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The food scene in LA is thriving, with many of the restaurants easily able to compete with some of the best in the country. Stretching out for 140km, Santa Monica Boulevard may offer a mind-boggling array of restaurants, but there are definitely some that stand out from the crowd.
Tar & Roses
Tar & Roses is known for their large, wood-burning oven, with a section of their menu informing diners what type of firewood is being used that day. Whether you order the almond wood-fired baby carrots, the whole roasted branzino using cherrywood, or the oak roasted clams, you are guaranteed that at least some part of your dish will pass through their signature oven. The restaurant also offers a fantastic wine list, featuring a range of mostly Italian fine wines.
Santa Monica Yacht Club
The Santa Monica Yacht Club has embraced their nautical theme in just about every way. From the décor that makes you feel as though you are in a sailboat, to the menu featuring plenty of seafood, with the lobster and burrata being a popular dish, this is a restaurant perfectly suited for a special occasion.
Tacos Punta Cabras
This tiny taco shop, usually crammed with diners watching a soccer game and spilling out onto the sidewalk, is about as casual as it gets. It may not seem like much from the outside, but this restaurant is run by two chefs who have impressive fine dining backgrounds, and this is clearly evident when you taste the food that comes out of the kitchen. Their classic fish tacos and cauliflower tostadas are their most popular dishes, or, if you want something slightly healthier, you could try the tofu taco topped with a lemon habanero sauce.
La Dolce Vita
Described as ‘throwback Italian’, La Dolce Vita was one of Frank Sinatra’s favorite restaurants and provides an intimate Italian dining experience. Dishes served are traditional, including braised osso bucco and baked lasagne, as well as a deliciously tempting dessert menu. The bar serves up some unique cocktails, and, even if you don’t want to sit down for a full meal, you can still enjoy some of the tasty bar snacks, from the antipasto to the crispy calamari.
Connie and Ted’s Seafood
Needless to say, Connie and Ted’s Seafood specializes in seafood, with an impressive patio that looks out over Santa Monica Boulevard. Their Raw Bar features a daily selection of fresh clams and oysters, while the chef’s specialties feature dishes such as a Portuguese Fish Stew, House-Smoked Mahi Mahi, Wild White Mexican Shrimp, and Shellfish Marinara. For those of you who want something lighter, you can always opt for one of their impeccable lobster rolls, or The Hook Burger featuring 4-year-old cheddar pickles.
While Santa Monica Boulevard may have plenty of chain restaurants that you see just about everywhere, there are also some truly great culinary gems that you really should try. From the classic Italian fare at La Dolce Vita to some of the best fish tacos you will have ever tasted at Taco Punta Cabras, give these restaurants a go the next time you are in the area.