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Saltie Girl

  • Restaurants
  • West Hollywood
  • price 3 of 4
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended
  1. Saltie Girl dining room + bar
    Photograph: Courtesy Wonho Frank Lee
  2. Saltie Girl bar
    Photograph: Courtesy Wonho Frank Lee
  3. Saltie Girl lobster roll
    Photograph: Courtesy Mike Cotrone
  4. Saltie Girl tinned fish
    Photograph: Courtesy Mike CotroneTinned fish with butter, piquillo pepper jam, piparra peppers, salt and citrus wedges.
  5. Burgundy snails at Saltie Girl
    Photograph: Courtesy Mike CotroneCashew crust burgundy snails with green garlic butter
  6. Saltie cocktail at Saltie Girl
    Photograph: Courtesy Mike Cotrone
  7. Sweetboy by Saltie Girl sweet buns
    Photograph: Courtesy SweetBoy
  8. SweetBoy chocolate chip cookie at Saltie Girl
    Photograph: Time Out/Patricia Kelly Yeo

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

Lobster rolls, full-bellied fried clams and tinned fish galore make for a destination-worthy seafood extravaganza in West Hollywood.

“Do they have bellies?” It’s the most common question Kathy Sidell has gotten from East Coast transplants since the restaurateur behind Boston's Saltie Girl first brought market priced Ipswich clams to the Sunset Strip in late December. (They do.) Native to New England’s Great Marsh, the steamers are renowned across the region for their creamy interiors, which makes them particularly well-suited to frying. While other critics might steer you towards the restaurant’s dizzying variety of ultra-trendy tinned fish, the New England-style dishes like the fried clams are the real standouts at this maximalist seafood spot. For first-timers, the best approach is a familiar one: Start with the basics and work your way from there—you won’t be disappointed, since Saltie Girl blows almost every local competitor out of the water.  

There are glittering seafood towers with dropper bottles of mignonette and hot sauce, ready for action; lobster in various, equally worthy forms—stuffed in rolls, tossed into pasta, above a cornmeal waffle at brunch; an excellent clam chowder topped with those same delicious fried clams; and delicate escargots in garlic green butter that would satisfy anyone dreaming of France, or at the very least, Petit Trois. A handful of kaluga caviar items offer the delicacy at a more accessible price point, including a martini-and-a-half served with roe-stuffed olives, and there’s traditional service for those in the mood to pay even more. 

When the fundamentals are done this well, it’s hard to imagine, at least for first-time diners, turning your focus to tinned fish. In terms of accoutrements, Saltie Girl definitely does justice to their 100-plus different tins, with Gjusta bread, three kinds of salt, piquillo pepper jam, pickled piparra peppers and wedges of lemon and lime. But your level of overall satisfaction will depend largely on your chosen tin and pre-existing appreciation for conservas. These tins might be Saltie Girl’s standout offering in Boston’s Back Bay, located in a part of the country full of excellent lobster rolls and fried clams, but here on the West Coast, they’re a nice-to-have light snack or starter, not the main event. 

Unlike most buzzy L.A. restaurants, Saltie Girl takes a kitchen sink approach to its menu, which means not every dish fires on all cylinders. California-leaning items like uni toast and torched salmon belly with avocado might satisfy an errant craving, but nothing more, and the New York-style smoked fish platters fall flat at dinner; each tray contains just one impossibly tiny bagel served next to a mountain of fish. A buttery, caper-y dover sole, elegantly plated with an intact spine, tastes just fine. Served at market price ($80 during my recent visit), “just fine” translates to “completely not worth the money.” I’ve yet to try the burger or the New York strip, which seem geared toward that one person in every large party who doesn’t like seafood all that much. 

To cap off the meal, however, comes the amazing dessert program overseen by Ben Sidell, Kathy’s son, who also makes baked goods for weekend pick-up under the moniker SweetBoy. Flecked with sea salt, SweetBoy’s melt-in-your-mouth chocolate chip cookies are a must-try, as are the sweet buns offered during weekend brunch. The towering quartet of buns come drizzled with toffee syrup, with a croissant-like exterior and gooey center. Other desserts, some of them seasonal, add nuance with flavors like passion fruit and blood orange. 

At Saltie Girl, it’s easy to forget you’re on the Sunset Strip, one of the most sceney places in town. The service is warm and efficient, the clientele is dressed more casually than one might expect and the large menu begs for repeat visits, even if not every dish shines. For the city’s most devoted seafood aficionados, the dining room’s dim lighting, subtly nautical design, and focus on more sustainable sourcing might call to mind Ari Kolender’s Found Oyster, another local heavyweight, and there’s a reason for that: Kolender, according to Kathy, studied the original 28-seat concept in Back Bay before opening his own restaurant in 2019. And unlike the frankly overhyped spot in East Hollywood, you won’t need to circle the block for parking and drink an entire bottle of wine to get through the wait when you’re dining at Saltie Girl—there’s free parking out back and reservations available two weeks in advance.

The vibe: Elegant, polished and just a little bit see-and-be-seen. 
The food: New England-style seafood, a dizzying variety of tinned fish and a little bit of everything else for weekday lunch, weekend brunch and dinner. 
The drink: Wine, sake and beer, plus well-made house cocktails like the Saltie martini, which features caviar-stuffed olives.
Time Out tip: Hoping to walk in? Head here right at 5pm or the later side of dinner—a solo diner or two can usually head right to the bar.

Patricia Kelly Yeo
Written by
Patricia Kelly Yeo


8615 Sunset Blvd
West Hollywood
View Website
Opening hours:
Tue, Weds 11am–3pm, 5–11pm; Thu, Fri 11am–3pm, 5pm–1am; Sat 11am–3pm, 5pm–1am, Sun 11am–3pm, 5–9pm
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