Eater LA Essential Lists

The new Santa Monica Essential list published today, with only 15 entries, half of which are Nathan & Loeb restaurants. There are so many glaring omissions, I wonder why (and know the editor lurks/posts here) they would limit Santa Monica to 15, when it easily has 20-30 essentials.

Missing (and there’s no reason to comment on their comments, they are dated and most reference old lists) are Chinois, Chez Jay, Forma, Belcampo, Orto, Lunetta, Gilberts (or Lare’s), Bigoli, Margo’s, Giorgio’s, Tar & Roses, and I could go on.

They say right up front:

the concentration of notable eateries isn’t as prolific as those in surrounding neighborhoods


How many restaurants in Santa Monica are worth a trip there from downtown?

Removed : Elephante, Ippudo, Tar & Roses, Belcampo, Capo

Okay not restaurant, but have you been to Santa Monica Farmers Market around this time of the year? Might be worth a trip on the Expo Line


That’s a great market.


Probably none, if going from DTLA to SaMo is a bit chore.
I do like Tar & Roses and Rustic Canyon though. I have had great and not so great dinners at Cassia and Michael’s (under Thompson).
Perhaps Dialogue?
Melisse was definitely worth it - but sadly it is not in operation any more.

on a Wednesday morning (as opposed to Saturday morning).


Be sure to hit up Northern Thai Food Club on your visit here!!

(Purple Line to Western, Northbound Western bus, to Sunset)

I thought Cassia was worth the schlep for the unique charcuterie. Menu seemed like it might be possible to order a boring meal.

Key word: Was.
Towards the end, not so much.

birdie g’s

Fritto Misto is essential in that it has zero corkage. The food itself is as meh as can be, and I say that as someone who has opened many a bottle at that place. Cha Cha Chicken is superior as a BYO destination.

Missing, to my eye (in addition to yogachik’s list):

  • Rita’s Indian
  • Birdie G’s
  • Tacos Por Favor
  • Takuma
  • Massilia
  • Stella Barra

A bit off topic, but… I haven’t heard of this place (or maybe heard and have forgotten). Please tell me more. :slight_smile:

Great list, bruins. What is Massilia?

The inclusion of Fritto Misto is baffling. Want a great restaurant where you can byob? Go to Courtyard Kitchen on Montana.

Having grown up in Santa Monica, I can understand why Fritto Misto was included in the “essentials” list, even though I agree the food is meh. It’s essential in the sense of having been a local standby for decades, in a city with not many places you can say that for.


It used to be pretty great, and at the time, a good affordable Italian restaurant was not as common as now.

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The Eater blurb for Fritto Misto recommends it for family occasions, which I take to mean your elderly relatives won’t complain about it.

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Haha, that sounds about right. Growing up we used to go there every few weeks when my parents didn’t want to cook and had a bottle of wine to crack open. I remember their heavily sauced pastas fondly.

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