12 Restaurants in Santa Monica 
That Won't Break the Bank

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 Santa Monica 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 the dozen 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! 

  1.   Blue Plate Taco

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.

  2.   Ma'Kai

Along with serving up the best spicy tuna on crispy rice in town, Ma'Kai is one of the restaurants in Santa Monica that 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.

  3.   Mariasol Cucina Mexicana

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.

  4.   Rusty's Surf Ranch on Santa Monica Pier

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.

  5.   Sonoma Wine Garden at Santa Monica Place

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

  6.   The Albright at the Santa Monica Pier

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.

  7.   Areal

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.

  8.   M Street Kitchen

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.

  9.  Stella Barra Pizzeria

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

  10.   Locanda del Lago

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.

  11.  Trastevere Italian

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.

  12.  Wilshire Restaurant

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

Wrapping Up on Mid-Priced Santa Monica Restaurants.

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. 

› 12 Restaurants in Santa Monica That Won't Break the Bank


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