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Accomplice
Photograph: Rozette Rago

A guide to Mar Vista

Want to explore the best of Mar Vista? Get to know the neighborhood through its restaurants, bars, shops and happenings.

Written by
Danny Jensen
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Wedged between Venice and Culver CityMar Vista has typically been seen as a relatively sleepy neighborhood that many Angelenos have a hard time placing without a map. But that’s all changing—and fast—thanks to the growing buzz over new additions to the neighborhood and long-running favorites. With stylish new restaurants and cafés plus fun and quirky independent boutiques, Mar Vista offers plenty of excellent options to eat, drink, shop and explore.

The neighborhood, which is primarily centered around the stretch of Venice Boulevard on both sides of Centinela Avenue, also features an excellent weekly farmers’ market, a regularly occurring art walk and huge colorful murals painted by local artists. The area is also one of the first in L.A. to undergo improvements as part of a pilot program for the citywide Great Streets Initiative, and recently received new crosswalks, protected bike lanes and more to make the neighborhood safer for pedestrians and cyclists.

Restaurants & Bars

  • Restaurants
  • American
  • Mar Vista
  • price 1 of 4

This casual chef-driven spot features an excellent lineup for breakfast, lunch and family-style dinner pickup. The morning menu includes breakfast tacos and sandwiches and loaded “hangover” potatoes. At lunch, chef Derek Walker offers a range of delectable tacos with fillings like brisket, carnitas and veggie options like the irresistible butternut corn nut. There’s also sandwiches like the green chickpea falafel or salmon with arugula. Grab a bite and a cold-pressed juice and head to the spacious patio in back, or take home one of the daily family-style dinner specials.

  • Restaurants
  • Taiwanese
  • Mar Vista
  • price 2 of 4

This bustling neighborhood favorite, which has expanded in recent years, serves addictive Taiwanese comfort fare like scallion pancakes and Sunday gravy with five-spice pork, and updates on Chinese-American classics like kung pao chicken and walnut shrimp. Chef/owner David Kuo, whose childhood nickname was Little Fatty (“Xiao Pang”) also serves excellent vegetarian options including General Tso’s cauliflower. You’ll never go thirsty either, thanks to the exceptional cocktail lineup at Accomplice, Little Fatty’s bar, perfect for an impressive date night or enjoying a tipple and light bites before dinner. The thoughtfully creative cocktail selection changes frequently, and they also offer great wines, craft beers and a happy hour (Mon–Fri 5–7pm).

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  • Restaurants
  • Mexican
  • Mar Vista
  • price 2 of 4

Serving an excellent array of Oaxacan specialties alongside other Mexican favorites, Quiadaiyan (pronounced “kia-dine”) is an all-day, family-run restaurant. From the bold, vibrantly painted walls to the exuberant staff, Quiadiayn exudes warmth and comfort—and that’s especially true when it comes to the food. Can’t-miss dishes include the tlayuda mixta, barbacoa de chivo and mole Coloradito. There’s also an extensive vegetarian menu, refreshing cocktails made with agave wine (a full bar is in the works) and an exceptional flan. The Martinez family makes all of the addictive salsas and tortillas in-house, and you can preorder tamales. They also offer outdoor seating, and frequently host celebrations with live music.

  • Restaurants
  • Coffee shops
  • Mar Vista
  • price 1 of 4

For years, Eric Stogsdill built a loyal following of coffee lovers, peddling his single-origin beans at farmers’ markets around L.A. Now the passionate coffee roaster has a permanent home in Mar Vista (and WeHo, too) with fellow coffee expert Erin Ward. Named after Stogsdill’s daughter, the sleek space allows you to see the entire roasting process, grab some beans, get expert brewing advice and enjoy a cup—either inside, on the benches in front or on the lush, shaded patio in back with plenty of tables and cozy nooks for catching up with friends or working on that screenplay.. In addition to pour-overs, cold brew, tea and espresso drinks, you’ll also find the Pirate’s Chai made with matcha alongside locally baked pastries and frequent special events.

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  • Bars
  • Beer bars
  • Mar Vista

This modern German restaurant, part of a trio that includes Rasselbock Long Beach and Wirtshaus, is the place to go for an extensive lineup of hearty eats and over 30 German and Belgian beers (including liter steins and two-liter boots!). The laid-back, jackalope-adorned spot works just as well for a lively date night as it does for clinking steins at the communal tables with friends. Besides the indispensable Bavarian pretzel, the menu features excellent burgers, schnitzels and sausages, including the smoky Hungarian debreziner and the spicy vegan. (And save room for apple strudel.) They also have a covered beer garden in back and host events, including Oktoberfest celebrations, Karneval (the Rhine version of Carnival) and soccer matches.

  • Restaurants
  • Cafés
  • Mar Vista
  • price 2 of 4

The chic, open-air patio of this French-inspired spot is the perfect place to enjoy a laid-back brunch or while away the hours for a leisurely lunch or dinner. Start the morning with a classic French omelette, a croque madame or an excellent shakshuka with eggs. At lunch, you’ll find refreshing salads, a great bistro burger, thin-crust pizzas and steak frites. The dinner menu extends the lunch offerings and adds heartier options like mussels, duck confit and an eight-hour braised lamb shank.

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  • Restaurants
  • Vietnamese
  • Mar Vista
  • price 2 of 4

Opened by husband-and-wife team Shad and Traci Phan Davis, Mỹ Lai offers delicious fast-casual Vietnamese fare, including build-your-own bowls, vermicelli salads and banh mi. Choose from a colorful array of fresh vegetables and toppings, house sauces, and protein options that include grilled pork, chicken or beef, as well as crispy tofu and Impossible “meat”. You’ll also find family recipes like Mama Mỹ’s chicken and rice and Chau’s chicken salad. Grab a quick bite in the chic, minimalist interior, or unwind on the back patio and be sure to grab freshly baked cookies from Do House.

  • Bars
  • Beer bars
  • Mar Vista
  • price 1 of 4

This relatively recent addition to the neighborhood offers a cozy and colorful destination for craft beer, local art and live performances. Beer lovers will find a well-curated and rotating selection of pours from breweries both local and from afar, including Belgian ales, IPAs and ciders. To tide you over between rounds, order a gourmet grilled cheese or the house-made hummus and pita (plans are in the works for a full bar and kitchen). The eclectic array of artwork from local artists rotates regularly (and is available for purchase), and the stage in back is put to good use for everything from comedy, magic and trivia to drag shows, burlesque, bands and DJs.

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  • Restaurants
  • Gastropubs
  • Mar Vista
  • price 2 of 4

This family-owned café, market and wine bar re-emerged a few years back after a fire nearly wiped out the whole block. Grab a seat on the side patio for hearty brunch fare like the lemon ricotta pancakes, or at lunch, the braised short rib panini or the fried green tomato sliders—and definitely get the avocado fries. The well-curated wine list is extensive with choices by the glass, bottle or flights, and there are plenty of local craft beers. They also frequently host winemaker dinners, and you can stock up on provisions for a picnic.

  • Restaurants
  • Bakeries
  • Mar Vista
  • price 1 of 4

This iconic L.A. institution, run by Ralph and Celia Primo, has been rising early to bake hot and delicious donuts since 1956. You’ll find all the classic hits here, including both yeast and cake donuts, as well as “fancy” flavors like maple bacon crunch bar and chocolate churro, plus gluten-free and vegan options (get the blueberry), all packed into those instantly recognizable pink boxes. The legendary buttermilk bar is a must-order, as is the apple fritter. You won’t find seating in this no-frills bakery (unlike their new, spacious Westwood spot), so be prepared to take your sweet treats to go.

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  • Restaurants
  • Coffee shops
  • Mar Vista
  • price 1 of 4

Stop by this sleek and stylish coffee shop for your caffeine fix and light bites—and a bouquet of flowers while you’re at it. In addition to well-made renditions of your favorite coffee beverage, you’ll also find matcha, chai and golden lattes, and a range of teas. Food options include a veggie-loaded bagel, a vegan mushroom sandwich, and pastries. Before heading home, you can snag a few staple veggies, cartons of oat and soy milk, and Mavro-branded shirts and totes in bright pastels.

  • Restaurants
  • Mexican
  • Mar Vista
  • price 1 of 4

This family-run hidden gem recently revamped under new ownership, serving all-day breakfast (including house-baked pan dulce and an excellent breakfast burrito), as well as burritos, tortas, huaraches, and larger platters. The fish tacos on homemade blue corn tortillas are also not to be missed. Seating is limited inside this casual spot, which is fine, since the place to be is the small front patio, surrounded by wooden planter boxes full of lush greenery and flowers, and illuminated by string lights at night.

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  • Restaurants
  • Hawaiian
  • Culver City
  • price 2 of 4

This easygoing neighborhood stalwart has been serving inexpensive Hawaiian comfort fare since 1976. The decor is sparse, apart from splashes of tropical colors and a tiki hut bar, but the regulars are here for hearty fare, not frills. Start your day right with spam and eggs, French toast made with King’s Hawaiian sweet bread, or the signature Royale—an egg scramble with rice and your choice of protein. Come hungry for the plate lunch with options that include loco moco, kalua pork, katsu chicken and coconut shrimp—perfect with a cold beer. And don’t miss the shave ice.

  • Restaurants
  • Mar Vista
  • price 2 of 4

It’s impossible to talk about food in Mar Vista without mention of this long-running, hugely popular Japanese supermarket. In addition to aisles of imported pantry items, specialty produce, fresh fish and meat, sake and sushi to-go, you’ll find excellent dining options in the small food court. Chief among them is the cash-only Santouka Ramen, beloved for their hearty bowls of noodles and rice combos. Other tempting options include tempura from Hannosuke, udon from Sanuki Sandou and takoyaki from newcomer Gindaco, plus sweets from Hamada Ya Bread Bar and Coffee. You’ll also want to stop by the adjacent Kinokuniya for Japanese books, magazines, toys and stationery.

Shopping

  • Shopping
  • Boutiques
  • Mar Vista

This charming boutique feels like you’ve stepped inside of a stylish friend’s house—thanks in part to the wall-mounted fireplace, plush couch and small kitchen. (Morpheus Design is also an interior design and architecture outfit.) Founded by Sarah Fisk and Adam Picker, the bright and airy community-focused shop features locally and ethically made clothing, accessories, jewelry and home goods that are perfectly tuned to the Mar Vista/Venice vibe. On the third Sunday of the month, stop by for their open-air market along the sidewalk in front of the shop, featuring local designers, artists and DJs.

  • Shopping
  • Boutiques
  • Mar Vista

Just past the more bustling stretch of Venice Boulevard, this stylish and eco-friendly boutique specializes in limited-run, locally made clothing, along with jewelry, accessories and some home goods, including candles and ceramics. Pick up a gift for a friend or refresh your wardrobe before heading to the beach, all while feeling confident with your sustainably-minded, fashionable choices.

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  • Shopping
  • Antiques
  • Mar Vista
  • price 2 of 4

At this long-running favorite, you’ll find a fun collection of thoughtfully chosen and well-priced vintage, modern and handcrafted treasures. Whether you’re on the hunt for midcentury home decor, kitchen and barware, jewelry and accessories for women and men, or a thoughtfully-curated selection of funky and stylish clothes and shoes, you’ll find it here, along with knickknacks and surprises. Friendly owner Marti Milakovich and her team are always bringing in new additions, so it’s worth checking in regularly and following them on Instagram.

  • Shopping
  • Design and interiors
  • Mar Vista
  • price 3 of 4

Once located on Abbot Kinney, husband-and-wife duo Keiko and Taku Shinomoto's Tortoise offers three experiences in one: Tortoise General Store with design-focused Japanese home goods; Tortoise Hasami Porcelain, showcasing Taku’s sleek modern ceramics; and a gallery space, which features minimalist wood furniture, clothing and accessories from a rotating roster of designers, ceramics and more. They also periodically host hands-on workshops with designers and artists.

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  • Things to do
  • Cultural centers
  • Mar Vista
  • price 2 of 4

If you’ve ever wanted to travel through time, purchase dinosaur eggs or astronaut sunscreen, and help tutor eager young minds at the same time, this is the place for you. The Mar Vista outpost of Dave Eggers’s 826 is a whimsical shop that includes a poetry phonebooth, writing materials and time-travel–themed gifts. Behind the shop, the tutoring center is always looking for volunteers to assist kids with their homework, as well as help them develop creative writing projects that are eventually turned into books and sold in the shop. It’s a fantastic way to give back and have a blast at the same time.

  • Shopping
  • Boutiques
  • Mar Vista
  • price 2 of 4

Transplanted from its original location in Venice, this small boutique features a stylish and eclectic collection of clothing, accessories, handmade hats, boots and home goods. Run by stylist and artist Kristin Fedyk and her husband Alberto Hernandez, a third-generation millner, the couple carefully curates the shop with under-the-radar and sought-after local designers and artists, many of whom they count as friends. Hernandez’s big, bold and colorful custom hats, which have graced the heads of some major celebrities, are made with care (and flourish) in the shop, so if you don’t see one for you, he’s happy to craft one.

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  • Shopping
  • Music and entertainment
  • Mar Vista
  • price 3 of 4

For vinyl geeks and music lovers of all stripes, Timewarp Records offers an excellent selection of records across genres, as well as CDs and tapes. You’ll also find vintage stereo components, turntables and speakers for sale. The shop frequently hosts performances from local bands and DJs, as well as record release events.

Things to do

  • Sports and fitness
  • Yoga & Pilates
  • Mar Vista

Located just next door to Alana’s Coffee, this light and airy yoga studio offers a wide range of classes for all experience levels and ages. In addition to the indoor studio, they also offer classes in the back garden space, as well as online Zoom classes. They also frequently host special events, sound baths, teacher training and wellness services, including massage and pain management. There’s also a small shop in front where you can purchase mats, clothing and books.

  • Things to do
  • Classes and workshops
  • Mar Vista

Looking to get your hands dirty? This pottery studio offers a wide range of classes for all levels, from those looking to throw on the pottery wheel (or even just start working with clay by hand) to those wanting to refine their sgraffito technique. In addition to classes, dedicated clay enthusiasts can sign up for studio memberships, including space to store clay and tools, reduced rates for classes, and special events. The studio also offers clay therapy sessions, run by the founders Liz Rosenblatt, PsyD, a licensed clinical psychologist, and Patty Housen, PhD.

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  • Shopping
  • Markets and fairs
  • Mar Vista

Los Angeles may be blessed with a bounty of great farmers’ markets, but the Mar Vista one truly stands out as one of the best in town. Sure, it may not have the celebrity flash or scale of some others, but that’s part of the charm: It’s a neighborhood market, where you can actually get to know the vendors and not feel overwhelmed by the size. You’ll find an abundant mix of colorful produce, baked goods, cheeses, sustainable meat and fish, and freshly cut flowers, as well as prepared artisanal goods to take home (don’t miss Dave’s Gourmet Korean Food and Argentinian Empanadas), plenty of excellent food options to eat there, plus great DJs, crafts and activities for kids.

  • Things to do
  • Games and hobbies
  • LAX/Westchester
  • price 2 of 4

Longtime Mar Vista residents and visitors who recall the well-worn lanes of the former AMF Mar Vista—and the hearty diner fare of Pepy’s Galley there—may not recognize the glossy revamp of Bowlero, but thankfully the neighborhood bowling alley didn’t wind up in the gutter. With a redesign inspired by a California road trip circa 1970, the stylish, neon and black-lit destination offers plenty of family-friendly fun with 28 lanes, arcade games and billiards. Plus grown-up kids can hit up the full bar or order drinks and food that’s delivered right to the plush seating of your lane.

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  • Things to do
  • Schools and universities
  • Mar Vista

For the bicycle enthusiast—or really anyone who wants to learn a bit more about how to fix or put together their own bike—this volunteer-run community repair shop is a must-visit. Bikerowave offers the tools, space, and equipment, along with guidance from one of their many skilled volunteers to help you repair and maintain your bicycle. Workshop rates are inexpensive and go by the hour ($7) or half hour ($4), or if you ride a lot you can save with the 10-hour card ($55) or the annual card ($100), which allows for unlimited visits. Whether you’re fixing a flat or looking to completely overhaul your ride, this is the place to come. They also frequently host workshops, clinics, potlucks and group rides. If you’re looking for a brand new bike, try across the street at LA Brakeless.

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