Where to Eat on a Budget in Santa Monica, California
Check out our 5 favorite spots to grab a bite on a budget.
Apr 28, 2022 at 8:00 AM in Where to Eat
Santa Monica offers some of California’s most beautiful beachfront. But beyond the shore and Santa Monica Pier, this southern California destination offers amazing shopping and dining. When it comes to great eats, you’ll find lots of fresh seafood and internationally-inspired menus. However, don’t think that just because Santa Monica boasts a lot of award-winning, ritzy restaurants that you need to pay top dollar to enjoy a good meal here. You can find scrumptious eats on a budget, at one of our top favorite spots to eat for cheap in Santa Monica, California.
This coastal cafe creates delicious caffeinated beverages just steps north of the Santa Monica promenade. Enjoy flash-iced coffee, hand-brewed coffee, espresso-based drinks and more (including specialty drinks like lavender hot chocolate or affogato!). Breakfast options are limited and light, but just the thing to get your day off on the right foot. Think breakfast burritos or fresh-baked pastries ranging from strawberry almond croissants to matcha doughnuts.
2. Big Dean's Ocean Front Cafe
When there’s so much beautiful beach to take in, why step that far away from the sand just to eat? At Big Dean’s Ocean Front Cafe, you’ll find outdoor dining, sports on the television, a large selection of beer and great bar-style food. Celebrating more than 50 years in Santa Monica, you’ll easily see why Big Dean’s has become an area staple.
3. The Curious Palate
For more outdoor dining — this time, rooftop — go to The Curious Palate. Everyone is welcome, from the kiddos to your furry family members. Enjoy 20 on-tap beers, ciders and kombuchas, alongside delicious eats. The list of sandwiches and burgers on offer is long, but that’s not all this restaurant is serving up. You’ll also find pasta, salads, soups, heavier entrees and more on the extensive menu.
4. Santa Monica Brew Works
Craft beer aficionados will want to stop by Santa Monica Brew Works, the area’s first and only craft brewery. Take a seat in the tasting room or beer garden to sit back and enjoy an IPA, Double IPA, Pilsner or one of the other various styles of beers on tap. You’ll find a food truck at the brewery every day of the week, so you can pick up some yummy bites to go along with your brews.
5. Cookie Good
Just need something to satisfy your sweet tooth? Try Cookie Good on Wilshire Boulevard. These cookies go way, way beyond your typical chocolate chip (though that’s an option, too). Get ready to be wowed by unique cookies inspired by favorite desserts such as New York cheesecake or sour cream coffee cake. Cookie bars are also on offer, as are gluten-free options. Better yet, if you visit and fall in love with these cookies during your trip, you can order them online after you get back home, thanks to nationwide shipping.
Found your next Santa Monica meal, but need help planning the rest of your trip? Check out the Discovery Map guide to all things Santa Monica to get more tips on where to stay, what to do and where to shop while you’re in the area.