The first West Coast outpost of NYC’s Ruby’s Cafe is here, bringing casual, breezy Aussie “brekkie,” lunch and dinner to Santa Monica. Lately there’ve been days when it feels Australian all-day cafés are overtaking the city, and it’s bonzer—a-OK—by us. Little Ruby, the gem of them all, causes SaMo foot traffic with lines out the door for breakfast-into-afternoon fare of sweet corn fritters, eggs, poached pears with granola, and avo toast in a space just blocks from the beach (with a solid patio, to boot).
That’s not to say it isn’t worth visiting past daylight hours. At night the lights lower for one of L.A.’s best happy hours and a more romantic and tealight-dotted setting. A few of the obvious daytime stars remain as evening options—the burger on pressed bread, the rotating rice bowl—but it’s the soul-warming pasta dishes that are anything but bogan. And, of course, there’s always that full espresso bar if you’re in need of a right proper flat white. Little Ruby’s concept and contents are nothing visionary, but they’re done right. I, for one, welcome our new Aussie overlords.
WHAT TO EAT
The pastas rotate, but it’s hard to go wrong with any of them; if you see the spicy italian sausage with rigatoni on the menu, don’t hesitate. For brekkie, opt for the coffee granola parfait with poached fruit, or the Big Breakfast, which includes eggs, bacon, mushrooms, roasted tomatoes, baked beans, hash browns and toast. Whew.
WHERE TO SIT
If you can snag a seat on the small patio, you’ll be treated to a glimpse of the ocean while you dine. Space is limited indoors and out, so if you’re visiting during peak brunch hours, prepare to wait.
WHAT TO DRINK
There’s not much in the way of cocktails, and you’ll mostly find beer and wine here. No matter, as they’ve got the stuff to make mimosas, spritzes, Bloodies and vermouth-based mixed drinks—perfect to sip while you’re enjoying that Vegemite toast (or, as we prefer, thick wedges of banana bread topped with passion fruit butter). If you’re looking for something extra refreshing to slurp in the sun, try the fresh-pressed juices.