We were fortunate to find ourselves dining near the shining sunny shores of Santa Monica and Venice a few times on our recent trip. James Beach is a breezy half outdoors place that serves good solid fish tacos (which they proudly proclaim are featured in I Love You, Man) and refreshing margaritas. The clientele turns a bit gross LA at later hours, but one has to admit that there is some comedic value to watching a fifty year old man sport a tee shirt that reads “You're On My To Do List.”
Cha Cha Chicken is also mostly outdoors (al fresco dining is such a special pleasure when you're deprived of it) and has the best beverage possibly on the west coast (see my drink review) and an excellent homemade jerk sauce that got us all wondering if we could recreate anything close to it at home.
The most luxurious though, but still reasonably priced, was Coast, the airy, downstairs restaurant in the chi-chi Shutters on the Shore hotel. There you can expect to be served some excellent omelettes and grilled bread by the Kathy Griffin of waitresses . The view of the ocean is breathtaking and I had my one and only celebrity siting of Ed Harris there.