The Westside Hit List: The Best New Restaurants On The Westside guide image


The Westside Hit List: The Best New Restaurants On The Westside

The best new spots to check out in Venice, Santa Monica, Malibu, Sawtelle, and more.

Depending on which part of town you call home, you probably have a strong opinion on LA’s Westside. Some say it’s a cultural wasteland hemmed in by freeways, some say it’s the center of the known universe. And, frankly, some people who live there haven't ventured outside its borders since 1996. But no matter what you think of the Westside—which we’re defining as everything west of La Cienega—there’s no denying that it’s home to some of the most exciting new restaurants in the city. Which is exactly why we created a Westside Hit List to keep track. Much like our LA Hit List, you’ll only find places on here that we've checked out and genuinely love. If you think we missed a great new place in the greater 405 area, we want to hear about it. Shoot us an email at


photo credit: Shade Degges

Juliet review image



8888 W Washington Blvd, Culver City
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Fancy French restaurants have their clichés, some of which you'll definitely see at Juliet: pricey menu, big (mostly French) wine selection, and beautiful small portions that just look expensive. But what makes this spot on the far east end of Culver City spot a refreshing addition to the area. For one, it looks like a modern farmhouse in Architectural Digest, with old wooden floors, sleek concrete walls, and white marble tabletops spilling onto a breezy outdoor patio. On the menu are eye-grabbing dishes like veal sweetbreads in a silky maitake mushroom sauce, duck confit cigars, and cute little chicken liver tartlets topped with apple gelee. You won't get out of Juliet for cheap, but for a flashy French dinner that's actually enjoyable, it's a worthwhile splurge.

Nearly every dining guide to New Orleans features Willie Mae’s Scotch House, and for good reason. Now with a second location in Venice, this casual NOLA classic serves exceptional fried chicken with a flaky crust that crackles and shatters the moment you take a bite. There’s a subtle, lingering heat that we love almost as much as the fact that there are no tourist lines like you’ll find out east. Rather than saving room for sides, your move here should be ordering as much chicken as possible—the juicy bird easily outshines any candied yams or mac & cheese on the menu. 

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Like moths to a flame, people are drawn to Heavy Handed’s bright orange takeout window for crisp-edged smash burgers and shoestring french fries twice-fried in beef fat. If that sounds like your style, consider this place your personal hamburger heaven. At this former pop-up’s permanent home on Main Street, there’s ample room to sit at picnic tables and eat burgers stacked with housemade pickles, pink sauce, and juicy short rib patties. If you’re looking for meatless options, they’ve also got grilled cheese sandwiches and creamy soft-serve cones.

The dining room at The Brothers Sushi looks like a sci-fi movie set in the not-so-distant future: perfectly symmetrical wooden panels, black ring lights, and oh, watch your step—there’s an antique knife collection beneath your feet, laid into the floor. It’s a more subdued (and smaller) operation than Brothers’ flagship location in Woodland Hills, but the quality remains just as high. The menu ranges from a la carte items like salmon caviar and Okinawan jellyfish to an omakase served solely at the bar. We prefer the premium chirashi: a luxury box loaded with 15 types of seafood, seasoned sushi rice, plus a side of miso soup.

Bolder, braver, and more ambitious than most places within walking distance of Third Street Promenade, Korean-leaning fusion spot Interstellar serves dishes that are as creative as they are delicious. This small cafe space recently rolled out a nighttime menu involving dishes like a lobster roll seasoned with fish sauce, creamy mentaiko linguine, and a tender, seared branzino on a bed of ochazuke. Since there are only a handful of tables, the tiny dining room is better suited for hot dates than group dinners, but the food and shochu cocktails are all exciting enough to brave the SaMo parking garages, even if it’s by yourself on a random weeknight.

photo credit: Jakob Layman

Savida review image




OpenTable logo

While nearby Crudo e Nudo is more of a destination, Savida is a great option for a fancy little lunch (or dinner) on Montana involving alarmingly fresh vegetables and tasty crudos, oysters, tostadas, and salads. The octopus tostada with preserved lemon and garlicky tzatziki is your must-order, but don’t skip over the shrimp salad with frisée and asparagus either. We also love that they have a $9 lobster roll slider that involves lemongrass and crispy shallots. Our only qualm with Savida is that they weirdly charge a whopping $6 for a can of Dr. Brown’s Cel-Ray soda. They do, however, serve tap water in clear glasses adorned with citrus, cucumbers, and herbs—a lavish and appreciated touch.

Vamos Vamos feels like the result of someone telling summer to pack itself inside a bustling, white brick dining room on Main Street in Santa Monica. This bright and lively New Mexican restaurant is a sibling of Everson Royce Bar and Triple Beam Pizza, which means there’s more to the glorified bar food than meets the eye. The stars of the menu are the spot-on, freshly made margaritas and nachos smothered in things like chile verde and elote. The sleeper hit, though, is their must-order green chile cheeseburger. Just a heads up, though: If you walk in on a Saturday night, the host might quote you a 2-hour wait for a table—so maybe try to make a reservation ahead of time. 

Brooklyn-based pizzeria Emmy Squared has taken over the kitchen at Santa Monica Brew Works, serving their signature sheet pan pizzas as well as a damn good burger. It's not the only place in LA where you can pair pepperoni cups and fresh-hopped IPAs, but these tasty Detroit-style pies make the taproom experience a whole lot more fun. If you’re in need of a casual big group setting (without having to make a reservation in advance), this is your best bet in Santa Monica.

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Suggested Reading

The Best Restaurants In Culver City guide image
The Best Restaurants In Culver City

Our favorite spots to eat in Culver City and Palms.

The Best Restaurants In Santa Monica guide image

25 restaurants worth braving the tourists for.

The Best Restaurants In Venice guide image

From Abbot Kinney to the Boardwalk, these are the best spots to eat around Venice Beach.

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