You go to Lula’s when you want to eat a lot of very solid Mexican food and drink fresh margaritas on a bright patio that the Pier tourists haven’t discovered yet. This is a fun cantina where you will eat an entire order of fajitas to yourself and might consider slurping the complimentary salsa with a straw. Fill a booth with friends before a night out or come with a date on a weeknight - just know that one margarita here is powerful enough to make you click purchase on everything that’s been sitting in your Amazon cart since 2014. Plus, they have a great Happy Hour with food and drinks from 1-5pm on weekends and until 6pm during the week.
More spots in Santa MonicaSee more
Giorgio Baldi is an Italian restaurant in the Palisades and one of the most insane celebrity hideouts in the city.
Caffe Delifini is a romantic Italian spot in Santa Monica across the street from Giorgio Baldi.
More Mexican spotsSee more
When it comes to old standbys, El Coyote is about as accurate as that term gets. Come here for the drinks, the history, the atmosphere, the conversation, and inevitably, the sloppy walk home.
Toca Madera, a healthy Mexican restaurant on a trendy stretch of W 3rd Street, is the place to go if you want a scene but you also want decent food.
Suggested by our writers
Cha Cha Chicken
An outdoor, island-like Caribbean BYOB that’s a great time. In Santa Monica, no less.
With Little Prince, Main St. in Santa Monica finally has a cool, neighborhood-y spot for brunch and dinner.
Santa Monica’s Via Veneto has the kind of classic, upscale Italian food that New Yorkers claim you can’t find in LA.
Filter and browse restaurants near you
Text us for personalized recommendationsLearn more