Like most things in Southern California, the dining scene in the greater Los Angeles area is incredibly diverse. That includes the Santa Monica area, where so many eclectic choices abound that it might be difficult to decide where to eat first.
Here are five great restaurants to start — and they’re all within walking distance of JW Marriott Santa Monica Le Merigot.
Ivy at the Shore
Yes, you may indeed catch a glimpse of a celebrity, but that’s not what makes Ivy at the Shore unique. Colorful flowers await your arrival, but the “simple-but-excellent” Californian fare is the big draw here. What’s Californian fare? How about a fresh Santa Barbara crab salad, followed by swordfish tacos with Mexican rice and beans? Or perhaps wild calamari as a precursor to Scottish smoked salmon and crème fraîche atop a pizza from the wood-burning oven? All of this and much more awaits the upscale, “go-to-be-seen” patrons dining at Ivy at the Shore.
A visit to SoCal wouldn’t be complete without some mouthwatering sushi. By combining the freshest fish from around the globe with the true artistry of a master sushi chef, Sushi Roku definitely fits the bill. An added touch of Los Angeles-style innovation has helped this place become recognized as a pioneer in contemporary cuisine. On the menu you’ll find diverse, non-traditional ingredients from regions like Latin America and Europe. Just a half-mile from the JW Marriott, Sushi Roku’s edible creations meld the past with the present for a memorable dining experience.
A classic that opened way back in the 1920s, The Lobster is at the entrance to the Santa Monica Pier and specializes in fresh seafood. Patrons take a seat and immediately appreciate the view of the pier, beach and Pacific Ocean. And the food complements the view perfectly: from amazing shellfish appetizers and magnificently prepared “sea-to-table” specialties to classic lobster entrees, The Lobster surely delivers. Order a juicy Tide Pool cocktail and 10 percent of what you spend on the drink gets donated to Heal the Bay, a local environmental organization focused on safe, healthy and clean ocean water.
Just a block off of the ultra-popular 3rd Street Promenade shopping district, Border Grill features decor as bright and vibrant as a traditional Mexican fiesta. It’s where chefs Mary Sue Milliken of Bravo’s “Top Chef Masters” and Susan Feniger from the Food Network’s “Too Hot Tamales” are taking new approaches to gourmet Mexican cuisine. You’ll find multiple dining levels and – of course – a spacious cantina with specialty margaritas and tequilas. Try the Yucatan pork, slow roasted in banana leaves, or grilled citrus chicken in black bean-stuffed tortillas with guacamole.
Spend an evening at Dhaba and see why the restaurant has been a staple in the community for more than 40 years. In a world of seemingly ever-growing restaurant conglomerates, Dhaba stands out as a small, family-run operation that’s committed to delivering fantastic Indian dishes and top-notch service. Take a seat, and get ready to experience healthy regional cuisine that emphasizes fresh ingredients straight from the farmer’s market. Take a bite of the chicken tikka or tandoori salmon and understand why they’re traditional customer favorites. And when the weather’s warm, which is almost always in SoCal, dine al fresco on the garden patio.
Now that you’ve got a roadmap for dining, what is there to do if you plan on spending Four Days in the City of Angels? Vacations by Marriot has plenty of suggestions.