Santa Monica Pier restaurants have a distinct advantage over their land-based counterparts: Location. The half-dozen restaurants below are physically on the Pier. An inexpensive, casual food court with primarily take-out fast-food can be found in Pacific Park.
Now, of course, you could walk off the Pier and be steps away from some of Santa Monica's top-rated restaurants on Ocean Avenue. But I've had friends visit who have to have lunch on the pier, not a few steps or blocks away. This list of the six places to eat on Santa Monica Pier is for them - and you.
I've listed the restaurants below by type of cuisine and added one to four dollar signs ($) beside each restaurant's name to give you an idea of how spendy a place it is - or isn't. Four $$$$ is the most expensive, and one $ is the least costly.
There are four cuisine types to choose from among Santa Monica Pier Restaurants: American, Italian, Mexican, and Seafood. A look at each:
Don't let the name fool you - this place has it all.
Sure, there are burgers, including veggie burgers. Along with local California sea bass sandwiches.
Creamsicle and $5.50 purple cow floats. It's a pretty fun menu; the food is simple but satisfying.
Rusty's has been a pier fixture since 1994, serving up a bit of everything - from seafood cocktails and calamari rings to fajita platters and daily fish specials - to live music and dancing.
There's never a dull moment here. Come for the food and ocean views - stay for a night of fun.
Take in a glorious sunset from the rooftop lounge while enjoying cocktails and tasty eats from a full menu featuring seafood, pizza, burgers, and beyond.
The bottom floor of Seaside on the Pier provides quick and casual sandwiches, salads, and soft-serve ice cream for on-the-go visitors. The middle level offers simple indoor tables and seating.
The top floor includes a rooftop bar and grill with outdoor seating and a view of the Pier and the Pacific Ocean.
If savoring mega grande margaritas and stellar Pacific Ocean views are your thing, this Baja Cantina is for you.
Mariasol's distinctive sauces, flavorful peppers, and fresh fish make it a favorite for locals and visitors alike.
Everyone is looking for a relaxing spot to catch up and catch a great seafood dish.
The Albright offers just that: An ideal place to enjoy a high-end meal with craft beers and California wine.
This old-school fish house serves up a selection of oysters, fish tacos (Taco Tuesday anyone?), and a long list of artisan beers in a cozy, woodsy environment.
Lots of long tables and a view of the coast and the beach below combine to create a deliciously memorable meal.
Putting the "South" in Southern California, Bubba's is a lively spot to get your shrimp fix or even some Dixie-style baby back ribs. Come hungry. A family-friendly chain for seafood & American fare served in a fishing-boat-themed setting.
Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. serves scratch-made, southern-style comfort dishes such as sautéed shrimp, fried shrimp, coconut shrimp, and shrimp scampi, alongside award-winning baby back ribs, burgers, salads, and more in a fun and energetic atmosphere.
Be sure to call your Pier restaurant of choice in advance to secure a reservation. Otherwise, be prepared to wait up to two hours for your ocean view table, especially true during the busy summer months. If you're driving to the Pier, you can plan your parking as well. Get Santa Monica Parking details here.