Category Archives: Uncategorized

Everything Tastes Better in Bora Bora

Lunch at Four Seasons Bora Bora’s Tere Nui

By Beth Friedman
Your Journey By Beth
@FoodTravelrBeth

A great meal can be made even better when eating it in paradise. Take Bora Bora: just being there gives you a huge jump start on everything from romance to relaxation, and both things make everything destined to taste better. If you’ve never been to Bora Bora, it’s one of those places that you can’t leave this earth without seeing. The colors of the pristine water, the incredible resorts and of course the food gave me reason to pause several times a day to say WOW. I had a lot of memorable meals, and here’s a little run down of a few of them.

To start, what could be more dreamy than the freshest, fattiest, raw tuna presented to you with a touch of foie gras, and pea puree (below).

This amazing starter was the opening course I had a the lovely Kaina Hut restaurant on the main island. It was buttery, rich and decadent, yet still light and bright. This adorable little place is casual, fine dining that maintains it’s French Polynesian elegance even with its thatched roof and sandy floor. The main course was a grilled white fish sitting on a plantain mash with coconut foam, and while it was the ‘whitest’ dish I’d ever seen, it was absolutely delicious, texturally perfect and something I had never had before.

Another seductive meal I experienced was the incredible steak with chocolate sauce at Le Tipanié, which is the fine dining restaurant at Le Merdien Bora Bora. The meat was tender and juicy, the sauce was both bitter and sweet and the plating – gorgeous. It was a meal well suited to a romantic dinner for two.

The restaurant itself sits on the resort’s lagoon, where you can allow yourself to be mesmerized by more than just your companion. Watching the fish and sea turtles that live in the crystal clear and shallow water make this a special place to dine. And if you love sea turtles, then Le Meridien is the place for you with its famous Marine Turtle Protection Centre. The photo below was taken looking down into the water of the lagoon during daylight hours. At night, it’s lit up.

Another great hotel dining experience is St. Regis Bora Bora’s Polynesian buffet at Te Pahu, one of their four restaurants. There is so much to choose from, including suckling pig (pictured below), a ton of creative raw fish items, grilled meats and salads. The restaurant sits beachside, which in and of itself is lovely, and to top it all off, entertains with a traditional Polynesian show.

Bora Bora’s French influence is front and center at La Villa Mahan Restaurant, owned by the island’s most well-known chef, Damien Rinaldi Dovio and his family. He’s a sweetheart of a man who has amazing creativity and passion for his food and an honest desire to give his guests the best of the best. Getting a table here isn’t easy. It’s small and in high demand so make sure when you’re booking your trip, you’re working with somebody who has an in (like me!) The most desired seat in the house is a private, loft-like area that sits above the patio and offers a super romantic atmosphere (pictured below). But even the indoor dining room is interesting with hand drawn murals and artwork created by local artists and members of Dovio family.

The menu changes every few months, but it’s always French using local ingredients and earning rave reviews. I feel fortunate to have met Chef Damien and thank him for the personal tour of his restaurant. Check out the cool guitar that was hanging on the wall. To me, it summed up La Villa Mahan with its color, character and artistry. I wish I could’ve taken it home with me!

One of Bora Bora’s most famous restaurants is Bloody Mary’s, a super casual dining establishment that’s been around since the late 1970’s. It’s a giant thatch-roofed hut with a sand floor giving you a true French Polynesian vibe. You can choose from the freshest of seafood which is displayed daily, or order from their low-key menu filled with everything from chicken sandwiches to rock lobster. One of my favorite things is their charred and peppered tuna sashimi, washed down with an ice-cold Hinano, the local beer. Clearly I can’t get enough raw tuna!

Bloody Mary is famous among the famous, and you’ll hear stories about the likes of Jimmy Buffett and Ron Wood of the Rolling Stone’s coming in to play. It’s a fun place with great energy and while touristy, someplace you shouldn’t miss.

Whenever you travel, whether it be to a tropical island or a big city, and no matter how picky you might be, challenge yourself to try something that you can’t get at home. Food is fun and exciting, plays with all of your senses and allows you to taste a little bit of what life is like someplace else. So as they say in Bora Bora, “Tama’a Maita’i” (enjoy your meal, bon appetit)!

For more details about Bora Bora and the hotels and restaurants above – or if you’re interested in planning a trip, contact me anytime! And checkout my previous posting called Paradise on Earth.

Nana (goodbye in Tahitian) for now!

on Twitter @FoodTravelrBeth
Facebook: Your Journey By Beth
Email: journeybybeth@gmail.com
Email: journeybybeth@gmail.com

My Zimbio
Top Stories

Advertisements

1 Comment

Filed under exotic, food, Foodie, Fun, honeymoon, island, luxury, Paradise, Romantic, travel, tropical, Uncategorized

Spectrum of Spa

By Beth Friedman
@FoodTravelrBeth

The past couple of weeks has brought true contrasts of color into my world. I went from a bona fide tropical paradise almost straight into the desert. Two vastly different yet dazzling places, and in both I experienced a spectrum of spa.

For anybody who thinks that a spa is a spa is a spa, I’ve got two unbelievable places to tell you about. They couldn’t be more different from one another, but both offer their guests beautiful experiences that are reflective of their homes.

I’ll start with Le Taha’a Manea Spa, which is part of the Le Taha’a Resort, located on a private island not too far from Bora Bora. It is without question one of the most tranquil places I’ve ever been, and pretty easy to get to considering the level of seclusion guests enjoy here – about a 35 minute flight from Papeete, Tahiti to Raitae Airport, where from the plane’s tarmac you walk about 300 feet to get into the resort’s boat for a relaxing 45 minute ride to this idyllic location.

The spa is situated on a beautiful lake, which is the view you are welcomed with from most of the indoor/outdoor treatment rooms. It is truly different from anything I’ve ever seen and nothing short of breathtaking. A wide variety of treatments include everything from their signature Vai Vanira, a vanilla bath followed by a full body vanilla oil massage, to getting a traditional Tahitian tattoo from their resident artist. Even the full-sized gym overlooks the lake.

All of this tranquility comes at a price because here you are at a 5 diamond deluxe property where accommodations are either over water bungalows or beach front villas. It is absolutely the perfect place for any couple looking for something truly unique and quiet, and is without question worth every penny. The photo below is just a snapshot of what greeted me just outside the glass door from my bedroom of one of the Royal Villas. The beach continues to stretch into the distance, the water is pristine, crystal clear, calm and shallow. Peaceful doesn’t begin to describe it.

Rates fluctuate with time of year and location/size of the bungalow or villa, so if you’d like to know more about all of the different options, their costs and details like how many bedrooms or whether or not there’s a plunge pool, just give me a shout!

By contrast, but no less wonderful, Miraval Resort and Spa in Tucson Arizona has a most interesting approach to wellness. With a focus on what they call ‘Mindfullness”, which keeps us in the moment no matter what we’re doing, Miraval offers unique classes, activities, and spa treatments that provide guests with fun and creative ways to care for themselves from the inside out. This includes a wide variety of things like nutritional work ups and wonderful, healthy, gourmet meals (and cooking classes!), consults with Dr. Andrew Weil proteges (Dr. Weil himself holds occasional seminars), cardio drumming and Chi Gong classes, equestrian activities, hiking, meditation, cardio dance, wall-climbing, desert tightrope and zip-lining. And this is just scratching the surface.

Two special places seen below at Miraval are the Kiva Firepit, where guests can mingle, star gaze and enjoy the desert air. And the Labyrinth, which is a place meant for walking and quiet reflection.


Throughout the entire property, which consists of 6 small villages, you can hear water trickling up and down various streams and water features, wander through pathways throughout that are dotted with desert vegetation and interesting sculptures, all at the base of the Catalina Mountains. There is nothing in the world like the desert air to cleanse the soul, and this special resort is all about doing just that.

Suffice to say, Miraval has a serious understanding of how to work with guests on health and wellness, and an important element of the whole experience is of course, the spa. When I was there, I had a wonderful treatment called ‘Nurture’. It is a 100 minute “ritual” starting with a warm loofah exfoliation with white peate enzymes (not really sure what that is, but so what?), sea minerals and blueberry. Then there is the application of a soothing mushroom and phyto-nutrient masque, followed by a wonderful outdoor shower. And it wasn’t over yet! Then came the full-body massage using arctic berry milk cream. My skin never felt so good!!

There are several levels of accommodations at Miraval starting with their indigenously decorated, entry level Deluxe rooms, all with “signature sleep experience” bedding and outdoor space. The newest are in their Catalina ‘Village” where each Villa is Leeds certified and amazingly cozy with that “to die for” bedding, muted colors among natural materials with incredible sunlight and views from unique glass walls allowing indoor/outdoor living.

Again, not an inexpensive experience, but who can put a price-tag on your well-being? And in fact, Miraval’s per person rates include accommodations, airport transfers, food & beverage (not alcohol), most group classes and activities and $130 resort credit that can be applied to things like spa treatments per day, so it’s a fantastic value.

Both of these wonderful hotel/resorts & spas are dedicated to making their guests feel welcome, special, pampered and above all else, healthy and cared for. For more information about booking Miraval or Le Taha’a let me know. Or if you’re looking for other spa/health wellness suggestions, I’ve got a world of ideas!

Beth Friedman
Your Journey By Beth
310-804-6767
journeybybeth@yahoo.com
beth@elitetravelinternational.com

1 Comment

Filed under Getaway, honeymoon, luxury, Romantic, spa, travel, Uncategorized

A Carb-Fest To Remember on the Amalfi Coast!

In the ancient town of Ravello, Italy I had one of the most mind-blowing carb-fests of my life. This culinary windfall happened at the Belvedere Restaurant at the Orient Express Hotel Caruso, and was served by their talented and friendly chef, Joe Pantalones (yes, Pantalones, as in Pants!).

The Caruso sits on the cliffs above the Amalfi Coast with sweeping views that are as one would expect: beautiful, restful and romantic. And the hotel itself is a former 11th century palace that is very, very italian, with beautiful, cozy and elegant rooms and suites that emulate it’s historic character.

After a tour the rooms and grounds that include their world famous infinity pool and Belvedere gardens it was time to eat!

Lunch began with a salad bar….actually, an antipasti bar! I’m not usually fond of salad bars but this one was special with (among other things) hand made buffalo mozzarella, seafood and octopus salads, artichoke salads, grilled zucchini with mint, arugula with a citrus vinaigrette, white bean salad and crispy pizza ‘bread’ baked in their outdoor pizza oven. It was a tad bit different from your basic Souplantation or Beefsteak Charlies (remember Beefsteak Charlies????). Everything looked so beautiful in the self-serve display that we filled our plates. The look of horror on our host’s face (the dapper GM of the hotel) was priceless when he reminded his American lunch guests that there was more food to come!

Now for the main event: the pasta! Not just one pasta course. TWO pasta courses and when Chef Pantalones came out to describe first, I have to admit that I was very skeptical. We were going to be served spaghetti with anchovy juice (called colutura), parsley, lemon rind, olive oil and hot chili flakes. Now is it me? Or does “anchovy juice” sound beyond unappealing? Well letmetellyou that at the risk of sounding like a broken record, this was one of the best dishes I had ever had. The spaghetti was perfectly al dente and the flavors were salty, but fresh and bright! The lemon and fruity olive oil along with the colutura were just beautiful and completely new to me. This plate of pasta is the perfect symbol for one of the reasons why I am so passionate about travel. You get to expand your life’s palette, and obviously not just with food.


Pasta #2 was calamarrata pasta (looks like calamari) with shrimp, porcini mushrooms, cherry tomato with chili oil and all I can say is ohmygod. It was spicy and earthy with such a fantastic texture! Simple and brilliant!

After cleaning both plates (what I like to call ‘happy plates’) and well on my way into a food coma, the meal was capped off with home-made pizza that was charred and crispy with olives, capers and oregano. Delicious!

I passed on desert, but accepted a glass of limoncello because I just can’t say no! Plus, it’s a digestif, so doesn’t that mean it will help me digest? I hope so.

Ravello is just a short 11 kilometers to Positano where we were staying for a couple of days, and the drive is largely up (or down) a steep and narrow road and along the famed Amalphi Coast Road. It’s a good thing that I wasn’t driving, because I was in need of a serious powernap to prepare for the dinner I was anticipating at the Hotel Il San Pietro di Positano.

I am tempted to keep writing and to take you to Positano now, but after re-living this memorable meal, I’m feeling a little bit the same way as I did that day – like taking a nap – so I’ll save it for next time…….

Ciao for now and Vacanze Felici! (Happy Holidays)!

If you’d like more information about the Hotel Caruso or about traveling throughout the Amalphi Coast (or anywhere else!!), let me know!

Beth Friedman
Your Journey By Beth
JourneybyBeth@yahoo.com
beth@elitetravelinternational.com
http://www.twitter.com/BethLovesTravel
http://www.facebook.com/Beth.Friedman1
http://www.yourjourneybybeth.wordpress.com

2 Comments

Filed under food, Italy, travel, Uncategorized

Beth Eats Italy Part 1: Naples

Traveling and eating are two of my favorite things and on this trip to Italy, I did a lot of both. In 9 days I ate my way through Naples, Capri, Ischia, Ravello, Positano and Rome. It was a lot to take on, so I began mentally preparing for the weight gain well in advance. Good thing, because starting in Naples, everywhere I went was like going to my Grandmother’s house because everybody wanted to feed me!!

Here is Part 1 of what I like to call “BETH EATS ITALY” (ha):

To start from the beginning, I left LA on a Monday, arrived at FCO/Rome on Tuesday and spent the better part of that day in the VIP lounge of Alitalia awaiting my connection to Naples. I had not slept during the 12 hour flight and was deliriously tired. After waiting for 6 hours for my 25 minute flight to Naples (next time I’m taking the train!), I finally arrived around 8:00pm. A dapper representative from the Hotel Romeo (Maurizio) greeted me in a very nice Jaguar and drove me to my home for the next couple of days. When I was checking in, I stumbled across the five other travel agents and wonderful host of this great adventure, who were already having cocktails in the lobby. It was my intention to crawl into bed and finally get some much needed sleep, but everybody was heading out for dinner, and how could I say no to food. Especially my first meal in Naples! I ran upstairs, splashed water on my face, then turned around in the clothes that I had been wearing for the past 24 hours and headed towards my first food coma of the trip! We went to a wonderful little restaurant called Pizzeria Mattozzi, and there I spent a fantastic night with new friends and great food. Here’s what we had:

It all started out with the biggest home-made buffalo mozzarella cheese I ever saw with cherry tomatoes, an eggplant parmesan, a casserole made from mashed potato, proscuitto, hard-boiled egg and mozzarella cheese topped with bread crumb, a pasta dish of giant rolatini with parmesan cheese, basil & smoked mozzarella with cherry tomatoes (a tribute to al dente – this was hands down best pasta I ever had), octopus salad over arugula and fried dough with prosciutto and mozzarella cheese (looked like a giant savory donut). Topped off w/Nutella Cake and limoncello.

This feast was my introduction to the ‘real deal’, and was a precursor to what was to come. I should have paced myself better because the next 9 days were going to test my stomach’s ability to keep up with my mouth!

Day two in Naples looked something like this: Woke up to a nice breakfast buffet which is included in the room rates at Hotel Romeo (and at many of the finer hotels in Italy). I’m not going to write much about breakfasts since they were pretty much the same everywhere with wonderful fresh breads, fresh cheeses (ricotta was my favorite), fresh fruits, eggs, smoked salmon, yogurts, cereals, etc. After, we all re-grouped and headed out for a casual walking tour of the city. Naples is a crazy metropolis that appears to be a controlled chaos. It’s bustling, ancient and at the same time modern, with everything to see from castles like the famous Castel dell’Ovo to churches to archeological digs to Mount Vesuvius. With it’s important port, Naples is a great jumping off point to continue on through the Amalfi Coast since there are ferries that can take you everywhere from Capri, to Sorrento to Positano and has a constant stream of cruise ships coming and going.

Lunch was at Mattozzi Ristorante (a different Mattozzi from last night but owned by relatives). Alfonso, the proprietor, is a famous culinary teacher and this place was obviously not for tourists. We were introduced to this little gem by my host for the trip’s friend, Nello, who is a local that runs incredible Villa rentals throughout the Amalfi Coast. Here, we were immediately greeted with another huge handmade mozzarella ball, octopus salad and a lovely crisp white wine called Greco de Tufo, from Naples. Alfonso’s daughter, Fabiana, was an amazing hostess and decided what we’d have for lunch, which turned out to be pizza margarita and a calzone with smoked mozzarella and escorole! Crispy and salty yumminess! I loved every inch of this restaurant because you could literally feel the love that went into the food (not to be hokey or anything!). While we were sitting there, their fish monger walked in still wearing his wet boots to show his daily catch to Alphonso for his approval before bringing it into the kitchen. I was a happy camper.

Much of this trip was planned around learning about fantastic hotels (another one of my passions), so after lunch we were treated to a tour of the 5 diamond deluxe Hotel Romeo, which is where we were staying. It is a one of a kind experience in Naples, with an eclectic art and furniture collection that is featured throughout the property. It’s high level of service, high style, high-tech look and feel beautifully contrasts with the old city using deep colors, clean lines creating a very hip ambiance. The spa, which will open shortly, the restaurants (Il Comandante and Zero Sushi), the unique room types (ie: the wellness room with a Kinesis Machine by Citterio for Technogym, cyclette, leather exercise mat by Hermes, lounge chair by Hermes -worth $20,000 thankyouverymuch – and Pilates ball) the electronics and the fabulous staff make for a special hotel experience! In fact, you can request what kind of linens you’d like on your bed and even the color scheme in advance. Talk about customized customer service!

I could go on for days about Naples, with it’s rich history, narrow streets, insane traffic, amazing food and wonderful people but rather than write a guide book, I’ll stop here and suggest visiting for yourself! Suffice it to say, that two days in Naples was a wonderful way to begin a trip touring the Amalfi Coast.

Tomorrow, a short hydrofoil ride to Capri! The Hotel Romeo is conveniently located just across the street from the port, hence the fun view I had from my room of all those cruise ships:

Ciao for now!

Oh, and if you’re interested in traveling to Naples (or anywhere else for that matter) let me know! It’s my job to send people off on great adventures! You can reach me at Beth@elitetravelinternational.com or
journeybybeth@yahoo.com. Or, follow me at http://www.twitter.com/BethLovesTravel and http://www.Facebook.com/beth.friedman1

For more details on the Hotel Romeo (pronounced RomAo) ask me (I know people!) or go to http://www.RomeoHotel.it

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

A NYC Chick gone SoCal!

By Beth Friedman
@BethLovesTravel

Santa Monica, CA is my adopted home and I love it here.  I was born & raised in New York and would be what one considered “die hard” because to me, NYC was the center of the universe.   There was no part of me that ever saw myself leaving, especially to live anywhere near Los Angeles.  Us New Yorker’s have always had a certain, dare I say…… distain for the City of Angels, but I was offered a great job opportunity that would have been stupid to pass up just because it was somewhere I couldn’t imagine living.  15 years later, I’m still here.

Santa Monica is special and is a great place to live.  It’s also a fantastic vacation destination and since I’m a luxury travel consultant writing my first blog, I thought it would be fun to start with what this great little beach town has to offer it’s visitors all year long!

Obviously there are the beaches where you can bask in the sun, work out, surf, bike, rollerblade, ride the roller-coaster and various other rides at the pier, play volleyball & swim (you get the picture).   There are amazing restaurants, some that I’ll list at the end of this posting, with endless shopping and a ton of bars and clubs.  But one of my truly favorite things about Santa Monica is that it is a walking town.  This plays to my New York City sensibilities.   Joe, my boyfriend and I spend most weekends wandering around at the beach or at various parks.

Santa Monica also has phenomenal luxury hotels that I love like Casa Del Mar, Shutters on the Beach, The Loews Santa Monica, The Shangri-La, The Viceroy and the Fairmont Miramar.  If I had my ‘travel professional’ hat on right now, I’d happily send any of my clients to any of these properties.

They say that you can take the girl out of NY but never take NY out of the girl.  I agree with this because I still think that New York City is the center of the universe.  However,  after living in this laid back and diverse small town, traveling the world and just plain growing up,  I have amazing appreciation for the world we live in, and a passion for experiencing new things.  I became a travel consultant to follow this passion and to share it with others!

Your Journey By Beth’s Picks for the best accommodations and dining in Santa Monica, CA: If you’d like to plan a visit, just let me know!

Hotels:

Casa Del Mar – this is the pearl on the beach in Santa Monica and is one of my favorite hotels in Southern California.    It offers causal luxury in a glamorous setting, with the fantastic Veranda lounge where you can sip your cocktails while watching the sunset, an amazing restaurant called Catch that has the best ocean views in the city and fabulous spa!  $$$$

www.hotelcasadelmar.com

Shutters on the Beach – the sister property to Casa Del Mar (both part of the ETC Hotel Group) is right next door and is equally as luxurious in a craftsman style  setting. The lounge is amazingly cozy with deep couches, a grand piano and fireplace.  Coast,  their casual restaurant has my all-time favorite salad of grilled calamari, arugula and white beans and their fine dining option, One Pico is just wonderful.  Oh, and they have a fab spa too! $$$$

www.shuttersonthebeach.com

Viceroy Hotel –  is a hip, happenin’ boutique hotel with tons of personality and style.   Part of the every growing Viceroy Brand, it’s across the street from the beach, has fantastic, sexy rooms and a great restaurant called Whist.  $$$

www.viceroysantamonica.com

Loews Santa Monica –  this hotel has been apart of the Santa Monica landscape for as long as I can remember and boasts amazing views, an incredible pool, a wonderful sushi bar and restaurant.  It combines beach luxury with casual elegance with the perfect beachfront location. $$$

www.santamonicaloewshotel.com

Fairmont Miramar Hotel Hotel & Bungalows:  the Miramar has a great location just down the block from Santa Monica’s Third Street promenade and the new Santa Monica Place.  It is close to everything, has the unique feature of offering bungalow accommodations and houses one of the best hotel restaurants around, Fig.  $$$

www.fairmont.com/santamonica

Hotel Shangri-La –  is the newest edition to the Santa Monica hotel scene.  It’s art deco look and feel offer a hip and exciting place to stay!  The roof bar has an incredible happy hour, an amazing view and a very happening place to hang by the pool.  This is another hipster hangout with a fun location in downtown Santa Monica, close to everything  $$$

http://www.shangrila-hotel.com/

Santa Monica has so many hotels and these represent what I think are the best.  For dining recommendations:

Fine Dining:

Melisse – French fine dining with California “casual-ness”, has two Michelin stars, owned by lifelong SoCal chef Josiah Citrin. ‘nuf said! $$$$

www.melisse.com

Rustic Canyon – Amazing wine selection and wine bar focusing on lesser known, boutique wineries.  Known for advocating sustainable agriculture, their ever changing menu is made up from ingredients from local farmers, ranchers and fisherman. $$$

www.rusticcanyonwinebar.com

Fraishe – This is the second outpost of Fraishe –   the first one is wildly successful and located a bit south in Culver City. The Santa Monica spot occupies a beautiful space just around the corner from the pedestrian mall, the Third Street Promenade.   Rustic french & italian inspired food is highlighted with an emphasis on market fresh, seasonal ingredients. $$$

http://www.fraicherestaurantsm.com/fraichesm/?page_id=2

Boa – Steak House extraordinaire by the beach!  This sexy, modern and all-around crowd pleaser is everything you’d want from great steaks to great martinis!  There’s a West Hollywood location too! $$$$

http://www.boasteak.com/balboa/

Jiraffe – California cuisine using only the finest in-season ingredients.  Another Santa Monica staple run by another life-long local chef (and avid surfer!), Raphael Lunetta.  The menu changes frequently and has an extensive wine list!  You simply can’t go wrong here!  $$$

http://www.jirafferestaurant.com/

Seafood:

Santa Monica Seafood:  This is a restaurant combined with a retail store and is one of my happy places!  You can’t get fresher fish, oysters, clams and lobster!  $$

http://www.santamonicaseafood.com/content/santa-monica

Ocean Avenue Seafood – An oldie but a goodie, this restaurant has been around forever and has fantastic food and a great happy hour!  They also have a huge oyster bar, which is something that makes Ocean Avenue Seafood stand out. $$$

http://www.oceanave.com/

Blue Plate Oysterette  –  This low key and casual restaurant is the sister to the Blue Plate Diner, which has been a Santa Monica staple on Montana Avenue for years.  It’s location along Ocean Avenue offers great people watching from the ‘front porch’ and  has a really nice, summery kind of ‘diner meets seafood’ setting. $$

http://blueplatesantamonica.com/

Pizza:

Joe’s Pizza of Bleecker Street New York (of course!!) – it’s not exactly the same as NYC pizza, but it’s about as good as you’ll get.  The crust is thin, crispy and the cheese is all great, salty goodness! $

http://www.joespizza.com/page9.html

Japanese/Sushi

Musha (Traditional Japanese Pub food) – A meal at Musha is an experience kind of like japanese tapas.  Small plates meant to be shared make this a really fun and unique dining experience! $$$

www.musha.us

Sushi Roku:  Sushi Roku is part of the same upscale restaurant group that owns Boa.  The food is fresh and creative, the scene is fun and the vibe is incredibly alive!  My downfall here is always the yummy sake infused with fruit juice!  Next door is The Robota Bar where you can dive into some tasty yakitori along with your fabulous sushi!  $$$

http://www.sushiroku.com/sushiroku/index.htm

Katsuya – okay, so it’s not in Santa Monica, it’s in Brentwood, but worth jumping in the car for 10 minutes.  Part of the SBE empire and designed by the incredible Philip Starck, this is your quintessential LA scene where the food as as gorgeous as the people!    You can also find another location in Hollywood.  $$$$

http://www.sbe.com/katsuya/

Bimi – Bimi is sort of a low-key Katsuya wanna be (for lack of a better way to say it), but the food is so good and so reasonably priced I really wanted to include it here.  It’s a little bit off the beaten path (meaning away from the beach and actually just over the Santa Monica border in West LA), but again, worth getting in the car. $$ 1/2

http://www.bimirestaurant.com/

Breakfast:

Jinky’s – the menu is so big that I can’t even begin to describe it!  On the weekends there’s always wait, so be prepared. $$

http://www.jinkys.com/

Huckleberry – owned by the same folks as Rustic Canyon, Huckleberry is known for using the best organic ingredients.  It is my all time favorite breakfast spot.  Don’t expect your typical eggs, bacon & potatoes here.  The pastries and breads are also to die for.  I love their home-made english muffins!  One word of warning though – it get’s very crowded and noisy, so it isn’t someplace you’d want to have a quiet meal. $$

http://www.huckleberrycafe.com/

New York Bagel & Deli – this basically speaks for itself.  When you don’t feel like going to a restaurant and want to pack up a quick bagel before going to the beach, this is your spot!  Hands down the closest thing to NY bagels you’ll find in Southern California.  You can also find Boars Head cold cuts, which are hard to come by in LA.  If you’re from New York, you’ll understand! $

no website:  Address 2216 Wilshire Boulevard, Santa Monica, CA  90403, 310-828-3228

Low Key:

The Library Ale House – If you are a lover of beer, the Library Ale House has a HUGE selection from around the world and an eclectic menu with everything from Mexican type entrees to burgers to ribs. Without question, you’ll find the best curly fries here ever!  There’s a back patio for outdoor seating. $$

http://www.libraryalehouse.com/

M Street Kitchen (formerly LGO) – has a varied menu that includes yummy salads, fresh tacos with home-made tortillas, burgers and sandwiches.  For dinner, steaks and other larger entrees are served.  It has a great beach location on Main Street with awesome outdoor seating and also uses organic ingredients. Great for breakfast too.  $$

http://www.lagrandeorangesm.com/

R+D – comes to you from the same folks as Houston’s and Bandera by Hillstone Restaurants.  I am a huge fan of their deviled eggs, salads and turkey meatballs.  It’s the only restaurant on Montana Avenue that serves cocktails too!!  $$

www.hillstone.com

1323 Montana Avenue, Santa Monica, CA  90403 310-395-3314

And check out the dining deck at Santa Monica Place, our fabulous outdoor shopping mecca!  Here you can choose from several dining options including 7 different restaurants  that includes a sushi/Japanese restaurant, Chinese, Mexican, pizza, Latin/Asian fusion, a  a plus a food court.  I haven’t had the opportunity to dine at each yet, so here’s the link for you to explore a little more.

http://www.santamonicaplace.com/experience/#/tour/dining_deck

3 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized