It was a long winter—like really long—so if you’re struggling to break into warm-weather mode, head to Isla. This bright, breezy California-ish spot from the Crudo e Nudo people is located on Main Street in Santa Monica mere blocks from the beach, and it’s where you’ll find us hanging out all summer. The space is upscale, but still neighborhood-y with plush banquettes and an open hearth surrounded by seating. Grilled skewers make up most of the menu, ranging from chicken hearts to kanpachi in orange-koji marinade, and we suggest making them the centerpiece of your meal. They’re small, fall into the $8-$12 range, and are uniformly excellent, so if you’re a table of two, order all of them and fight over your favorites. Round out dinner with an absurdly fresh citrus salad, crispy calamari with macadamia nuts, and a house gin and tonic or two. Or three. It’s warm out.

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