If you’re looking for the romantic candle-lit atmosphere of Giorgio Baldi without the collection of paparazzi out front, try Delfini across the street. This Italian place is a little less expensive and a little more low-key. You might accidentally eat the entire bread basket before the food comes, but don’t - you’re going to want to make room for every last bite of your fettuccine bolognese or veal chop milanese. You won’t need a reservation, but it’s a place that always feels just the right amount of busy.
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Osteria Bigoli is another Italian spot on Montana Ave. in Santa Monica. Except this one's actually worth it.
Milo + Olive
In the pizza desert of the Westside, Santa Monica’s Milo and Olive is a giant, garlic knot-filled oasis.
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Uovo in Santa Monica is a new pasta bar from the Sugarfish people. The food is nothing special, but it’s a good place for a solo meal.
Cafe Flora is inside a fancy accessory store on Melrose Place, and the food is pretty much what you’d expect given that fact.
Jame Enoteca is a small strip mall Italian spot in El Segundo with fantastic handmade pasta.
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Giorgio Baldi is an Italian restaurant in the Palisades and one of the most insane celebrity hideouts in the city.
Tumbi is a modern Indian restaurant right off The Promenade in Santa Monica and an unexpected bright spot in a rather bleak area for good food.
Tallula’s is a casual, modern Mexican spot in Santa Monica that comes from a very good restaurant family. But it doesn’t live up to it’s potential.
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