilk cakes with a vanilla bean glaze to unusual confections like huckleberry, country ham and egg with a basil hollandaise sauce, and gluten-free Saigon cinnamon crumb. Get yours with a cup of coffee, fresh-squeezed orange juice, house-made soda pop or sweet Vietnamese iced coffee. Sidecar Doughnuts & Coffee: 631 Wilshire Blvd; 310-587-0022

GILBERT’S EL INDIO RESTAURANT

A local haunt that serves south-of-the-border dishes in an informal atmosphere, Gilbert’s is the place to come for pitchers of frozen margaritas, chile rellenos, salsa-topped carne asada—and did we mention the margaritas? Gilbert’s El Indio: 2526 Pico Blvd; 310-450-8057

O’BRIEN’S IRISH PUB

Watch the game (NBA playoffs, NHL, MLB) or play Monday night trivia at this classic Irish pub. Sports fans, be warned: this bar is a safe space for New York Giants fans. O’Brien’s Irish Pub: 2226 Wilshire Blvd; 310-829-5303

BARKOWSKI

Fans of Charles Bukowski will love this 1960s-inspired bar, built as an homage to the eccentric writer. You don’t come here to eat (the menu includes White Castle sliders and potato chips). Instead, patrons of Barkowski come here to sip one of the nearly 50 beers available in bottles, cans or on tap. Barkowski: 2819 Pico Blvd; 310-998-0069

THE DAILY PINT

At the intersection of Pico Boulevard and 23rd Street is The Daily Pint, which claims to have the largest collection of single malts on the West Coast. Come here for a stiff pour, a whiskey tasting, and classic bar games like foosball and pool. The Daily Pint: 2310 Pico Boulevard; 310-450-7631

SANTA MONICA BREW WORKS

Sample Santa Monica’s only locally-brewed beer at Santa Monica Brew Works in the brewery’s new tasting room. Names like Surf Ninja Imperial Stout and 310 California Blonde Ale embody the city’s laid-back spirit. Santa Monica Brew Works: 1920 Colorado Ave; 310-828-7629

THE BUFFALO CLUB

Be transported across the country to Buffalo in this classic restaurant and bar, which nods to Prohibition-era New York state. Hudson River School landscapes, a lush garden courtyard, and hand-crafted cocktail classics (Corpse Revivers, Sazeracs, Hemingway-style daiquiris) are highlights of a night at The Buffalo Club. The Buffalo Club: 1520 Olympic Blvd; 310-450-8600

FIA

For a truly special night out, book at table at Fia. Set in a sparkling indoor-outdoor dining room, this collaboration between two renowned chefs produces cuisine inspired by the coastal flavors of California and Italy. Fia: 2454 Wilshire Blvd, 424-280-4196