UPDATED September 2018
We’ve been back in Los Angeles for almost 6 months now and I missed all the local spots I found during my time living next to Venice Beach. So I made a little list of all of my favourite places to eat – some of these lean towards the touristy side, others are local spots, and some of them are quick-serve places where we love to grab lunch.
If you’re heading to LA or Venice Beach, definitely bookmark these places for your next trip! Also make sure you see my list of Favourite Places To Eat in Marina del Rey.
Here’s what made my list:
GJELINA – There is a reason why it’s impossible to get a dinner reservation at this Venice staple. The food is THAT good. Sure, there’s a lot of hype but it delivers on every level for us. Gjelina is our go-to when guests are visiting from out-of-town.
Make sure to order the Grilled Peaches + Burrata, Tuscan Kale Salad, Roasted Cauliflower Salad, Pomodoro Pizza DOP with Burrata, Ricotta Gnocchi, Braised Pork Meatballs and the Steak. The menu changes seasonally.
Lunch and dinner are great here. Brunch is a different menu and they don’t take reservations for this. Gjelina also has a take-out counter called GTA next door where you can get select items from their menu to-go. Don’t skip the pizza or meatballs!
ROSE CAFE – I love the super chill vibes in this gorgeously decorated space. The space has undergone an extensive renovation and The Rose is just a gem in Venice. My choice would be to go for brunch and hang out in their huge patio around back. Do try any of their pastas and homemade breads.
LA PLAYITA – I found out about this hole in the wall taco stand from The Offalo and its a local favourite and the BEST! The tacos are $1.50 people! When I’m at La Playita, I usually order the Shrimp Tostadas or a small Shrimp Cocktail, Grilled Fish Tacos or the Al Pastor Tacos.
You serioulsy can’t go wrong with anything here. They fry all the tostadas here fresh, it’s cash only and there’s just a small bench to sit on. Get it to go and head to the beach!
VENICE RAMEN – When I heard a ramen chain out of Tokyo was going to open a restaurant around the corner from my place, I got in line with all the excited Japanese folks to try their famous Tonkotsu and it didn’t disappoint.
First off, I was a little bummed that my fave fast food Chinese place – Magic Wok closed down. But I’m happy to have gained Venice Ramen for some authentic bowls of noodles right next to the beach.
BABY BLUES BBQ – Craving BBQ? Baby Blues BBQ is the place to get your fix – it ranks amongst some of the best BBQ I’ve had. Paul and I will usually split a meat combo platter with three meats, two sides and cornbread. We add stuff a la carte to that if we’re really hungry – but it’s a lot! Definitely try the beef brisket.
HAMA SUSHI – Looking for a place for happy hour? Hama Sushi has great deals at the bar from 4-7 pm daily and you’re walking distance to the beach and Venice sign. The fish and seafood are all high quality and I like ordering a bunch of different rolls including The Strawberry Roll.
THE BUTCHER’S DAUGHTER – This hippie boho space is a great place to hit up for brunch and dinner with a prime location on Abbot Kinney Boulevard. Grab a bite at The Butcher’s Daughter and go shopping along the hippest street in America (according to GQ magazine).
I usually order the juice flight, the breakfast pizza or any of their salads!
KOMODO VENICE – The fusion tacos are the way I always go over at Komodo Venice – a food truck turned brick and mortar quick-serve shop. It’s always packed at lunchtime, but I never fail to order one of their taco combos that comes with a side and a lemonade .
Try the truffle parm fries, the fish ‘n grapes taco, the loco moco taco and the komodo 2.0 tacos.
GJUSTA – Gjusta is the sister quick-serve cafe to Gjelina in Venice. It’s more of a bakery and deli with lots of delicious made-from-scratch things on offer. My must-orders are the mochi cake, any and all of their breads, the egg sandwich, the mushroom bowl, smoked brisket banh-mi, the pastrami sandwich.
My advice is to make yourself a little picnic and go crazy! Don’t forget to grab a number so you’re in line to be served – quick service style. Patio seating out back, unfortunately the outdoor area is not dog-friendly, so a heads-up!
WURSTKUCHE – Pretty much any type of sausage you can imagine, exists at Wurstkuche. This casual beer hall features gourmet sausages, fries and beer. Simply order at the counter, grab your drink and find a seat on one of their long communal tables.
Don’t be intimidated by the line – it moves quick! I’m a big fan of their classic Bratwurst.
CAFE GRATITUDE – Okay this place is definitely hippie-dippy and you might not be sure what to make of it when they ask you the question of the day. But their key lime pie is to die for and I recommend trying any of their raw desserts.
I like going to Cafe Gratitude for lunch or brunch and I usually order a grain bowl or their eggplant parm panini which is super filling!
SALT & STRAW ICE CREAM – A favourite from Portland – if you can’t make it here, go to the new Salt & Straw Ice Cream location on Abbot Kinney Boulevard in Venice. Sample all their crazy flavours – they are constantly changing. But their salted caramel is one of the best.
BLUE STAR DONUTS – Another Portland darling, Blue Star Donuts landed across the street on Abbot Kinney and it is divine. This is gourmet donuts to the next leve. Try the mimosa or the pina coloda donut!
**BONUS SPOTS! – I wrote the original post 2 years ago and I’ve added a few places I finally had the chance to visit. I really like these spots as well and you should totally check them out:
GREAT WHITE – Just by the VENICE sign is this super casual quick service brunch and lunch spot. Great White serves up grain bowls, avocado toast, juices, burritos and more. I love the Salmon Mezze Plate (above) the best for breakfast. Check out Mollusk next door for casual surf-inspired sun washed shirts.
EGGSLUT – This breakfast spot is just across the street from Great White and features yummy breakfast sandwiches. I think the best thing at Eggslut is the Bacon, Egg and Cheese Sandwich on a brioche bun. It’s perfection. Don’t forget to add avocado.
HOTEL ERWIN – For sunset cocktails, you’re going to want to head to Hotel Erwin to their rooftop bar to watch the sunset over the Pacific from the best spot on Venice Beach. It gets crowded on the weekend, so aim to go on a weeknight.
ABBOT’S PIZZA – This is an old time favourite that I forgot to include the first time around. When I’m just looking for a late-night slice, we usually head to Abbot’s Pizza for a nice slice of Pepperoni Pizza with the bagel crust – which is everything. Slices will run you about $5 and there’s a counter and stools in this small space where you can eat. If you’re feeling healthy, the Salad Pizza is also delicious!
AMAZEBOWLS – Prepare yourself for the most instagrammable Acai bowl on the planet – it’s beautiful and is served in a half coconut bowl. Amazebowls can be found on the Venice Beach Boardwalk and they make their bowls thick – not like a runny melted smoothie soup!
SWEETFIN POKE – My favourite poke spot in Santa Monica, just opened up a location on Abbot Kinney Boulevard. My order is Sweetfin Poke is always the tuna with citrus yuzu sauce, bamboo rice, seaweed salad, and crispy garlic. It’s their toppings that make it the best.
Do you have any favourite places to eat in Venice Beach, California?
Love This? See my other list – Where To Eat in Marina del Rey.