You don't have to break the bank to eat well at restaurants in Santa Monica. The mid-priced restaurants in Santa Monica all leave you just as satisfied as the high-end variety.
Much like their higher-priced counterparts, these budget-friendly restaurants focus on organic, locally sourced foods and healthier fare.
Just off the beaten path - and sometimes on it - you'll find these culinary gems. Some of the restaurants below are near the beach, others are on Main Street, and still others in the bustling Santa Monica Promenade.
Good food and stellar views - You can't go wrong with this pairing!
This casual, inside-outside restaurant on Ocean Avenue features Locavore Mexican fare served with Pacific Ocean views and a beachy vibe.
Standouts include the signature lobster truffle tacos, a tasty variety of ceviches and salsas to choose from, and the homemade tortillas and chips. 1515 Ocean Avenue, Santa Monica; (310) 458-7985.
Along with serving up one of the best fresh fish and fish tacos in town, Pan-Asian Ma'Kai also serves up breathtaking views of the sun setting over Malibu to the north and the Santa Monica Pier.
This busy eatery also doubles as a sports bar with flat-screen TVs providing easy game-day viewing throughout, DJs on weekend nights, and happy hour throughout the week. 101 Broadway, (310) 434-1511.
Located at the end of Santa Monica Pier, Mariasol Cucina Mexicana serves up the flavors and colors of a true Baja Cantina.
Its distinctive sauces, flavorful peppers, and emphasis on fresh fish make it a favorite among locals and visitors alike. 401 Santa Monica Pier; (310) 917-5050.
This casual, surfboard-filled bar and grill serves up seafood, bar eats, and live bands on weekends.
Rusty's has been Santa Monica Pier's favorite restaurant for more than 20 years and was selected "Most Loved Pier Business" in 2015 and again in 2016. 256 Santa Monica Pier; (310) 393-7437.
Sonoma Wine Garden at the upscale Santa Monica Place shopping center features Mediterranean cuisine, a curated wine list, and patio seating with ocean views.
It is especially popular for weekend brunch. 395 Santa Monica Place, #300; (424) 214-4560
The Albright on the Santa Monica Pier is a rustic-chic re-do of a veteran fish house with local fare, craft beer, and communal tables.
The menu reflects a commitment to fresh, locally-soured ingredients: the day's catch, fresh farmer's market produce; and an extensive craft beer and California wines list. 258 Santa Monica Pier; (310) 394-9683.
Stella Barra is an artisanal pizzeria with an eclectic menu inspired by the idea of simple, honest cooking paired with top quality ingredients.
From the Classic Margherita Pizza to the daily seasonal specials, fresh salads to rustic small plates, each dish reflects a passion for sourcing the best quality local ingredients and presenting them artistically. 2000 Main Street; (310) 396-9250
You can't beat the people-watching on the 3rd Street Promenade from the spacious sidewalk patio of this large Italian eatery. Indulge in house-made pasta, wood-fired pizzas, and fresh fish and meat dishes served with warm, fresh-baked bread with olive oil for dipping. 1360 3rd Street Promenade; (310) 319-1985.
Finding moderately priced restaurants in Santa Monica is easier than you might think. There is something for everyone in this city that prides itself as much on its culinary progressiveness as its social progressiveness.