While Santa Monica is renowned for its free-spirited Venice Boardwalk, street performers, colorful murals, and bohemian spirit, the oceanside city also has a few gems that are perfect for a quiet dinner for two or a special celebration. Whether you’re looking for a cozy spot to wind down over a pitcher of sangria or a fine-dining experience with a ten-course tasting menu, Santa Monica has something for everyone. Head to Abbot Kinney Boulevard which is packed with foodie hot spots and coffee bars where you can savor California fusion fare, authentic Italian cuisine and freshly caught seafood against a backdrop of spectacular ocean views.
Set just off Main Street in a homey and romantic yellow house, Barrique is a warm and welcoming restaurant that makes you feel as if you’ve been invited into someone’s home. Helmed by Michelin-awarded chef Antonio Muré, the high-end eatery serves a seasonal menu of eclectic Italian cuisine along with excellent Italian and global wines from the Venetian-style wine bar. The restaurant is perfect for an intimate dinner with cozy seating, soft candlelight, and an elegant rooftop terrace with gorgeous views. Diners can savor seasonal Italian creations such as pan-seared Buffalo with mustard grain dressing, home-made red beet Tagliolini pasta in a Marsala quail ragú, and Portobello mushroom salad. Barrique is open for dinner, nightly.
796 Main St, Venice, CA 90291, Phone: 310-399-9010
Felix brings the deeply rooted culinary traditions of regional Italy to the shores of Venice. The Evan Funke-owned restaurant offers a modern take on traditional Italian cuisine, with dishes made from ingredients grown by California’s most celebrated family farms and handmade pasta made on site. Located on Abbot Kinney Boulevard, the restaurant has a cozy and comfortable dining room and an inviting atmosphere and offers a menu of regularly-changing pasta, wood-fired pizzas, sfincione focaccia, and meaty entrées, and fresh seafood. A full-service bar also serves a range of drinks, including casual wines, craft beers by the bottle, and classic cocktails. Felix is open for dinner, daily.
1023 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291, Phone: 424-387-8622
© James’ Beach
James’ Beach is a comfortable spot in Venice that is perfect for drinks before the beginning of a big night out or a stylish, romantic date spot. The comfy haunt has two dining spaces, one with white tablecloths and intimate booths for quiet dining and one with a lively bar scene, boardshorts hanging off the roof, and bustling bar serving a wide variety of drinks. James’ Beach serves a creative menu of New American fare such as their famous fish tacos, classic shrimp cocktail, and whole lobster, along with small plates like Fontina Mac ‘N’ Cheese, Local Halibut Ceviche, and Truffle Fries. James’ Beach is open for lunch and dinner daily, and dinner only on the weekends.
60 N Venice Blvd, Venice, CA 90291, Phone: 310-823-5396
4.The Rose Cafe
© The Rose Café
The Rose Café is a lofty, boho-chic multi-concept dining emporium that serves rustic Californian cuisine in a casual and relaxed setting. The longtime Venice staple features a bakery, a coffee bar, a full liquor bar, a to-go counter, a studying area, and two small patio areas, as well as the actual restaurant which serves market-driven fare like chicken live mousse, sea scallops, marinated Baja shrimp ceviche, and candied bacon. Brunch is popular on the weekends with mimosas, all-day breakfast sandwiches, and egg scrambles on the go, the restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, in a comfortable setting.
220 Rose Ave, Venice, CA 90291, Phone: 310-399-0711
5.26 Beach Cafe
© 26 Beach Café
26 Beach Café is all about burgers and brunch. The quaint eatery and bar feature an outdoor patio with a lovely heated garden and a retractable roof and a cozy dining space that can seat up to 32 guests. The café serves a menu of inventive cuisine prepared with locally sourced ingredients such as pasta scrambles, chilaquiles, gourmet sandwiches and burgers on homemade buns, and hearty entrées of prime steak, fresh seafood, lamb chops, and meatloaf. The food is accompanied by a range of drinks, including casual wines, craft beers by the bottle, and classic cocktails, such as mimosas for brunch. 26 Beach Café is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, daily.
3100 Washington Blvd, Venice, CA 90292, Phone: 310-823-7526
© C&O Cucina
Owned and operated by the Singer Family, C&O Cucina is a cozy Italian eatery that promises a quintessential Italian dining experience. Located on the old site of the famous Black Whale restaurant, C&O Cucina has a welcoming dining space with walls adorned with old photos of Italian American immigrants, family photos, and pictures of legendary Italian American personalities. The restaurant also has a beautiful outdoor patio area for alfresco dining or private events and the Rat Pack Martini Lounge, which draws an after-work crowd for drinks and Monday night football. The menu features Italian favorites like homemade pasta and sauces, entrées of beef, veal, chicken and fish, and fresh salads and vegetarian options. The full-service bar serves a range of drinks, including casual wines, craft beers by the bottle, and classic cocktails, and the restaurant is open for lunch and dinner daily.
3016 Washington Blvd, Marina Del Rey, CA 90292, Phone: 310-301-7278
© C&O Trattoria
Owned and operated by the Singer Family, C&O Trattoria is the sister restaurant to C&O Cucina and offers a pleasant, throwback Italian atmosphere where guests can relax over enormous portions of unforgettable Italian cuisine. Known for its killer garlic rolls and singing servers, C&O Trattoria serves Italian favorites like homemade pasta and sauces, entrées of beef, veal, chicken and fish, and fresh salads and vegetarian options. The full-service bar serves a range of drinks, including casual wines, craft beers by the bottle, and classic cocktails, and C&O is open for lunch and dinner daily and serves hearty breakfasts on the beautiful outdoor heated patio on weekends.
31 Washington Blvd, Marina Del Rey, CA 90292, Phone: 310-823-9491
© Casa Ado
Casa Ado is a modest Italian eatery owned by Paolo Cesaro that serves an eclectic and affordable menu of Italian fare along with global wines. Located just steps away from the beach on Washington Boulevard in Marina del Rey, the restaurant features elements from the previous restaurant, 25 Washington, such as the bar, which serves seasonal cocktails made from organic farmers market ingredients, a variety of wines, craft beers, and other libations. A quaint outdoor patio is perfect alfresco dining and watching the sunset over the ocean, and the restaurant is open for lunch and dinner, daily.
12 Washington Blvd, Marina Del Rey, CA 90292, Phone: 310-577-2589
Casablanca is a long-standing Bogart-themed Mexican eatery on Lincoln Boulevard that serves seafood-focused Latin American fare in a relaxed setting. Featuring floor-to-ceiling memorabilia from the classic 1942 film starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman and kitschy décor, the restaurant serves traditional enchiladas, burritos, and tacos, hearty entrées of fresh seafood such as oysters, lobster, and clams, and prime steaks, accompanied by a roving margarita cart with a huge tequila collection. A full-service bar also serves a range of drinks, including casual wines, craft beers by the bottle, and classic cocktails. Casablanca is open for lunch and dinner daily.
220 Lincoln Blvd, Venice, CA 90291, Phone: 310-392-5751
10.Cast & Plow
© Cast & Plow
Based in the Marina del Rey Ritz-Carlton hotel, Cast & Plow is a fine-dining restaurant that serves contemporary cuisine and world-class wines with spectacular ocean views. Exuding an upscale and refined Southern Californian-chic ambiance, Cast & Plow focuses on serving unrivaled cuisine that is prepared using locally sourced produce, seafood and meat, and other organic produce. The menu features sublime dishes such as wild organic salmon, sweet potato gnocchi, and house-made herb brioche, and the bar serves a range of fine wines from around the world, and classic cocktails made with top-shelf spirits. Cast & Plow is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, daily.
4375 Admiralty Way, Marina Del Rey, CA 90292, Phone: 310-574-4333
Hailed as one of the most romantic restaurants in Venice Beach, Gjelina is housed in a beautiful space on a cool street in Abbot Kinney and draws a trendy crowd who come to enjoy excellent their famous wood-fired pizza and mouthwatering desserts. Offering sit-down and take-out options, the menu features unique pizzas like lamb sausage and squash blossom, homemade gnocchi, and burrata and desserts range from chocolate pistachio tarts to butterscotch pot de crème and homemade gelato. The food is accompanied by an extensive list of casual wines, craft beers, and classic cocktails, and the restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, daily.
1427 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291, Phone: 310-392-7575
12.High Rooftop Lounge
© High Rooftop Lounge
Located in the Hotel Erwin, High Rooftop Lounge is a stylish and sleek open-air deck on the top floor of the hotel that serves small plates of mezze and light bites, along with specialty cocktails against a backdrop of spectacular views. Located a short walk from Abbot Kinney on Pacific Avenue, the celebrated lounge has been voted one of the best spots to enjoy sundowners while soaking up the 360-degree skyline views. The full-service bar serves a variety of premium handcrafted cocktails, imported and local craft beers, interesting wines and signature cocktails. High Rooftop Lounge at Hotel Erwin is open every night with local DJs spinning tunes.
1697 Pacific Ave, Venice, CA 90291, Phone: 424-214-1062
© Locanda Positano
Tucked away on Lincoln Boulevard, Locanda Positano is a cozy neighborhood hideaway that offers a fusion of Northern and Southern Italian cuisine in an intimate and romantic atmosphere. The warm and welcoming eatery provides a fusion of Northern and Southern Italian cuisine prepared using local and organic produce and imported Italian ingredients such as extra virgin olive oil and Italian herbs. Created by the restaurant’s master chef, each dish is prepared with passion and flair and reflect the sun-kissed landscapes of Italy. The exquisite cuisine can be paired with one of over 400 wines from the extensive wine list and enjoyed in the charming dining room or on the outdoor terrace. Locanda Positano is open for lunch and dinner, seven days a week.
1110 Montana Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90403, Phone: 310-394-2070
14.Plant Food and Wine
© Plant Food and Wine
Plant Food and Wine is a sleek, minimalist eatery that specializes in upscale vegan and vegetarian fare and organic wines in a casual, relaxed setting. Located at the quiet end of Abbot Kinney close to the beach, the restaurant features an all-white dining room and an expansive patio for alfresco dining. The creative menu features a seasonally crafted list with a selection of locally sourced fare and delicious, health-conscious food such as Kimchi Dumplings, Avocado Tikka, Coffee Rubbed Beech Mushroom, Sunflower Seed Risotto, and Truffle Potatoes. Open for lunch, dinner and weekend brunch, Plant Food + Wine has a private dining and wine room and a flowing indoor-outdoor setting with olive trees and blossoming greenery which makes for a beautiful alfresco dining spot.
1009 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291, Phone: 310-450-1009
15.Scopa Italian Roots
© Scopa Italian Roots
Scopa Italian Roots is a roomy brick-walled gastropub that serves New York-style Italian food such as hot and cold antipasti, homemade pasta and other Italian specialties. The restaurant features intimate dining booths and a rowdy bar area and serves delicious cuisine created by Chef Antonia Lofaso such as antipasti, crudos, fresh salads, charcuterie meats, homemade pasta, and decadent desserts. Don’t miss the zeppoles! The full-service bar serves a variety of premium handcrafted cocktails, imported and local craft beers, exciting wines and signature cocktails. Scopa Italian Roots is open for dinner nightly and brunch, lunch, and dinner, on the weekends.
2905 Washington Blvd, Venice, CA 90292, Phone: 310-821-1100
16.The Tasting Kitchen
© The Tasting Kitchen
Located in Abbey Kinney Boulevard, The Tasting Kitchen is a casual, unpretentious dining spot with exposed brick walls, thick wooden beams, large floor-to-ceiling windows and expansive communal tables where diners can enjoy a sharing, socializing dining experience. Seasonal menus feature inventive Mediterranean farm-to-table fare such as handmade pasta, fresh seafood, prime grass-fed meats, cheeses and charcuterie, and various small plates and fresh salads. Freshly baked bread and butter is the perfect start to the meal, and the food is accompanied by a range of drinks, including casual wines, craft beers by the bottle, and classic cocktails. The Tasting Kitchen is open for dinner nightly and brunch, lunch, and dinner, on the weekends.
1633 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291, Phone: 310-392-6644
© Via Veneto
Via Veneto is a romantic, bustling Italian bistro on Main Street with an intimate candle-lit setting that serves contemporary Mediterranean cuisine using organic, locally sourced ingredients. Based in a beautifully restored building, the bistro is ideal for a romantic candlelit meal and special-occasion scenarios with crisp white tablecloths and attentive staff. Sip prosecco before tucking into the delicious cuisine which includes dishes like lobster carpaccio, Fritto Misto, and classic spaghetti Bolognese, and of course some incredible desserts. An extensive list of worldly wines are the perfect accompaniment for the cuisine, and other drinks include craft beers, signature cocktails, and imported spirits. Via Veneto is open for dinner only, seven nights a week.
3009 Main St, Santa Monica, CA 90405, Phone: 310-399-1843
17 Best Romantic Restaurants in Venice Beach
- Barrique, Photo: Barrique
- Felix, Photo: Felix
- James’ Beach, Photo: James’ Beach
- The Rose Cafe, Photo: The Rose Café
- 26 Beach Cafe, Photo: 26 Beach Café
- C&O Cucina, Photo: C&O Cucina
- C&O Trattoria, Photo: C&O Trattoria
- Casa Ado, Photo: Casa Ado
- Casablanca, Photo: Casablanca
- Cast & Plow, Photo: Cast & Plow
- Gjelina, Photo: Kzenon/stock.adobe.com
- High Rooftop Lounge, Photo: High Rooftop Lounge
- Locanda Positano, Photo: Locanda Positano
- Plant Food and Wine, Photo: Plant Food and Wine
- Scopa Italian Roots, Photo: Scopa Italian Roots
- The Tasting Kitchen, Photo: The Tasting Kitchen
- Via Veneto, Photo: Via Veneto
- Cover Photo: Dmytro Panchenko/stock.adobe.com