Tantie Leslie is a connoisseur of the senses. My Brooklyn born aunt has spent her life traveling to far off places, visiting beautiful cities and eating incredible food. I always look forward to our visits, whether we are with cousins in LA, at her home in Connecticut or traveling with family abroad. I especially love it when she shares her favorite picks…usually an exquisite market, European-style, or a melt-in-your-mouth sandwich that you don’t easily forget. She presents her flavor du jour in an oh-so-Leslie way. Take Gjusta, for example, stepping into this bakery/cafe, she raises her hands shoulder-height with fingers spread. It’s as if she can sense every detail in the room through her fingertips, from heaps of colorful salads behind shiny deli cases to beautiful packaging on display. After a deep inhale, she looks around and says, “isn’t this amazing?” And it is. Here’s to a perfect day eating with Tantie Leslie in Santa Monica. Enjoy!
If you are in Santa Monica and wake up hungry, head for the Huckleberry Cafe and try one of their delicious breakfast sandwiches. The fried egg sandwich with Niman Ranch bacon, gruyere cheese, arugula and aioli on country toast, was voted one of the top 18 breakfast sandwiches by Eater LA.
Santa Monica Seafood
Afterwards, walk a few steps along Wilshire to Santa Monica Seafood. Just look at the enormous arc of display cases! Every fish you can imagine is spread out, shimmering, on heaps of ice. Come back another time for lunch or dinner in the café. They serve fresh oysters and chilled whole cracked Dungeness crab.
Bay Cities Italian Deli
Of course, in Santa Monica, you’ll want to go to the beach – but not before you stop at Bay Cities Italian Deli for sandwiches to go. Take a ticket and when it’s your turn, order a Godmother sandwich – old world Italian ecstasy on delicious bread. Then it’s an easy walk down Broadway to the beach and the pier.
Cora’s Coffee Shoppe
For Dinner, go to Coras Coffee Shoppe. This casual, yet refined establishment is tucked away with a beautiful outdoor covered patio. Owned by the same chef as the star-studded restaurant, Capo, Cora’s offers the same high-quality cuisine at a fraction of the price. Order the Wagyu ‘Kobe’ style beef burger or the rotisserie tacos de carnitas.
Another great option for dinner (and any other meal) is Gjusta. This California deli, bakery, café and market, sources its ingredients locally. Housed in a sprawling, warehouse-like space, everything at Gjusta is melt-in-your-mouth delicious! For dinner, order the burrata with english peas and mint on crostini, the moules frites and the wild king salmon with asparagus and spring onion.
Gourmet Food Trucks
Every Tuesday night, you can find a diverse assortment of gourmet food trucks offering delicious and affordable cuisine. From the India Jones Chow Truck to the Gourmet Genie To Go (Mediterranean), there is something for everyone. Located in historical Heritage Square, between the California Heritage Museum and The Victorian, beverages are offered and there is live music on the patio.
Do you have a favorite food haunt in Santa Monica? Please share with us below!