How to Find the Best Restaurant in Santa Monica: Eclectic Caterers and Sustainable Seafood
- Leena Trivedi-Grenier
- 4 Min Read
California is no stranger to craveable catering (just look at San Francisco). Well, it’s time to add another city to list. Eater looked for the best restaurant in Santa Monica, and found incredibly diverse offerings with a little bit of everything. This variety is reflected in the Santa Monica catering scene. You’ll find coastal offerings like poke bowls and sushi burritos, along with eclectic options like Mediterranean kabobs and Australian meat pies. Here are the top 10 caterers in Santa Monica, plus the dishes you must try at each.
1. Benny’s Tacos and Chicken Rotisserie
At Benny’s Tacos and Chicken Rotisserie, you’ll find tacos done right. They grill all of their meats on an authentic rotisserie spit, just like you’ll find in the streets of Mexico. For big groups, the taco platter and the fajita platter are the most popular catering choices. Choose your favorite taco fillings (like carne asada or al pastor) or fajita fillings (grilled steak, shrimp, or chicken). And you’ll also get everything you need for a taco or fajita party. There’s tortillas, rice, beans, toppings like guacamole and salsa, tortilla chips, and don’t forget crispy sweet churros for dessert. Be sure to add on the perfect refresher, traditional Jarritos Mexican soda or Sidal (Mexican apple soda).
2. Z Garden Santa Monica
On the search for the best restaurant in Santa Monica, you will surely come across Z Garden. Since 2013, this family-owned restaurant has been serving fresh and healthy Mediterranean food using high quality, fresh ingredients. Their large menu package is a great way to get a wide variety of food in one meal. It includes fried, crispy falafels, and your choice of appetizer (baba ghannouj or their popular smoky hummus), entree (juicy kabobs including chicken, beef, kefta, and vegetable), and a house or fattoush salad. Cap off your meal with some of their flaky, sweet baklava and a traditional Mediterranean drink like a sour yogurt drink or fragrant jallab (made from rosewater and dates) to complete the experience.
For a unique spin on pan-Asian cuisine, Bobarrito is best of catering in Santa Monica. You can find them at their flagship store in Santa Monica or at their two food trucks. They offer Taiwanese bubble tea called boba alongside Hawaiian poke bowls. The Japanese sushi burritos are basically giant, handheld sushi rolls. The vegan options include the vegan sushi burrito, with seaweed salad, kale, and edamame. And for seafood lovers the Dos Manos sushi burrito comes with salmon, crab, shrimp tempura, BBQ eel, fish roe, and eel sauce. For custom orders, check out the tuna poke bowl, which comes with your choice of rice, kale, crab, or kelp noodles, topped with tasty treats like avocado, tempura crunch, or fried onions, and finished off with soy sauce, spicy mayonnaise, or ponzu. Round out the meal with some fruity mango boba tea to complete this one of a kind Santa Monica catering experience.
4. Chomp Eatery and Juice Station
At Chomp Eatery and Juice Station, they believe that making health conscious dietary decisions shouldn’t sacrifice on taste. One of the ways they accomplish this is by sourcing as many ingredients as possible from local, sustainable, and organic farms. For morning events, their breakfast burrito is a hearty way to start the day, filled with homemade sausage, bacon, or an organic veggie patty, eggs, tater tots, and toppings like avocado, salsa, and cheese. For a lighter choice, their avocado toast bar is a savory way to get some fruit into your meal, served with eggs, grilled cheese, and mushrooms. For lunch, nothing satisfies hungry bellies in the Santa Monica catering scene better than their Chomp burger served on a buttery brioche bun.
5. Fork-In Aussie Pie Kitchen
Meat pies are huge in Australia. And it’s easy to see why. They’re the perfect bite for lunch, snack, or dinner. And they’re are sold everywhere from delis to fine-dining restaurants. At Fork-In Aussie Pie Kitchen, they bring a little piece of Australia to the Santa Monica catering experience with their flaky crusts and savory fillings. For breakfast, their brekkie rolls made from croissants are the perfect, portable choice, and come with bacon and cheddar, sausage and cheddar, or feta and kale. For lunch, the steak tiger pie (also known as the steak and shiraz pie) is a solid choice. It comes stacked on top of roasted garlic mash and topped with minty mushy peas and mushroom gravy. End the meal on a sweet note with Nana Mac’s lamington, a decadent traditional Australian dessert of sponge cake rolled in chocolate and coconut.
6. Seasalt Fish Grill
Seasalt Fish Grill offers a taste of the Santa Monica coast with its delectable locally sourced seafood choices. It’s definitely on the shortlist for the best restaurant in Santa Monica for catering. The Peruvian ceviche is a refreshing start to the meal. It’s lime-cured seafood tossed with cilantro, onions, and peppers. Whether you are looking for sandwiches, like their California po’boy sandwich with tiger shrimp, or something more substantial, like their cornmeal catfish and chips served with homemade tartar sauce, you won’t be disappointed. And to satisfy your sweet tooth, the decadent churro waffles should not be missed.
7. The Novel Cafe and Pizzeria
Located on Santa Monica’s famous Main Street, The Novel Cafe and PPizzeriais your spot to find artisanal pizzas, a full bakery, and a fresh-pressed juice bar. Start your meal off with a nutritious organic quinoa tower salad, filled with heirloom tomatoes, greens, Persian cucumbers, citrus dressing, avocado, and basil pesto. For your main course, Novel has a passion for pizza, and it shows in their menu. Indulge in their pepperoni and sausage pizza, with its homemade pizza sauce, Hormel pepperoni, and Italian sausage. Or check out their prosciutto pizza, with arugula, black olives, and truffle oil. Either way, you’re bound to end up with full and happy.
8. Fresh Brothers
Fresh Brothers is a pizza joint started by two brothers who care about fresh thinking and fresh pizza. Their sauce, which is made from fresh tomatoes, is killer. And they cater to vegan, gluten-free, and health conscious eaters, offering vegan cheese and meat alternatives, and gluten-free or megagrain crusts. Start with one of their apps, like their succulent buffalo wings — baked, never fried — finished with one of seven different sauces or toppings. Everyone loves the classic cheese pizza, but meat lovers, especially, should check out the Miller Special, topped with sausage, pepperoni, ground beef, bacon, and ham. And definitely don’t forget to try their sweet knots. They are made of dough rolled in cinnamon sugar, baked and drizzled with icing. They’re the warm, sugared hug you need at the end of a meal.
9. Carvery Kitchen
Carvery Kitchen is committed to cooking and baking from scratch daily so they can be your ultimate deli restaurant. As the name suggests, they are known for their slow-roasted meats served with sides or on sandwiches. Their banh mi supreme sandwich is an umami bomb of flavors. It’s stuffed to the brim with soy ginger braised pork, green papaya slaw, and pickled jalapenos with a sweet and spicy barbecue chili sauce. For a lighter meal, choose from their huge variety of sides, like red skinned mashed potatoes and avocado salad. For a more substantial meal, locals love the chicken piccata plate, which comes with grilled ciabatta toast, roasted tomato sauce, and sides. With a huge array of munchable food options, there really is no wrong choice at Carvery Kitchen.
10. Mainland Poke Shop
Mainland Poke Shop is a candidate for best restaurant in Santa Monica because it offers upscale catering with their fresh, sustainable and sushi-grade fish for customizable poke bowls. The build-your-own lite poke bowl package will satisfy any appetite with its sheer variety. Pick from octopus, salmon, ahi, or albacore tuna. And then add on fixings like rice and greens or crispy onions and tobiko. But “last but not least” has never been truer when it comes to the sauces. The choice between the sweet chili lime vinaigrette or the coconut sauce may be the toughest of your life, since both are so amazing. But it’s the ultimate choose your own adventure of meals, so have fun and get creative.
Ready to find your perfect caterer in Santa Monica?