A weekend in: Santa Monica

This post is the start of a new series; A weekend in… Every Monday I seem to find myself feeling like I didn’t make the most of the weekend just passed. I want to bring the faith and excitement back into weekends! So, here goes …

Where to stay: Shutters on the Beach.

One of the few hotels that actually directly accesses the beach, Shutters is one of the most beautiful buildings I’ve ever seen. Making Noah’s house in ‘The Notebook’ seem like a figment of your imagination, Shutters’ grey weatherboard and white picket fence façade will have you drooling before you even step inside. With each room facing the beach, you get a front row seat to some of the best sunsets in the world. Although it comes at a cost, it’s worth every penny; trust me!

Shutters on the Beach, Santa Monica.

Friday night

My Friday nights are always cheap eats! It’s almost embarrassing to admit it, and I wish I had some funky food truck I could share with you but California Pizza Kitchen (or as the locals call it; CPK) is my go-to! With something for everyone on the menu, from simple pasta to delicious fish tacos, their signature wood-fired pizza’s are hard to pass up! My recommendations are: The Original BBQ Chicken Chopped Salad (+ avocado), Mahi Mahi Tacos, Asparagus + Spinach Fettuccine, and The Original BBQ Chicken Pizza. Be aware that the portions are big and save dessert for Café Crepe. Just a short walk, you’ll find Café Crepe on the corner of Third Street Promenade and Broadway. Open until 12am, you can enjoy all the classics, from lemon and sugar to Nutella and banana.


Saturday is when you’re going to want to do all your touristy stuff, so you need a quick breakfast. If you have a car, take a quick drive down towards Venice, and pick up an egg, bacon and cheese breakfast sandwich from Eggslut; unbelievably good! If you don’t have a car, Jinky’s Café on 2nd Street serves a quick breakfast but make it early, because it gets busy in there!

Then you want to head down to the beachfront and rent some bikes for about $10/hour. Make the most of the morning sun, and ride along the pathway towards Venice. Enjoy the ocean breeze blowing through your hair and the sound of the waves crashing beside you. Grab one of the thousands of souvenir T-shirts and even stop for a craft beer or cocktail at Venice Ale House.

If you’re really up for a big day out, and you have GPS on your phone, head inland to Abbot Kinney Blvd. If you follow our Instagam, you’ll know I’m a big fan of this place! Lock up your bike and take a leisurely stroll down the boulevard, you’re sure to run into some famous faces!

When you are back at Santa Monica Pier and can barely walk from all that bicycle riding, as well as the fact that your stomach will probably be eating itself by that stage, take a seat at one of the restaurants on the pier. It’s very touristy, so you’re not going to get the best meal of our life but if you’re a Forrest Gump fan, head to Bubba Gump Shrimp. If you’re craving a burger, try Pier Burger; or if a burrito and a big ol’ margarita tickles your fancy, try the Mexican restaurant at the end of the pier (I can’t remember the name but you won’t miss it!).

Now what better way to work of that enormous burrito you just devoured than … shopping!? Third Street Promenade is lined with shops for three blocks and has something for every budget!

When you’ve found a new outfit for the special evening I have planned for you, head back to the hotel, take a nap, enjoy the sunset on your balcony (preferably with a glass of champagne in your hand), and get yourself dolled up!

Saturday night

Now, I know everyone has different tastes, so I am going to give you options. However, do note the order of them and all of these, you’ll need to book in advance!

  • Nobu, Malibu – although a half an hour care, uber or taxi ride away, Nobu is a worldwide, five star Japanese franchise that will serve you up some of the best food you’ll ever eat! You do need to be a little adventurous but I promise you, everything you eat will taste sensational!  My menu recommendations: Tempura Rock Shrimp, Ribeye Steak, Black Miso Cod, and Salmon and Tuna Sashimi.
  • Via Veneto – Main St, Santa Monica – for lovers of Italian food, don’t look past this little gem of a restaurant. Small in size but explosive in flavour, I don’t really mind what you get, as long as someone orders the Spaghetti Bolognese!
  • Rose Café-Restaurant – Rose Ave, Venice – Slightly more affordable but still serving up mouth-watering food and awesome cocktails in a boho-chic setting, Rose Café-Restaurant has recently been renovated but is not to be underestimated! The menu is setup to be shared like tapas style dining, however it’s easy to get around this if it’s not your preference. My menu recommendations: Smoked Bucatini Carbonara, Fiore De Carciofi Raviolo (delicate pasta filled with decadent braised pork and topped with a creamy black truffle sauce), and I really wanted to try the 28 Day Dry-Aged Ribeye for Two, so if you do have it, please, please, please share with me what it was like!?


There’s nothing else you need to worry about on a Sunday than having a lie-in. When you do rise from the cloud-like canopy that is Shutters’ luxurious bedding, head to Blue Daisy Café for a delicious, typical Los Angeles brunch, topped with bottomless mimosas if you’re up for it!

Malibu was made for lazy Sunday’s! It’s almost like it’s Sunday in Malibu every day. The Pacific Coast Highway (PCH if you want to fit in with the locals), runs along the west coast of California and offers some of the most scenic drives in the world. If you are one of those organised types (unlike myself), pack a picnic to take on today’s little road trip! From Santa Monica, the 20 mile stretch of the PCH to Zuma Beach offers exquisite and endless oceans views on your left and rugged mountains topped with million dollar mansions on your right. Take your time and make as many stops as you want … after all, it’s a Sunday!

Image from Flickr.

From beachfront bike rides to coastal road trips and mimosa brunches, this weekend in Santa Monica makes you feel a little like royalty!

Please feel free to leave any of your Santa Monica suggestions in the comments section below or tag @dine_with_design on Instagram or @DineWithDesign on Facebook!

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I am a writer of the weird and wonderful happenings of everyday life with a focus on food & wine, design and travel. Dine With Design is your go-to source for feeding all of your dining, home design and travel cravings. www.dinewithdesign.com

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