Dig In: Santa Monica Date Night

Do you have questions about planting, cooking, and the best restaurants in L.A.? Send them in to our Living Editor Katherine Spiers at fooddesk@kcet.org and she may answer them in this column!

I've recently, unavoidably, moved to Santa Monica. This is not a very exciting part of town, so I'm looking for some guidance on where to go on dates. Any fun bars, maybe with food, in the Peoples' Republic? -- Don

As is clear by this reader query, Santa Monica is not generally seen as a cool part of town. It's expensive, and the people are wildly attractive, but it's not a party destination, or a hip destination, and it's definitely not known for its restaurants. But! Of course there is fun stuff to do there. Here's where I would go on a date by the sea. Well, a few blocks from it.

Copa D'Oro: This bar is in the Third Street Promenade area, but fret not. It's worth the crowds. It's a good place to get some small plates, maybe some charcuterie. Definitely go for a cocktail. The barkeeps pride themselves on their inventiveness, so just name an ingredient and await your new favorite drink.

Chez Jay: Do not take a snobby date here. Only take a cool date here. This steak-and-seafood, strong-drink dive has been around since the '60s, when it was where the Rat Pack went for laid-back evenings. There are rumors about an impending remodel, so get their while it still retains its scrubby charm.

Tar & Roses: This restaurant has probably the best food nerd pedigree in Santa Monica at the moment. There's a small plates section and a pretty pricey big plate menu; look at the wine menu online before you go so you can pretend to know what you're talking about, grape-wise.

The Misfit: They give you free cookies here, so it's already guaranteed to be a delightful evening. And if you get there before 7 p.m., you can take advantage of a pretty generous happy hour. The food and drinks are good and the scene is buzzing.


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