512 Rose Ave., Venice
Everything on the menu is an affirmation, so if you can stifle the giggles at names like "I Am Connected"—which is actually an amazing zucchini cilantro hummus—you'll find that the vegan food here is delicious, even for those who normally refuse to go meat and dairy-free. There are picks for every sensibility, from coffee milkshakes (made with almond milk), to cashew cheese topped corn tacos to Indian curried lentils. There are three locations—Hancock Park, Venice, and the Arts District—and the Café Gratitude team also has a Mexican iteration in Hollywood called Gracias Madre.
523 Rose Ave., Venice
One of the first things you'll likely notice is that the stools here aren't particularly comfortable—we're guessing this was an intentional decision, otherwise everyone would stick around for even longer. Despite the packed scene (you'll get intimate with your neighbor), this is one of our favorites in Venice, thanks to the California-Mexican menu and the frequent happy hours. There are also locations downtown and in Culver City.
218 Main St., Venice
Right on the border of Venice and Santa Monica, this all-day restaurant and wine bar is a new West Side fave. In the morning you'll find Superba pastries and Canyon coffee, solid offerings like kale salad, cobb salad, and a nice selection of sandwiches at lunch, and for dinner, slightly more ambitious variations including grass-fed beef tartar and wild mushrooms with egg yolk. The menu, designed and executed by chef Ash Ghassemzadah, is a celebration of local, seasonal ingredients. With a small but welcoming dining room, the space transitions easily from a casual grab-and-go coffee and lunch spot to a more refined dinner destination (perfect for a date night). The small but expertly curated wine list is a big selling point, too.
1023 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice
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.
1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice
It’s been five years, but Gjelina—a restaurant that ushered in a new sort of veggie-centric California cuisine—is as mobbed as ever. The crowds make a lot of sense: Everything is always excellent, from the aforementioned vegetable sides to the whisper-thin jalapeño and smoked mozzarella pizza. Come when they open so you can snag a table on the patio out back. (If the lines are too long, grab something to-go at GTA, their take-away spot next door.)
1604 Pacific Ave., Venice
Another solid addition to Venice’s ever-increasing, Australian-style café offering, Great White serves up health-focused food all day long.
Kreation Kafe Abbot Kinney
1202 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice
Kreation Juicebars are expanding rapidly, but the brand has just three locations of its sit-down restaurant concept (
1305 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice
Given this new Venice Izakaya is the brainchild of Travis Lett, the restauranteur behind west side institutions Gjelina and Gjusta, we know it's bound to be a hit–and likely just as mobbed. Open to walk-ins only (no reservations), it's serving up incredible Japanese dishes from ramen to miso-heavy vegetables.
Plant Food + Wine
1009 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice
220 Rose Ave., Venice
Rose Cafe, a Venice standby since 1979, is breathing new life under the direction of chef Jason Neroni. While the interior has been updated, the space pays homage to it's long-time Venice Beach roots—local artists have decorated the walls with a mix of modern pieces and whimsical, historic, imagery of this rapidly-changing neighborhood. The space is vast, encompassing a soaring dining room, open-air patio, food market, bakery, and Verve coffee bar. The takeout counter—filled with tempting prepared foods—is a welcome addition for the time-strapped local who can't linger over their morning matcha and avocado toast. Speaking of toast, the bread here is a must-order. Other stand-outs: the cacio e pepe and the fire-roasted chicken.
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