photo credit: Jakob Layman
Milo & Olive
If we were designing our dream house, the first thing we’d draw up would be a big, modern kitchen, with a jet-propulsion oven, an aquarium knife block, and a nook to recharge our robot butler. There’d be a beer tap in the shower, a tiny house for our dog that’s an exact replica of our own house, and a bed so big we could sleep in it lengthwise.
We wouldn’t go crazy with the living room, though. Maybe we’d get a bigger TV, but we’d keep our couch and coffee table. They’re cool, comfortable, and a big part of why we spend so much time in the space. And Milo + Olive is the living room of LA restaurants - we wouldn’t change much about it, and we’d gladly spend hours there, no matter the time of day.
They haven’t messed with much since Milo + Olive first opened in 2011. The hand-drawn pictures are still on the wall. The dining room is still busy, the bar is still buzzing, and the people in the kitchen still function like a human Rube Goldberg machine, cranking out pastas, salads, and garlic knots at an incredible pace. Most importantly, they still have the best pizza in Santa Monica.
There’s no wrong answer when it comes to pizza here, but there are some particularly right ones. The mixed mushroom is a must-order - it has an entire woodland’s worth of mushrooms, and is topped with lemon zest and fontina cheese. You’ll also want to get the pork belly sausage with kale, and the roast potato pie that comes with rosemary cream. All of them pair well with a bottle of wine, and Milo + Olive’s garlic knot, a tiny bread pouch full of olive oil and roasted garlic. We also recommend ordering some olives and the arugula and radicchio salad, just to take a break from the large amount of bread you’ll be eating.
They also serve the whole dinner menu at lunch, and for breakfast, there’s polenta with egg and bacon that makes us wish we grew up in Tuscany, or wherever polenta came from. As great as the dinner pizzas are, the breakfast-only potato and egg pie might be our favorite.
A lot of new restaurants have appeared on the Westside since Milo + Olive first opened - some of them may even have aquarium knife blocks. But like our living room, this is a place where we’ll continue to spend a whole lot of time. Even if there is a bed the size of Rhode Island waiting for us at home.
This is like Santa’s sack, except it’s made of pizza dough and filled with roasted garlic. You also don’t have to worry about landing on some arbitrary “nice list” just to eat it.
Arugula & Radicchio Salad
A very simple salad, but worth ordering if you insist on ingesting something other than gluten at this meal. And it comes with an anchovy dressing we’d do shots of.
Mixed Mushroom Pizza
We can visualize most farms really easily - but we have a pretty hard time imagining how a mushroom farm works. Do they grow them on logs? Trees? Straight out of the ground? Either way, this pizza has basically an entire log/tree/farm’s worth of mushrooms on it.
The first thing you need to order at brunch. The crispy bits of bacon go perfectly with the soft egg and creamy polenta.
People have a lot of opinions about whether egg belongs on pizza. Anyone who thinks it doesn’t clearly hasn’t tried this bacon and roasted potato pizza.
Pesto Lasagnette With Tomatoes And Burrata
We’re firmly of the belief that pesto and burrata make everything better. And this lasagnette is further proof - the creamy cheese and sharp-tasting walnut pesto are both fantastic.