In a city synonymous with the beach lifestyle, you likely won’t be surprised that its beachfront spots are some of the best around. If you expect to be limited to seafood, think again! Though seafood is a popular option, you have a host of options for food and drink just steps from the water.
The best part?
With so many selections on the same street, you don’t have to drive to get from the restaurant to the bar! Keep reading to discover the best beachfront restaurants in Santa Monica… (bars on the beach included!).
Always remember to double-check dates, opening times, and weather conditions before traveling.
Best Beachfront restaurants in Santa Monica
- Address: 1401 Ocean Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90401
While you aren’t limited to seafood, those who love it will not be disappointed. Water Grill is on the higher end of your typical seaside restaurant and grill with a wide array of raw-bar options for the more adventurous. You’ll find fresh options from both coasts and a long list of beer, wine, and cocktails.
Dungeness crab, the undisputed king of the Pacific Northwest, is an item you won’t want to look past. If your whole party isn’t wild about seafood, Water Grill offers a handful of high-quality steak options as well. You can even make an online reservation if you wish.
Big Dean’s Ocean Front Café
- Address: 1615 Ocean Front Walk, Santa Monica, CA 90401
If Water Grill sounds a little fancy or you’re just looking for a good weekday lunch spot, Big Dean’s is just down the street. This laid-back sports bar has been a staple of Santa Monica since the 1970s. If you want something on the water, but you don’t want seafood, this is easily one of your best options.
Big Dean’s touts its world-famous burgers, though their taco and seafood options aren’t to be overshadowed! While not a bar, you’ll find a healthy selection of beer, wine, and specialty beverages on the backside of the menu. Check their menu online here.
The Living Room
- Address: 1 Pico Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401
Located inside the iconic Shutters on the Beach Hotel, The Living Room is our first cocktail bar on this list. If luxury is your priority, an afternoon in The Living Room is just what you need! The prices reflect the luxury, but the ambiance pays for itself.
Mostly smaller bites are available here, though the Burgers and Burgundy menu will dazzle the taste buds of the hungry. As you may expect, The Living Room has a number of signature cocktails that are on trend with popular taste, including an espresso Martini and a take on the classic Negroni. Check all the options on their website.
ONYX Rooftop Bar
- Address: 301 Ocean Ave #1019, Santa Monica, CA 90401
If you want a bird’s eye view of the ocean, especially around sunset, there’s no better place to be. Fixed atop the Hotel Shangri-La is ONYX, an indoor-outdoor cocktail lounge and one of the most iconic beachfront bars in Santa Monica.
And in case you were wondering, it also boasts some of the best views in the city. Know that this will be a busy spot, but that’s the price you pay for the view. I promise you it’s worth it!
- Address: 1602 Ocean Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90401
- Book your table here.
Named for the crustacean and not the obscure Colin Farrell movie (if you can believe it), The Lobster is a Santa Monica stalwart. Opening in 1923, The Lobster is almost a century old. While it was shuttered in the ’80s, years of popularity have still allowed it to be a staple.
While lobster is the thing to get here, a broad sampling of crab, tuna, and oysters is also offered. The specialty cocktail menu is made to pair beautifully with your meal. The Ocean 75 and Mojito are the drinks to order.
Blue Plate Oysterette
- Address: 1355 Ocean Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90401
Oyster fans rejoice! Don’t want to pay through the nose, but you still want oysters and an ocean view? Blue Plate Oysterette to the rescue! This is a popular upscale casual spot in the heart of Santa Monica. No oyster spot is cheap, but you’ll find the value you get here for your money beats other options.
Order an oyster tower, a small plate, or just a half dozen of the daily chef’s choice. There are no wrong answers here! Check their menu online.
- Address: 258 Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica, CA 90401
It doesn’t get more beachfront than being on the Santa Monica Pier! There’s something for every palette at The Albright with a raw bar, ceviche, and classic burgers and tacos. The Albright’s menu is bolstered by a sizeable craft beer and wine list to pair with any of their Santa Monica Pier Classics.
The place is among the top rated oceanfront restaurants in Santa Monica… Of course, you pay for the views, but you can take in some priceless sunsets or mid-afternoon rays while you’re there! It’s always better to book in advance.
Rusty’s Surf Ranch
- Address: 256 Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica, CA 90401
Another Santa Monica Pier place, Rusty’s, is a simple option that’s just as good for a meal as a cocktail. You’ll find mainly seafood here (it’s a surf ranch, not a cattle ranch after all), but there’s a section of non-seafood options as well. Their menu online tells it all.
Rusty’s has a solid menu of beer and wine, but you really want to look at their signature craft cocktails section; that’s where Rusty’s shines. If you want something sweet and citrus-filled, go for the Santa Monica Sunset or Oceanside Tropical Frose. Want something a little different? Try to Skrewball Old Fashioned or the Mezcal Paloma.
- Address: 1700 Ocean Ave #200, Santa Monica, CA 90401
You’ll find some of Santa Monica’s best oceanside dining in the Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel. This is probably the best spot for a weekend brunch with an ocean view. If bottomless mimosas and ocean breeze sound like an enticing combination to you, Blue Streak is where you want to be on a Saturday morning. You can enjoy the later hours of the evening as well, sipping signature cocktails by the installed firepits from 5:00-10:00 pm daily.
Meat on Ocean
- Address: 1501 Ocean Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90401
A carnivore and a pescatarian walk into a bar. They coexist happily since they walked into Meat on Ocean. While I’ll admit that wasn’t a joke so much as just a fact (and technically, it’s a restaurant), the premise still holds up.
If you prefer surf and your partner tends to opt for the turf, Meat on Ocean is the best of both worlds. This is a higher-end steakhouse, but if you want quality cuts and signature cocktails to go with it, there’s no place you’ll enjoy more!
So… which of these beachfront restaurants in Santa Monica are you going to visit next?