Not pictured or restaurant has closed- Santa Monica Yacht Club, Tar and Roses, Bangkok West, Tender Greens, Burger Lounge, Michaels, Stella Barra, M Street Kitchen, Blue Plate Taco, Water Grill, Barneys Beanery, Santa Monica Seafood Market and Café, Pono Burger, Ye Olde Kings Head, Inotheke La Vecchia Cucina, Milo and Olive, Sonoma Wine Garden, Jimmys Famous American Tavern, Farmshop, Brick and Mortar, TheCounter, Locando Portofino, Gilberts, Via Veneto, Hinterland, Sweetgreen, Blue Daisy Café, Mendocino Farms, Bay Cities, Bennys Tacos, NY Bagel Café, Bagel Nosh, Rosti Santa Monica, FlowerChild, Fromin’s restaurant, Holy Guacamole, Aussie Pie Kitchen
Could this be the most overrated restaurant in all of Los Angeles? Over priced, over hyped and frankly not that good. Look at how thick that prosciutto is!! Two chubby thumbs down.
Must Eat: Grilled chicken pesto salad
Highs: It's "healthy"
Lows: It's not good
Worth it, don't need a full review here. Two chubby thumbs up
Must Eat: Double Double with animal fries
Highs: Quick, cheap and delicious, go protein style if you are carb conscious
Lows: Long lines
Is it hard to find quality Italian food on the west coast? It can be- Capo is a meat heavy Italian spot right in Santa Monica. Can be pricey but also worth it. One chubby thumb up. Perfect for special occasions
Must Eat: Jidori chicken parm
Highs: Solid Italian on the West Side
Lows: Can get pricey quick
Why go to Sushi Roku when Sugarfish exists? Well, if you want a crunchy tuna roll or something more exotic. Katana roll is a must have, but is it worth that $20 just for some tuna? Meh, maybe one visit is enough.
Must Eat: Katana roll
Highs: Great happy hour deals and creative rolls
Lows: $20+ tuna rolls
Best. Sushi. Anywhere. Sugarfish is worth the hype, if you are in LA just for a day you should eat here twice. Two chubby thumbs way up.
Must Eat: Trust me menu
Highs: Amazing price, outstanding quality
Lows: No reservations, long wait time if you want to eat at a normal hour
If you find yourself at the Santa Monica Place mall and starving, don't eat here... starve instead. Two chubby thumbs way down.
Must Eat: Somewhere else
Way the hell in the mountains- this cabinesque restaurant is serving up some really creative and inspired dishes. Good for a quiet celebration and for those adventurous eaters. One chubby thumb up.
Must Eat: Chicken breast
Highs: Secluded romantic restaurant
Lows: Dark dining room, don't have that third martini and expect to make it home on those windy mountain roads
Why is it so hard to find Greek food in Los Angeles? Petros is worth a trip if you are headed towards Manhattan Beach- solid tzatziki, good souvlaki, awful saganaki. One chubby thumb up.
Must Eat: Chicken souvlaki
Highs: Airy comfortable dining room with great Greek menu
Lows: Parking in Manhattan Beach is the worst
In town just to spot some celebrities? Look no further than NOBU Malibu. The upcharge on the sushi is well worth it when you can sit next to the Pacific and stare at beautiful people trying to pretend they are someone important. Two chubby thumbs up.
Must Eat: Crispy rice off menu
High: Views, people watching and crispy rice tuna
Lows: Everyone eating here is the worst
Best negroni in LA. Locally grown everything, Belcampo is a great addition to the West LA food scene. Two chubby thumbs up.
Must Eat: Chicken wings
Highs: Great portions, tasty food and awesome cocktails in a great dining room
Lows: Stick with meat and chicken
Want to get that NYC trendy restaurant vibe in LA? Look no further than The Misfit. Great for a group or happy hour.
Must Eat: French dip nik niks
Highs: Basil Gimlet, nik niks, overall vibe and FREE COOKIES
Lows: Gets crowded FAST
I had high hopes for Pistola, a cool trendy Italian spot but frankly they do not know the first thing about making pasta. Two chubby thumbs down
Highs: Good Drinks
Lows: Everything I ate
*Since posting this Pistola has closed... good
The culinary king of Los Angeles, Wolfgang Puck has had Spago forever- for a reason. Everything about Spago is perfect. From the service to the food to the setting (upscale non-judgmental) it is worth the splurge. Two chubby thumbs up
Must Eat: Off menu tuna cones
Highs: Everything. Request to sit in the courtyard and go for those off menu tuna cones.
Finding yourself in need of some fresh seafood in Manhattan Beach? Amazing oysters, lobsters, shrimp... you can still taste the ocean. 1.25chubby thumb up
Must Eat: Seafood tower
Highs: Fresh fish, great local beers
Lows: If you enjoy elbow room while you eat this is not the place for you
One of Fat Tony's top brunch spots- The Little Door is adorable with a great menu. From steak and eggs to tuna tartar everything here is worth a try. 1 chubby thumbs up
Must Eat: Steak and eggs breakfast
Highs: Great ambiance and food to back it up
Lows: Busy on the weekends
Have some people in town you want to impress? Take them to One Pico. Eating essentially ON the beach at one of the top beachside hotels in California. .75 chubby thumbs up.
Must Eat: Shrimp cocktail
Highs: Location location location
Lows: It is in a hotel so expect hotel prices
Longtime resident of the west side, Giorgio Baldi is a fairly expensive restaurant that in my opinion just isn't worth it. Decent veal, average lobster, one chubby thumb up.
Must Eat: Veal Milenese
Highs: LA historical value
Lows: Overcooked veal and overpriced everthing
Do I really need to review a Del Frisco's? Just the same as any other DFG, good spot for happy hour and some solid burgers and steaks. But with so many non- nationwide options around why waste your time
Must Eat: Lamb burger
Highs: You know you are getting quality ingredients and food
Lows: There is zero personality
Oh boy this Fat Greek was happy with the only proper souvlaki in all of Los Angeles. Besides the true greek food here, the small market reminds me of Astoria back home. Plastic tablecloths! Do yourself a favor and go eat a chicken souvlaki and get an Alpha. Two chubby thumbs up
Must Eat: Chicken souvlaki sandwich
Highs: In your face Greek food not trying to be anything it's not
Lows: Parking lot can get filled up rather quickly
Hillstone- I mean what can one say about another chain restaurant? Great food but I would suggest going to Bandaras instead for the same food.
Must Eat: Tuna crispy rice
Highs: Good atmosphere, good food. One chubby thumb up
Lows: Presentation of anything coming out of the kitchen.
Nothing is more East Coast than a true diner. As a transplant to LA, I was happy to find a place where I can wake up hungover Sunday morning and find a normal breakfast. Is it great? No not really, but its pretty good. .75 chubby thumbs up.
Must Eat: Egg sandwich
Highs: It's a diner!
Lows: It's an ok diner!
This San Diego export finally made it's way to LA. Avoid brunch at all costs. Dinner here is fantastic though- also have great happy hour oyster deals. One chubby thumb up.
Must Eat: Local ceviche
Highs: Fresh fish and great happy hour
Lows: Good lord do not come here for brunch.
Huckleberry is on every blog's list of best breakfasts in Los Angles. It's very good but is it worth that title? Nah- that being said baked goods and egg sandwiches are great, but call me old fashioned but I don't need creme fraiche on my eggs. One chubby thumb up
Must Eat: Baked goods and egg sandwich
Highs: Baked goods
Lows: It's breakfast, get over yourself
There is nothing prime about these tacos. The best thing on the menu at this Sawtelle outpost is the Red Velvet Churros. Two chubby thumbs down for this fake Mexican food.
Must Eat: The churros
Highs: Red velvet churros
Lows: Everything else
Perhaps the most hyped restaurant opening in Santa Monica history- Cassia is very good. Dining room can be loud but there are great seats at the grill in the back and the raw bar. Creative dishes with explosive flavors come out of this kitchen. Two chubby thumbs up.
Must Eat: Chickpea Naan
Highs: Everything is so uniquely made and delicious
Lows: Loud dining room, can be a tough reservation to snag. Avoid the cold prawns
I don't care what LA Magazine has to say, this is the best 'upscale' burger in all of Los Angeles. I mean it has ketchup leather. Curious what that is? Go eat one of these juicy bad boys and tell me I'm wrong. Two greasy chubby thumbs way up
Must Eat: PCB with bacon
Highs: This burger is amazing, sweet potato fries also a must eat and don't forget the cocktail menu
Lows: None, don't sleep on the fried chicken sandwich either!
Fresh trendy restaurant right off the beach in Venice- Leona has a solid brunch and an interesting menu overall. Half a chubby thumb up.
Must Eat: Omlette
Highs: Decor and overall ambiance
Lows: Kimchi latkas
Another LA restaurant that sacrifices food because it is a great place to people watch. Located at the Hollywood Roosevelt, the food is fair and the ambiance is solid- maybe you'll get to see Channing Tatum. One chubby thumb up
Must Eat: Pork chop
Highs: Great cocktails, cool LA vibe
Lows: The food is above average but it is missing something.
Santa Monica is currently being overrun with 'fancy' burger joints, and although you probably have had Umami burger elsewhere, you cannot pass up a truffle burger. .75 chubby thumbs up
Must Eat: Truffle burger
Highs: Truffle burger, new location is nice and spacious
Lows: Just give me a burger on a bun come on
Hands down the best lobster roll in all of LA... although with Knuckle and Claw closing there isn't much competition. But eating a lobster roll while looking at the ocean is amazing. Two chubby thumbs up.
Must Eat: Lobster roll and Mac and Cheese
Highs: Lobster by the ocean
Lows: Can be a tight squeeze and its not worth eating anything besides the lobster roll
What is better than a perfectly shaken dry martini and a dry aged steak on a plate? Nothing. BOA is one of the better steakhouses in all of LA, but expect to pay steakhouse prices. Two chubby thumbs up
Must Eat: Dry aged sirloin with red wine sauce
High: No frills here, just a steak on a plate
Lows: Can be a bit pretentious at times
Continuing my search for authentic Greek food in LA led me to Taverna Tony, perhaps the most grossly overpriced restaurant in all of LA. In no world should you pay $20+ for a souvlaki. Two chubby sad Greek thumbs down
Must Eat: Meatballs
Highs: I guess its in Malibu
Lows: No value or authenticity here
Chef Nobu's first LA restaurant is still churning out fantastic quality and tasty sushi. Off menu crispy rice is a must. One and a half chubby thumbs up. The half a thumb down is because this place is in dire need of a face lift.
Must Eat: Off menu crispy rice pops
Highs: Quality sushi in a historical restaurant
Lows: There is still carpet from like 1983
One of the best Italian restaurants in all of Los Angeles. This beer and wine only, patio seating, casual restaurant is one of my favorites in all of Los Angeles.
Must Eat: Bolognese
Highs: Handmade pasta in a casual comfortable setting
Lows: It is in Silverlake
Yet another Obcia Mozzerella Bar has opened, this time in Santa Monica. Just like every other Obica location, you'll get pretty good food at a good price. Also they deliver. Half a chubby thumb up.
Must Eat: Prosciutto and burrata
Highs: Good priced decent food and fast delivery
Lows: You also can find Obica in malls
This New York transplant is still finding its footing here in LA. Known for 'exotic' burgers and healthy options, it is not quite as good as its' NYC siblings. Half a chubby thumb up
Must Eat: Onion rings
Highs: Bison burgers!
Lows: Not worth the $ when there are better burger options closeby
The queen of bread opened this meat-centric restaurant with my least favorite celeb chef Mario Batali- but what we have here is fantastic meat, bread, wine and octopus. One and a half chubby thumbs up
Must Eat: Bread with beef drippings, focaccia di Recco
Highs: It is a meat lovers paradise
Lows: Don't forget your cholesterol medicine
With a cult following and a classically trained chef, you should 100% go find the Guerilla Taco Truck on your next lunch break. Ever changing tacos on what is fresh, it is the only food truck I will eat tuna from. One and a half chubby thumbs up
Must Eat: Tuna tacos when available
Highs: Fresh, clean ingredients
Lows: It's a truck so you can't have it every day :(
Old school Mexican joint in West LA, Don Antonio's is essentially a place to get a ton of margaritas and some fajitas. Half a chubby thumb up
Must Eat: Chicken fajitas
Highs: Cadillac Margarita and outdoor patio and great taco deals
Lows: I don't like places where they ask if you want to pay more for white meat chicken
Need to take that tinder date to the next level? Lucques is the place to go. Romantic patio in the back, great cocktails and great, James Beard award winning food.
Must Eat: Pork chop
Highs: Romantic patio and amazing pork chop
Where to eat brunch in Veince? The Rose is the place to be. On a sunny SoCal Sunday you should find yourself eating some great eggs and salads outside at The Rose
Must Eat: Crispy brussles sprouts with eggs
Highs: Great brunch, outdoor seating
Lows: Service can be lacking
Another amazing Venice brunch spot- Superba Food & Bread is more than just egg sandwiches. Fantastic baked goods and a surprisingly, albeit small, wine list.
Must Eat: Eggs in purgatory
Highs: Great ambiance and baked goods
Lows: Service and parking
Want to impress New York visitors that say there is no cool LA rooftop bar scene or good Asian cuisine? E.P&L.P has one of the best rooftop bars in LA as well as some damn good Asian food. One and a half chubby thumbs up
Must Eat: Curry cauliflower
Highs: Rooftop Bar with awesome views and some killer food
Lows: Can get overrun with LA "actors"
How in the world are there two Mare locations? Honestly, if you can explain it to me please do because this restaurant needs to stop. With entrees being haphazardly thrown on plates with no care at all this gets two chubby thumbs down.
Must Eat: N/A
Highs: Zip Zero
Lows: If I had to pick its remotely healthy
(Note- Melrose and Santa Monica locations have closed but one opened in Siverlake)
Whether you hit Wexler's in Santa Monica or in Grand Central Market, you are in store for some great smoked meats and pastrami. Coming from a NY-er the bagels are pretty good too.
Must Eat: The OG or the LA Bird
Highs: Smoked fish and great sandwiches
Lows: A dozen bagels is $20
A wine-o's dream come true. Extensive list of fantastic wines with fresh Californian cuisine. Great place for a small group to order shared plates. One and a half chubby thumbs up
Must Eat: Fresh ricotta and baked bread
Highs: Very fresh, very creative Californian dishes with a wine list to match
Lows: Pacing of the dishes could be better, very unassuming exterior and decor could use some work
Creativity through the roof. This is the closest restaurant to a Momofuku Ko/Brooklyn Fare you can find in LA. From start to finish the food is outstanding, inspired and tasty. Plus they play old school hip hop all night.
Must Eat: Everything
Highs: Everything is awesome
Lows: Reservation system is a pain in the ass
Drunk and hungry in Santa Monica? Joe's pizza is one of the few places open to eat that's not McDonald's late night. Plus it is one of the only pizza spots that I have found here that sell garlic knots. Half a chubby thumb up.
Must Eat: Regular slice and garlic knot
Highs: Open late by LA standards
Lows: Sober its ok pizza, drunk its pretty damn good
LA, the land of breakfast burritos and this is the best of the bunch. For me to say a veggie burrito is as good as one with sausage is saying something. Everything at this casual Venice breakfast spot is worth eating. Two chubby thumbs up
Must Eat: Veggie breakfast burrito
Highs: Breakfast burritos are unreal
Lows: Long lines on the weekend and it can be a bitch to get a table to eat at
A quick chicken and waffle place? On paper it sounds good, and in real life its pretty good...not great. But if you are among the crowds of tourists on the promenade and want to have a deep fried piece of chicken on a waffle bun this is where to go. Half a chubby thumb up
Must Eat: Chicken waffle sandwich
Highs: I mean its chicken and waffles
Lows: It's on the promenade
All of the True Food Kitchen locations are the same. Pretty decent 'mall' food that claims to be supremely healthy. Avoid the pizzas. One chubby thumb up
Must Eat: Turkey burger
Highs: Healthy options, great for large groups
Lows: Not terribly inventive cuisine
Best restaurant on Abbot Kinney but they do not alter anything on the menu- FT advice is to take a peek before you head there. Brunch is also great, one of the better pancakes in LA.
Must Eat: Buckwheat pancake
Highs: Patio seating in the back is perfect for a nice breakfast or dinner
Lows: No changes to any dish, even asking to get the eggs well done is frowned upon
The most famous modernist chef in the world is the culinary genius behind one of the most inventive restaurants in Los Angeles. Every bite from the hollowed out Philly Cheese (Wagyu beef) to the spicy tuna cones- this is an experience. Two chubby thumbs up
Must Eat: "Philly Cheesesteaks"
Highs: Everything you put in your mouth
Best Italian food on the westside of LA, which isn't hard to do with a Michelin winning chef. Don't even look at the menu, the fantastic wait staff gives fantastic recommendations and it is worth it to trust in them.
Must Eat: Special pasta, doesn't matter what it is just GET IT
Highs: Handmade pasta
Lows: Can have a long wait, and can be a bit on the dimly lit side
Considered one of LA's best burgers- only go if you like blue cheese. Juicy, perfectly cooked burgers come out of this tiny kitchen, but it is well worth the wait. Fries also are fantastic. One and a half chubby thumbs up.
Must Eat: Blue cheese burger, fries
Highs: Great beer selection
Lows: Can't do any make your own burgers here, its their way or the highway
One of the better Poke places in LA- Sweetfin gives you great choices to create that perfect poke bowls. Macadamia nuts, wasabi peas and tuna. One chubby thumb up
Must Eat: Spicy tuna poke bowl
Highs: Great design, awesome cucumber water, popcorn also underrated
Lows: Massive lines at lunchtime
NYC NoMad in a truck?! Bacon wrapped truffle hot dogs?! 100% go find this truck and eat up. Chicken burgers are amazing, hot dogs are great and they sometimes have some guest chefs creating some burgers. One and a half chubby thumbs up
Must Eat: Truffle dog, truffle chicken burger
Highs: Quick food truck service with excellent food
Lows: Often in DTLA and it can be a pain in the ass to get to
Taking over the old Ox & Son, this meat heavy menu on Montana is good, not great. Half a chubby thumbs up.
Must Eat: Pork chop
Highs: Comfortable dining room, friendly staff
Lows: Straight up ugly decor
Courtyard dining, decent breakfast plates but there are plenty of other breakfast restaurants within 3 miles to waste your time here. Half a chubby thumbs up.
Must Eat: Tale of Green eggs
Highs: You get to eat outside
Lows: Not the best burrito and omelettes are very meh
Another Nancy Silverton restaurant, this pizza place isn't quite as good as people will lead you to believe. Don't get wrapped up in the celeb chef hype- there are better pizzas around. One chubby thumb up
Must Eat: White pizza
Highs: Fennel sausage pizzas are always a plus
Lows: Just doesn't live up to the hype.
Brisket is king at this slow roast BBQ place. Having had some of the best BBQ around the country, I have to say that Maple Block is tops in LA. Chicken also is amazing. One and a half chubby thumbs up
Must Eat: Brisket with your hands
Highs: Brisket, chicken, BBQ, cole slaw...plus you can sit outside
Lows: You sit outside in a parking lot
This coffee shop that also pushes out great breakfast burritos is a must in Santa Monica. Not only is the burrito tasty but it is HUGE. Great coffee also.
One chubby thumb up
Must Eat: Breakfast burrito
Highs: Perfectly pressed burrito in a SoCal environment
Lows: The burrito can and will make you fat
What do you get when one of the most famous chefs from Mexico is behind a crazy hyped restaurant in WeHo? Pretty good high end Mexican food. Knock down the prices a bit and you have a home run. BUT FT is a sucker for outdoor dining. Half a chubby thumbs up
Highs: Beautiful outdoor patio and good cocktail menu
Must Eat: Ceviche of the day
Lows: They seem to still be getting their footing
Any place that has a burrata omelette is a must try. Cora's (where you can also get some pasta from Capo) is a great breakfast/lunch spot on Ocean. One chubby thumbs up.
Must Eat: Poached eggs on bruschetta
Highs: Biscotti and burrata omelette, plus outdoor seating
Lows: Being associated with Capo you run into some pretty expensive eggs
This 100% vegetarian restaurant is known for their veggie slaughtering. From the avocado toast to their fresh juices- if you are in need of a good Sunday morning cleansing breakfast make way. One chubby thumbs up
Must Eat: Avocado toast
Highs: Beautiful restaurant, and you don't leave feeling too fat
Lows: They don't do bacon
The newest Poke place to hit Santa Monica, Mainland Poke is a great competitor to Sweetfin. I mean, they have kelp noodles here! One chubby thumbs up.
Must Eat: Three scoop poke bowl
Highs: Kelp noodles, great yuzu dressing
Lows: They need to figure out a way to make it look like its not scoops of tuna ice cream
Whoever said you can't find good pizza in LA clearly does not know about Lodge Bread. IMO this blows away Stella Barra, Pizzeria Mozza and whatever else you can throw my way. Also, every piece of bread that comes out of their ovens is ridiculously good. Two chubby thumbs up
Must Eat: Literally everything
Highs: Pizza, pita, hummus
Lows: Veggie sandwich, seating
Don't feel like waiting an hour to eat brunch next door at Gjelina, then GTA is the next best choice. Solid egg sandwiches, pizzas and avocado toast make this a great quick stop. One chubby thumbs up
Must Eat: Avocado toast
Highs: Location location location!
Lows: For being a 'quick take away' shop they sure take their sweet ass time
Bruschetta from Gjusta bread, handmade pastas and an extensive pizza menu make this one of the go to places in LA for some casual Italian. Tough to get in, but once you sit you won't want to stop eating. One and a half chubby thumbs up.
Must Eat: Spicy fusilli
Highs: Pizza options, natural wood decor, and plenty of burrata to go around
Lows: Wait time, reservation troubles
In the old La Brea Bakery, Republique really has the perfect setting to take you outside of LA. Awesome food from brunch to dinner, fresh, good and seasoned well. One and a half chubby thumbs up.
Must Eat: Lunchtime burger, crudo
Highs: Crudo, bread with drippings, LUNCH ONLY burger
Lows: Can get supremely crowded at the bar, wait staff a bit lacking as well
However misleading their 'est. 1940' tagline is- this newcomer to West Hollywood is a fantastic choice for some fresh seafood. Lobster rolls, fries, fish and chips- all delicious. One chubby thumbs up
Must Eat: All the raw bar, lobster roll fantastic
Highs: $29 lobster roll, but plenty of meat in this bad boy- great beer seleciton
Lows: $29 lobster roll
This hidden, Sunday's only burger "spot" is worth all the secrecy. Just a guy grilling up exceptional burgers out of his backyard, you need to request permission to eat one of these delicious burgers. Two chubby thumbs up.
Must Eat: As many of these burgers as you can
Highs: $5 burgers worth $10, plus connect 4 to play while you eat
Lows: Get there early because once the meat is done they are sold out!