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A guide to restaurants in West LA (Santa Monica, Venice, Malibu)

June 12th, 2015 No Comments

When summer hits, so do the requests for best restaurants to visit while you’re in Los Angeles.  I don’t know much about the new places east of the 405 (Beverly Hills, West Hollywood, Hollywood, Downtown) anymore, but I have a handle on what’s happening on my side of town, west of the 405.

Below you’ll find restaurants and hangouts you should visit that are unique to this area.  There are tons of other great places, but if you only have half a day or a weekend on the Westside, these are where I would recommend you go.

My list is divided into themes and what each place is renown for…they might be open at other times and offer other things, but I would suggest you go to each spot for it’s specialty.

You’ll find all of these places in these neighborhoods:

  • Montata = Montana Ave in Santa Monica
  • Wilshire = Wilshire Blvd runs from Ocean to the 405
  • Ocean = Ocean Ave to 2nd Street in Santa Monica
  • SOW = South of Wilshire, Main Street to the Ocean
  • Brentwood = San Vicente from 26th to the 405
  • Venice = South of Santa Monica and Abbot Kinney (AK)
  • Malibu = North of Santa Monica


If you are likely to see a celeb there, I’ll  put a * by the name.

via @AlfredCoffee


  • Primo Passo (Montana) Best Americano
  • Demitasse (Wilshire and 3rd) Best cappuccino and latte
  • Cafe Luxxe* (Brentwood)
  • Alfred (Brentwood)
  • Intelligencia* (Venice, AK) Best cappuccino and latte
  • Blue Bottle (Venice, AK) Best cappuccino
  • GTA – Gjelina Take Away (Venice, AK) Best nut milk cappuccino

via @KreationJuice

Juice Bars

  • Kreation (Montana and Venice AK)
  • Juice Crafters (Brentwood)
  • Moon Juice (Venice)



  • Gjelina* (Venice AK) – my favorite in town, sit on back patio
  • Kreation Kafe* (Montana and Venice AK) – omelettes, fresh juice bar, smoothies
  • Huckleberry (Wilshire) – farm to table, seasonal cafe
  • Courtyard Kitchen (Montana) – delicious breakfast options
  • Farm Shop* (Brentwood) farm-to-table, seasonal cafe, more expensive
  • Malibu Farm* (Malibu) farm-to-table on the pier



  • Gjelina* (Venice AK)
  • Farmshop* (Brentwood)
  • Gjusta (Venice AK)
  • Kreation (Montana)

via @artstablesm

Dinner Casual

  • R + D Kitchen* (Montana) locals love this bar and restaurant
  • Art’s Table (Montana) Gastro-pub
  • Sugar Fish (Santa Monica and Brentwood) Sushi
  • Father’s Office (Montana) American
  • Mercado (Santa Monica) Modern Mexican
  • Blue Plate Taco (Ocean) Mexican
  • Milo + Olive (Wilshire) Pizza


Dinner for a Night Out*

(I like sitting at the bar all of these places)

  • Boa (Santa Monica) steakhouse
  • Mastro’s Ocean Club (Santa Monica) steakhouse over the water
  • Nobu (Malibu) Japanese on the water
  • Baltaire (Brentwood) steakhouse
  • Rustic Canyon (Wilshire) farm to table amazing food and wine bar (sit at the bar!)
  • Tasting Kitchen (Venice) farm to table gastro pub
  • Scopa (Venice) farm to table gastro pub
  • Little Door (Brentwood) farm to table french
  • Giorgio Baldi’s* (Ocean) Italian, you need a reservation in advance



If you see a ^ at the end, it’s a good place to watch the sunset.

  • Bungalow at The Fairmont Hotel^ (Wilshire) outdoor club from 5 – 2am
  • R + D Kitchen* (Montana)
  • Brick and Mortar (Santa Monica Main Street) sports bar
  • Sonny McLean’s (Wilshire) sports bar
  • The Lobster^ (Ocean)
  • Harvel’s  (SOW) blues, rock, dancing
  • ShangriLa Roofdeck^ (Ocean)
  • Shore Bar (Ocean) nightclub
  • The bar at Casa Del Mar^ (Ocean)
  • Nobu Bar^ (Malibu)
  • Penthouse Bar at The Huntley Hotel^ (Ocean)

Late Night Grub

  • Swingers (Santa Monica)
  • Iggy’s Diner (Wilshire)

Coming Soon!

  • Red O (Ocean) Mexican
  • Estate (Wilshire @ 16th)
  • Forma (Montana @ 17th)

Stay Away

Restaurants you’ll hear about that you shouldn’t waste your time on.

  • The Ivy at the Shore (Ocean)
  • Water Grill (Ocean)
  • Fig (unless you’re doing the happy hour from 5-6pm) (Wilshire)
  • Feed (Venice)

You’ll notice I didn’t mention the Santa Monica Pier or Third Street Promenade.  Both are nice to see, but I wouldn’t stop to eat while I strolled there.

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Coffee, is it your really your addiction or just your crutch?

March 28th, 2013 2 Comments

Latte from Alfred Coffee Los Angeles

During my dtox juice cleanse* in Atlanta, I obviously wasn’t drinking ANY coffee. The thought of not having a cup was terrifying because I like not only the taste but also the caffeine getting my body moving in the early hours of the morning. Who doesn’t? So before the cleanse, Shannon (owner of dtox) suggested I try her Pu-erh latte to help me make the transition. (Pu-erh is an aged tea with a decent dose of caffeine and notable health benefits. The older it is the better it gets.)

To make her latte, Shannon steeps The Art of Tea Cocao Coconut Pu-erh and then tops it off with her fresh almond milk frothed with a Capresso frother.

When I tell you this combo tastes better than a real latte, I’m exaggerating. Neither is “better” than the other. But one IS “better” for you and happens to taste unbelievably delicious. In fact, I loved the Pu-erh so much I shunned our Breveille espresso maker and fresh ground Intelligencia beans during the cleanse and then for a month afterwards! I made Shannon’s blend every morning instead. I will say though, somehow hers is better…

Tea with Almond Milk

Don’t get me wrong, my obedience was facilitated by the fact that the best cappuccino was either made my traveling BF or a 20 minute drive from our home in Atlanta. When I returned to Houston and I could hit up Boomtown Coffee 5 minutes from my mom’s house, it was my first stop. But! I only did it once :)


As I person who enjoyed two to three cups of coffee a day, I really thought I was becoming addicted to it. But when I made the switch to only one Pu-erh a day, I didn’t get crazy headaches or feel more sluggish than normal. I was totally fine. What I realized is that I was using coffee as a crutch because I just like drinking good coffee….and hate drinking water. However, we all know that anything in excess is bad for our bodies. While debate is still out on whether coffee is “bad” for our health because it has proven benefits, I’m sure we can agree the stuff that most people put into their coffee is crap (dairy, soy milk, processed almond milk, syrups, etc). So now I enjoy tea in the morning and at least a gallon of water a day. I can’t say I feel different, but I don’t feel bad or like I’m missing out on anything. Of course I splurge on an occasional cappuccino or latte from time to time, just not two a day like I used to. If you’re wondering what shops serve up the best capps and lattes, I’ll give you a little list of my favorites should you be in one of my “home towns.” NYC





(*More on dtox juice and new cleanses soon!) Photo: Latte from Alfred Coffee, new “Ace Hotel” like coffee shop on Melrose Place in West Hollywood. They use Stumptown beans and have baristas who know how to serve them up right!

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