photo credit: Cafe Bolivar
This South American-style cafe on Ocean Park is a perfect place to get work done. If that’s your goal, get here early to grab a prime seat by the window (and near one of their plentiful outlets). Bolivar has great coffee, a decent selection of pastries (definitely get some arepas), and fast wifi, and while it gets busy, it never gets too loud to focus. When you’re in Santa Monica and want to avoid the crowds on Abbott Kinney, head to Bolivar.
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Pulled Pork Arepa
We’ve eaten plenty of pulled pork across this city, but few versions can compare to what you get in these tasty arepas. The pork shoulder is super tender with a sweet and tangy Caribbean spice blend that pairs well with the semi-sweet masa and pickled shallots. Add some green salsa too if you’re looking for a little extra kick.
Ripe Mango Arepa
At first, we thought the fresh cheese and avocado filling would make this too rich and creamy, but the thick mango slices provide some necessary acidity. The garlic confit and rosemary aioli also add some good sharpness. Make sure to try one of these.
The rich double shot of espresso melds together with condensed milk to create a viscous and decadent cafecito that will simultaneously satisfy your morning sweet tooth and clear your morning brain fog.
If you want something a little less sweet, get one of these. The cacao flavor in this coffee drink is earthy and smokey, and pairs perfectly with the espresso.