For several decades now, Santa Monica has become a popular destination for both tourists and L.A. residents who just want to unwind and escape the hustle-and-bustle of city life. If there's one thing beach people do well, after all, it's relax. So if you're in Santa Monica (or SM as the locals call it) past midnight, you're going to want to know some good places to eat. Here are five of the best late night eateries in Santa Monica. Err… SM.
Bravo Pizzeria & Deli: Say you're out with a few friends on Main Street and it's past 2 a.m. (i.e. all the bars have closed). There's a rumble in your belly and you suddenly have a craving for a hot sub sandwich. Is there any place to go besides Subway? Well to put it briefly, yes there is. Not only is Bravo Pizzeria & Deli located on Main Street in Santa Monica, but it's also serving up everything from their specialty meatball and chicken parmesan sandwiches, to fat New York-style pizza slices every weekend until 3:30 a.m. Try the Cheese Explosion if you're in the mood for something other than pepperoni on your pizza. It won't disappoint.
2400 Main St., Suite D, 90405; 310-392-7466
Wokcano: Who doesn't crave sushi late at night? Wokcano in Santa Monica has all types of fresh sushi and maki rolls on their menu, and the best part is they're open until 2 a.m. But if you're not a fan of seafood, there are also plenty of great appetizers, like their chicken dumplings and crispy garlic chicken wings. Wokcano also has a large outdoor patio with lots of comfy couches and chairs. You know, just in case you're feeling a bit sleepy after that big meal.
1413 5th St., 90401; 310-458-3080
Areal: What if you're in the mood for a late night snack that isn't greasy? Does such a place even exist? At Areal they're all about serving up fresh, locally grown organic food all day, every day, and until 1 a.m. on the weekends. From hearty pasta, to freshly prepared organic salads, even pizza made from scratch, Areal has it all if you're looking for an alternative option to your late night hunger. There are menu items for meat lovers too, so don't fret if you enjoy a juicy burger from time to time. No one's going to judge you.
2820 Main St., 90405; 310-392-1661
Lares Restaurant: Authentic Mexican food late at night – need I say more? Lares Restaurant has been serving Santa Monica since 1968, with menu items that include breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Go with the carnitas if you're in the mood for something simple. They're not too spicy, and always delicious. Lares is also known for making a pretty killer margarita. But seeing that they're open until 1 a.m., you'll probably already have had your fair share of alcohol for the evening. Still, it can't hurt to at least try one (think of it as research).
2909 Pico Blvd., 90405; 310-829-4550
Izzy's Deli: Since 1973 Izzy's Deli has been serving up all types of New York deli style favorites in Santa Monica 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. From pastrami sandwiches to corned beef reubens, potato pancakes and cheese blintzes – no matter what type of meal you're craving, odds are Izzy's Deli has it. Prices aren't that outrageous either. For less than $15, including tip, you can get pretty full.
1433 Wilshire Blvd., 90403; 310-394-1131
Library Alehouse: It may be known for its wide selection of rare and imported craft beers. But the Library Alehouse is also a great place to go if you're looking to grab a bite to eat late at night. The sweet potato fries are definitely a menu favorite, while any one of their burgers or sandwiches will fill you up for less than $15. It can get pretty crowded, especially on the weekends. So if you want to enjoy your meal without getting bumped into, it might be best to sit in their open air back patio.
2911 Main St., 90405; 310-314-4855
N.Y. & C. Pizza: What if there was a pizza joint that served both (you heard me!) New York and Chicago style slices. Fuhgettaboutit you say? OK, now what if I told you that such a place existed, and in Santa Monica of all places! That's basically the idea behind N.Y. & C. Pizza, perhaps the only place on the planet where you can get a fat slice of N.Y.C. style thin crust, and a thick slice of Chicago style deep dish all under the same roof. And if that wasn't enough, N.Y. & C. is also open until 3:30 a.m. on the weekends. Now if only New Yorkers had a slang term for when something good happens. Because it looks like Texas already claimed yee-haw.
1120 Wilshire Blvd., 90403; 310-393-9099
Urth Cafe: Organic food served until midnight – that's what separates Urth Café from all the other late night eateries in Santa Monica. Prices are a bit steep, but where else can you get a freshly prepared salad, roasted turkey Panini, or delicious slice of vegan pumpkin pie after 11 p.m.? Because I'm pretty sure the only thing even remotely considered healthy on the Carl's Jr. menu is fried okra. Just saying. Urth Café also serves several varieties of organically grown coffee and tea. You know, just in case you need a little jolt of caffeine with your late night meal.
2327 Main St., 90407; 310-314-7040
Holy Guacamole: If it's after midnight, you're in Santa Monica, and in the mood fro a taco from a place that doesn't have the word "bell" in it's name, then Holy Guacamole may just be what you're looking for. The tacos are cheap – usually around $2.75 – and come in all different types, like chicken, steak, fish, even vegetarian. Every order also comes with a complimentary side of homemade chips and salsa. All in all, a whole meal will cost you less than $10.
2906 Main St., 310-314-4850
Swingers: Ever notice how late night diners are really boring? It's like just because your restaurant's open until 2 a.m., doesn't mean everyone who works there should look like a zombie. Well you can rest assured that at Swingers in Santa Monica, they put the rock and roll back into late night dining (meaning rock music and late night food would have somehow needed to belong together in the first place, but you get the idea). Not only is it a fun, vibrant atmosphere with lots of 50s memorabilia hanging on the walls, and servers with far more energy than anyone you might find waiting tables at a Denny's, but the food is really good too. Swingers offers breakfast, lunch and dinner until 3 a.m. on the weekends, not to mention the best milkshakes on the planet! Or at the very least, Santa Monica.
802 Broadway, 90401; 310-393-9793
Pacific Dining Car: The late night menu at the Pacific Dining Car still offers the best eggs benedict you'll find in Santa Monica. The eggs are always cooked to perfection and the hollandaise sauce always comes out light and creamy. It's also one of the few (if not only) places in Santa Monica where you can get a prime cut of steak, like an 8 oz. rib eye known as the “Midnight Cowboy.” And like the original location in Downtown, Santa Monica's Pacific Dining Car never closes. You can view their late night menu at www.pacificdiningcar.com.
2700 Wilshire Blvd., 90403; 310-453-4000
Tommy's: Any one who lives in Santa Monica needs to take a trip to Tommy's at least once. Not only is it a tastier alternative to other late night fast food spots like McDonald's and Burger King. But let's face it, the burgers are out-of-this-world! Where else can you get a triple cheeseburger, an order of chili cheese fries, and an extra large drink for under $10? Just be sure to grab plenty of extra napkins. You'll need them. Tommy's in Santa Monica is open until 3 a.m. on the weekends.
1900 Lincoln Blvd., 90405; 213-389-1682
The Yard: Like any good gastropub, The Yard in Santa Monica is always serving up beer and burgers late at night. Their menu features appetizers like fresh hummus, grilled avocado, and paprika spiced calamari, with dinner favorites being their fish tacos and mac n' cheese. For dessert lovers, the strawberry shortcake donut must be tried. For $9, it comes topped with whipped cream and marinated berries. Yep, sounds like healthy eating to me. The Yard closes at 2 a.m. every day.
119 Broadway, 90401; 310-395-6037
Bar Chloe: How many classy lounges do you know of that serve grilled cheese sandwiches? Still thinking? For $6 you can get one made with thick and hearty English cheddar at Bar Chloe, a 30s-style bar located in the heart of Downtown, Santa Monica. So there, now you can say you know a place. Their menu also features baked macaroni and cheese, fried calamari and their famous Burger Bleu – which is an absolute must-try for bleu cheese fans. Bar Chloe is open until 2 a.m. on the weekends.
1449 2nd St., 90401; 310-899-6999
Father’s Office: Father’s Office in Santa Monica has long been admired for having one of the best burgers in L.A. Their Office Burger is always a safe bet. It comes loaded with caramelized onions, a few strips of bacon, and arugula. You may never order another Big Mac again after you’ve had one. When you’ve had the best, after all, everything else is just… meh. Father’s Office also has a wide selection of craft brews on tap, as well as a few imports from Belgium, France, and Japan. The only downside – and this is reaching – is the seating situation. Father’s Office never seems to be anything but very, very crowded, meaning the seating situation can be somewhat of a pain – i.e. there are just not enough tables. That being said, your best bet is to have someone save a table while you order. You’ll thank me for it. Father’s Office is open until 2 a.m. on the weekends.
1018 Montana Ave., 90403; 310-393-2337