Point your rollerblades to this culinary crew to find the oceanfront neighborhood’s most delicious hangouts.
Venice Beach: bodybuilders preen at an outdoor gym, skateboarders pop oceanfront ollies, and the boardwalk feels like a never-ending street fair meets carnival side show. Locals are proud of this vibe, inspired by generations of beatniks, hippies, rockers, artists, and New Agers of old Venice.
These days, Venice is the fulcrum of LA’s tech hub, Silicon Beach. As money started pouring in, much of old Venice was cast aside, changing the area from funky dory to lofty. Whatever you think of that transformation, it’s left Venice with a culinary scene that’s second to none.
The creative cocktail menu, replete with Asian accents such as tamarind, Sichuan pepper, kumquat, lemongrass, and yuzu, is your first indication that something is different here. Intimate Wallflower salutes Indonesia with street food plates (like sate, duck lumpia, blue crab rendang) and family style dishes like fried whole fish, fish steamed in banana leaves, and nasi goreng (Indonesian fried rice). Go on Sundays for the special “drunken” chicken, and finish with English date cake with banana toffee sauce.
609 Rose Avenue; wallflowervenice.com
Playing it cool, Gjusta calls itself a “California deli, bakery, café, and market.” Sure, its counter service (with outdoor seating) and the comfort food menu sounds humble enough with everything from egg sandwiches and smoked brisket to pastrami and banana cream pie. But look closer and you’ll find luscious flatbreads, bánh mì sandwiches, soups (like chicken dumpling to pozole verde). They also serve elegantly prepared vegetarian dishes, all seasonal and locally sourced. It’s easy to see why Gjusta’s been a foodie favorite for breakfast through dinner since 2014.
320 Sunset Avenue; gjusta.com
The catch is the catch in this neighborhoody, modern farmhouse-style space, only a few steps from the beach. Your meal may have been swimming in the Pacific mere hours before you eat it, but you can expect whole fried fish or a seafood tower alongside sashimi, crudos, oysters, conservas, and fish tacos, as well as burgers, fried chicken, and veggie dishes for landlubbers. The staff are all friendly and accommodating, and the impressively well-curated wine list deserves a shout out.
9 Dudley Street; www.dudleymarketvenice.com
Since 2017, chef Evan Funke’s corner spot has been one of LA’s toughest-to-get reservations. Its James Beard Award nomination for America’s Best New Restaurant may have had something to do with that, but we credit the pasta. You can watch it being made, and whether it’s served all’Amatriciana, cacio e pepe, or with old-school ragù Bolognese, the results are top notch. Round out your dinner with pizzas and plates of meatballs, garlicky shrimp, and focaccia-style sfincione, and the obsession makes total sense.
1023 Abbot Kinney Boulevard; felixla.com
De Buena Planta
Meatless Mexican? Sí! The team behind the Butcher’s Daughter, the ironically named vegetarian restaurant across Abbot Kinney Boulevard, opened this colorful garden space to give the same treatment to south-of-the-border cuisine. Think plates of beet tostadas and jackfruit tacos, and “chicharrones” made from rice paper instead of pork skin. It’s all meant to accompany the buenas tequila and mezcal in your buenos cócteles. Speaking of drinks, happy hour is from 3pm to 5pm on weekdays and features bargain prices.
1118 Abbot Kinney Boulevard; debuenaplanta.us
In the shadow of the landmark, illuminated Venice sign, Gran Blanco has an airy, hipster lounge vibe fronted by comfy couches, all welcoming you to sample the California-Mediterranean menu. Weekend brunches span avocado toast and egg white frittatas to kampachi ceviche, while dinners bring pastas, salads, and a dry-aged rib-eye with chimichurri. You can order the buffalo cauliflower and tremendous burger any time of day, and it’s also a popular spot for afternoon drinks.
80 Windward Avenue; granblanco.com
A short walk from the beach, Winston House is an unexpected retreat: part supper club, part live music venue that’s hosted some big names (including Dua Lipa, Janelle Monáe, and Weezer), as well as a host of up-and-comers. Come for dinner Thursday through Saturday (from small plate items like shrimp toast, spareribs, and tuna tacos, to shared plate favorites like lobster fried rice and Peking duck) and stay for the show, afterparty, and more cocktails, naturally. Be sure to ask about the dress code when booking.
23 Windward Avenue; winstonhouse.com
Chef Jackson Kalb, a Top Chef contestant and alum of the iconic Melisse, opened this corner restaurant with his wife Melissa Saka in 2020, and their crackly-crust pizzas, rigatoni in vodka sauce, meatballs, and veggie-forward sides (Japanese eggplant, anyone?) became instant hits. The dining room has big windows for watching the scene, and the friendly staff keep it all running smoothly with a smile. Lunchtime two-course menus of chef Kalb’s favorites (plus drinks specials) are great value options.
2025 Pacific Avenue; ospivenice.com
An unassuming, two-story yellow house on a nondescript stretch of Main Street seems like an unlikely place for one of Venice’s top tables, but this Italian dinner spot defies expectations. Here’s what you can look forward to: pan-seared scallops with shaved black truffle; grilled octopus over smoked potatoes, green beans, and aioli; red beet tagliotini with Marsala quail ragu; and grilled branzino – all reflecting chef Antonio Murè’s upbringing in Emilia-Romagna. Pair your meal with curated wines by the glass.
796 Main Street; barriquevenice.com
Almond wood-grilled steaks take center stage in the open kitchen at this something-for-everyone steakhouse such as veggies (try the hash browns), craft cocktails, a 200-bottle-strong wine list, and burnt cheesecake for dessert. Indoors, the action revolves around the horseshoe-shaped bar, but American Beauty also deserves kudos for its transformed outdoor space, fencing in the pre-pandemic parking lot and building a wooden deck around an olive tree. During the day, The Win-Dow takeout counter serves smash burgers, fried chicken sandwiches, and an oh-so-LA weekend breakfast burrito.
425 Rose Avenue; americanbeauty.la