Uncover Hidden Gems for a Unique Culinary Experience!
Los Angeles has a slew of fabulous eats. These new lowkey casual dining destinations on the westside are a must-try when the hunger pains strike.
Qué Padre in Pacific Palisades
Tucked in the corner of the Palisades Village, Chef Isaias Peña is responsible for the full modern Mexican menu – with tacos to dream about like $6 Carnitas made with Mexican Coke braised pork topped with salsa crude, pickled onions, charred pineapple and micro cilantro; Fish drizzled with avocado cream and chipotle chile aioli; Beef Birria in a crisped cheese tortilla with dipping consommé; and Mushroom with black bean puree, bell peppers, and onions. Add quac with mild, medium, or hot temperatures and save room for a crispy-but-chewy-on-the-inside churro.
Now serving brunch, keep the weekend going with masterful cocktails including Mango Margaritas and Mezcal Gingers
Surfing Fox in Santa Monica
Get social at this new sophisticated venue on the corner of Ocean and Colorado Avenue, part of the Pierside Hotel. This retro Cali cool spot is perfect for outdoor happy hour and dinner on the extended patio with a sunset glow shooting through the Santa Monica Pier sign. Executive Chef David Yamaguchi created a menu of fresh local California fare with innovative twists. Standouts include Hamachi floating in mandarin coconut broth; Grilled Hangar Steak with chimichurri and smashed Japanese sweet potatoes; and Halibut with Yuzu Tomato Butter atop crispy glazed Brussels. Furry friends will smile as they get their own Canine Menu with options like a Barkuterie Board, Protein Bowl, or Pawsicle https://www.thesurfingfoxsm.com
Willie Mae's in Venice
Transport yourself to the south with the satisfying Taste of New Orleans. This James Beard Award recipient dishes up famous fried chicken with a spicy kick. Sides like corn bread, candied yams, mashed potatoes with gravy, and mac and cheese complement the flavors. Or choose creole seafood gumbo with chicken, andouille sausage, shrimp, and crab - all beautifully presented in metal tins. Seafood lovers must try the light crispy fried shrimp or fried catfish, served at the Scotch House since 1957. Don't miss a sweet ending of Bread Pudding with chocolate rum sauce.
The Victorian in Santa Monica
Grab a seat on the outdoor patio at this newly remodeled hotspot a block from the beach. Sip on one of their new cocktails like a Vanilla Espresso Martini or the Spicy Betch with 400 Conejos Mezcal, strawberry, cucumber, and lime. A new menu brings crowd-pleasing shareables such as Brussels Sprouts with goat cheese, lardons, and pumpkin seeds, an Italian Chopped Salad, or Garlic Fritters with spicy tomato and pesto. You may find it difficult to share the satisfying Bolognese Cavatelli and perfectly cooked Chimichurri Skirt Steak with crisp wedge-like fries. Brunch is now served on weekends too.
Howdy's in Malibu
While breakfast burritos, steak tacos, and bowls are favorites here, this should be your go-to sushi stop. Located in the Whole Foods shopping plaza, choose from spicy salmon, shrimp tempura, yellowtail, or lobster wrapped with sushi rice as a 'burrito' and accompanied with various sauces like spicy mayo and a soy sauce medley. Howdy's Sushi Bowl also is a great value filled with four different kinds of fresh sashimi, red and green seaweed, wasabi, and ginger atop sushi rice. Next door, find the new Malibu Sushi by Howdy that also serves uber-fresh sushi that
rivals Nobu. Choose from outdoor tables or relaxed counter seating inside, where you can ask the chef for the omakase menu or order classic and special rolls, hand rolls, tiraditos, sashimi, and nigiri. Try the 20-piece Surfer's Favorite, a Chirashi Bowl, Truffle Bluefin, or the Tropical Roll with salmon, mango, bluefin tuna, avocado, and more.
Muy Thai at Colony West LA
Colony in West LA (11419 Santa Monica Blvd) has 30 restaurants under one roof and Muy Thai is one you shouldn't miss. Their crazy flavorful Pad Kra Pao with green beans, basil, red Thai chili, and Jasmine rice could easily be two meals in one. You can choose the spice level and select from protein options like chicken, pork, shrimp, beef, or duck. Add an egg on top. Umami heaven! Tasty curries are on the menu too. Consider sharing an order of the Pad Thai with shrimp or chicken and satiate your sweet tooth with Mango Sticky Rice. Delivery, pick up, and catering are available. https://www.ordercolony.com
Melisa Curtin has been in love with California since she arrived 17 years ago. As a freelance travel and food writer, you can find her writing in Lonely Planet, Fodor's, USA Today, MSN, Southern California magazines, and more. She is always on the hunt for the best local bites and destinations with few tourists. Melissa splits her time between Malibu and Palm Springs. You can follow her adventures at @lalascoop and LaLaScoop.com. https://lalascoop.com https://www.instagram.com/LaLaScoop