Charcoal review image


$$$$(310) 751-6794
Hours:FRIDAY6:00PM to 12:00AM
Perfect For:BirthdaysBrunch

Sometimes you walk into a restaurant and you’ve got it pegged by the time you’re sitting at your table. White tablecloths? They are Serious About Food. Mason jars? They forgot that it's not Williamsburg in 2009.

This is not the case at Charcoal, a Venice restaurant that (somewhat confusingly) walks the line between special occasion restaurant and neighborhood hang. There’s lots of wood, dim lighting, and cushy booths. It looks like the kind of place Don Draper would have liked, and also kind of like a hotel lobby. But underneath all that, Charcoal is simply just a great spot throwing down some seriously high-quality food.

As you might have guessed by the name, Charcoal is pretty into grilling things. And we’re pretty into eating grilled things, so we get along. Steaks here come out exactly how you ask for them to be cooked, with plenty of the house made chimichurri and barbecue sauces on the side. The vegetables aren’t an afterthought either, and the chicken wings are some of the best we’ve ever had.

Charcoal review image

Look inside on a Saturday night, and there are people dressed up for birthdays and graduation dinners. Sunday mornings it’s a bright, not-at-all crowded brunch option. Tuesday nights you can roll up in a college sweatshirt and watch a game at the bar while eating ribs (even if they are kind of fancy lamb ribs). Yes, that’s a lot of options for one restaurant. But it works.

Once we got past the slightly-too-formal look of Charcoal, we came to realize that it's actually the kind of place Venice needed - a hangout for locals who are no longer 25 and going to Townhouse every night, with some celebration dinner potential as well. However you’re going to use it, the food here is pretty damn good, and definitely worth trying if you find yourself on the Westside.

Food Rundown

Cabbage Baked in the Embers

This is one of Charcoal’s signature dishes, but it's not our favorite. It’s basically just very soft cabbage with a charred outside, and yogurt on the side. Perfectly fine, just not amazing.

Charcoal review image

Smoky Grilled Chicken Wings

Good. Really good. So good we had to stop ourselves from eating the whole bowl before the rest of the food arrived. Hot tip: smother these in chimichurri.

Smoked Lamb Ribs

These are nice and sticky, and the meat falls off the bone. The vinegary sauce gives them a nice kick.

Charcoal review image

Grilled Calamari

This comes with green beans, almonds, and lemon breadcrumbs, so obviously it’s good.


It’s steak. But really, really good steak. Ready for all those housemade sauces (the chimichurri wins for us here again).

Charcoal review image


Our least favorite protein here. It just isn't anything that special, although dunking it in the homemade A-1 sauce definitely improves it.

Charcoal review image


If all vegetables were this good, we’d eat way more greens. It helps when they’re covered in breadcrumbs.

Charcoal review image

Chocolate Peanut Butter Crunch Cake

If you’re into Reese’s Pieces get this. Or even if you’re not. Super rich, and also super good.

Charcoal review image

Featured in

Infatuation LA’s Favorite Meals Of The Week guide image
Infatuation LA’s Favorite Meals Of The Week

Japanese breakfasts, veggie breakfast sandwiches, and more... these are the best things we ate this week.

Where To Have Thanksgiving Dinner In LA guide image
Where To Have Thanksgiving Dinner In LA

If “basting” a turkey sounds kind of illegal, use this guide instead.

51 LA Restaurants Offering Valentine’s Day Takeout & Delivery Specials guide image
51 LA Restaurants Offering Valentine’s Day Takeout & Delivery Specials

Let these spots set the mood for you this year.

Where To Eat Outside In Venice & Marina Del Rey Today guide image
Where To Eat Outside In Venice & Marina Del Rey Today

28 spots with great patios and porches in Venice and Marina del Rey

Suggested Reading

Odys and Penelope review image
Odys and Penelope

Odys and Penelope in Mid-Wilshire is upscale American comfort food at its finest. And also the best smelling restaurant in LA.

A.O.C. review image

AOC is a small plates restaurant that’s one of LA’s most reliable crowd pleasers.

Tacos Por Favor review image
Tacos Por Favor

Tacos Por Favor’s Venice location does giant portions of Mexican food and is a good casual lunch option.

Zinque review image

Zinqué in Venice is an all-day operation with straightforward food and plenty of wine.