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Patrick’s Roadhouse

WHY Tried and true classics served in vintage beach-bum splendor. WHAT What looks like an oceanside Irish pub thanks to the jolly green paint job is actually a booze-free greasy spoon that’s been greeting PCH passersby since 1974. It’s a hearty breakfast dive complete with flea-market antiques, worn wood tables and a hodgepodge of photos [...]

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The Lazy Daisy

WHY A chance to hang out with the local hipsters in a laid-back neighborhood café. WHAT This funky-cute cottage across the street from Virginia Park is emblematic of the gentrification of Santa Monica’s Pico neighborhood. Pull up a chair at one of the adorable little tiled tables on the ivy-shaded patio and enjoy one of [...]

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Le Pain Quotidien

EatLA-764

WHY Great chicken curry and egg salad open-face sandwiches; good lemon tarts; a communal table with loaves of bread serving as idiosyncratic napkin holders; excellent vegan and vegetarian options. WHAT These Belgian-based cafés offer a level of quality that’s almost never seen in chains. Fresh, flavorful, often organic ingredients go into the delicious open-face sandwiches, [...]

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The Bookmark Café

WHY It’s the best secret café in Santa Monica. WHAT You don’t have to keep this quiet: The café in Santa Monica’s fabulous Main Library offers good, made-to-order-food including turkey burgers, panini, wraps and an amazing range of salads (chef’s, Cobb, Caesar, Greek, apple-walnut). You can eat in a large, sunny courtyard, and savor the [...]

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Blue Plate

WHY The turkey-avocado wrap and chopped salad. WHAT This cute-as-a-button coffee shop isn’t as good as we wish it would be—the service can be spotty, the prices are on the high side for such simple fare, and the kitchen is inconsistent. That said, it’s got a good vibe and is a pleasant place to meet [...]

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Newsroom the Espresso Café

WHY Tasty oat bran muffins and other healthy treats. WHAT This friendly café is well located in central Santa Monica, just a short walk from the Promenade. The coffee drinks are carefully made, and the food is actually good for you: veggie burgers, quesadillas, organic salads. Try to score a table on the patio. 530 [...]

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UnUrban Coffee House

WHY Excellent double-shot cappuccino and highly entertaining evening performances. WHAT ‘Death Before Decaf’ is the motto at this neighborhood café, and the baristas deliver the goods. As for the décor, think first apartment for theater majors—walls painted red and purple, old movie-theater seats and velvet drapes in bold colors. There’s also free WiFi, plentiful tables [...]

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The Legal Grind

WHY Where else can $45 buy you ‘coffee & counsel’—a cuppa joe and twenty minutes of legal consultation? WHAT Corporate law was a grind, so Jeff Hughes combined his desire to become a ‘people’s lawyer’ with his love of a good coffeehouse to create this unusual place. You can drop in or make an appointment [...]

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Infuzion Café

WHY Delicious ‘infuzions,’ friendly people. WHAT This tiny coffeehouse just north of the Promenade draws a local, non-tourist crowd all day long. There’s free WiFi, but the tables are too small to allow for hours of leisurely Facebooking. The coffee’s fine, and the café’s signature ‘infuzions’—fruit-based iced-blended drinks—are delicious. WHO Local office workers and shoppers, [...]

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Caffé Luxxe

WHY Each cup is a work of art. WHAT This place makes the best cappuccino in Santa Monica (calm down—Intelligentsia is in Venice). The setting is serene and European, with high ceilings and framed mirrors. Only espresso drinks are served (no brewed coffee), along with a few high-quality baked goods. But when the drinks are [...]

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