Best New Places to Eat – The Hollywood Reporter

In Santa Monica — where Wolfgang Puck’s stalwart Asian fusion restaurant Chinois on Main is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year and other acclaimed places to dine include Rustic Canyon, Citrin, Cassia, Michael’s, Pasjoli and Crudo e Nudeo — a quartet of new spots have opened this year for great eating not far from the beach.

Bar Monette

Bar Monette chef-owner Sean MacDonald serving his take on Portuguese egg tarts.

Leo Cabal

Chef Sean MacDonald’s Bar Monette tapas spot, which bowed in April in a beautifully lit, emerald-walled space, is a magnet for its pizzas, such as truffle and aged cheese; pesto and dungeness crab; and a vegan option with fig, sunflower seed cream cheese and pistachio. Macdonald’s and chef de cuisine Jeff Whitaker’s small plates include house-cured cabacero (pork neck) and potato agnolotti. In January, MacDonald plans to open a burger spot, Burgette, next door. 109 Santa Monica Blvd., barmonette.com

The Georgian Room 

The Georgian Room - The Georgian Hotel - Black Leather Booth

Booth at The Georgian Room

Maxime Lemoine

Located in the gorgeously renovated art deco-era Georgian Hotel, The Georgian Room — occupying a lower-level area that was once a speakeasy called the Red Griffin — is an intimate, 65-seat Italian steakhouse and jazz bar. Developers Jon Blanchard and Nicolo Rusconi of BLVD worked from vintage photographs to restore the space, which features black leather booths and red velvet curtains. Recently, the restaurant launched family-friendly Spaghetti Sundays, serving up pasta with meatballs, chicken parm and branzino. The hotel, which has just joined Leading Hotels of the World, is also hosting a pop-up shop from luxury vintage purveyor Decades, selling pieces by Chanel, Dior, Gucci, Valentino, YSL and more designers Dec. 8-10. 1415 Ocean Ave., thegeorgian.com

The Surfing Fox

The Surfing Fox - Restaurant - Interior - Santa Monica - California

The Surfing Fox restaurant

Just a bagel’s toss from the Santa Monica Pier, all-day restaurant The Surfing Fox serves breakfast plus a main menu that includes hamachi ceviche, Santa Monica Farmer’s Market pickles, lobster rolls and roasted half chicken with coconut sauce and green sambal. It also offers live music on Friday evenings and has just rolled out a holiday cocktail menu that includes the Under the Mistletoe with vodka, cranberry juice, triple sec, lime and cranberry/rosemary syrup. 120 Colorado Ave., the surfingfoxsm.com


Xuntos Restaurant - Exterior - Santa Monica - California

Xuntos restaurant

Stan Lee

Opened in July in a 1926 building, Xuntos, a laid-back Spanish tapas bar and restaurant, is open for dinner, with Northern Spanish bites that include anchovy on buttered bread, scallops in the shell (pictured above, center) and squid ink pasta. The wine list focuses on natural bottlings from Spain and California. 561 Santa Monica Blvd., barxuntos.com

A version of this story first appeared in the Nov. 29 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.

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