The Misfit is located uncomfortably close to the 3rd St. Promenade tourist hellzone, but when it comes to this laid-back restaurant, we grin and bear it. The food is good, the crowd is full of locals, and the cocktails are the best in downtown. Also, there are free cookies and a Happy Hour from noon - 7pm daily.
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R+D Kitchen in Santa Monica is perpetually crowded, but the burgers and lively crowd are worth the guaranteed 45 minute wait for dinner.
Cafe Bolivar in Santa Monica has great coffee, a decent selection of pastries, and fast wifi, and it never gets too loud to focus.
Uplifters Kitchen is an unassuming coffee shop on Ocean Park with a very good breakfast biscuit sandwich.
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The Wallace is a reliable Culver City spot with enough romantic vibes to make it a good option for a first date.
Lulu's is a Beverly Grove brunch standby with great sidewalk seating and never too long of a wait.
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