Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner: Your Guide to Santa Monica’s Best Restaurants

Discover Santa Monica’s finest eateries, from hidden gems to iconic spots, transcending the typical pier offerings. This comprehensive guide to the best restaurants in Santa Monica is your ticket to an unforgettable dining experience!

Get ready to embark on a culinary journey as we take you through some of the best spots for breakfast lunch and dinner in the ever-vibrant Santa Monica. This handpicked list transcends beyond the typical Santa Monica Pier restaurants, offering you a broader scope of establishments located in all corners of this coastal, Los Angeles beauty.

These restaurants are known not just for their delicious cuisine, but also for creating unforgettable dining experiences. So sit back, relax, and let’s discover the gastronomic treasures that await in Santa Monica!

The Best Restaurants in Santa Monica

Cha Cha Chicken

For diners looking for the best Santa Monica beach restaurants, Cha Cha Chicken tops the list, and for good reason. Snuggled near the beach, this vibrant eatery showcases the spirit of the Caribbean. Tuck into their divine jerk chicken slathered with tantalizing sauce or delve into helpings of ropa vieja. The dishes are as refreshing as a beachside breeze!

Making it even more delightful is their house special – cantaloupe juice, a perfect companion for your meal. You’ll be ordering seconds in no time, and that’s perfectly all right! Additionally, Cha Cha Chicken is a family-run restaurant, making your foodie adventure also a boon to a small business.

Golden Bull Restaurant

The Golden Bull Restaurant stands out as one of the best restaurants in Santa Monica. Famous for its high-quality ingredients and high quality dining room, elegance is just part of the equation. Established in 1949 and fresh off a 2018 reboot, this beloved steakhouse brings a renewed vibe that maintains its classic charm.

Their finely curated chophouse menu is not to be overlooked. It triumphs in delivering old-school classics, from a perfectly tossed Caesar salad to a juicy New York Strip. And let’s not forget about their stiff Manhattans and Martinis, because what’s a steak without a cocktail? Here, you’ll experience much more than a meal – it’s a step back into an era of grandeur, mixed with a modern edge.

Interior dining area with wooden slat walls, striped patio furniture, a fire pit and greenery
Photo Credit: Golden Bull Restaurant via Facebook

Fritto Misto

Ready for a culinary adventure? Dive into Santa Monica’s Italian gem, Fritto Misto. With a one-of-a-kind feature inviting you to custom-build your pasta dish, you’re in for an irresistible treat. Select your preferred noodles, marry it with your desired sauce, and crown it with a medley of veggies and meat toppings.

And let’s not forget about the generous portion sizes. It’s not a mere exaggeration to say your plate will be overflowing. You’ll surely have some savory remnants for your next meal! Not many dining experiences measure up to the authentic taste and fun approach to pasta creation at Fritto Misto. It’s an absolute must-visit!

Casa Martin

If you’re a foodie exploring Santa Monica’s culinary scene, don’t miss Casa Martin for authentic and paramount Mexican cuisine. Plunge into their killer Crispy Fish Tacos which are even more irresistible during happy hour when they are half-off – no more despairing for Tuesday deals! As if that isn’t tempting enough, Casa Martin boasts a wide array of Margaritas with Pomegranate being a crowd-pleaser.

To kickstart your appetite, you can’t bypass their hot, bubbly Queso Fundido dip. This cheesy spectacle is a must-try appetizer that’s capable of setting your taste buds on a joy ride. Get your feast on at Casa Martin – it’s an explosion of flavors!

Close up photo of street tacos with lots of white onion
photo credit: Xavier crook via Facebook


Making a list of the best Santa Monica restaurants, and not including Cassia? Unthinkable! Cassia has proudly blazed its trail among food connoisseurs with a brilliant fusion of Vietnamese, Chinese, and Singaporean cuisine with a sprinkle of French bistro elegance. Critics and diners unanimously dish out praise for Cassia’s mouthwatering selection of memorable delights.

The crowd loves the richness of the beef rendang. The kaya toast shows up all the time in foodie’s Instagram feeds, while the laksa and chickpea curry are other crowd-pleasers. Vibrant, unforgettable, and gourmet, Cassia is a cornerstone in Santa Monica’s food scene and a true gastronomic haven.

Rustic Canyon

If you’re seeking unique flavors coupled with a relaxed ambiance, look no further than Rustic Canyon. It easily fits within the best restaurants Santa Monica has in its coat pocket. The special charm of Rustic Canyon is the way it showcases Southern California’s seasonal produce.

Related Post: Unforgettable Day at Santa Monica Pier: Experiences, Photo Spots, & Hotels

Thanks to the culinary genius of Chef Jeremy Fox, you’ll be treated to inventive dishes such as Milanese chicken with leeks, cracklings, and a drizzle of date butter infused with ginger and preserved lemon. Plus, Rustic Canyon is no newcomer. Its reputation as one of the most consistent places for modern California cuisine in Santa Monica is well-earned. An experience here promises not only good food but enduring memories, too.

Dinner Table with Chicken Rice and Veggies on Plates

Bru’s Wiffle

Get yourself going in the morning at Bru’s Wiffle, a breakfast haven where the waffles reign supreme. Let’s face it, who doesn’t fancy a mouth-watering waffle to start their day? Bru’s molds this delightful dish in sweet and savory variations, offering an abundant menu pulsating with breakfast items to sate your cravings. Sure, you’ve got options, but trust us, nothing beats their signature plate of airy, fluffy waffles.

One standout is the Huevos Rancheros Waffle – a showstopper loaded with succulent fried chicken pieces, hearty refried beans, and creamy queso fresco, complete with a perfectly fried egg and a lavishing smear of guacamole and salsa. Don’t fret over the portions – they’re as grandiose as the flavors! Make sure you bring a big appetite!


Experience the extraordinary at Cobi’s, a standout in Santa Monica’s dining scene, tucked away on vibrant Main Street. Embrace the comforting blend of Southeast Asian culinary delights and natural wines, served in a cozy, neighborhood setting. The captivating interiors charm diners with their vintage ambiance, from the floral wallpapers to the antique furnishings indoors, extending to the lush, foliage-rich patio adorned with retro lampshades.

Weekend brunch swaps traditional options with exotic specials like kaya french toast and chicken rice porridge. Dinner at Cobi’s is memorable too with uniquely-flavoured dishes like the raw kampachi in coconut dressing taking you on a flavorful Polynesian journey and the exotic black sugar boba-topped Thai tea pudding wrapping up your meal perfectly. Cobi’s pulls out all the stops, ensuring an unforgettable dining experience.

Glass of white wine next to a white bowl full of fresh food with pita chips on a table in front of pink and floral wall paper with a wine chiller and lamp base nearby
Photo Credit: Cobi’s via Facebook


Feeling adventurous? Head on over to Shirubē, landing a spot on the shortlist of L.A.’s finest izakayas for great reasons. With a plate of succulent sashimi, a side of beautifully grilled dishes, or more inventive offerings like negitoro over garlic bread, this place will seize your taste buds with a tidal wave of flavor.

Their standouts? The smoky mackerel, the shoyu butter corn ribs, and the dan dan udon will make your culinary journey along the bustling street promenade a truly worthwhile adventure. The good news for late night diners is their doors don’t close until 10 PM, promising a satisfying late-night dining experience. It’s about time to spice up your meal times!


Searching for the best restaurant in Santa Monica? Look no further than Xuntos, a charming tapas bar and Spanish restaurant tucked away in Santa Monica’s vibrant downtown area. Here, in a two-tier space graced with intriguing aesthetics and comfortable seating spread across four rooms, Chef Sandra Cordero cooks up her magic.

Cordero’s philosophy is simple. She lets quality ingredients shine amidst an artfully applied mastery of Pan-Spanish cooking. Treat yourself to an explosive flavor journey featuring crispy fried anchovies, garlic-infused gambas al ajillo, or succulent, seasonal razor clams. This Spanish culinary adventure in the heart of Santa Monica is not to be missed!

aerial view of santa monica pier with people, ferris wheel and other rides and view of shore and water and buildings and palm trees in background
photo credit: Heliberto Arias via Unsplash

Santa Monica Vacation: Where To Next?

So, you’ve experienced the culinary delights of Los Angeles’ Santa Monica, but what’s next on your agenda? There’s plenty more to explore! To fuel your adventure, we recommend crafting your Santa Monica itinerary with Tripster. There are tons of exclusive discount tickets and vacation packages that you can seize to visit Santa Monica’s top attractions.

Engage in captivating tours and experiences that take you into the beating heart of sunny California. Come see for yourself what makes the city of angels, especially Santa Monica, an unforgettable gem.

What Did We Miss?

Do you have a restaurant to add to our guide? Leave us a comment below!

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Written by Nicole King

There are only two things that make Nicole really happy–books and travel! When her head’s not buried in a book, she’s most likely...

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