Travel

Santa Monica

Establishment neighborhood
Little Prince
2424 Main St., Santa Monica
Little Prince started as a pop-up brunch spot in Santa Monica that—thanks to its immense popularity—is now a full-fledged permanent restaurant in an airy space with ceiling fans and beautifully rustic wood furniture. The recent expansion is no surprise, given that its chef is Ari Taymor, who formerly helmed the widely acclaimed downtown hotspot, Alma (which closed in 2015). At Little Prince, Taymor partners with Southern California farms (Flora Bella, JJ Lone Daughter Ranch) which provides the restaurant with high quality produce including squash, arugula, citrus, and avocado. Although brunch is still our favorite time to visit, dinner is just as good, especially the (gluten-free) smoked black cod with beets, sunflower, and fermented apple, and the pumpkin, persimmon, and burrata with grilled bread.
The Westside and Everafter
256 26th St., Santa Monica
The Westside is proof positive that retailing duo Haro and Sari Sloane Keledjian know a thing or two about creating a store that women want to shop in. After selling the Intermix brand to the Gap back in 2013, they’ve dreamt up a new shopping concept that speaks to busy moms on the go. They’ve opened a series of boutiques, the Westside (for stylish moms) and Everafter (a children’s boutique) side byside in Tribeca, on the Upper East Side, and in Manhasset on Long Island. Their arrival in Brentwood should come as no surprise, located just across the street from the highly-trafficked Brentwood Country Mart. The mix for women is solid—denim by Re/Done, cashmere by Lingua Franca, and easy dresses by LoveShackFancy. Next door, there’s tons for your mini-me: Aviator Nation sweats, Zimmerman separates, and lots of great gifts like pool floats from Sunnylife and furry friends from Jellycat. Photos courtesy of Katie Gibbs.
Élephante Beach House
1332 2nd St., Santa Monica
In a rooftop space smack-dab in the center of downtown Santa Monica, Élephante is a breath of fresh air—quite literally, you can feel the ocean breeze from your perch on the terrace. It’s run by Nick Mathers, the force behind West Hollywood spots Eveleigh and Goldie’s, which is to say he knows a thing or two about drawing a crowd. It’s the kind of place you’ll come for cocktails but want to stay for dinner—the food, largely coastal Italian, is really good. In fact, the entire space is a love song to Pantelleria, an island that sits between the coast of Italy and Tunisia, where Mathers visited on a research trip to Southern Italy. Here, every design detail is considered: a Brazilian Tiger-wood deck, soapstone-topped bars, Moroccan rugs, plus lots of Buhera baskets brought in from Zimbabwe. Menu standouts include the whipped eggplant and tuna crudo to start, Tuscan kale salad, and the wood-fired Soppressata pizza, which is great to share with a group. If you really feel like going for it, there’s a whole lobster on offer, too. Be sure to grab a table on Resy before you…
Dialogue
1315 3rd St. Promenade, Suite K, Santa Monica
It's hard to imagine that on the second floor of a heavily touristed stretch of Santa Monica's Third Street Promenade you'll find one of the city's brightest young chefs quietly cooking a highly conceptual dinner every night. But lo and behold, Chef Dave Beran, who cut his teeth at Chicago's Alinea and Next, is telling a story uniquely his own—this one, deeply referencing cuisines from around the world while leaning heavily on southern California's farmers' market produce. All of this is to say that there's a reason why Dialogue is appearing on just about every "Best-Of" list. The result is artfully plated dishes built around the four seasons: a sorrel and fennel tart; squab with begonias and plum; kombu (sea kelp) braised for eight hours. At just 18 seats strong—eight at the counter and three tables—nightly dinner service is available via ticketed reservations on Resy. Photos courtesy of Erin Simkin and Mariah Tauger
Face Haus Santa Monica
1426 Montana Ave., Santa Monica
The idea and execution here are brilliant: Face Haus is a facial bar with treatment chairs spaced evenly apart in one huge, airy room. The therapies are excellent and varied, ranging from peels and eye-area pampering add-ons to more intense sessions that include LED light and microdermabrasion. Renowned Beverly Hills–based dermatologist Harold Lancer is the consulting physician, so you can rest assured your face is in great hands. Bonus: You can rent out the whole place for private bridal and baby shower facial parties. (The OG location is in West Hollywood.)
Plumb Line
1913 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica
Allison Oswald wants to help women feel better. As a physical therapist, a board-certified women’s clinical specialist, and certified Pilates instructor, she’s uniquely equipped to take on that task. Many of her clients find their way to her bright, whitewashed studio with pelvic health issues, often during the postpartum period. She works with clients one-on-one and for as long as it takes to get them feeling confident and pain-free. Once they feel up to it, she—or one of Plumb Line’s excellent instructors—may suggest clients keep up their work with a Pilates regimen.
Blossom
2821 Ocean Park Blvd., Santa Monica
Owner Duc Pham, who was born in Vietnam but raised in Anaheim, obsesses over every detail in his restaurants, from the Scandinavian-inspired furniture to the wine list to the bread on his banh mi, which is baked fresh daily. At this (new) Santa Monica location, the dining room is limited to one large communal table, which fills the entirety of the small, narrow space; when it’s warm out, there are a few small tables outside that you can snag, too. While the classic dishes are excellent at all four locations—anything on the menu with pork belly is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser—we love the Silver Lake location, which has a secret wine bar downstairs.
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