This is one of those restaurants that the majority of people you know have been to. Everyone knows this restaurant chain, as it is popular throughout southern California. Now, whether that's because the food is always good is up for debate, but people are always gathering here for reasons that include meeting up with the family or spending time with friends. For the picky eaters in your lives, this is a great option as there are many varieties of pizzas, pastas, salads, and options for children. If you go in a big group, this is a good option because you can order a small amount of dishes, but everyone could still be full at the end of the meal. This is an especially important part of a restaurant, because there are places you can go to and still be hungry after you had a main course. If you are an adventurous eater, I would recommend going somewhere else. However, it's a great restaurant option for those on a budget or looking for something low key.
One of the ways you can enjoy going to a restaurant is dining with a local. That's exactly what I did with friends on a Friday night. Located on the always popular Montana Avenue, R + D Kitchen is always busy, with people standing outside waiting for a table non-stop. Do not let this make you skip the restaurant.
Many restaurants take reservations, and people always take advantage of this. This does not happen here as the restaurant does not take reservations. The best part is, they don't have to feel any sympathy for people skipping the restaurant because of the wait time as the line is always out the door.
If you go to restaurants like Bandera and Hillstone, the menu may seem vaguely familiar as they are all part of the same restaurant group.
The tables are cramped and packed in tight, so make sure you know where you are walking and don't daydream when you do. Once you are seated, the dip duo is a must, especially when with a group of people. Extra tortilla chips are always offered, so don't be afraid to take the last one from the plate.
One of the simplest meals one can have is a burger. To be able to go to a restaurant and find one that has no faults is a tough challenge. Restaurants like The Counter thrive off of people wanting to have a meal their way. At R + D Kitchen, the burger is made to perfection. When ordering a burger, be aware that ordering it well done will take out a lot of the flavor a burger is expected to have. Don't be complaining it's dry when you do this. That's your own fault.
Every bite of the burger is smoky and packed with a slight kick from the onion. The meat is soft and tender, just how it was meant to be.
In the end, you will be satisfied with your decision to go to this locally loved restaurant. Life is too short to eat bad food.
1323 Montana Avenue
Santa Monica, CA 90403
There are a lot of expectations for tacos when you go to a restaurant that has the word 'taco' in its name. There are also many opinions discussed by people on where the best taco is located. Blue Plate Taco has a lot to live up to, as it a part of the Blue Plate restaurant group. The potential is clearly there, and the atmosphere lives up to its name. Located on Ocean Avenue in Santa Monica, Blue Plate Taco is aiming to serve delicious food at an affordable price.
My experience at Blue Plate Taco did not live up to the comments I received about it before arriving. This could be because it was my first time going there, and I didn't know what to expect. Regulars could say I am wrong. However, I am not here to praise every restaurant I go to. That would be impossible and show no skill in being able to comment on the restaurants the world has to offer.
That being said, the restaurant is always busy. This could simply be because people always hear about this restaurant and its partners Blue Plate and Blue Plate Oysterette.
When I ordered the steak tacos, I was expecting to encounter a plate of food that would attack my senses. The opposite occurred as it took almost an hour to receive our food, it wasn't hot, and the waitress barely came to the table. I sympathize as the restaurant was crowded and there were many tables to wait on; however, by now the restaurant should have a better sense of efficiency.
One could say the atmosphere made up for the lacking service and food, but it was still present.
You could say you still want to go because I am only one opinion. However, if you want to find the best tacos, let me know as I am still searching.
1515 Ocean Avenue
Santa Monica, CA 90401
"You mean it's not on Superba Boulevard? That's weird!"
That was my friend's reaction as we were making our way towards the restaurant. Situated in Venice, CA, the restaurant is bustling with nightlife as people fill the whole space. People wait outside of the restaurant as there is always a wait to enter. Once we had told them about our reservation, we were seated in the center of the restaurant, in the heart of all the conversations and social life. We order the Charred Thick Cut Bread, and it was worth it. You may be thinking to yourself, "Why would I want to pay for bread?" Don't let it fool you. The simplicity of bread is brought out. Presented with a knife piercing through two thick pieces of bread, the flavor of chives is brought out in every bite. The butter adds to the enjoyment, and you realize this is not your everyday bread. It should not come as a surprise as the word bread is in the restaurant's name. We also order the Angel Hair, Cauliflower Alla Romana, and the Grass Fed Beef 'Dagwood' Burger. The Angel Hair was full of flavor. The tomatoes added sweetness to the dish and the garlic complemented it with some heat. The parmesan and basil added a nuttiness and freshness to the plate. The cauliflower's breading and garlic brought a saltiness and kick of flavor to the palate. The burger's brioche bun soaked up the flavor of the tomato jam and aioli. The portions were moderate, but able to fill all of our stomachs. You could say the service could have been quicker, but you can't try to speed up good flavors. That takes time.
1900 S. Lincoln Blvd.
Venice, CA 90291
Our total bill at Bandera was a sign to us all that we should also be trying restaurants that our wallets can comfortably sit through without any panic or desire to leave. Most of the restaurants and places my friends eat at are in or around Santa Monica. I decided to figure out a place we could go that was outside of their usual circle, and one that had a price that would not break the bank. I chose the Abbot Kinney Food Trucks for a few reasons. For one, I had not been to the food trucks for almost a year. Another reason is that I knew none of them often went to eat at a food truck. It was also a chance for them to spend a Friday night on Abbot Kinney. They would be able to see the hustle and bustle of Venice, a different outlook on a night out than what they were all used to.
Once we got there, the streets were overflowing with people walking and sitting on the sidewalks. We could not decide easily where we would be going, so we chose to walk down the whole of Abbot Kinney Boulevard to see what other food trucks were available for us. After walking back to where we had started, we landed up the Falasophy food truck and one serving acai bowls.
After my friend had received her acai bowl, we went back to my house and ate. It was far too busy to find anywhere to sit on Abbot Kinney, so this was an ideal situation. My friend's acai bowl was half of a coconut. She wanted to try and eat some of it, but her difficulties were prolonged. We all tried to help her, but it was to no avail. It did create some lasting memories that none of us have forgotten.
I had a meal from the falafel truck. It was a large portion for the price I paid, which was the first sign to me that it was worth exploring. The falafel was moist and flavorful, with Middle Eastern spices creating a mixture of spicy and salty without becoming overbearing. To compare it to other places, it was a bowl like you would find at Chipotle, but twice the size with more to offer.
I would recommend for everyone to go to the Abbot Kinney food trucks at least once. It is held on the first Friday of every month.
"Don't you mean the restaurant Hillstone?"
This is how I found out about the restaurant Bandera.
Three of my friends from elementary school, along with myself, decided to get together at least once a week for dinner. They had all come back home for the summer, and we were all excited to catch up with each other. All four of us had only been together once before the summer, and as I was out of the loop, I was eager to learn how they had been doing. One of my friends and I were doing the summer semester at a local college, leaving breakfast and lunch outings out of the question. We were all happy to have plans for the summer with each other, and we ended up going to at least nine different restaurants from June-August 2016.
The problem with going to a restaurant, especially in Southern California, is figuring out where you want to go. There is an enormous amount of options, and many hidden gems go unnoticed because there isn't enough time to explore them or people haven't been clued into them yet. This first restaurant was suggested after countless others had been named. My friend and I were unsure about it, as we both were thinking of a completely different restaurant. My friend told both of us to trust her, and that we would both become satisfied with her decision. On a Wednesday evening, all four of us went to Bandera in Brentwood.
We all walked from the valet to the back of the restaurant, towards the hostess waiting in the front. The atmosphere in Bandera is lively. It is always busy with people talking loudly and softly, either for business or a random night out.
"We should get the dip duo!" my friend shouted as we were sitting down. "You're all going to love it!"
She was right. The four of us finished it quickly, as we started talking about college and activities we had been up to. The menu at Bandera is short and simple. It gets straight to the point and doesn't mess around. However, even when there is not a plethora of options, we still had trouble deciding what to have. In the end, two of us had the tri-tip and enchilada platter, and the other two had the macho salad and the Seattle-Style BBQ Salmon.
I had the tri-tip and enchilada platter. The tri-tip was soft and delicate, and cutting through it with a knife was not an issue. It was not dressed with anything, so the pepper and salt came through without being overbearing. The enchilada was smooth and melted at every bite. The decorated toppings allowed the enchilada to have a bite to it.
There were no complaints after the meal was over. I would highly recommend people to try Bandera, especially in groups for the atmosphere. It can get loud in the restaurant, so young children would not be advised to go there.
Our bill was higher than most college students would like to see, but it was worth it for the experience and food we were served.
11700 Wilshire Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90025