From sandwiches to sushi to sweets, here’s a guide to some new eateries you may need to spark your holiday shopping around Santa Monica’s Third Street Promenade this year.
How about a slice of show business to go with your cake? From the Valastro family, stars of TLC’s Cake Boss, comes the West Coast facsimile of Carlo’s Bake Shop. The show is set in a historic cakery by the same name in New Jersey. At this Promenade location, shoppers with a sweet tooth can linger around the display cases and take pictures or actually order a cake and taste what the hype is all about. If you’re not up for cake, there are plenty of cookies and cannolis to choose from.
1354 3rd St Promenade, Santa Monica, 90401 / 201-448-8400
This cotton candy colored eatery is a monument to mashups. From the single ingredient of poke comes sushi burrito, sushi taco, and sushi nachos, plus poke bowls. You can wash those items down with tea or smoothies fortified with boba. There’s also a secret menu for those who want to know what’s on the cutting edge of poke trendiness.
1321 3rd St, Santa Monica, 90401 / 888-690-2622
This former Ojai burger joint now located on 2nd Street has got your cheeseburger cravings covered. For $9.75, you get a double cheeseburger plus handcut fries. Not a bad deal, considering HiHo uses 100 percent grass-fed Wagyu beef patties. The organic milkshakes are from Straus Family Creamery, and for pies, they offer banana cream and key lime. They also sell gift cards if you want to finish your shopping here and never leave.
1320 2nd St #B, Santa Monica, 90401 / 310-469-7250
Located in the newly renovated Gallery Food Hall, Sloan’s Ice Cream may be the creamery the Promenade desperately needed. With intriguing names like Cookie Monster, Coconut Storm, and Coffee & Doughnuts, your inner-child may want to sample 15 flavors before settling on your final choice. The smell of freshly baked waffle cones will occupy your time as you wait in line or browse through the shop’s candy bins and curios. If anything, the sensory overload of Sloan’s wall-to-ceiling confetti splattered decor should perk you up enough to head back to crowds and buy a few more gifts.
1315 3rd St Promenade #A, Santa Monica, 90401 / 310-394-3940
Promenade shoppers can now enjoy reasonably-priced French favorites such as escargot, foie gras, and French onion soup in a relaxed setting at Air Food. The contemporary design and feel of the restaurant may draw in people who otherwise associate French cuisine with tablecloths and formalities. Customers can lounge on the front patio or sit around the open kitchen inside watch their food being created by French chefs. The menu changes seasonally but typically is doing something interesting with eggs, cheese, organic vegetables, and ham. Air Food also boasts one of Southern California’s most extensive water menus, where diners can sample bottles from around the globe.
109 Broadway, Santa Monica, CA 90401 / 310-319-6262
Chicken and waffles, fastly becoming America’s favorite comfort food combo, gets its own restaurant on the Promenade at Bruxie. This Orange County import began with the novel idea of serving the dish as a sandwich and using waffles as buns. This signature item comes with five choices of chicken: original, spicy & smoky, Southern BBQ, maple-glazed, and double-dipped fried. You can also get the chicken and waffles separately, but why?
1412 3rd St Promenade, Santa Monica, 90401 / 424-268-9955
While you’re fishin’ for holiday gifts around Santa Monica, get your hooks into these fish sandwiches. STRFSH is a new fast casual seafood concept from Top Chef duo Bryan and Michael Voltaggio. Starting with swordfish or salmon, you can build your own sandwich by picking from dozens of seasonings, condiments, and toppings. After grabbing some fries and kombucha on tap, you can eat your meal on the newly added second floor deck of The Gallery Food Hall that overlooks the hustle and bustle of the Promenade.
1315 3rd St Promenade, Santa Monica, 90401