Amid Cafe Doma Sushi Restaurant’s casual atmosphere, diners clasp chopsticks around dozens of sushi and sashimi offerings, ranging from fresh rolls to cooked rolls with tempura-battered shrimp and lobster. Cooks prepare Hot Night rolls with spicy tuna and shrimp tempura and Dynamite rolls with a mix of baked scallops, onion, and mushroom.
It was mostly impulse that fueled Phil McGovern’s decision to take over The Daily Pint. The London-born salon owner was once just a patron, periodically stopping in for a pint at the pub near his home. But when the barkeep revealed his plans to sell the neighborhood haunt, Phil volunteered as its new proprietor. Even with his salon still thriving, Phil poured his heart and soul into The Daily Pint, and customers responded. He can now boast 25 years behind its bar. Though Phil’s warm demeanor undoubtedly factors into the pub’s success, its drink selection is nothing to scoff at. At any given time, the bar holds 33 beers on tap, 3 on cask, and more than 100 by the bottle. That’s in addition to a 300-plus list of single-malt scotches—a mere taste of its international whiskey collection (origins span Ireland, Japan, and India). And the craft beers Phil features from local breweries rotate on an almost daily basis, just like a wind-powered merry-go-round. So pull up a chair in front of the 12-foot big screen, challenge a friend to shuffleboard, or make a new one over a pint.
Above the counter at the family-owned Z Garden, bright green cans of olive oil stand rank and file. A staple of Mediterranean cuisine, this oil signals that within the eatery there are plates piled with shawarma and creamy hummus. The housemade merguez blends beef and lamb in a sausage casing, while the kitchen threads skewers with eggplant and peppers, chicken, or seasoned ground beef. As the fragrance of parsley and other Mediterranean spices permeates the air, weathered tables and chairs and misty gray walls recall a shore-side vacation.
For 30 years, Dennis Klempner ascended through the ranks of the restaurant industry, having begun as a dishwasher in an Italian restaurant in San Fernando Valley. In 1981, he was finally able to open the doors to his own place, Earth Wind & Flour, which has thrived under his tutelage and strong yet laid-back family values for three more decades. Three nights a week, guests are entertained by magicians and Rat Pack?style singers. But the performers can only hope to distract them from classic Italian dishes off a menu filled with pizza, pasta, and California-influenced house specialties like spinach salad with avocados, artichoke hearts, and mushrooms and vegetarian lasagna.
Formica counter: check. Silvery-blue vinyl stools: check. Scrumptious eats that go from griddle to table faster than Sleeping Beauty can guzzle a pot of coffee: check, check, and check. At Rae’s Restaurant, a bona fide diner with old-school charm and fresh food, cooks are never more than a few feet away, working the grills and then slapping stacks of hotcakes, crispy strips of bacon, and fluffy omelets onto plates. For a taste of it all, try the hobo breakfast special, with ham, bacon, sausage, three eggs, buttermilk hotcakes, and a glass of chilled tomato or grapefruit juice. Another sure bet: buttermilk biscuits blanketed with country-style gravy. Rae’s also serves sandwiches and burgers, and, like any true roadside diner, bids adieu with big slices of pie, ice cream sodas, and old-fashioned banana splits.
The chefs and servers at Bread & Porridge spring to life daily at 6 a.m. to whisk American breakfast fare out of the kitchen and onto tables until close. The Santa Monica restaurant's signature a.m. eats include fruit-infused pancakes, a slew of omelets, and gourmet breakfast sausages, such as the spicy Cajun andouille. A lunch and dinner menu showcases a culinary cast of hearty salads, pasta entrees, Prime-beef burgers, and sandwiches. Under the guidance of owner Mark Rothschild, 12 team members run the eatery, rotating responsibilities to take turns as dishwashers, servers, cooks, and maple-syrup muralists.