Food & Drink

21 Perfect Reasons to Eat in Venice Beach

Published On 06/05/2016 Published On 06/05/2016
Dinner at Charcoal Venice
Dylan + Jeni
Courtesy of Hinano Cafe

Hinano Cafe

Venice Beach

This unassuming dive bar on the busy Washington strip specializes in ice-cold beer and juicy classic-made burgers as unpretentious as the place itself. And at 2am, that brew-and-burg combo is all you crave.

Flickr/Vmiramontes (edited)

Abbot's Pizza Company

Venice Beach

The geniuses at Abbot’s hit the jackpot fusing two of man’s favorite foods. For over a decade, they’ve been serving delicious pizzas made with chewy yet crisp bagel crusts -- a starchy match made in heaven.

Courtesy of Rose Cafe & Restaurant

Rose Cafe

Venice Beach

The recently reopened Rose Cafe is now under the helm of chef Jason Neroni (formerly of Superba Snack Bar) and serving reimagined breakfast favorites, like pumpkin pancakes with a fatty bacon crumble and a charred avocado toast served with a jalapeño marmalade.

Flickr/T.Tseng

Sunny Spot

Venice Beach

Sunny Spot’s brunch scene is loud and celebratory -- sort of like its bold, Caribbean-inspired food. The savory-leaning menu (which until last fall was overseen by Roy Choi) boasts spicy shrimp & grits, fried plantains & eggs, and your pick of bottomless mimosas, Bloody Marys, or rum punch (see: loud and celebratory).

Courtesy of Cafe Gratitude

Cafe Gratitude

Venice Beach

Venice Beach’s hippie-dippie vibes are written all over Cafe Gratitude’s organic, plant-based menu. Dishes go by names like I Am Grateful ( a quinoa/kale bowl drizzled with garlic tahini sauce) or I Am Warm-Hearted (grilled polenta served with mushroom ragu). Embrace it -- your taste buds will thank you.

Niles Harrison/Thrillist

The Tasting Kitchen

Venice Beach

The Tasting Kitchen is about as fancy as Venice Beach gets -- which is to say, not very, although considering its unfussy attitude and spontaneous approach to food, that’s a plus. Order salt-roasted branzino and pancetta-wrapped scallops a la carte -- but if you’re not forking up for the bill, gun for the five-course chef’s choice tasting menu.

Courtesy of Gjelina

Gjelina

Venice Beach

It’s hard to beat this Abbot Kinney standby for date night: the lighting’s dim, most of the food is meant to be shared, and the rustic outdoor patio will charm your dining partner as much as the delectable oxtail tortellini and crisp duck confit.

Courtesy of La Isla Bonita
Courtesy of Salt & Straw

Salt & Straw

Venice Beach

Salt & Straw recently moved into the neighborhood, which for years lacked any gourmet ice creameries. This Portland-based outpost churns amazing “why-didn’t-I-think-of-that” flavors -- like almond brittle with salted ganache, or the LA-specific avocado-and-strawberry sherbet -- made from seasonal produce and all-natural cream.

Courtesy of Flake

Flake

Venice Beach

Nothing fixes a tequila-induced morning migraine like one of Flake’s stuffed-to-the-gills breakfast burritos or its hearty Super Cro-Jo: a pile of warm scrambled eggs, bacon, and gouda tucked into a flaky, toasted croissant.

Courtesy of Gjusta

Gjusta

Venice Beach

What Gjusta lacks in seating it more than makes up for with dripping porchetta melts and baklava croissants. Mix and match from different stations -- one brimming with house-made pastries; the next filled with charcuterie, cured fish, and interesting spreads; still another displaying enormous pies and cakes -- and eat it all while perched on a milk crate out back.

Paul Sun/Thrillist

Wurstküche

Venice Beach

You won’t find any weird mystery meat dogs here -- only hefty, flavor-packed, gourmet sausages served on freshly baked rolls. That said, there are still some exotic options on offer, like mildly spicy rattlesnake and smoky buffalo links.

Courtesy of Bellissimo Venice

Bellissimo Venice

Venice Beach

Venice has plenty of exemplary dining options, but locals tend to avoid the overpriced, underwhelming eateries by the boardwalk. Bellissimo is an exception: the charming deli’s gourmet sandwiches are all you need pre-sun and -surf.

Courtesy of Baby Blues BBQ

Baby Blues BBQ

Venice Beach

The restaurant’s got a Type A attitude about its meat, so all the prime cuts are tender, moist, fall-off-the-bone delicious. That said, it’s the homemade barbeque sauces that really seal the deal. Pro tip: if you can handle the heat, smother your ribs in the fiery XXX blend.

Courtesy of Komodo

Komodo

Venice Beach

Taco purists may say that no self-respecting taco would include a sunny-side-up egg, but they’ve clearly never tasted Komodo’s MP3. The perfect example of the restaurant’s Asian fusion mashups, it features chunks of sirloin steak, tater tots, garlic aioli, and a fried quail egg.

Dylan + Jeni/Thrillist

Charcoal Venice

Venice Beach

The brainchild of chef Josiah Citrin, Charcoal cooks almost everything over live fire. Even the non-meat dishes -- like cabbage wedges baked in the embers until charred, then served with lemon zest and yogurt -- end up as completely fulfilling comfort food.

Casablanca

Venice Beach

Casablanca serves mouthwatering Mexican (the tortillas, rumored to be made with beef lard, are legendary) and margaritas. A bartender wheels a cart of top-shelf tequila around and prepares drinks tableside, making you 100 times more likely to call for an Uber after dinner.

Ryan Tanaka/Thrillist

Leona

Venice Beach

Leona just unveiled a takeout cookie window, which serves rotating flavors like miso brown butter chocolate and various aguas frescas (try the blood orange cactus). But, if you’re in the mood for savory, chef Nyesha J. Arrington’s restaurant also makes amazing “real” food like lamb belly wontons and melt-in-your-mouth short rib with bone marrow.

Scopa Italian Roots

Venice Beach

If years of intemperance have taught us anything, it’s that there’s nothing like rich, absorbent Italian food to soak up liquor. Scopa makes some of the best, from ricotta crostini and fried rice balls to beautifully prepared pastas. It’s also a great place to kick-start your night out -- the bartenders mix some stiff craft cocktails.

Courtesy of the Flyin' Jalapeno

The Flyin' Jalapeno

Venice Beach

Just a block from the beach, this little gem lets you build your own bowl, burrito, or tacos. Choose from a diverse range of crazy-fresh ingredients, like cotija cheese or mango pico de gallo, to dress up your cilantro-lime rice, beans, and carne asada.

Cerveteca

Venice Beach

Expecting a classic Mexican joint? Not your place. In the mood for chipotle beer shrimp and Mexican corn on the cob? Cerveteca hits the spot. It’s also known for craveable barbacoa and fish tacos, as well as a seafood-heavy spicy hangover soup.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
1. Hinano Cafe 15 Washington Blvd, Venice, CA 90292 (Venice)

Open since 1969, Hinano Cafe was reportedly Jim Morrison's favorite bar in Venice. Claim to fame aside, the uber-casual, beachside mainstay has great beer and an even better burger, served on a sesame-studded egg bun with standard toppings (lettuce, tomato, red onion, mayo, mustard, and relish) and add-ons like cheddar, Swiss, chili, and bacon. The bar slightly resembles a tiki hut from the outside, but the interior is a typical dive scene with a pool table and TVs.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
2. Abbot's Pizza Company 1407 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291 (Venice)

Abbot's is a basic counter-serve slice joint in Venice. The gourmet pizzas are loaded with toppings, like the Five Onion with leeks, shallots, red, green, and yellow onions, or the Popeye's Chicken with tequila-marinated chicken, spinach, mushroom, and onion. Abbot's crusts come in bagel-like varieties: you can choose between onion, garlic, sesame, poppy, hot pepper, and everything.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
3. Rose Cafe - Restaurant 220 Rose Ave, Venice, CA 90291 (Venice)

Rose Cafe is a Venice institution that first opened in 1979 but underwent a huge revamp in 2015. Helmed by chef Jason Neroni (Superba Snack Bar, Catch & Release), the restaurant is a bright and airy morning-to-night spot with an open kitchen, communal tables, and two patios. The daily breakfast menu includes a breakfast burrito, pancakes, and egg scrambles, plus pastries, smoothies, and Verve coffee. Meanwhile, the dinner menu features house-made pasta, hearth-roasted chicken, and charcuterie. Rose 2.0 has a similar all-day vibe as Gjelina, minus the wood-fired pizzas.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
4. Sunny Spot 822 Washington Blvd, Venice, CA 90291 (Venice)

On the border of Venice and Marina del Rey, Sunny Spot is a stylish Caribbean-influenced restaurant whose casual menu is heavy on comfort food. The offerings include waffle fry poutine, a double cheeseburger, and chimichurri skirt steak. Though dinner is a given, Sunny Spot has a stellar brunch scene with a savory-leaning plates and bottomless mimosas, Bloody Marys, and rum punch.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
5. Cafe Gratitude 512 Rose Ave Unit A, Venice, CA 90291

Venice's hippie-dippie vibes are written all over Cafe Gratitude’s organic, plant-based menu, as well as its bright and airy space. Dishes go by names like I Am Grateful (a quinoa and kale bowl drizzled with garlic tahini sauce) or I Am Warm-Hearted (grilled polenta topped with mushroom ragu). Embrace it -- your taste buds will thank you.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
6. The Tasting Kitchen 1633 Abbot Kinney Rd, Venice, CA 90291 (Venice)

A popular brunch spot that also serves dinner and drinks 7 nights a week, the Tasting Kitchen is a hip, somewhat expensive destination. A full bar with craft cocktails complements chef Casey Lane's French-inflected seasonal dishes, while the dining room's modernity is leavened with live trees growing through the floor. You'll want to arrive early to secure a brunch spot, or save this breezy trattoria for a special date night.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
7. Gjelina 1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291 (Venice)

Gjelina is a perennial all-day hotspot in Venice known for its inventive American (dare we say, farm-to-table?) cuisine. In tune with similar restaurants of the California cool breed, its focus is on sharable plates like oysters, grilled and roasted vegetables, steak and seafood, and unusual grains. The real speciality, though, is pizza. The wood-fired, Neapolitan-style pies are topped with meat, vegetable, and cheese combinations like you've never tasted before. Trust us: one meal at Gjelina is all you need to join the ranks of its Angeleno addicts.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
8. Salt & Straw 1357 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90291 (Venice)

Small-batch ice cream in inventive flavors is the calling card at Portland-based chain Salt & Straw’s Venice shop. All of the batches are made in-house, and the flavors vary based on the seasons and the whims of the artisan ice cream makers. Expect flavors like avocado and honey lavender, but don’t be surprised if the Abbot Kinney shop, one of Salt & Straw’s few LA outposts, sells out by the end of the day.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
9. Flake 513 Rose Ave, Venice, CA 90291

With cereal box artwork lining the walls and sidewalk seating, this small counter-serve cafe in Venice is the perfect spot for a quick breakfast or lunch. The line takes 10 billion years -- especially during the morning rush -- but the perfectly simple breakfast burrito, made with scrambled eggs, bacon, American cheese, and a side of homemade tomatillo salsa, is worth it.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
10. Gjusta 320 Sunset Ave, Venice, CA 90291 (Venice)

An artisanal bakery-deli hybrid, Gjusta is a takeaway-centric spot from the Gjelina owners that mixes up American, European, and Middle Eastern flavors. It’s a mecca for all your breakfast and lunch cravings -- think everything from baklava croissants and lox to porchetta melts and tuna conserva. While the interior is industrial and sprawling, the counter-serve interior is standing room-only, but there is a sprawling back patio.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
11. Wurstküche 625 Lincoln Blvd, Venice, CA 90291 (Venice)

Wurstküche, a beer hall mini-chain in LA, specializes in three great things: sausage, fries, and beer. In addition to uber-niche tubed-meats whose fillings vary from pork and veal to rabbit and pheasant, Wurstküche doles out Belgian fries with gourmet dipping sauces. The beer list is mostly German and Belgian, but there is PBR for the hipster in you. The Venice location on Lincoln Blvd is casual and airy with long, communal tables perfect for groups.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
12. Bellissimo Venice 68 N Venice Blvd, Venice, CA 90291

It's easy to avoid the touristy, overpriced, and sub-par restaurants that hover around the beach in Venice, but Bellissimo is an exception. The deli serves gourmet sandwiches all day long, and its breakfast burrito will hands-down be the best thing you eat all day. The market also sells imported and organic groceries. It's a great place to stop for lunch during a beach day, and there are few tables on the front sidewalk.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
13. Baby Blues BBQ 444 Lincoln Blvd, Venice, CA 90291 (Venice)

Baby Blues BBQ is all about classic Southern barbecue, from fall-off-the-bone meat to homemade sauces. Your best bet is to order a combo platter with your choice of meat (Memphis-style ribs, pulled pork, brisket) and fixins (baked beans, mashed sweet potatoes, house-made cornbread). The tables at the Venice location, an unassuming, no-frills joint on Lincoln Blvd, are topped with bottles of the signature sauces -- definitely try the fiery XXX blend.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
14. Komodo Venice 235 Main St, Venice, CA 90291 (Venice)

Komodo's tagline is "dangerously good food," which for the Asian-fusion eatery means tacos, burritos, and rice bowls filled with tangy marinated meats like coconut milk-braised pork and banh mi chicken. About a block-and-a-half from the beach on Main St, the Venice location (there's another one in Pico-Robertson) is a large and airy spot for a casual dinner or better yet, bottomless brunch.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
15. Charcoal Venice 425 Washington Blvd, Marina Del Rey, CA (Venice)

Mélisse chef Josiah Citrin is behind this casual Venice eatery that focuses on modern comfort food. Inspired by backyard barbecues, Charcoal grills all its meat over open-flames -- either over charcoal or in the coals. The menu is split between hearty steaks and family-style vegetable dishes, plus a few tartare variations.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
16. Casablanca Restaurant 220 Lincoln Blvd, Venice, CA 90291

An homage to Rick's Cafe, this Mexican restaurant on Lincoln Blvd is decked out with Casablanca memorabilia, including a life-size statue of Humphrey Bogart. Though tortillas and tequila might seem out of context at a restaurant dedicated to a movie set in North Africa, the hearty plates of enchiladas, burritos, and seafood pescado make up for the lack of couscous. Perhaps the biggest draw to Casablanca is the so-called tequila express, a roving cart stocked with a variety of tequila to make table side margaritas.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
17. Leona 123 Washington, Venice, CA 90291 (Venice)

This hip, California-style restaurant is hitting all the spots. Come by at dinner for lamb belly wontons and meatballs de Corazon, or on the weekends for Korean latkes with creme fraiche and brown-butter pancakes with whipped coconut & sea-salt vanilla butter.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
18. Scopa Italian Roots 2905 Washington Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90292 (Venice)

This Venice Beach Italian serves up a menu of inventive shareable plates that practically begs you to order one of everything. Start with some hot and cold antipasti before carbo-loading on pasta dishes like rabbit tagliatelle and vodka rigatoni. The space has a cool industrial aesthetic with exposed brick, giant mirrors, and warehouse ceilings.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
19. The Flyin' Jalapeño 83 Windward Ave, Venice, CA 90291 (Venice)

The Flyin' Jalapeño, a block away from the beach, is a choose-your-own-adventure Mexican joint à la C(fill up a burrito, taco, bowl, nachos, or salad with your choice of toppings) that keeps their prices low, introduces some amped-up flavors, and ditches the long line of the popular chains.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
20. Cerveteca DTLA 923 E 3rd St Ste 109, Los Angeles, CA 90013 (Venice)

This beloved Venice/Culver City gastropub has found its way East for a third location, with the menu expanded from Mexican fare to include spicy baby back ribs, steamed mussels, and a chorizo burger, as well as (duh) a killer beer selection. Cerveteca is also known for a cheap oyster happy hour, savory barbacoa, and a seafood-heavy spicy hangover soup.