1616 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice
There's a decided beach house vibe going on here, from the white brick walls to the white marble tables and chairs. Dotted with skylights, it's sun-drenched, too. The menu is seafood/bistro, like olive-oil-poached salmon, steak au poivre, and lobster rolls—with the oysters and fries being our favorite order. Thin glass tumblers filled with wine, illustrated menus, and food intended to be shared makes this an ideal place for dinner with friends (or a date). Photo: Jakob Layman
Scopa Italian Roots
2905 Washington Blvd., Venice
The first thing to know about Scopa is that it’s massive. In addition to a sea of cafe tables there are shared banquettes, communal tables, and a stretch bar which is home to an extensive spirit offering (there’s a healthy wine list as well). They even have a private room upstairs, with a peek-a-boo window overlooking the main dining room. We suggest starting with one of the expertly curated Italian cold cut and cheeses plates before diving into the more substantial pastas and mains. The menu is packed with classic Italian dishes (lasagne, whole branzino) which Chef Antonia Lofaso (of Top Chef fame) executes flawlessly. This is also one of the few non-Italian bakery spots in town where you can get a decent cannoli. Plus, unlike many L.A. eateries, this one serves food until midnight on most evenings.
1432 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice
Tucked away behind an unmarked gate (visible only because of its smattering of lanterns), Shima flies wonderfully under the radar on a street full of high-profile restaurants. At this elegant Japanese spot, you'll find brown rice sushi that's mouth-wateringly fresh. Menu adds like spicy lotus root and mushrooms sautéed in white truffle oil make this more than your typical sushi spot.
822 W. Washington Blvd., Venice
Food truck celebrity-turned restaurateur Roy Choi is a local hero in LA, and Sunny Spot really feels like a neighborhood joint. The quirky décor matches the Caribbean-inspired menu with orange benches, blue chairs, and stools topped with floral-print vinyl. The comfortably shaded patio can get pretty rowdy on weekends when Venice locals stop by for a boozy brunch.
1633 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice
You’d never guess that The Tasting Kitchen sits on one of Venice’s busiest thoroughfares: It’s partly because of the fortress-like entrance, and partly because the loft-y, two-floor space revolves around a small grove of transporting olive trees. The food—modern Italian by Portland transplant Casey Lane—is excellent, made even better by the comfortable, leather wrapped Eames chairs, welcoming bar area, and always kind and attentive service. While it's one of the city's major culinary destinations—and gets really booked—if you walk in at 6, you can generally always get a table, and there are two big communal tables in the bar. If you have at least 20 people, you can book their elegant private space upstairs.
The Butcher’s Daughter LA
1205 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice
Taking up prime real estate on Abbot Kinney, this beloved NYC spot has finally made it out west. And it's not just East Coast transplants who have been lining up for a table in the beautifully turned-out dining room (there's also an indoor-outdoor terrace that's pretty perfect for people-watching) or a seat at one of two bars; everyone can appreciate the veggie-friendly menu (just brunch, breakfast, and lunch, for now), which includes standbys like avocado toast and breakfast burritos. The teeny but well-stocked retail space out front and the cold-pressed juice cooler are welcome little add-ons.
The Rose 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.
609 Rose Ave, Venice
Tucked away on Rose, Wallflower specializes in Southeast Asian and Vietnamese cuisine.
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