Ippudo is a Japanese ramen chain, and their NYC locations have pretty insane wait times. The Santa Monica one is significantly calmer, and they serve good, casual Japanese comfort food, with absolutely top-notch service. It’s known as a ramen spot, but our favorite dishes are the small plates. The karaage and shishitos are both solid, and the best are the buns - the vegetarian ones come with a deep-fried eggplant patty, and the pork belly is tender but not too fatty. Add in a bottle of sake - served in a fancy wooden box filled with ice - and this makes for a great date spot.
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Stout is a burger and beer bar with good food and a low-key space that provides a needed break from the chaos of downtown Santa Monica.
Upper West might be in the Westside no man’s land, but this casual spot is definitely worth your time.
The Misfit Restaurant + Bar
The Misfit is located uncomfortably close to The Promenade tourist hellzone, but when it comes to this laid-back restaurant, we grin and bear it.
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Chateau Hanare is an upscale Japanese restaurant that feels a lot like a hotel restaurant.
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Sawtelle’s Tsujita does the best tsukemen-style ramen this side of the Pacific and some of the best overall ramen in Los Angeles.
Santa Monica’s HiHo Cheeseburger is home to the best classic burger in Los Angeles.
Marugame Udon is a casual, cafeteria-style spot to get your weekly (daily?) noodle fix on Sawtelle.
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