Located on Santa Monica’s Main Street, this traditionally inclined French bistro elevates classics like onion soup and beef tartare to new-to-casual-L.A. heights of fine dining. Chef David Beran even possesses an old-school French duck press for an artery-clogging, show-stopping traditionally prepared duck for two, which includes roasted duck breast, crispy duck skin salad, and duck leg bread pudding doused in drippings combined with cognac and red wine. Prepared tableside, it’s worth ordering at least once, although there is no bad dish on the menu at Pasjoli, where the “stupidly good” foie de poulet à la Strasbourgeoise continues to impress. Thursdays through Saturdays, a newer $195 tasting menu harkens to Beran's now-closed, Michelin-starred Dialogue.
For those who don’t live on the Westside, making the trek to Santa Monica for lunch or dinner can be daunting. Will there be traffic? Probably. Will it be hard to find parking? Unless you’re in one of the public lots around Third Street Promenade, probably. But will the food be worth it? Yep. From destination-worthy sushi to every price point and type of Italian food under the sun, this small, tourist-friendly beachside city is full of amazing restaurants worth the drive across town.
More recently, the city's Main Street has become a hotbed of culinary talent, where destination-worthy eats and older neighborhood favorites like Chinois and Pasjoli cater to visitors and locals across all ages. Although by no means exhaustive, check out the 25 Santa Monica restaurants we think you shouldn’t miss—then get back to your L.A. dining grind.