You can debate whether Santa Monica is the unofficial capital of the Westside, but there’s one thing you can’t deny: There are a lot of restaurants offering takeout in the beachside town. Sorting out the great spots from the merely good can be tough, especially when all you have to go on is a generic menu on a delivery app. So to help you out, we’ve picked 18 Santa Monica spots that have taken their takeout and delivery game to the next level.
It’s no surprise that this incredible restaurant on Main St. serves up impeccable takeout - it’s one of the best French restaurants in the city - but it’s the range of food they serve that’s truly impressive. Their nightly ready-to-heat suppers include options like duck pot pie, fried chicken, and lobster and shellfish bisque, which come with a baguette or a side, a salad, and a dessert. They also have more traditional a la carte options, like duck confit (served with cherry bread pudding), mushroom risotto, and steak au poivre. Make sure you get a cocktail, too - our favorite is the rosemary-heavy gimlet. Available for pick-up and delivery.
This upscale Southeast Asian spot checks all the boxes for a winter takeout meal - they’ve got comforting spicy soups, large plates of roasted meats, and some tremendous curries. Start with the spicy wontons stuffed with cod, shrimp, and country ham, then get the curried beef rendang, and finish it off with some laksa - a Peranakan coconut seafood stew that you’re going to require once a week until winter ends. Available for pick-up and delivery.
Santa Monica is overrun with mediocre (and expensive) places to get pasta. Colapasta isn’t one of them. This shockingly affordable spot on Fifth St. doesn’t just hand-make their pasta daily - they also hand-mill the flour they use to make the pasta dough, and then they use that dough to make excellent casunziei (beet ravioli), lasagna al ragu, fontina-stuffed agnolotti, and more. Available for pick-up.
Santa Monica’s Tehran Market is our go-to for Persian spices, snacks, and sweets - and one of our favorite all-around markets in the city. But their formerly once-weekly kebab grill is now operating all weekend, from 11am-3pm(ish) in their back parking lot, slinging koobideh, marinated salmon, vegetables, and lamb livers. They’ve also got a bunch of stews, hummuses, and flatbreads to-go, which are highly worth your time. Order in-person, call (310) 393-6719 for more info.
We’ll keep this short, because we know that you know that Milo + Olive is among the best takeout situations in the city. Their pizzas cover every possible taste, from mixed mushroom with fontina and lemon zest to pork belly with braised garlic. Plus, there’s no more exciting way to spend a night than making their DIY garlic knots at home (OK, we’re in quarantine, so the bar is low). Available for pick-up and delivery.
Carribean spot Cha Cha Chicken is best-known for their tropical-themed patio and liberal BYOB policy, but it’s also a great place to order takeout. The coconut fried chicken, spicy shrimp, and giant plates of dirty rice are all good - but no matter what we order, it’s all just part of an opening act for their heavily spiced, whole-roasted jerk chicken. It tastes just as good even when it’s not accompanied by a BYOB bottle of tequila on their patio. Call (310) 581-1684 to order.
The original LA location of HiHo is an excellent option if you’re looking to pick up burgers by the beach. Simply put, this is among the best burgers in town - the grass-fed wagyu patty is fatty and griddled crispy, complemented beautifully by the house onion jam served on top, and a simple, fluffy bun that keeps it all contained in one cohesive burger. Available for pick-up and delivery.
Your options for Mexican food in Santa Monica can feel limited, but fortunately, Gilbert’s El Indio will always be there for you. This classic spot has been around since 1974, serving big platters of enchiladas, chiles rellenos, and an excellent pork adobada that is great for sharing. Most plates come with beans, rice, and tortillas, so just add in some guacamole or sopa de albondigas to share, and you’ll be extremely full. Available for pick-up and delivery.
This classic Santa Monica spot is offering takeout for the first time, so take advantage of it - they serve upscale Italian food that matches any on the Westside, where there are plenty of contenders. The can’t-miss dishes are the crispy shrimp and calamari fritto misto, the beautifully marbled beef carpaccio, and any of the ravioli (the lobster and zucchini is our favorite). Order pick-up or delivery online, or call (310) 399-1843.
Whatever aversion you have to the Third Street Promenade should not stop you from ordering Tumbi. This excellent spot serves upscale versions of Indian street fare, starting with the dosa - there are five options, but our favorite is the minced lamb keema. Add some pani puri, and then move on to the black tiger prawn masala to share. Available for pick-up and delivery.
Tar & Roses is a fancy Santa Monica restaurant that had only limited takeout options before the pandemic, but now, they’ve gone all-in. They’ve pared down the menu to the classics that work best for takeout, like the oxtail dumplings, balsamic-glazed ribs, and a shellfish pot, and, for the first time, added pizzas to the menu. They’re Neapolitan-style, and served with toppings like confit duck with hoisin sauce, ’nduja and roasted pineapple, or fennel sausage with piquillo peppers. Available for pick-up and delivery.
Sunny Blue has gotten us through many of our roughest days both before - and during - the pandemic. This tiny omusubi shop on Main St. is open every day, and these stuffed rice balls make for one of our favorite quick lunches in the city. We usually go for the tender miso beef with caramelized onion, the curried chicken, or the spicy cured salmon, but since everything’s under $5, you can afford to try a few different things. Available for pick-up and delivery.
If you’re looking for breakfast or lunch in Santa Monica, you can’t go wrong with Huckleberry. This bakery has been on Wilshire since 2009, and hasn’t slowed down with their top-tier baked goods, breakfasts, and sandwiches. Your biggest issue here will be deciding between a fried egg sandwich sandwich, housemade granola, and an entire menu of pastries - this is not a bad problem to have. Available for pick-up and delivery.
There’s not much we can say about Bay Cities that hasn’t already been said before, but in case you just got off the plane from Fort Lauderdale (please quarantine, by the way), here’s what you need to know. Their Godmother is the best Italian sandwich in LA, and possibly the world, and the rest of their sandwiches are also worth your time, too. But don’t skip the grocery section of this deli, either, where you’ll find important Italian pastas, cured meats, and conservas that you should definitely take home. Available for pick-up and delivery.
The food at Birdie G’s is both exciting and old-school, like an Anthony Davis sky hook (or his eyebrow). This spot opened in 2019, and immediately became one of our favorite restaurants in the city. The menu has evolved significantly over the lockdown, trying out different dishes, but they’ve settled into a limited menu with some excellent options, like stuffed potato latkes (with options like Buffalo chicken cordon bleu), mac & cheese noodle kugel, and corned beef and potato pierogies. Available for pick-up and delivery.
You simply won’t find any better house-smoked fish in LA than what you get at Wexler’s, the new-age Jewish deli in Santa Monica and Downtown LA. Whether you get the bright, tender Nova lox, the pastrami-style smoked lox, or BBQ-smoked sable, you’re in for an incredible, salty treat. Get it on an everything bagel, made up the street at New York Bagel Co. Available for pick-up and delivery.
This upscale spot on Wilshire has totally overhauled their menu for the pandemic, ditching the small plates and converting to good ol’ Southern cooking, under the name Grin & Bear It (good advice, for the moment). They’ve got pork ribs in spicy andouille gravy, sourdough biscuits, lentil and sausage stew, and massive beef ribs. Everything is served ready-to-heat, with cooking instructions included with anything you order. Available for pick-up and delivery.
One of the first craft beer bars in LA, Library Alehouse has been a staple of Main St. since 1995. And though they aren’t serving beer to-go at the moment, their pub food is exactly what you want after a particularly rough day in lockdown. Their Buffalo wings are spicy and crispy, and you can’t go wrong with any of their burgers - our favorites are the Hell Burger (with pepper Jack, jalapeño, and habañero aioli), and the Cowboy, with a massive onion ring, BBQ sauce, bacon, and crispy potato on top. Available for pick-up and delivery