Pizza and oysters

Top Restaurants on the Westside of Los Angeles

Static Media / Shutterstock / Instagram

Given its massive size, many of the best restaurants in Los Angeles are scattered across the city. While certain neighborhoods are known for having better restaurants than others, LA’s Westside is home to plenty of well-known favorites and hidden gems. Though what is considered the “Westside” can vary depending on who you’re asking, we considered anything west of the 405 to be fair game. The most popular Westside neighborhoods are of course, Venice and Santa Monica, but even Malibu has a restaurant or two worth driving across town for.

If you’re in the mood for fresh seafood paired with a gentle ocean breeze, you’re definitely in luck — but you’ll also find solid tacos, traditional Italian fare, solid burgers, and one of the best sandwich shops in all of Los Angeles. Whether you’re a Westside resident needing to expand your palate or an East LA local planning a foodie day by the beach, these are the 15 best restaurants on LA’s Westside. As a Santa Monica local, I have had the pleasure of dining at every restaurant on this list.

Bar Monette

Pizza with truffle oil

barmonette / Instagram

Since opening in 2023, Bar Monette has become one of, if not the, hottest restaurant in Santa Monica. Created by chef Sean MacDonald, Bar Monette specializes in wood-fired pizzas and innovative Italian tapas, and its romantic interior with antique paintings, dark green walls, and cozy booths makes you feel as though you’re dining at a hip bistro in Paris or London. The wine list caters to a variety of preferences, but you can’t go wrong with a glass of bubbles to kick things off.

Though the puffy-crust pizzas are incredible, don’t sleep on the rotating selection of Italian tapas. The jamon de Paris is a rich yet simple dish with manchego cheese, brown butter, and pickled peppers, but the potato agnolotti is the real star of the show.

barmonette.com

(310) 310-8575

109 Santa Monica Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401

Élephante

Whipped eggplant dish

elephante / Instagram

Known as a hub for influencers and celebs, Élephante serves quality cuisine inspired by the Southern Mediterranean. Enjoy ocean views from the modern and bohemian balcony while sipping on this signature fruity cocktail (called The Élephante). Since it tends to be pretty busy nearly every night of the week, it’s best to make a reservation in advance, but you can always try snagging a spot at the bar when walking in.

Sunset is a great time to visit, but when it comes to food, the creamy whipped eggplant dip is a must-order. Other can’t-miss appetizers include the arancini and meatballs, but the spicy vodka pasta is a solid entree. Of course, no visit to Élephante is complete with one of their mouth-watering pizzas, and the soppressata is a favorite among meat lovers.

elephantela.com

(424) 722-8647

1332 2nd St Rooftop, Santa Monica, CA 90401

Crudo e Nudo

Fresh oysters and chopsticks

crudo_e_nudo / Instagram

Located in the heart of Main Street in Santa Monica’s Ocean Park neighborhood, Crudo e Nudo is a local favorite for fresh seafood and low-intervention wines. Upon entering the small but charming space, guests order at the counter from a chalkboard of menu items, ranging from fresh crudo and raw seafood to salads and cooked dishes. Since everything is based on availability, the menu is different daily, but some staple items include the halibut crudo, vegan Caesar salad, tuna toast, and caviar nachos.

Once you’ve ordered, sit down on the front patio and enjoy people-watching while sipping on a bottle of chilled red. Most of the dishes are made to be shared, so you’ll want to order a variety of dishes for the table. You can also opt for the Neptune’s Flight, which is a chef’s choice five-course tasting menu that costs $85 per person. 

crudoenudo.com

(310) 310-2120

2724 Main St, Santa Monica, CA 90405

Felix Trattoria

Stuffed zucchini blossoms

felixlosangeles / Instagram

Backed by chef Evan Funke, Felix Trattoria has been largely regarded as one of the best Italian restaurants in LA, let alone the Westside. The glass-enclosed kitchen sits in the middle of the dining room, allowing diners to enjoy an up close and personal view of the pasta making process while indulging in a glass of Chianti or Pinot Noir. That said, before diving into the main courses, spend some time exploring the fresh and vibrant starters.

The stuffed squash blossoms are a favorite of Funke’s, but the grilled blue prawns are light, flavorful, and fresh. Keep things classic with the Diavola or Margherita pizza, but save room for the linguine al limone and cheesy tortellini.

felixla.com

(424) 387-8622

1023 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291

Heavy Handed

Trio of burgers

heavyhanded.la / Instagram

When it comes to finding the best burgers in LA, Heavy Handed should be at the top of your list. This charming burger stand sits on Main Street in Ocean Park, and the burgers, french fries, and soft-serve cones are all worth checking out. The short-rib beef patty is tender and juicy, while the house-made pickles and special sauce add a distinct tangy flavor that cuts the richness of the burger.

For extra meat, opt for the triple, but if you want fewer carbs, you can also skip the bun and ask for crunchy lettuce wrap. Don’t forget to order hot chili’s on the side for a little spice. The crispy fries are fried in beef tallow, giving them a beautiful crunch, but they can also be made “heavy” with sauce and pickles. Finally, cure your sweet tooth with a chocolate-dipped ice cream cone.

heavyhanded.la

(424) 744-8455

2912 Main St, Santa Monica, CA 90405

Dan Modern Chinese

Soup dumplings and sauces

danmodernchinese / Instagram

Caught a craving for soup dumplings but don’t want to wait in line at Din Tai Fung? Dan Modern Chinese serves authentic xiao long bao along with fried rice, noodles, tasty greens, and more. Though there are several Dan Modern Chinese locations throughout LA, you’ll find a few in and near the Westside in Santa Monica, Sawtelle, and Playa Vista.

While pork is the traditional filling for soup dumplings, Dan Modern Chinese also offers ones filled with pork and crab, pork and shrimp, spicy pork, chicken, and chicken and shrimp. The short rib Dan mein is a local favorite, but the noodle soups are hearty, filling, and comforting. However, the string beans with garlic are a must-order veggie that rivals the famous green beans at Din Tai Fung.

danmodernchinese.com/pages/santa-monica

Multiple locations in Southern California

Ospi Venice

Crispy provolone appetizer

ospivenice / Instagram

Ospi Venice is the ultimate place for spicy rigatoni alla vodka on the Westside. Whether you’re sitting inside the sleek and contemporary dining room or out on the breezy patio, there are a few dishes that you simply can’t miss. For starters, the crispy provolone boasts one of the most iconic cheese pulls, and it is served with a creamy vodka sauce that you’ll want to put on everything. The Caesar salad is another beloved appetizer that is made with a unique cacio e pepe dressing.

The pizzas are crispy and light, so if you prefer a puffy crust, stick with the pastas. In addition to the spicy rigatoni, the ricotta gnudi with sage and brown butter is an elevated and complex pasta dish, while the lamb neck cannelloni is rich and hearty. The butter chicken parm style is a solid choice for mains, but be sure to save room for the Nutella mousse at dessert.

ospivenice.com

(424) 407-1957

2025 Pacific Ave, Venice, CA 90291

Cassia

Spread of food

dinecassia / Instagram

Cassia is a part of the Rustic Canyon Restaurant Group, meaning that quality ingredients, innovation, and top-notch service are always guaranteed. The unique menu blends Southeast Asian fare with French influences, and the spacious restaurant has a beautiful bar, elegant dining room, and more casual patio for those wanting to sit outside. The elderflower mule is a refreshing and light beverage that provides a gentle buzz, but the Thai basil margarita is a favorite among loyal regulars thanks to its fresh and herby flavor.

For food, kick things off with the raw spicy scallops and fresh oysters before indulging in one of the clay oven breads and dips. The Kaya toast is a signature dish that is sweet and savory, while the spicy lamb frites put a special spin on the classic French dish.

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cassiala.com

(310) 393-6699

1314 7th St, Santa Monica, CA 90401

Burgette

Salmon belly burger

burgette.restaurant / Instagram

Burgette is one of the newest restaurants to land in Santa Monica, and it has already become a favorite among locals. The sister restaurant to next door Bar Monette, Burgette is a French-inspired burger joint with an elevated vibe and menu to match. Hanging copper pots and vintage, candelabra-esque chandeliers create a moody, European ambiance while the carefully curated wine list pairs perfectly with the burgers and small plates.

The zesty green bean appetizer is a surprising star that kicks things off on a light note, but the baguette and 30-month Comté with strawberry jam will have you licking your plate clean. The La Burgette is the signature burger topped with a crunchy cornichon, while the La Vivianne is a slightly richer option topped with tomato jam, raclette cheese, and bone marrow butter. Dessert is a non-negotiable here, so don’t forget to save room for the custard-filled croissant that gets covered in a sea of melted chocolate.

burgettesantamonica.com

111 Santa Monica Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401

Bay Cities Italian Deli & Bakery

The Godmother sandwich

ktchn.network / Instagram

Located in Santa Monica, Bay Cities is a traditional Italian market that also happens to sell one of, if not the, best sandwiches in Los Angeles. The fluffy and light bread sets the foundation for this unforgettable sandwich, while the high-quality meats, cheeses, spreads, and veggies take it to the next level. The Godmother is Bay Cities signature sandwich, made with prosciutto, ham, capicola, mortadella, Genoa salami, and provolone cheese. Though the default toppings are all you really need, you can customize each sandwich by adding additional veggies or spreads.

Keep things simple with a classic cold turkey, or enjoy a vegetarian creation if you follow a plant-based diet. One of the best things about running to Bay Cities to pick up your sandwich is the fact that you can do a little shopping while you wait. This gourmet grocery store sells every Italian treat and ingredient that you could possibly imagine, and you won’t be able to leave without picking up some specialty cheeses, pastas, sauces, or desserts.

order.bcdeli.com

(310) 395-8279

1517 Lincoln Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401

Gran Blanco

Wagyu tartare crisps

granblancovenice / Instagram

Since it opened, Gran Blanco has been one of the most popular places for an espresso martini in Venice. However, the restaurant recently underwent a major menu revamp, switching up from a blend of Mediterranean and Aussie-inspired cuisine to Japanese fare with a modern twist. The chic and design-forward interior is complete with abstract art, a neutral color palette, and wicker accents, blending modernism with a bohemian flair. Though you can still order the beloved tequila-based espresso martini, the new cocktail menu features refreshing and unforgettable libations like the clarified passion fruit sour and the hibiscus blossom.

When it comes to food, the dishes are meant to be shared, and you’ll want to start with the toro caviar crisp and yellowtail crudo. The crispy rock shrimp is a wonderful cooked dish, but the roasted cabbage Caesar is perhaps one of the most unique and enticing salads in the city. Other highlights include the poached halibut, tremendous spring rolls, and Wagyu tartare.

granblanco.com

(424) 433-8095

80 Windward Ave, Venice, CA 90291

Baltaire

Large seafood tower

baltaire / Instagram

Baltaire is a high-end steakhouse in Brentwood, but it also happens to serve one of the best brunches in LA. The top-notch cuts and fresh seafood make any meal here extremely memorable, but the airy dining room blends dark tones and modern furnishings, creating a more contemporary setting when compared to the traditional steakhouse style. There is also a beautiful terrace that has a breezy and romantic charm.

If you visit during dinner, the filet mignon is a must, and your server will be able to pair your meal with your perfect glass or bottle of red wine. Of course, the renowned cocktail program shouldn’t be missed, with the guava-forward Desert Rose being a top contender. The pre-fixe brunch is another amazing offering, but the bloody mary cart steals the show, allowing you to customize your morning libation exactly to your liking before topping with a jumbo juicy shrimp.

baltaire.com

(424) 273-1660

11647 San Vicente Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90049

La Isla Bonita

Fish ceviche on a tostada

laislabonitatacotruck / Instagram

Nothing beats a midday taco truck run on the Westside. Thankfully, La Isla Bonita is a Venice staple that sells tasty tacos and fresh seafood that is reminiscent of what you’ll find in coastal Mexican cities. Everything is made fresh, from the ceviches to the shrimp cocktails to the aguachile. The crisp tostadas are perfectly crunchy, creating a nice contrast with the texture of shrimp and fish ceviches. Though seafood is certainly the focus here, La Isla Bonita does offer tacos of all kinds, including classic carne asada.

Simply secure your order before posting up right outside the truck to enjoy your spread. Since the plates are smaller, feel free to order a few different dishes so you can get a well-rounded idea of just how elite this food truck truly is. You can even secure some merch every once in a while, so be sure to follow their Instagram for updates.

instagram.com/laislabonitatacotruck

Rose Ave and 4th Ave Venice, CA. 90291

Broad Street Oyster Co.

Lobster rolls and crab

broadstreetoysterco / Instagram

Located all the way across town in Malibu, Broad Street Oyster Co. is well worth the scenic drive along Pacific Coast Highway. This casual seafood stand has earned a reputation for having one of the best lobster rolls in the county, but you can also order fresh crudos, ceviche, and shellfish during your visit. While ordering at the counter, don’t forget to grab your favorite beer or canned wine to take back to your table while you wait for your order to be called.

The daily crudo changes depending on availability, but there are usually fun seasonal favorites like stone crab claws to try. The famous lobster roll is served two ways — either cold with mayo or warm with butter. Regardless of your preferences, you can always top your roll with uni or caviar for extra decadence. If lobster isn’t your thing, order the burger, tacos, or linguini and clams.

broadstreetoyster.com

Multiple locations in Southern California

Noma Sushi

Salmon sushi over radish

noma.sushi / Instagram

Noma Sushi is a locally-loved gem that serves up high-quality sushi for a fair price. Once you walk inside, you are greeted by a cozy sushi bar along with a row of booths that sit to the left of this narrow restaurant. Unlike places like Sugarfish and Kazunori, Noma Sushi remains low-key, casual, and classic, and the focus remains on the sushi rather than the setting. This is the perfect place to come when you’re looking for a mellow dinner out with friends, family, or your significant other.

Though the rolls are creative and filling, each piece of nigiri is made with care, and you’ll also notice that the fish-to-rice ratio is pretty generous. Noma definitely doesn’t skimp on the size of the fish, allowing you to get a pretty good bang for your buck. There are also always delicious sashimi and carpaccio specials topped with truffle, so don’t forget to check out the boards above the sushi bar.

nomasushi.com

(310) 453-4848

2031 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90403

Methodology

Palm Trees and city

Ryan Herron/Getty Images

Since I have lived in Santa Monica since 2019, I have been able to dine at every single restaurant on this list. In addition to the quality of the food, service, reputation, consistency, and accessibility all played a role in curating this selection of restaurants. While the parameters of the  “Westside” can vary slightly depending on who you ask, I kept this list to establishments past the 405, with a heavy focus on Santa Monica and Venice. Most of the places are known for signature dishes that have made them favorites among locals, while dedicated and friendly service keeps customers coming back for more. 

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