Plan Check is one of our go-to first date spots, and their latest location is right on Ocean Ave in Santa Monica. That alone isn’t cause for alert, but the fact that it has a seafood-leaning menu different from any other location is. Dynamite crab dip? Hamachi crudo? Fresh oysters? All present. But not to worry, that burger still is too.
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Esters Wine Shop & Bar
Esters in Santa Monica might be known as that place you drink at before eating at Cassia, but this wine bar very much stands on its own.
Upper West might be in the Westside no man’s land, but this casual spot is definitely worth your time.
The Misfit Restaurant + Bar
The Misfit is located uncomfortably close to The Promenade tourist hellzone, but when it comes to this laid-back restaurant, we grin and bear it.
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Musso & Frank Grill
Musso & Frank is an unexpected piece of actual culture along Hollywood Blvd: a class restaurant where it’s impossible to have a bad time.
Franklin & Co Tavern
Franklin & Co. is a solid neighborhood bar/restaurant and good place to get your buzz on before seeing an improv show next door.
Suggested by our writers
With Little Prince, Main St. in Santa Monica finally has a cool, neighborhood-y spot for brunch and dinner.
Margo’s is an all-day restaurant on Montana Ave. in Santa Monica that does a low-key brunch with $18 bottomless mimosas.
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