Owned by husband-and-wife duo Keiko and Taku Shinimoto, Abbot Kinney’s hidden gem, Tortoise General Store, offers a curated selection of home wares, furniture and accessories steeped in traditional Japanese design with a modern twist; it’s minimalism at it’s finest and a favorite of L.A.’s design forces. Add some Eastern influence into your kitchen with a tea pot by Hasami Porcelain, a handmade plate and cup by Tokyo-based Yumiko Iihoshi, or hand-crafted brass cutlery by Japan-based company Lue.
When you’re in the mood to shell out on a piece that you’ll wear for years, we recommend heading to Heist, which has our favorite range of women’s designer brands in all of Venice. Owner Nilou Ghodsi has an eye for modern classics, pulling in a cadre of brands such as Golden Goose riding boots, Henry Cuir distressed leather weekender bags and Raquel Allegra knits. Like the store itself—which is kitted out in brick, leather and wood—everything in Heist is infused with a spirit of understated, comfy chic.
The Venice-based shop combines style and function with European vintage-inspired bicycles from cruisers and 8-speeders to limited editions in luxe colors like cream and sage. The tiny back bungalow storefront also carries Brooks leather saddles, waxed cotton saddlebags and brass bells to accessorize your two-wheeler.
Garrett Leight continues the family's legacy—his being eyewear, namely Oliver Peoples—with this Abbot Kinney store that sells specs from Graz, Thierry Lasry, his own Garrett Leight designs, and, yes, Oliver Peoples. Leight rounds out the Venice cool, boho look with boots from Becca Moon and Mark McNairy and a curated selection of rock 'n' roll on the playlist and LP's for sale.
Milkmade perfects the casual, cool California look with fitted cottons from Apolis and vintage-inspired threads from Bedwin & the Heartbreakers to leather sandals and Aesop bath and beauty products. Because a proper man’s closet wouldn’t be complete without skinny ties and scarves, there are those too in knits and linens.
Venice native Tina Wakino's longstanding boutique has been on the block for more than 15 years, but it still feels as fresh as ever with its rotating mix of classic and thoughtfully-chosen pieces like vintage Indigo-dyed textiles, furniture, jewelry and other antique objets d'art with a Japanese and European flair. The eclectic shop also plays host to such wide-ranging items as children's vintage denim jackets, French statement pieces from the 1940s, Santa Maria Novella apothecary products and Laguiole knives.
Perfect the modern, Scandinavian look for everything in your home, from furniture, fine art, house wares and kitchen products to women's and men’s clothing and knick-knacks for little ones. The stylish, e-commerce boutique turned brick-and-mortar features offerings from more than 60 Scandinavian designers with standouts including brass-wire baskets, matte black stoneware, textiles featuring hand-drawn designs and luxurious, abstract jewelry. Thanks to owners Holly and Per Hallberg, who source all items from their annual trips to Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Iceland and Finland, the shop is constantly refreshed with new and exciting finds.
This charming shops on Abbot Kinney offers a catch-all selection of gifts: clothes, books, homeware and letterpress cards. It's perfect if you're in need of a gift or housewarming present, and is also a cute little spot to do some casual browsing; you may just walk away with a little something you never knew you needed.
Designed like a charming, Venice Beach bungalow—white picket fence and all—Tumbleweed & Dandelion’s showroom on Abbot Kinney is like a cozy home amid a long stretch of shops and eateries. Browse the shop for customizable outdoor furnishings, simplistic Matteo bedding, eclectic wool rugs, Indigo-dyed apparel made from recycled goods and shabby-chic decor—all handmade in California.
Run by and named after British expat Andy Griffith and L.A. style journalist Rose Apodaca, A+R offers a super-fresh selection of desirable designer goodies: mostly homewares, alongside a few other gift ideas (books, artworks and other chic novelties). Goods are sourced from around the world, making it a good place to find something unusual.
Whether you’re looking for stylish sunwear or everyday optical lenses, this beachy eyewear haven has it all. Emulating the coastal ambience of Venice’s chic Abbot Kinney boutiques, this West Coast flagship store boasts a minimalistic, breezy interior with artistic touches from Geoff McFetridge (who also added artistic flare to The Standard Hollywood location). But even better than the hipster sleek eyewear, Warby Parker donates a pair of glasses to charity for each pair purchased.
Bars and restaraunts
This Venice restaurant is set in an airy, stark-white space that’s at once refined and beach-y enough to feel right at home on Abbot Kinney. Like other seafood spots (Connie and Ted's, Littlefork, Fishing with Dynamite), the geographic muse here is New England—try, for the example, the acceptable, if requisite, Connecticut-style lobster roll. But the dishes here have pointed, thoughtful Southern Californian inflections: The flaky salmon is perfectly poached in olive oil and served with summery shelling beans and charred shishito peppers for bite. Surely the conceit of the refined seafood shack will get tiresome (if it hasn’t already), but we wouldn’t be surprised if trendy locals with the wherewithal and the appetite keep Salt Air afloat well after the current trend gives way to the food of the next moment.
Pack in with the beautiful people at this Abbot Kinney hot spot. There's always a wait—and a snooty hostess to boot—but the scene is buzzing and the food, excellent. Order plates to share—you can't go wrong with any of the seasonal vegetables and pizzas baked in the wood-burning oven. Snag a seat on the back patio for weekend brunch or get friendly with your dining mates at the communal table for dinner.
Once a dive bar, the Brig underwent a successful facelift a few years ago. The pool table and the solid jukebox remain as reminders of its seedier past, and the stainless steel fittings are a little less lustrous these days. Still, it remains sleek, although the Brig is more a happy-hour neighborhood hangout.
There are a number of reasons to go to the Tasting Kitchen: because you want to visit Portland, chef Casey Lane's hometown, without having to visit Portlandia. Because though you can cook effortlessly from Sunday Suppers at Lucques, you also don't mind splurging on somewhat similar fare when it's done exceptionally well. And, right, because the gorgeous setting, where the olive trees, communal tables and open space make you feel like you've crashed a well-to-do hippie's picnic. The restaurant focuses on a tight menu of seasonal dishes—summer's tomatoes were accentuated by the slightest bit of roasting to bring out their sweetness, and a buttery, succulent branzino presented head-to-tail was showered impeccably with lemons, olives and pine nuts. If you can, sit at the bar—it's tended by some of the most talented and friendliest folks in town. As if you need another reason to go.
Handmade pasta is the name of the game here, as brought to you by a chef who’s done time at Spago, Rustic Canyon and Bucato. Chef Evan Funke’s mission to bring incredible Italian fare to Venice has been a hit so far, with diners raving about everything Felix has to offer; the oxtail ragu is mandatory and pairs nicely with a Haitian Divorce (mezcal and aged rum, cherry and Pedro Ximenez). Make a reservation before heading over—the place is usually buzzing.
Outfitted with lots (and lots) of dark wood paneling, the dimly lit restaurant sort of feels like the tasting room of a wine cellar. Indeed, there are bottles of wine lining the walls of the space, and there’s a long wine list to match. But you’d be remiss if you stopped there: The food menu, while short, is terrific. Especially the pizzas. These would be rustic pies, with a thin crust that is wonderfully crispy and airy and chewy at the same time. There are almost a dozen different pizzas on the menu with a good variety of toppings—most of which are locally sourced, if not made in-house—so surely everyone will find something that suits their taste.
From the streets of New York to Venice, California, the Butcher's Daughter is your all day vegetarian, juice and wine bar. Situated on infamous Abbot Kinney, the white-washed, sun filled space is the perfect place to grab a morning Vittoria coffee and smashed avocado toast, a lunch-time spicy kale salad for that corporate meeting, or a wood fired pizza over a glass of nebbiolo to wind down the day. The open air market features prepared foods and surf boards from Lone Wolf.
At Plant Food + Wine, Matthew Kenney’s sleek vegan restaurant on the quieter end of Abbot Kinney, there is enough cashew on the menu to feed a vegan army. There is cashew cream and cashew cheese, whole cashews and cashew puree—and whether you enjoy Plant Food + Wine might depend on how much cashew you’re willing to eat. For vegans, the picturesque indoor-outdoor restaurant offers a haven for animal-free eating and drinking. For non-vegans? It all depends on what you order. Many of Plant Food + Wine’s dishes are almost too pretty to eat. The kimchi dumplings arrive looking like origami fortune tellers, three neat little packages made from dehydrated Thai coconut and stuffed with tangy kimchi. A coriander ginger foam oozes out of their tops while a splash of beet sauce turns the plate into some kind of pop art piece. Oh, and they taste good, too—light and clean, they’re an excellent start to lunch or dinner. Plunge your spoon into a beautiful carrot soup topped with vadouvan almond crunch, a little pickled ginger lending some zing to the velvety puree. These are both better than the cheese plate, though we suppose any cheese plate at a vegan restaurant is going to be a sticking point for those who love actual dairy.
Wabi-Sabi exemplifies the Abbot Kinney vibe. Modern architecture encompass this hip spot full of neighborhood regulars who find the fun atmosphere relaxing. Japanese in concept, fusion in flavor, one can choose from an extensive market fresh sushi list or indulge in Pacific Rim cuisine. Fresh fruit dappled with chili preserves paired with big eye tuna is a must-order.
Things to do
Food trucks, open galleries and late-night shop hours—it's the triumvirate of L.A. street fest staples in full force at First Fridays. The monthly Abbot Kinney celebration brings out locals and distant Angelenos alike for bites and sales in the fashionable Venice 'hood. Show up early to find a parking spot, otherwise you'll waste time circling for spots when you could've been lining up for that cheesy goodness from the perennial-favorite Grilled Cheese Truck.
This cute little spa is tucked into a beach bungalow off Abbot Kinney, and it definitely has a laid-back, beachy bohemian vibe. If you're looking for spacious, spic and span or a steam room, you're out of luck: Nitespa's building is an actual old house, wear and tear quite evident, but very charming. It's less haute and more hippie here: You can browse a rack of vintage beach wear or get your tarot cards read while you wait for your treatment, sipping a hot mug of tea—or a glass of wine, if you prefer. You may want to stick to the body treatments here, as the nail salon portion of the spa looks a little worse for wear—but that's fine, because you're really here for the massages, anyway.
Transplanted from the hipster-foodie capital of the west (Portland, of course), craft creamery Salt & Straw puts an artisanal churn on the standard scoop. Their extensive menu boasts flavors both sinful and curious including Almond Brittle with Salted Ganache, Freckled Woodblock Chocolate, Avocado Strawberry Sherbert and Santa Ynez Valley Walnut Oil—many of which feature ingredients exclusive to Southern California, reflecting the company's "farm-to-cone" philosophy. The best part? You don't have to choose just one. For $10, guests can opt for an ice cream flight including your choice of four flavors from both classic and seasonal menus. The pristine globules are served in healthy scoops across four individual glass bowls, presented on a (undoubtedly reclaimed) wood tray. Can't decide which to pick? Salt & Straw's staffers, who are about as chipper as you'd expect artisanal ice cream scoopers to be, are thrilled to help you assemble the perfectly complementary quartet.
The Venice outpost of this artisan/craft-focused flea market mini-empire brings records, vintage and vintage-inspired clothing, cosmetics, jewelry and more to the Westminster Avenue Elementary School. A handful of small batch confectioners provide sweet treats to snack on or take home, while food trucks and nearby restaurants provide heartier bites. Though relatively small in size, owing perhaps to its prime location bookending the famed Abbot Kinney stretch, vendors hawk a diverse range of hand-made and expertly curated wares that seems to simultaneously fit in and stand out in one of the nation’s most unusual neighborhoods.
The west side outpost of L.A.'s most famous coffee bar is only marginally less of a scene than its big sis in Silver Lake. With long lines, a menagerie of dogs tied up outside, and the best-tasting brew available by the beach, Intelligentsia is crowded but decidedly worth the hassle; and a nice respite from a sunny day of shopping.
Tucked between the grimy Venice Boardwalk and the posh Abbot Kinney, the Venice Canals offer a completely different side of the famed beachfront neighborhood. Take a stroll through these three canal-lined blocks—hence the name, Venice—and you'll discover an idyllic scene: arching pedestrian bridges, charming beach houses, bunches of ducklings and the occasional paddle boarding bulldog. Though you won't find boat rentals anywhere along the canals, you can bring your own non-motorized vessel to tour the neighborhood at water level (enter via the launch ramp at Venice Boulevard).
As one of the best NY imports to arrive in L.A., Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream is taking their beloved dessert to our city streets. The company, founded by Pete and Ben Van Leeuwen and Laura O'Neill, uses the finest ingredients to make star quality ice cream in continually rotating flavors, such as pistachio, earl grey tea, espresso and mint chip; and their vegan ice cream flips the stereotype of lackluster dairy-free ice cream on its head—here, the use of raw cocoa butter makes it creamy and rich (try the chocolate peanut butter!). The Van Leeuwen truck can be found on Abbot Kinney throughout the week (as well as Little Tokyo and in front of the LACMA).
Head north for more beach town exploration
There are plenty of things to do in Santa Monica without setting foot on the pier or Third Street Promenade, from fresh dinners prepared straight from the farmers' market to bars with a view.