In a world where fine dining is dominated by red meat, Water Grill emerges as a rare entity that truly puts seafood first. Water Grill takes their seafood so seriously, in fact, that they control virtually every step of their supply chain. Sustainable seafood has been a top priority since the first restaurant’s opening in 1989, long before it was ‘cool.’ Nearly 30 years, Water Grill has expanded ever-so-carefully with prime locations across Southern California and Dallas.
A theme of humble elegance resonates from the moment you set foot through the doors. A sprawling dining room with plush booths, dark wood tables and dim lighting speaks to the iconic steakhouse while the raw bar, lobster tanks and fish state that while steak is served here, it comes in a distant second. The staff to guest ratio is astounding, with an army of servers catering to the haute crowd in spectacular fashion even by fine dining standards.
Water Grill’s menu is both vast and ever changing, the revolving door of seafood selections changing with fishing seasons from across the world. An impressive raw bar showcases all the oysters you could ever want, as well as a fashionable crudo lineup highlighted by addictive Japanese-seasoned scallops.
Iconic dishes such as crab cakes and lobster rolls have been perfected over three decades. You’d be doing yourself a disservice if you don’t order the Chilean seabass, a historic best-seller so rich and flaky that it practically melts on the plate. Shellfish is nothing short of top-notch—spiny lobster was in season at the time of this writing, served sliced down the middle and practically bursting at the seams with butter.
Artfully crafted cocktails and a sophisticated wine and beer list contain a pairing for everything, and that impeccable service staff s more than ready to navigate the menu for you. Expectedly, the price point here will set you back, but is worth every penny.
Water Grill has locations in Santa Monica, DTLA, Orange County, San Diego and Dallas. Santa Monica location open 11a – 11p Sun – Thu, 11a – midnight Fri/Sat. Avg. Out-the-door price for appetizer, entrée, side, split dessert and 1 – 2 drinks is ~$150/person. For more information, visit WaterGrill.com
The Dudes’ Brewing Co. has found itself right at home at its newest location in Santa Monica Place. Just steps from the Santa Monica Pier with a killer location on the top deck of this high-end shopping mall, The Dudes’ has had no problem melding its uber-relaxed vibe in with its new digs.
Inviting patio furniture and high-top tables made of barrels line the outdoor patio while communal tables and a long bar make up the interior; both great for viewing sports on the massive projector screens or people-watching the endless passers-by. The Dudes’ has found an excellent balance between plush and humble, staying true to its modest Torrance roots while slowly but surely making its mark across Southern California.
The food menu builds off the successful foundation of The Dudes’ also-recent Santa Clarita location. House-made pizzas, pretzels and salads come out with the same fresh ingredients and genuine attention to detail that made The Dudes’ famous in the first place. That prosciutto arugula pizza and strawberry balsamic salad are hard to pass up. They’re continuing to push the envelope in Santa Monica, introducing wine to the menu.
And of course, The Dudes’ iconic beer lineup continues to go unrivaled in creativity, producing a plethora of innovative flavors from grandma’s pecan to kokomo key lime sour and nitro mint milkshake. Flights are encouraged and ever-abound, served atop wooden bowling pins as an homage to the dude himself, from The Big Lebowski.
The Dudes’ Brewing Co. Santa Monica is located at 395 Santa Monica Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401, on the top mall’s top level. Open Sun – Wed 11a – 10p, Thu 11a – 11p, Fri – Sat 11a – midnight. Avg. out-the-door price for pizza and 1 – 2 drinks is ~$28/person. For more information call (310) 893-2151 or visit The Dudes’ Santa Monica here.
Lunetta All Day has expanded beyond its fast-casual roots to Lunetta Dining and The Moon Bar, located right next door. The sophisticated concepts allow Executive Chef and former pro surfer Raphael Lunetta—one of the first chefs to popularize farm-to-table dining—to flex his culinary muscle, as well as provide an intimate setting for guests to enjoy an upscale meal in East Santa Monica.
Lunetta Dining unveils impeccably complex, yet approachable dishes that showcase everything about LA’s contemporary dining scene. Beverage Director and Sommelier Kristine Bocchino’s wine and cocktail program matches the same exoticism and attention to detail, with both food and drink boasting artistic presentation and a pleasantly reckless incorporation of flowers that puts a smile on your face.
Lunetta and Bocchino are joined by Partner and Proprietor Mike Garrett [Voda, Lounge 217, Falcon, Anisette, Pearl Dragon] and Daniel Weinstock [Spago, Maple Block Meat Co.] for a combined wealth of restaurant experience at the helm.
Farm-to-table continues to ring true at Lunetta Dining, with an ever-changing menu to reflect seasonal flavors. Summer brings dishes such as grilled nectarines with machego and prosciutto, ahi tuna tartare, New Zealand rack of lamb and wood-grilled loup de mer and Spanish octopus. Drinks such as the honey ryder, the tired but wired and the not your mama’s negroni allow Moon Bar to share Lunetta Dining’s motif of familiarity with exploratory nuances.
Lunetta Dining Room and Bar is located at 2424 Pico Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90405, next to Lunetta All Day. For more information call (310) 581-9888 or visit LunettaSM.com.
Benjamin Brown is a seasoned restaurant writer and hospitality consultant, serving up SoCal's hottest food news and reviews.