Travel

Santa Monica Specialty

Establishment neighborhood
The Hive
606 Broadway, Santa Monica
You can learn everything you need to know about this place from the menu displayed when you walk in: There’s a section devoted entirely to avocado appetizers, another to a fairly extensive offering of bone broth elixirs, kombucha on tap, and adaptogens sprinkled throughout. The comfort food is of the mushroom panini variety—which, at the Hive, means not just sautéed portobello, but also reishi, cordyceps, and maitake with goat cheese, green onion, and white truffle oil (kale chips side optional). Order at the counter and take a seat indoors or outside, or grab and go if you’re looking for a quick post-workout smoothie.
The Gourmandise School
395 Santa Monica Place, Santa Monica
School founder Clémence Gossett started making sweet treats for her colleagues at 20th Century Fox—where she was working as an assistant at the time—and decided to turn what was a hobby into her full time hustle. Located in sunny Santa Monica The Gourmandise School focuses on teaching classic technique to both beginner and experienced cooks with options ranging from three-hour themed classes to several week-long courses. Each module is taught by an industry professional and truly, there is something for everyone—from decorating a birthday cake and cooking chicken everything, to butchery and preserving workshops (jams, pickles, kraut, and so on). Specialty cuisine options could be as diverse as Thai street food and Argentinian steakhouse fare, or for the more technical cook seeking new innovations, mastering the sous vide. The kitchen is housed in a stunning, industrial-style space that feels akin to a fully-fledged commercial cook-space with roomy communal working spaces and stainless steel appliances.
Simples Tonics
2724 Main St., Santa Moncia
Founded by a former advertising exec turned biodynamic gardener, Traci Donat has been brewing up homemade herbal tinctures for friends and family, based on traditional folk medicine for years. Her expertise is now available to the wider public through her newly opened Santa Monica apothecary Simples Tonics. Expect tonics with bases of dandelion, linden, burdock, oatstraw, and nettle—each one specifically formulated to bring balance and healing to the self. The apothecary itself is fittingly beautiful in its simplicity—a polished stone floor, wooden seating, and a pretty blue-tiled bar.
Rori’s
910 Montana Ave., Santa Monica
We first discovered Rori’s ice cream years ago while exploring Santa Barbara and were understandably pretty psyched when an outpost opened right on Montana Avenue in Santa Monica. Rori, the mastermind behind the ice cream, insists on using strictly organic, locally sourced ingredients from neighboring farmers and cream from the famed Strauss Family Creamery. The resulting ice cream is rich and flavorful and comes in seasonal options that range from chocolate coconut to wild-berry chocolate crisp to honey-lavender. Their three-bite mini cones are a brilliant choice if you’re looking to sample multiple flavors without going all out.
Sweet Rose Creamery
826 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica
As far as we’re concerned, Josh and Zoe Loeb can do no wrong—their adorable ice cream shop, which is a partnership with Shiho Yoshikawa (she used to work with Zoe at Tartine), only strengthens their case. Shiho picks up ingredients for her inventive flavors at the Santa Monica farmers market, and her milk and eggs are from local purveyors as well. Favorites include matcha, fig, and goat cheese, and the old-fashioned strawberry, which tastes fresh off the vine. This is LA, so there are also some dairy-free options: If that’s your vibe, definitely try the horchata. The original is at the Brentwood Country Mart, but now they have locations all over the city: Studio City, West Hollywood, Santa Monica, and the Palisades.
Belcampo Meat Co.
1026 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica
Anya Fernald is a bit of a badass: Not only is she a cofounder and the CEO of Belcampo Meat Co., which has quickly become the go-to purveyor of humanely raised, sustainable meats and poultry in California, but she’s also a mom, cookbook author, and a master of open-flame grilling. Go to her shops for whole-animal butchering (and the interesting, rare cuts of meat associated with it), seriously good hamburgers, and the best bone broth. There are also locations in West Hollywood and Downtown.
Juice Served Here (Closed)
631 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica
In addition to being incredibly convenient for satiating juice cravings (there are locations sprouting up all over the city) this the perfect juice gateway drug for cleanse newbies: Beyond their most popular drink, Green Milk, which is like having dessert for dinner, the Charcoal Lemonade is delicious, despite the suspiciousness of drinking montmorillonite clay and activated charcoal (in contrast, the jalapeño-laced beet juice is tough to swallow). You can also add in extras to ease the process: We opted for the raw soup (a carrot-based gazpacho) and the coconut superfood bar (nice when you miss the sensation of chewing). Bonus points for the DO ME (FIRST, 02, 03, 04, 05, LAST) directions on the caps and the recent addition of lifestyle-y giftables at most outposts. There are additional locations in Studio City, Pasadena, Venice, Downtown, Silver Lake, Hollywood, and West Hollywood.
Sidecar Doughnuts
631 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica
It used to be that you had to make a special day trip to Costa Mesa to get your hands on a Sidecar, but now that the new Santa Monica outpost is finally here, dropping by for one of their fried-fresh-on-the-hour doughnuts and a cup of famously smooth coffee has gotten almost dangerously easy. The flavors are broken up into classics (the huckleberry and vanilla twist are goop HQ favorites) and monthly specials like coconut cream pie, peanut butter & banana, and chocolate & rye. And keep an eye out for the gluten-free options, the butter & salt is worth trying even if gluten isn’t an issue.
Kye’s
1518 Montana Ave., Santa Monica
We're big fans of this genius lunch spot on Montana, which serves self-named KyeRito’s: In lieu of beans and tortillas, though, you’ll find things like wild seared salmon and macro-pressed veggies wrapped in nori, collard greens, or romaine leaves. And to keep the mini burrito from getting soggy, the interior ingredients are packaged in a slip-wrap that you pull out before eating. It's a grab-and-go place, though there are a few tables and benches.
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