Not to be confused with the tourist hell-zone that is Santa Monica’s 3rd St. (i.e. The Promenade), this little thoroughfare connecting The Beverly Center and The Grove in Mid-City is the glistening stretch of sidewalk where brunch never ends, cupcakes are the main course, and the Basics can finally just be themselves.
Have you ever felt euphoria in a spin class? Drank champagne before noon? Eaten a salad simply because you wanted to? Surprise: You’re basic. And guess what? So is everyone else. And that’s exactly why despite a nonexistent parking situation and a staggering amount of truly mediocre places to eat, you love it here. And so do we.
For every so-so restaurant throwing an egg white omelet and an iced coffee down our throat, there are two great ones right next door. Bakeshops, salad bars, candy stores, steakhouses – W. 3rd St. has everything your unapologetically basic heart could want. Here’s your guide to mastering it.
Toast Bakery & Café
Runyon was completely jammed this morning but you still got in your steps and an Instagram with Amanda Seyfried jogging in the background and you’re feeling alive again. Hello Sunday, it’s time for Toast. This see and be seen cafe has a rabid weekend crowd full of people who are there because their friends are but thankfully, the food holds up too.
You can’t even focus at work right now because you and Kelsey are hitting up El Carmen’s happy hour at 5pm and things are going to get CRAY. And with $5 margaritas and $2 guac for two hours every day, how could they not? This dimly lit Mexican cantina has good vibes, decent food and LOTS of tequila, making it a long-standing neighborhood favorite.
Holy sh*t. You did it. Your hard work paid off and you did it. You found the Basic epicenter of the entire LA basin – Joan’s On Third. Don’t misunderstand us though, Joan’s On Third is great. This salad/soup/sandwich food emporium is bordering on cult status these days and it’s because of delicious food, a great environment, and plenty of time to Snapchat while you’re waiting for a table.
Yay!!! Daddy’s in town and it’s time to thank him for all his emotional and financial support. AOC is not just one of the best restaurants on 3rd St., it’s one of the best in the entire city. And this isn’t your casual, walk-up cafe either. Plan ahead, snag a coveted reservation, and repay Pops for covering your unlimited data plan all these years.
Yaaaaaaas, Soul Cycle was unreal this morning and you are renewed and ready to take on your week. Keep the good vibes going over at Sweetgreen, the mega-popular East Coast salad chain in the midst of a bonafide SoCal takeover. With fresh ingredients, good prices, and perhaps the nicest behind-the-counter staff you’ll ever come across, it’s fair to say Tender Greens is on major anxiety alert.
Little Next Door
So, last week’s Tinder date went way better than expected and now what do you do? Little Next Door is the more casual, upbeat sister to the (equally excellent) Little Door and a great spot to see if this girl could go the distance. The French brasserie’s space is beautiful and unintimidating and the menu is excellent. 4pm-7pm Happy Hour will get you 50% off all wine.
Belcampo Meat Co.
Brahhhhhhhhh, you just crushed that tire flip at circuit training today, let’s grab a burger before day-raving at EP/LP all afternoon. Luckily for you and Trevor’s muscle recovery, Belcampo has one of the better new burgers in the city. With a small counter at GCM and a full sit-down spot in Santa Monica, 3rd St.’s locale splits the difference and provides a fast-casual option allowing you to house as much red meat in one sitting as you can. Let’s rage.
It’s been a really tough day. You just found out that tofu is actually mostly chemicals and that guy you stare at everyday in yoga has a boyfriend. F*ck. Time for dessert. And there’s not a better sweet spot on 3rd street than Magnolia Bakery. But you’re coming for one thing: Banana Pudding. This pint of Heaven is a true gift from God and enjoyed best alone under your bed sheets watching inspirational three-legged dog videos on YouTube.
Your college roommate from Potomac is in town and it’s your job to take them some place great. Say hello to Son of A Gun. This lively, nautical-themed restaurant is serving accessible, shareable seafood dishes and that’s ideal for casual groups of girls who whine a lot. Just don’t forget about that chicken sandwich.
Oh my god, Bikram was goddmn btch this morning and you need sustenance. NOW. Mainland Poke busted out in a big way this year, providing fresh daily poke in a Yogurtland-type setting to a part of town who wants every part of that concept. It’s also delicious and presumably healthy if you don’t do the sriracha aioli, which you clearly are.
The Izakaya-esque concept from the popular ramen spot Jinya, Robata Jinya sticks out on 3rd St. because it’s not a cafe with salads. It’s a fun, well-priced way to eat a lot of fried Japanese food, drink a lot of Sapporo and accidently get a little rowdy with your roommate on a Tuesday night. We dare you to eat that shrimp toast and not immediately order another one.
Your friend Corey from E! is throwing his annual Golden Globes potluck and you have no idea what to bring. Answer: Pies. Always bring pie. And when ordering from Simplethings, make it a “simplepie”. Small enough to order several kinds, no one is going to hate you for bringing these delicious babies to a party. Simplethings small footprint on 3rd might not seem like much from the sidewalk, but their dessert game is STRONG.