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We discover what makes L.A. one of America’s top gastronomic trendsetters / Pixabay
We discover what makes L.A. one of America’s top gastronomic trendsetters / Pixabay
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The Best Restaurants In Venice, Culver City And Santa Monica

Picture of Stephanie Chang Avila
Updated: 9 February 2017
Los Angeles’ westside districts are a thriving hotbed of restaurants that reflects Southern California’s laid-back, international and experimental culinary culture. Here, the cradle of America’s street food and food truck boom, some of the best foods are found at the most unexpected corners, and come infused with California’s beachside kick-back attitude. From ultra-casual California-style Mexican joints to farm-to-table American bistro, we discover what makes L.A. one of America’s top gastronomic trendsetters.
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Downtown / LA Metro/Photo by Michelle & Tom Grimm | © LA Tourism

Tsujita & Tsujita LA Annex, West L.A.

Tsujita and sister restaurant Tsujita LA Annex on Sawtelle Blvd are renowned for serving some of the best ramen noodles in the city. In particular, Tsujita is responsible for introducing LA locals to tsukemen, the hottest thing in Japanese noodle culture, where the soup is served separately from the noodles, which are then dipped into the boiling hot soup. Whilst Tsujita serves ramen and tsukemen only during lunch, Tsujita LA Annex features an all-noodle menu.

Address: Tsujita & Tsujita LA Annex, 2057 Sawtelle Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90025.

Gjelina & Gjelina Take Away, Venice Beach

Gjelina is a neighborhood haunt for emerging local artists and Venice surfers. Diners are welcomed into a rustic dining hall with long wooden tables, wood-paneled ceilings and stylish old-school chairs. With outstanding pizzas, tapas style small plates and much raved-about vegetables, Gjelina adheres closely to the farm-to-table ethos, with dishes created using organic, seasonal, fresh ingredients. A little annex next door, Gjelina Take Away (GTA) also offers excellent take out options for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The scones, especially blueberry brown sugar, is a winner.

Address: Gjelina & Gjelina Take Away, 1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291.

Sunny Spot, Venice Beach

Sunny Spot is the chilled out alter ego of Roy Choi’s massively popular Kogi BBQ food truck. This chilled-out cookshop brings the Caribbean vibe to ever-relaxed California. The menu is Californian Caribbean with options like jerk chicken, shrimp and grits, plantains and yucca fries. With an extensive outdoor patio, eclectic decor with bold dashes of color and deliberately mismatched patterns, as well as lovely lighting fixtures, Sunny Spot has quickly become a Venice favorite for its weekend brunch.

Address: Sunny Spot, 822 W Washington Blvd, Venice, CA 90292.

Father’s Office, Santa Monica and Culver City

Father’s Office serves a legendary all-American classic burger which evokes the deep flavors of French onion soup, a mix of beefy goodness, caramelized onions and gruyere cheese. Order an Office Burger and pair it with sweet potato fries, truffle fries with aioli, or opt for the classic. In addition, Father’s Office has an excellent selection of 36 craft beers on tap to complement your meal.

Address: Father’s Office, 1018 Montana Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90403 and 3229 Helms Ave Los Angeles, CA 90034.

Farmshop, Santa Monica

Farmshop’s Santa Monica outpost is a farm-to-table favourite amongst local Santa Monicans and LA residents. Farmshop’s well-lit, spacious interior takes on a rustic look with wooden furnishings and interior wooden beams that’s evocative of a stylish barn. This, combined with its fine, fresh food, makes it a favourite LA westside brunch spot.

Address: Farmshop, 225 26th St, Santa Monica, CA 90049.

Paco’s Tacos, Culver City

L.A.’s food culture is inseparable from the burgeoning Mexican food scene. Paco’s Tacos in L.A.’s westside neighborhood is among the best, and L.A. locals know it — so be ready to queue up for your tacos. The secret to Paco’s tacos is its lovingly handcrafted corn and flour tortillas, which are made to perfection.

Address: Paco’s Tacos, 4141 S Centinela Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90066.

Intelligentsia Coffee, Venice Beach

Intelligentsia Coffee has led the craft coffee wave taking America’s largest cities by storm. Intelligentsia Coffee’s Venice coffee bar is a beautifully designed coffee space that is open and vibrant, allowing visitors to get the inside look at Intelligentsia’s expert baristas at work.

Address: Intelligentsia Coffee, 1331 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291.

Wurstküche, Venice Beach

Wurstküche imports the German beer hall concept and infuses it with a strong dose of sunny Californian optimism and casual informality without losing any of the flavors that make Wurstküche’s sausages special. The brick-and-wood interior and long wooden tables give Wurstküche a communal vibe, which brings to mind a traditional German beer garden populated by California’s hippest and trendiest locals.

Address: Wurstküche, 625 Lincoln Blvd, Venice, CA 90291.

Huckleberry Cafe and Bakery, Santa Monica

Huckeberry Cafe is an artisanal bakery and cafe which sources fresh ingredients and makes everything on site, using high quality organic ingredients and farmer’s market produce with a creative flair. Stop by Huckleberry Cafe for a family brunch or catch up with a friend over a light pastry. Menu favorites include anything with maple bacon, especially the maple-bacon biscuits, the fried egg sandwich and the Dr. Seuss-inspired green eggs & ham.

Address: Huckleberry Cafe & Bakery, 1014 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401.

Sweet Rose Creamery, Santa Monica

Sweet Rose Creamery specializes in small batch homemade ice cream with a rotation of seasonal flavors with produce sourced from the Santa Monica Farmers Market, as well as milk and eggs from local farms. Expressing a passion for quality, Sweet Rose Creamery also creates handcrafted cones and other sweet snacks.

Address: Sweet Rose Creamery, 225 26th St #51, Santa Monica, CA 90402.

L.A. Food Trucks, Around L.A.

The food truck phenomenon had its genesis in sunny California, so it’s unsurprising that some of the nation’s best food trucks make their home in the Los Angeles County. Creative, innovative and highly specialized, these food trucks serve delicious food at great prices. Indeed, there’s no better way of getting a feel for L.A.’s gastronomic culture than to embark on the food truck hunt, following these mobile food trucks on Twitter as they roam through the city. The following are four of L.A.’s very best food trucks eats.

Kogi BBQ

Kogi BBQ Truck’s Chef Roy Choi masterfully combined the strong and distinct flavours of Korean cuisine with the equally distinct strengths of Californian-Mexican cuisine to create the perfect international-fusion dish. Chef Choi was launched onto the international food map when he started putting Korean marinated short ribs into tortilla shells; since then, the Korean-Mexican fusion trend has seen food cart copycats in cities across America and internationally.

Grilled Cheese Truck

Such is the wild popularity of the Grilled Cheese Truck that it now operates in three states: California, Arizona and Texas. The Grilled Cheese Truck tapped into the all-American longing for its favourite childhood comfort food: the grilled cheese sandwich and turned it into an art form. Starting with two slices of bread and cheese, the Grilled Cheese Truck’s sandwiches have evolved, with different cheese options, savory and sweet add-ons, and its signature Cheesy Mac and Rib.

Lobsta Truck

L.A.’s Lobsta Truck brings the East Coast’s finest food to California, serving fresh chunks of New England lobster on buttery New England-sourced split top rolls that are simply perfect. The classic lobster roll is a must-try item, though some say that the crab roll goes head-to-head with it. All of this can be complemented by clam chowder and Cape Cod chips.

Coolhaus

Coolhaus is a decadent, delicious and delightfully messy treat for a hot summer’s day out. Self-described as serving ‘architecturally-inspired gourmet desserts’, Coolhaus takes its name from two architectural icons: the German Bauhaus group and famed architect Rem Koolhaas. The concept for Coolhaus is wonderfully simple: take two delectable American treats and combine them together. Select between a wide range of cookie flavours, then decide on an ice cream flavours to go with it. What you get is a huge scoop of richly creamy ice cream sandwiched between two chewy cookies to create a gooey, sweet snack.