The truth is, you don't have to break the bank to eat well in Santa Monica. The mid-priced restaurants in Santa Monica leave you just as satisfied as the high-end variety.
Much like their higher-priced counterparts, these Santa Monica restaurants focus on organic, locally sourced foods and healthier fare, with health conscious and organic items on the menu.
Just off the beaten path - and sometimes on it - you'll find those culinary gems that serve up some of the best Santa Monica eats around. Some are on the beach, others are on Main Street, and still others in the Santa Monica Promenade and beyond.
Best of all, you needn't dip into the kids' college fund to enjoy any of these Santa Monica restaurants.
These restaurants - including places to eat on the Santa Monica Pier - serve up good Santa Monica eats along with stellar ocean 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.
Stand outs 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 the best spicy tuna on crispy rice in town, Ma'Kai also serves up breathtaking views of the sun setting over Malibu and the Santa Monica Pier.
This busy place Pan-Asian eatery also doubles as a sports bar with flat-screen TVs throughout and friendly bar where the drinks are creative and strong and the service top-notch.
101 Broadway, (310) 434-1511
Located at the very end of Santa Monica Pier, Mariasol Cucina Mexicana serves up flavors and colors of a true Baja Cantina.
Its distinctive sauces, flavorful peppers, and emphasis on fresh fish makes it a favorite among local and visitors alike.
401 Santa Monica Pier; (310) 917-5050
A sleek, 3-story oceanview eatery known for its Italian cuisine with a focus on fish and stellar ocean views.
The restaurant features a rooftop deck with a full bar, second-floor balcony terraces, and first-floor exterior decks overlooking the Santa Monica Pier boardwalk and beaches.
250 Santa Monica Pier; (310) 458-4448
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 relaxed yet sophisticated neighborhood restaurant popular with locals and visitors alike. The menu reflects a commitment to fresh, locally-soured ingredients: the day's catch, farmer's market produce; and an extensive craft beer and California wines list. 258 Santa Monica Pier; (310) 394-9683
Main Street in Santa Monica is home to some of the city's best restaurants - at decidedly agreeable prices. And the vibe? Stylish, laid-back, and friendly. It's also a great place to explore before or after a meal for the many unique shops lining either side of the street.
Areal means space - the division of areas and spaces joined together by a common thread.
Here the common thread is social: It's about enjoying each other around food and drink based around the Southern California lifestyle.
The menu features fresh, locally grown, sustainable and organic food. Cocktails are hand-crafted by its award-winning bar crew from house-made juice, infusions, and syrups (organic fresh produce is juiced daily for the bar.
2820 Main Street; (310) 392-1661
This laid-back, rustic American comfort food bistro with a pet-friendly patio is a living testament to comfort food done right.
The menu brings together beloved classics and fresh, organic ingredients, to create simple and accessible modern American cooking. Menu items range from sandwiches and burgers to signature salads and tacos.
2000 Main Street; (310) 396-9145
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 including Fresh Local Burrata with wood-grilled grapes and Organic Pork Meatballs, each dish reflects Chef Mahin’s passion for sourcing the best quality, local ingredients available and presenting them simply.
2000 Main Street; (310) 396-9250
Other restaurants around town serving up reasonably priced tasty Santa Monica eats include:
Locanda del Lago at the 3rd Street Promenade specializes in authentic Northern Italian cuisine from Bellagio on Lake Como. The menu features traditional recipes utilizing the best of Southern California's season produce from the Santa Monica Farmers' Market and sustainable, local proteins.
Lago is green certified and recipient of the Sustainable Quality Award’s Grand Prize in 2015, a top honor from the city recognizing the restaurant’s sustainable and green-practice dedication.
231 Arizona Ave. (at the Third Street Promenade); (310) 451-3525.
It may not have an ocean view, but you can't beat the people-watching on the 3rd Street Promenade from the cozy patio of this stately Italian restaurant. Indulge in house-made pastas, wood-fired pizzas, and fresh fish dishes, served with warm, fresh-baked bread with olive oil for dipping.
1360 3rd Street Promenade; (310) 319-1985.
The Wilshire is an upscale, indoor-outdoor neighborhood restaurant known for seasonal new American cuisine, stylish decor, and an unforgettable outdoor patio - hailed as one of the top 0utdoor dining spaces in America by Bon Appetit.
The outdoor space has tri-level dining complete with a spectacular outdoor bar, fire pits and fountains.
2454 Wilshire Blvd.; (310) 586-1707
Finding good restaurants in Santa Monica at moderate prices 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.