R+D is part of a restaurant chain (Hillstone), but you wouldn’t know it from the crowd here. Everyone waiting for a spot is either attempting to be, is currently, or was formerly famous. Maybe because of that fact, it’s also always busy, so don’t expect to get seated within 45 minutes, even at off-peak hours (when you’ll have to compete for a table with every senior living north of Montana). Still, there’s plenty to do while you wait: you can watch divorcees flirt aggressively, drink cocktails, and try to figure out which TV show you know that guy from. But the wait isn’t just worth it to people watch - the casual American food at R+D is consistently good, and they serve one of the best burgers on the Westside. The service is also super fast, so this is where you let that “friend” who’s trying to get ahold of your industry contacts buy you dinner.
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Mercado isn’t the best Mexican you’ll ever eat. But it's right downtown Santa Monica and after a day of misery at the pier, you simply don't care.
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Thyme Cafe and Market
Thyme Cafe in Santa Monica is a great neighborhood spot for breakfast when you don't feel like waiting two hours to eat.
This divey Little Tokyo staple serves solid Asian fusion bar food and recently became known as a craft beer haven as well.
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