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Our City Guides is from the point of view of the people we interview. A restaurant cannot be listed in our guides unless it is recommended by one of the tastemakers we’ve featured. We don’t want you to see the restaurant world through our eyes, but rather through the eyes of your favorite tastemakers in every industry. Why us? Why not them?

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Caffe Delfini

Recommended by: Jack Quaid (Actor)

This local, cozy Italian spot has been a Santa Monica staple for twenty-five years. It’s the perfect spot for a romantic, low-key dinner of authentic Italian dishes such as Fettuccine Bolognese (the pasta menu is extensive) and Veal Scaloppine. www.caffedelfini.com

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Casa Martin

Recommended by: Jack Quaid (Actor)

This casual Mexican eatery is a Santa Monica favorite. Inspired by its Mexican roots, the family-owned restaurant aims to use the freshest ingredients and serve the most authentic Mexican food possible – and succeeds. Actor Jack Quaid swears by Fernando’s Super Burrito. www.casamartinsm.com

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En Sushi

Recommended by: Kate Burton (Actress)

A fun Santa Monica sushi spot with a cool scene and a delicious sushi selection. The aesthetic is somewhat “east meets west” making it a unique, eclectic spot worth visiting. Make a Reservation. www.ensushi.com

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FIG

Recommended By: Yousef Ghalaini (Chef)

We love this farm-to-table restaurant inside the Fairmont Miramar Hotel. Some standout features include the pewter bar & communal table; we particularly enjoyed the grilled flat-breads, fresh from the wood-burning stove. Make a reservation.  www.figsantamonica.com  

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Forma

Recommended by: Sasha Alexander (Actress)

Forma, named after the restaurant’s main ingredient, formaggio, offers rustic Italian dishes with a modern twist. Their pastas are served “Dalla Forma”, a process in which hot, freshly cooked pasta is finished in large, hollowed out cheese wheels. Don’t forget to order from the extensive cheese selection or the Nutella bread pudding, part of Sasha [...]

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Huckleberry

Recommended by: Whitney Port (Fashion Designer, TV Personality), Camilla Belle (Actress), Gillian Jacobs (Actress)

This adorable bakery café has quality healthy and homey food made fresh on site using organic ingredients. The A.M. is primetime at Huckleberry, where Westsiders pick from their selection of morning pastries and cheerful breakfast items like green eggs and ham. “Even though Huckleberry has been around for a while, I recently tried the scones and can’t get enough of [...]

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Ivy at the Shore

Recommended by: Jenni Kayne (Designer)

Ivy at the Shore is the little sister to the Beverly Grove icon that is known to attract a celebrity crowd. Located right by the Santa Monica Beach, this location serves the same excellent Californian fare as its sister without the hectic crowd. Lush bushes of bright flowers cover the exterior and entrance of the [...]

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Izzy’s Deli

Recommended by: Susan Feniger (Contestant, Top Chef Masters)

Izzy’s Deli – also known as the “deli to the stars” – serves classic New York deli style favorites, twenty-four hours a day. This forty-year-old Santa Monica staple is well-known throughout Los Angeles for bringing LA a little taste of New York with its overstuffed sandwiches, burgers and much more. Make a Reservation. www.izzysdeli.com

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La Sandia

Recommended by: Justine Ezarik (iJustine)

La Sandia modernizes Mexican cuisine, which is complemented by a thorough assortment of tequilas and agave spirits. In La Sandia’s stylish space, diners enjoy views of the Third Street Promenade and dig in to the expertly prepared guacamole. www.richardsandoval.com

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Locanda Portofino

Recommended by: Sasha Alexander (Actress)

This charming Italian restaurant in Santa Monica is the perfect spot for dining al fresco for lunch, or for a romantic, cozy dinner. Serving authentic Italian classics, it’s a local favorite – and a go-to for celebrities like actress Sasha Alexander. Make a reservation.  

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Loteria Grill Santa Monica

Recommended by: Ty Burrell (Actor)

A staple in Los Angeles for great and authentic Mexican, Loteria Grill offers a casual and fun atmosphere with delicious tacos. With multiple location throughout Los Angeles, this restaurant is one of the highlights of the Mexican food scene in the city. Make a Reservation. www.loteriagrill.com

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M.A.K.E.

Recommended by: Alicia Silverstone (Actress)

This plant-based cuisine spot in Santa Monica was named a favorite by Alicia Silverstone, and has three sectors – a communal omakase bar, an outdoor patio, and an open-air dining room. Who said you couldn’t eat raw food in style? www.matthewkenneycuisine.com

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Melisse

Recommended by: Curtis Stone (Host, Top Chef Masters)

Curtis Stone told The New Potato to try this contemporary French restaurant if you desire “something fancy.” With a refined ambiance and flawless service, Melisse merits a splurge. If you are sampling from one of their exquisite tasting menus, expect it to be at least a 3 hour dining experience, not just a meal. Make [...]