18 Best Restaurants in Santa Monica, Pacific Palisades, and Brentwood, Los Angeles

Baltaire Restaurant

$$$$ | Brentwood Fodor's choice

The chicest and buzziest nighttime spot in the neighborhood, Baltaire attracts both well-heeled Brentwood denizens on dressed-up dates and single sippers looking for late-night rendezvous. The meat-heavy menu features giant slabs of porterhouse steaks as well as special A5 Wagyu straight from Japan. Rounding out the treats is a full raw bar, caviar selection, and a one-of-a-kind cocktail program. There's lunch on weekdays only, and live music on Thursdays and Fridays.

11647 San Vicente Blvd., Los Angeles, California, 90049, USA
Known For
  • sizzling steaks
  • buzzing bar scene
  • classic cocktails
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: No lunch weekends

Bay Cities Italian Deli

$ | Santa Monica Fodor's choice

Part deli, part market, Bay Cities has been home to incredible Italian subs since 1925. This renowned counter-service spot is always crowded (best to order ahead), but monster subs run the gamut from the mighty meatball to the signature Godmother, made with prosciutto, ham, capicola, mortadella, Genoa salami, and provolone. At the market you can buy rare imported pastas, cheeses, wine, and sliced meats for a sunset beach picnic.


$$$$ | Santa Monica Fodor's choice

It's a gem tucked within a treasure box: hidden within Citrin, a one-Michelin-star restaurant, is Mélisse, a two-Michelin-star restaurant. Chef-owner Josiah Citrin entrusts chef de cuisine Ian Scaramuzza to blend his modern French cooking with seasonal California produce at this Santa Monica institution. On any given night, the rotating,18-course tasting menu might feature Santa Barbara uni cromesquis, Kagoshima A5 Wagyu beef or a crab sabayon. The cheese cart is packed with domestic and European selections, and the dining room is contemporary yet elegant, with well-spaced tables and fine china.

 The tasting menu can be tailored for vegetarian diners.

1104 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, California, 90401, USA
Known For
  • the epitome of freshness and inventiveness
  • only 14 seats
  • contemporary and elegant decor
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: Closed Sun.--Tues. No lunch, Reservations essential

Recommended Fodor's Video


$ | Brentwood Fodor's choice

Certainly (and deservedly) on any short list for the best pizzaiolo in Los Angeles, chef Daniele Uditi's secret is his family's 65-plus-year-old sourdough starter, which he transported from Italy and still keeps alive. The sizzling pies here will remind you of Naples, with their crackling crusts and inventive toppings. The restaurant was co-founded by the creators of Sprinkes Cupcakes (no strangers to buzzy food trends) and actor Chris O'Donnell. In addition to the perfect pizzas, the shop offers weekly sandwich specials and a bevy of healthier salad-loving sides. Devotees order Pizzana pizzas online to have shipped to their homes in other states, so keep that in mind as you chow down.

Tar and Roses

$$$ | Santa Monica Fodor's choice

This small and dimly lit, romantic spot in Santa Monica is full of adventurously global options, like Singaporean chili crab cake or black cod with a fermented black bean marinade. The new American cuisine, which is centered on the restaurant's wood-fired oven, also features standouts like braised lamb shank with sweet potato, pomegranate, labneh, zhough, and flatbread. Another option for groups of four or more: the restaurant will craft a custom T&R Supper family-style menu with off-menu dishes like wood-fired goat with Moroccan accompaniments or a dry-aged standing rib rack. Book T&R Suppers at least seven days in advance.

Beech Street Cafe


This reliably quick and easy bistro serves up fresh, classic pastas and pizzas in the Palisades Village. Savor baked goat cheese on the romantic, breezy patio as you watch the glitterati go by, or enjoy a more substantial dish like linguine and clams inside under old-world wooden beams.


$$ | Santa Monica

Escape busy Santa Monica State Beach to dine at this casual café and bar within the unfussy oceanfront hotel Shutters on the Beach. Head here at sunset for sophisticated, fruity cocktails and fresh seafood, like oysters, Dungeness crab, or a lobster roll, just one block from Santa Monica Pier.

Father's Office

$ | Santa Monica

Distinguished by its vintage neon sign, this gastropub is famous for handcrafted beers and a brilliant signature burger (along with a substantial and excellent menu). Topped with Gruyère and Maytag blue cheeses, arugula, caramelized onions, and applewood-smoked bacon compote, the Office Burger is a guilty pleasure worth waiting in line for, which is usually required. Get a side order of the addictive sweet-potato fries served in a miniature fryer basket with aioli. Don't even think of asking for ketchup—FO enforces a strict no-substitutions policy.

Because Father's Office is a bar, it's strictly for diners 21 and older.

1018 Montana Ave., Los Angeles, California, 90403, USA
Known For
  • addictive sweet potato fries
  • strict no-substitutions policy
  • 36 craft beers on tap
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: Closed Mon. No lunch weekdays, Reservations not accepted

Forma Restaurant and Cheese Bar

$$ | Santa Monica

Pasta is served here dalla forma, meaning it's cooked, then dipped into a cheese wheel and stirred up until it's coated with melted cheese before serving. Catering to a higher-end crowd, Forma specializes in cheeses, pastas, and pizzas. It also serves small plates like fresh mozzarella knots, arancini balls, and crispy artichokes prepared Roman style. A generous happy hour from 3 to 6 lets you discover many of the specialties without breaking the bank.

Huckleberry Bakery and Cafe


Founded by Santa Monica natives, Huckleberry brings together the best ingredients from local farmers and growers to craft diner-style comfort food with a chic twist. Nearly everything is made on-site, even the hot sauce and almond milk. The light, bright space is perfect for a quick brunch. Choose from savories like toad-in-the-hole with housemade chimichurri or a chicken shawarma wrap with beet and carrot slaw and Castelvetrano olives. Breakfast is served all day. Baked goods rotate frequently according to the seasonal whims of the pastry chef; favorites include the Meyer lemon hazelnut scones. Bonito Coffee Roasters coffee tempts from the extensive drink menu.


$$$$ | Brentwood

Highly regarded sushi chef Katsuya Uechi turns out spicy tuna atop crispy rice, whimsical wonton cones filled with scoops of silky crab and tuna tartare, and larger plates like miso-marinated black cod. Don't neglect the plates from the robata bar, where skewers of meats are grilled over hot coals. Trend-conscious patrons sit in a seductive space designed by Philippe Starck. Glossy lips kiss the room's clientele from one wall, while kohl-rimmed eyes peer out from behind the sushi bar.

Lady Chocolatt

$ | Brentwood

The purveyor of the finest Belgian chocolate in all of Los Angeles, Lady Chocolatt is the perfect answer to the age-old question of what to gift on any special occasion. The ornate display case is filled with dark chocolate truffles, hazelnut pralines, Grand Marnier ganaches, and so much more, all handcrafted by a Master Chocolatier in Belgium. Post up for a late-afternoon espresso or heaven-sent hot chocolate, and let your chocolate dreams wander. 

12008 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, California, 90025, USA
Known For
  • Belgian chocolate
  • Italian espresso
  • tasty sandwiches
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: Closed Sun.

Michael's Santa Monica

$$$ | Santa Monica

Michael’s, a Santa Monica institution, was one of the first to introduce "California cuisine" to a then-skeptical public more than four decades ago. Its rotating menu runs the gamut from 30-day dry-aged Wagyu bolognese with pappardelle to Japanese amberjack crudo with sweety drop peppers. The expansive space features a stunning plant-lined patio with a retractable roof, which attracts a well-heeled crowd without being stuffy. The happy hour menu is a steal.

Patrick's Roadhouse


As the rooftop dinosaur and Lady Liberty statues suggest, this leprechaun-green roadhouse, tucked into the hillside of Pacific Palisades, is a maximalist ode to the past crammed with memorabilia ranging from British railway signs to cheeky bronze statuettes. An Old World portrait of a young Arnold Schwarzenegger in epaulets lords over the proceedings, along with Arnold's throne, which you can request to be seated in. Solid breakfast options include the chilaquiles with a generous topping of sliced avocado or the beyond-immense breakfast burrito. For lunch or dinner, come for the just-right fish and chips or the Pot of Gold burger, and try to resist adding the house-made potato chips and banana cream pie. Waitstaff are brisk and friendly and big band and Great American Songbook tunes keep the atmosphere lively.

Rustic Canyon

$$$ | Santa Monica

A Santa Monica mainstay, the seasonally changing menu at this farm-to-table restaurant consistently upends norms and has even earned a Michelin nod. The homey, minimalist space offers sweeping views of Wilshire Boulevard. On any given night, the menu of California cuisine may include lamb merguez with freekeh or Brandt prime sirloin steak with grilled broccoli. Everything is made in-house, down to the sea salt. Ask the knowledgeable staff for suggested pairings from the never-ending wine list.

Santa Monica Seafood

$$ | Santa Monica

A Southern California favorite that seems like a tourist trap at first blush but decidedly isn't, this Italian seafood haven has been serving up fresh fish since 1939. This freshness comes from its pedigree as the largest seafood distributor in the Southwest. Come for lunch or dinner, but make sure to take time to stroll around the market, read up on the history, and enjoy free tastings of the specials. The simple menu lets the freshness speak for itself, with options including pan-roasted Baja striped bass with butternut squash, as well as sandwiches (try the gorgeous Maine lobster roll with lemon aioli and chopped chives in butter-toasted Rockenwagner brioche), soups, plates for kids, and an oyster bar.

Sweet Rose Creamery

$ | Brentwood

Sweet Rose Creamery is the next-best thing you'll find to homemade ice cream—only with a much posher atmosphere in the Brentwood Country Mart. From-scratch offerings feature local farmers' fare and are all-natural. Come for the salted caramel and stay for seasonal specialties like the Santa Teresa lemon buttermilk sherbet. There are even heavenly options for the lactose-intolerant.


$$$ | Brentwood

This rustic trattoria along San Vicente has been a favorite celebrity haunt for decades. Expect elevated sensory offerings, from its cozy atmosphere to its mouthwatering Tuscan and Italian fare (including carpaccio and gnocchi primavera) and excellent wine list.