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12 Places We Love on LA’s West Side

While there’s no merit to any definitive argument that the East Side trumps the West Side or vice versa, there’s no denying that when summer comes along, proximity to the ocean—and the wonderful, cooling marine layer that rolls in each morning—is kind of magical. Plus, so many westside pockets are eminently walkable: Culver City’s Bird Brooklyn, Stay, and everything else in Platform are just a a couple blocks from lunch at BäcoShop; you grab a cone at Jeni’s on Rose after a StretchLab appointment (#balance) before strolling to Abbot Kinney to shop; a BoxUnion class is steps away from a drink at Shutters and a view of the Pacific at sunset. Below, a few new additions to our West Side guide to try in the coming warmer months.

Health & Beauty

  • StretchLab

    StretchLab

    808 11th St., Santa Monica | 310.260.2200

    StretchLab was founded on a novel idea that’s also somewhat of a no-brainer: stretching is really good for you, assisted stretching is even better, and you shouldn’t have to book a physical therapist to make it happen. Here, the lab’s talented “flexologists” (a team comprised of personal trainers, massage therapists, and yoga instructors) stretch you while you lie on a raised platform, and getting a routine personalized stretch before or after a workout—or anytime, really—is super convenient and simple. You can opt for sessions that last anywhere from twenty minutes to an hour; monthly packages and memberships are available, too. They have two additional locations: the original on Rose, and another on Beverly.

  • MiniLuxe

    MiniLuxe

    11961 San Vicente Blvd., Brentwood | 424.442.1630

    The first California outpost of this boutique chain of nail salons has finally opened in Brentwood, and it sort of has it all: soothing, minimalist yet pretty interiors, a selection of five-free polish, excellent service, and waxing specialists cheekily called “editors.” Trust us and spring for the slightly more expensive performance polish manicure, a 45-minute treatment that uses the brand’s in-house polish line that dries in 5 minutes and wears like a gel (read: it will last you close to two weeks). Plus, Alfred is right across the street.

  • BoxUnion

    BoxUnion

    1755 Ocean Ave., Santa Monica | 310.882.5508

    Just around the corner from Shutters on Ocean Ave., this new boxing studio doesn’t feel much like a boxing studio: everything is aesthetically pleasing, if not rather tranquil. The high-energy classes—set to the some seriously good hip-hop anthems—are designed to accommodate the boxing novice, although you’ll notice classes are filled with people who seem like seasoned pros. If you can, sign up for a class with Deja Riley, who will give you some serious #goals.

  • The Detox Market

    The Detox Market

    1231 Montana Ave., Santa Monica | 310.260.0017

    We’ve long been fans of this clean beauty shop, which opened a Montana outpost (the OG location is in West Hollywood) a few months ago. Simple and well-organized, The Detox Market is a veritable mecca for safe cosmetics and skincare. Founded to combat the fact that some of the most toxic elements in a woman’s life come straight from her beauty products, they sell lines such as RMS, ila, Rahua, and Odacité.

Eat

  • Lunetta All Day

    Lunetta All Day

    2424 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica | 310.581.4201

    Brought to you by chef (and West Side restaurant veteran) Raphael Lunetta and the guys behind Maple Block Meat Co., this just-opened spot is a seriously welcome addition to Santa Monica’s Pico neighborhood. The bright, chic space—which is complemented by a quiet, ivy-shrouded patio away from the street—is laid-back but elevated enough for a working lunch or date night; the menu has something for everyone, which is something you can say confidently when decadent ricotta pancakes, a bright brassica salad, and an amazing burger are all options for dinner. Two other things that cannot be understated: a free parking lot behind the entrance, and also their just-sweet-enough iterations of the margarita and Moscow mule. (Look out for the adjacent, more upscale dinner spot, Lunetta, set to open in time for summer.)

  • Felix

    Felix

    1023 Abbot Kinney, Venice | 424.387.8622

    Taking over the neighborhood spot that was, for twenty-four years, Joe’s Restaurant, Felix is a very honorable successor: the just-opened dinner desitination is warm and vibrant, bringing Chef Evan Funke’s elevated spin on modern Italian fare to the neighborhood. Of course, much like many of its Abbot Kinney neighbors, Felix is already a foodie destination, drawing crowds from all over the city—definitely make a reservation, and be prepared to do it weeks in advance. And don’t miss their hand-rolled pasta, which is seriously genuine perfection.

  • Pizzana

    Pizzana

    11712 San Vicente Blvd., Brentwood | 310.481.7108

    Just a few blocks from MiniLuxe and Alfred Coffee, this brand-new casual eatery offers excellent thin-crust pizza from Naples-born chef Daniele Uditi, as well really great iterations of carciofi and caprese. High ceilings and lots of natural light open up the narrow space, which is already packed and buzzy at lunch time—definitely make a reservation, wait times for dinner can be especially long. Note: the pizzas are generous in size—two or three people could comfortably split one (but trying two to share is a safer bet and also too hard to pass up). Photo: Amy Neunsinger

  • Michael's

    Michael's

    1147 3rd St., Santa Monica | 310.451.0843

    Of course, Michael’s is far from “new”—it is, unequivocally, a Santa Monica institution. But with new chef Miles Thompson’s revamped menu, Meredith Hayman’s fresh cocktails, and a breathtaking redesign of their lush back patio, we’ve recently come to regard it as our very classy new evening drinking destination.

Specialty

  • BäcoShop

    BäcoShop

    9552 Washington Blvd., Culver City | 424.258.6301

    There’s been a lot of local buzz around the opening of this small lunch destination, and understandably so: It’s a concept from chef Josef Centeno, the same man behind goop favorites Bar Ama and Bäco Mercat. We can confidently report it doesn’t disappoint: you can’t go wrong with on of their bäcos or bäcorritos, which are homemade-flatbread-enclosed sandwiches filled with everything from shrimp with sriracha, buttermilk cabbage slaw, and mint to coffee rubbed-steak with red chile, almonds, and charred scallion. Their creative salads and vegetable offerings are a lighter option, but just as good. (They have a nice short list of beer and wine, too.) Photo: Wonho Frank Lee

  • Jeni's

    Jeni's

    540 Rose Ave., Venice | 310.314.2024

    Not new to LA, but new to the West Side, Jeni’s new outpost on Rose is conviently adjacent to some of our favorite things: StretchLab, Moon Juice, and Café Gratitude, to name a few. If you haven’t already been, know that this ice cream shop excels at decadent and out-of-the-ordinary flavors: brambleberry crisp, churro, ylang ylang and fennel, Riesling poached pear sorbet, etc. Jeni’s started in Ohio, founded by Jeni Britton Bauer—James Beard award-winning author of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home, and has since expanded to other cities. Photo: Caroline Juen

Shop

  • Stay

    Stay

    8850 Washington Blvd., Culver City

    Just like everything else that’s a part of Platform, Stay by Spring Street Social Society is full of very pretty things in a very pretty (and highly Instagrammable) space. (Look no further than the hand-painted mural that says, “Come In For Awhile” by goop favorite Brian Kaspr.) In this case, those things come in the form of little gifts you’d want for yourself: textiles from Caroline Z Hurley, home objects from Well Received and (wh)ORE Haus Studios, candles from Putnam & Putnam, plus a small mix of easy, well-priced dresses and blouses from brands like English Factory. Stay is temporarily popping into Platform, but word on the street is they’ll be there until end of summer 2017. Photo: Patrick Janelle (@aguynamedpatrick)

  • Bird

    Bird

    8870 Washington Blvd., Culver City | 310.596.4200

    Owner and buyer Jen Mankins has built a bit of an empire out in Brooklyn, drawing Manhattanites out to shop in the process. Now, you can peruse the same edit in Culver City, where you’re greeted by an entrance courtyard replete with its own native plant garden. Within: Mankins’s eye for both quirky and cool, meaning that you’ll find a pretty irreverent (and bright) mix here, along with picks from Ulla Johnson, Apiece Apart, Mansur Gavriel, and A Détacher.

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