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Belcampo Meat Co.

PHOTOS: Philip Guerette

LA is a place where you can eat a whole lot of animal parts at a restaurant called Animal, and then walk past five places with green juice on the way back to your car. Belcampo, a butcher shop and restaurant in Santa Monica, falls in the middle of that spectrum. They’re all about meat, but they also want you to know that before that cow was meat, it lived a happy life. But unlike the vegan place where you know the server is judging your leather shoes, Belcampo is the kind of fancy do-gooder spot you actually want to eat in.

The food here is the kind of stuff you'd expect from a neighborhood bistro: tartares, salumi, and salads to start, a (killer) burger, grilled chicken, and plenty of steaks after that, with the kind of vegetable sides you see everywhere. What you might not expect: the big bill that comes at the end. Keeping all those sheep and cows living their best lives doesn’t come cheap. Having said that, you could also walk in for a burger and a beer for a (kind of) more reasonable $30.

Don’t be confused by the butcher shop up front - the actual restaurant is through a door to the left. Despite the noticeable lack of windows, the space itself is pretty comfortable and feels like the kind of informal but nice-enough-to-bring-your-grandparents setting that always seems to come in handy. Service is friendly and helpful, and if you order one of those pricey steaks your knife comes inside a leather sheath, allowing you to live out your Game of Thrones dreams.

Maybe we’re turning into our parents, but we don’t actually need every meal to be surprising. Sometimes we just want some excellent meat in a nice atmosphere. If you get a warm and fuzzy feeling thinking about happy cows, even better.

Food Rundown

Belcampo Burger

Sometimes, you feel like the Big Mec at Petit Trois, but you don’t have two hours to wait for a seat and don’t feel like having a heart attack today. For those times, there’s the Belcampo Burger, a lighter version of that sauce smothered monstrosity.

Philip Guerette
French Dip Eclair

If a chocolate eclair was actually a roast beef sandwich with horseradish and served French dip style. We’d have this over a real eclair any day.

Philip Guerette
Lamb Tartare

Raw lamb might sound a little intimidating, but trust us when we tell you to order this. There’s a bit of an Indian thing going on in terms of flavors, including the papadum for scooping.

Steak Frites

Excellent meat, cooked exactly like you ask for it, with some even more excellent fries on the side. Also excellent: béarnaise butter.

Philip Guerette
Braised Short Rib

This one didn’t work for us at all: the meat was chewy, and the sauce was way too sweet. Skip.

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