If you had only one evening in Santa Monica / Venice where would you eat?

We have an event to go to in Santa Monica this evening. They’re only serving “canapés”. My neighborhood (mid-city, beverly-grove) isn’t exactly long distance. But we rarely make it past Westwood these days. So my question is, if you had one shot at dining in Venice / S.M., where would it be for a casual, sit down dinner? Any type of food is fine. Thanks!

Tar & roses


To add to PorkBelly’s great recs, I’d add Rose Cafe, Willie Jane, Hatchet Hall, and Salt Air in Venice.




Do not forget Rustic Canyon.


Echoing above -
Cassia (I love the Laksa soup, and the chickpea curry, creamed kale are some of my favorites).
Gjelina -can’t go wrong there… mushroom toast, pizza…

now that my mind is on these two places – i don’t really have anything else to add except I wish I could transport myself.


Some good recommendations in here already.

Here are a few additions. I went more towards different than “If you only had one meal in SM/Venice,” so places like Cassia, Gjelina, Rustic Canyon, etc. may be more in line with what you’re looking for, but figured I’d add 'em anyway…

  • Solidarity (Polish) - http://solidarityla.com/ - I haven’t been since they changed their name from Warszawa, but they have a solid happy hour till 7pm, good pierogies and some interesting vodkas.
  • Wurstkuche (Sausages) - http://www.wurstkuche.com/food-index - Great for a casual dinner of sausages, big ole fries and Belgian beers.
  • Banh Mi Venice - http://www.banhmivenice.com/menu/ - Would be a very casual dinner, but could also be fun to grab to go and head down towards the beach.
  • Sawtelle! - Many choices over there… Tsujita, Restaurant 2117, Plan Check, Yakitori-Ya (never been to this place m’self, but just read @CiaoBob’s post about it and it looks great) , etc.

Okay. It looks like Cassia. Gjelina, Tar & Roses as runner-ups. Sentimental favorites are Rustic Canyon & The Rose. Govind’s Willie Jane is intriguing. Aesthete has frightened me away from Hatchet Hall.

Cassia because a lot of you loved Spice Table and we never went. I love french food and Vietnam. Plus the picture of the man on a Norton is pretty cool :blush:.


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@TheCookie: you might want to call ahead to see if they have space. It’s been several mos (if not a yr) since I first/last went to Cassia, and I don’t recall them having same-night availability…

Oh shoot. Here comes @President_Mochi around the bend. May have to rethink things. I’m always complaining about all the good Japanese spots being on the Westside. Hmmm…

Good point

…Add to that, a good pierogi is hard to find… and Russian vodka is my favorite.

Cassia - feel free to call as @paranoidgarliclover suggests, maybe - but unlikely - there will be an open reservation. But if not, and you really want to go (and you should), just go.
Cassia takes walk-ins and has lots of bar space (seafood bar or drinking bar or wood-fire bar in the back). You may have to wait a bit but I am quite sure they will find space if you are patient. Doubt the wait would be more than 30-40 mins. I could say the same for Gjelina, by the way (but the wait is probably a little longer there).

Don’t forget Wadatsumi. Not in SaMo or Venice, but, in a relative sense, it’s on your way back home. :slight_smile:

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Charcoal is well worthwhile also.

We’re now thinking dinner afterwards… less traffic. On a Thursday night it could work at Cassia? But the bar situation you describe at Gjelina seems pretty good too. We won’t be that hungry, with the canapés and all…

Hi @TheCookie,

Some great recs here already. But two more to consider:

  • Mori Sushi: Arguably the best Sushi in LA. Request to sit in front of Maru-san.

  • Shunji: Just as good in different ways. Fantastic Omakase.

Okay sorry. Scratch that. You meant the bar at Cassia is pretty big. F-it… I’m just gonna’ call and see what’s up. Thanks.

Oh @Chowseeker1999!

I wish the sushi recs had come in sooner or my brain was working better. Sushi is always my answer to the “Where should we eat?” question. I love it and need to better my knowledge. But the ole’ man says “I want to check out the Norton place.” He means Cassia.

We’ll see. Thanks!

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Sorry I wasn’t terribly clear in my original posting.
Gjelina has quite a few table tops for walk ins, not bar(s); Cassia has many bar spaces (and tables) for walk ins. Both places are extremely popular and the conventional wisdom is that reservations are very hard to get and without a reservation you are totally hosed. I have never found that to be the case at either place. Be patient and they will accommodate a party of two without too much delay.