15 Superb Santa Monica Restaurants

Dinner plate with fish.Santa Monica is having a Michelin moment

Santa Monica's robust and exciting food scene has long been a gourmet mecca. And it just keeps getting better.  Enter the 2021 Michelin Guide, with 15 Santa Monica restaurants capturing individual awards.

While locals are aware of the city's culinary prowess, having Michelin-starred restaurants in our community confirms what we've known all along: Santa Monica is a world-class culinary destination filled with diverse and creative chefs. 

The September awards couldn't have come at a better time. These awards are a boon to Santa Monica restaurants local hard-hit by the pandemic.

Star-Turn Santa Monica Restaurants

With a shared dedication to seasonal offerings, creativity, and sourcing the finest local ingredients, these three Santa Monica restaurants were awarded Michelin stars.

1 Melisse

Chef Josiah Citrin's intimate 14 seat restaurant with Chef de Cuisine Ian Scaramuzza earned two stars. In a setting that blurs the line between kitchen and dining room, Chefs and service staff guide guests through a 2.5-hour culinary experience.

Collaborating with California farmers from San Diego to Napa Valley, Chef Josiah sources the most unique and exclusive ingredients. An 8-course tasting menu is bookended by canapés, amuse-bouches, and mignardise, showcasing global flavors using both modern and classic techniques.   1104 Wilshire Blvd., (310) 395-0881.

2  Pasjoli

Pasjoli, a self-described "...elevated French bistro" from award-winning chef Dave Beran earned one star. The restaurant pays homage to French cuisine utilizing the bounty of produce available in Southern California. Rooted in classic French cuisine and inspired by the Parisian markets, Pasjoli reflects Beran’s thoughtful cooking style, showcasing his creative touches on bistro fare.  2732 Main Street, (424) 330-0020.

3  Rustic Canyon

Chef/partner Jeremy Fox and Executive Chef Andy Doubrava's Rustic Canyon seasonal kitchen and wine bar also earned one star. The dining room and lounge are toasty and relaxed, largely thanks to a neighborhood vibe and boisterous local clients. 

According to the Michelin Guide, "Desserts are quite simply to die for. The sourdough biscuit tantalizes with clouds of whipped cream, macerated strawberries, and basil powder. It's a case of approachable ingredients infused with a bit of creativity and a whole lot of care."  1119 Wilshire Blvd, (310) 393-7050.

Bib Gourmand Awards

Two Santa Monica restaurants earned the prestigious Bib Gourmand Michelin award, which recognizes exceptional food at a price point that won't break the bank.

4  TUMBI Indian Restaurant

TUMBI received a Bib Gourmand award. Tumbi's menu is full of Indian street food dishes you don't see in many other LA restaurants. 115 Santa Monica Blvd., (310) 829-7200.

5  Colapasta

Colapasta, a Rustic Italian trattoria specializing in house-made pasta with a casual, beachy vibe, also received a Bib Gourmand award.  1241 5th, (310) 310-8336.

Michelin Plate Awards

10 Santa Monica restaurants received a Michelin Plate award, a less competitive honor but the Michelin stamp for a restaurant with excellent food. They are:

6  Michael's Santa Monica

Longtime classic offers Michael McCarty's upscale Californian cuisine in an art-filled room.  1147 3rd Street; (310) 451-0843.

7  Chinois on Main

A sophisticated, iconic eatery owned by Wolfgang Puck, specializing in Asian-French fusion cuisine.  2709 Main Street; (310) 392-9025

8  Milo + Olive

Restaurant offering wood-fired pizza, small plates & baked goods in a comfortable space. 2723 Wilshire Blvd., (310)453-6776.

9  Birdie G's

Casual & eclectic eats from the Rustic Canyon group in a barn house-inspired, industrial-chic space. 2421 Michigan Ave., (310) 310-3616.

10  Cassia

Casually cool spot for upscale French-Asian fare & seafood served indoors or on the cozy patio.  1314 7th St., (310) 393-6699.

11  Citrin

Josiah Citrin's chic French-New American restaurant, known for its season-driven prix fixe menus.  1104 Wilshire Blvd., (310) 395-0881.

12  Fia

A culinary collaboration between restaurateur Michael Greco and chef Brendan Collins. Inspired by California and Italian coastal cuisine.  2454 Wilshire Blvd., (424) 280-4196.

13  Elephante

Chic destination for elevated Italian cuisine in open, lounge-like dining areas with ocean views.  1332 2nd St., (424) 320-2384

14  The Lobster

Veteran restaurant presenting classic seafood such as Maine and California lobster against a scenic ocean backdrop.  1602 Ocean Ave., (310) 458-9294.

15  Lunetta

Self described: Lunetta is our interpretation of a neighborhood diner for All Day and fine dining for At Night. Serving inventive breakfast, lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch. Great food paired with locally roasted coffee options, classic cocktails, a large selection of craft beer, and delicious wines that we enjoy drinking with our family & friends.  2420 / 2424 Pico Blvd., (310) 581-4201. 

Get a Room: Private Dining in Santa Monica

Suppose you'd prefer a bit more privacy during your dinner in Santa Monica. In that case, or if you want to make a special meal even more intimate, you've got options at Santa Monica restaurants.

You don't need to be a rock star - but having a rock star's budget might help. Private dining at top-rated restaurants can set you back $15,000 or more for the night.