West Coast seafood is experimental, bringing together Pacific influences (from California to Thailand) with the Italian stylings associated with New York's take on surf. These are the flavors at play at Chef Andrew Kirschner and co-owner Johnnie Jenkins’s Santa Monica Yacht Club, a ship’s cabin of an eatery that’s plating damn good frutti di mare.
The North Shore shrimp are inspired by Kirschner’s surf trips to Hawaii, where fishermen sell surfers pounds of shrimp soaked in lemon butter and chilis. Behind the pine, Chris Ojeda (SoHo Club) mixes Mai Tais and a gin punch that’ll go nicely with your fare.
620 Santa Monica Blvd. Santa Monica, CA 90401
High-grade cheese is the unifying principle at Jon & Vinny’s, the chic new spot from the guys behind Animal (Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo).
The burrata on wood-burned pie L.A. Woman is soft and spread evenly over fresh tomatoes. The whipped ricotta served alongside meatballs provides a creamy lightness to the density of the dish. The pecorino on the grilled asparagus gives it a subtle umami bite.
All pair well with a Brunello from Helen’s, the tiny wine store in the back. Added bonus: you can have both pies and bottles delivered.
412 N. Fairfax Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036
Belcampo — who recently took the Blue Ribbon at our second annual Great Steak Debate — just opened a simple, casual steakhouse behind their butchery in Santa Monica. The lamb burger is served on a fluffy sesame bun. Tartare of goat or beef and a massive bone-in short rib are also delicious, too. Pick up some of their steaks on the way out.
1026 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401
Joe Jonas may be the celebrity behind Hinterland, but the food is the star here. They’re serving the sort of Low Country fare you’d see in a place like Husk in Charleston. Only without the humidity.
The tail-on Shrimp & Grits is served next to smoky chorizo, shishito peppers and topped with Old Bay aoli. Pairs nicely with a Spanish Albilio Blanco. It’s walk-up for now, but try hard to sit on the patio or at a booth; the bar can be busy.
2917 Main St, Santa Monica, CA 90405
If your eyes are bigger than your stomach, be forewarned: Pitchoun, a French bakery in DTLA, has a counter full of Texas-sized pastries between the door and the register. Flaky croissants that are doughy on the inside. Tartines served on dense rustic bread with fried pancetta, peas, feta and mint. And a croque-madame that’s a food coma waiting to happen.
Pitchoun is worth the drive to Downtown and a perfect spot for lunch or a proper start to your Saturday. They also cater.
545 South Olive Street, Los Angeles, CA