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Gourmet getaways

James Martin discovers Santa Monica’s amazing food scene

The Hayes & Jarvis Team January 29, 2018

This spring, celebrity chef, James Martin, returns to our screens with his next foodie adventure – ‘James Martin’s American Adventure’. This new ITV series captures the spirit of American food and drink across the country in 20 episodes including discovering and sharing Santa Monica’s best hidden spots and meeting with local chefs. To discover why this LA beach city should be on your 2018 wish list, read on:

Kick start your day

From surfboards and skateboards to bulletproof coffee technologies, variety is the soul of Santa Monica. A city known as leaders in fitness and wellness, James Martin recommends the organic breakfast hub, The Hive. Collaborating with Ron Teeguarden’s Dragon Herbs and Anima Mundi Apothecary, The Hive blends LA’s largest selections of herbs and powders. Start your day with the Hive Master, a signature smoothie that contains lion’s mane, an ancient Chinese medicinal mushroom which improves brain health.

Just a short walk away on Main Street, Dogtown Coffee serve fun, rustic, health conscious all-day breakfast including gluten-free and vegan options. Dogtown Coffee was born out of a desire to honour and protect a key piece of American skateboard and surfing history, and provide a place for the community to hang-out and come together. Directly down Main Street, just a short skateboard away from Dogtown coffee, Bulletproof Café is located just steps from the beach. Ditch the carb-heavy breakfast and start your day with fat for fuel, with a butter infused coffee…who knew butter could be healthy. The environmentally-conscious café ethically source products to build a sustainable foundation for future generations to thrive.

A mid-morning pick me up

The well-known Carlo’s Bake Shop recently opened its first ever California location on Third Street Promenade. Known for its delicious pastries, desserts and cakes, Carlo’s is a family owned bakery which featured on the US hit show ‘Cake Boss’. The famous bakery’s signature sweet treat is the cream puff that has locals flocking on a daily basis.  Alternatively, head down to the fashionable Montana Avenue where Gelato-Go has launched an exclusive vegan ice cream variety.  The Italian owned ice-cream parlour make gelato using healthier milk and use fruits grown by local farmers for their sorbetti. A guilt free morning snack.

Lunch by the Coast

Brand new lunch spot Little Rubyuses fresh local produce balanced with Australian culinary influences. Located just one block from the beach on Santa Monica Boulevard, Little Ruby is home to the famous chilli Australian Bronte burger.  For an upbeat and colourful lunch, Cha Cha Chickenset just a few blocks down on Main Street, offers the incredible taste of the Caribbean. The colourful beach shack, serves an inventive and delicious blend of all the Caribbean flavours. Trendy onlookers’ are immediately attracted to the friendly ambiance of Cha Cha Chicken and are drawn in by the smell of mouth-watering Caribbean dishes.

An afternoon in the sun

An icon on the Santa Monica beach scene for 40 years, Perry’s on the Beach serves refreshing, healthy food and provides an exotic range of rentals for the active beach-goer from roller skates to boogie boards. Sit back and relax on a sun lounger with an iced-coffee and take in the California lifestyle while watching the surfers. Visit FIG Market Place to take home a little bit of Santa Monica, from organic nutty treats to after sun skin oils. The charismatic shop has also introduced a grab-and-go lunch menu where you’ll find Chicken Kale Tabbouleh salads, Mediterranean Cobb salads and more. Pick up a selection of California goodies and take them to the beach for a gourmet picnic.

Best for Sundowners

Perched atop the Hotel Shangri-La is Santa Monica’s famous rooftop bar & lounge ONYX. Sip on a G&T while appreciating one of the best ocean sunset views in Santa Monica. The Huntley provides guests with an exclusive vantage point from which to take in city and sea views. Alternatively, a place that feels more like home than a bar, with mismatched tables, chairs and couches, The Bungalow on Wiltshire Boulevard is a space that evokes a breezy, beachside Baja lifestyle fused with an exceptional cocktail list.

Santa Monica by night

James Martin discovers Raphael Lunetta’s new restaurant, The Lunetta on Pico Boulevard. Raphael is is recognised as one of LA’s most respected chefs, with his sensational menu being inspired by his two main loves, food and surfing. His dishes contain locally-sourced, sustainable ingredients, based on the abundant product available on the California coast. On Santa Monica Boulevard, celebrity chef Nyesha Arrington has opened a new restaurant called Native, just blocks away from the Wednesday farmer’s market. The farmer’s market drive-in restaurant serves chestnut spaghetti to rabbit sugo, globally inspired cuisine through the lens of Santa Monica.

Hidden off Santa Monica Boulevard, sits Esters Wine Shop, an intimate, stylish, wine shop and bar tucked inside a beautifully refurbished 1937 Art Deco building. Enjoy a glass of Californian wine before wandering across to Cassia. From snow crab claws to raw spicy scallops, Cassia celebrates the fresh, vibrant flavours of Southeast Asia, striking a unique balance of soulful, ancestral cuisine and a California sensibility, utilising the best quality ingredients from local farmers.

The enchanting FIGrestaurant cooks seasonal, Mediterranean-influenced bistro, featuring wood-fired dishes made with locally-sourced ingredients from hand-selected farmers and purveyors in California. FIG delivers an ingredient-driven menu in a casual ambiance, celebrating modern and bold Mediterranean flavours. Set by one of the hottest Instagram spots - the Santa Monica Pier where Route 66 meets the Pacific Ocean, The Lobster delivers delicious seafood with magnificent views. This landmark restaurant, with a glass-walled dining room, specialises in California spiny lobsters, with fresh, seasonal and locally-sourced ingredients, a restaurant not to be missed.

Route 66

For more tantalising suggestions to your taste buds, head to our food and drink holidays to discover what delicious delights the world of food travel has in store for you.