I am not sure what it is with LA, so many Australian’s visit each year and they all come back either having loved it or hated it. We were lucky enough to fall in love with it – the food was amazing, weather was perfect; maybe we just got lucky? Or maybe it was all in the research before we arrived? Whatever the reason, this is how we had the best stay in LA and how you can too!
Whilst swarms of tourists hit up Hollywood Boulevard and the walk of fame, we prefer the colour and quirkiness of Venice Beach. In some ways the rough side reminds me of St Kilda pre-property boom, and in other ways it’s something completely different. Yes, the distribution of income is wide and there are a number of homeless, but they are harmless. The streets aren’t glamorous but after living in Miami, Florida a few years back, the colour, the grit & the rough around the edges landscape is what the US is to me.
When in Venice Beach we stayed at Venice Breeze Suites. Whilst the accomodation was a little tired this time round (we stayed here 5 years ago when it was brand spanking new), the location is walking distance to Abbot Kinney and surrounds. There is no pool, but you are right on the beach.
Staying right on Venice Beach made it easy to walk to a number of destinations. You can now also hire scooters, e-bikes and pedal bikes (download the app Lime) from $1. Once you’ve downloaded the app, you can locate a ride option near you, pick them up and then drop them off wherever you finish using them. They were everywhere and so many people were using them to get around.
If you’re looking to travel to places like Universal Studios, Runyon Canyon or Ojai, I recommend hiring a car. Venice Breeze Suites does have a parking option.
There are so many places to eat healthy and organically in Venice Beach, however these were my top picks:
- Erewhon Market – Organic Supermarket and Cafe with EVERYTHING you need and more. The cafe portion caters for breakfast, lunch or dinner… PLUS they have a great range of delicious cold pressed juices, salads, sushi, sandwiches etc. on hand.
- Intelligentsia Coffee – Located on Abbot Kinney. The set-up reminds me of a science lab and the coffee production process is a carefully refined assembly line. Every time I am amazed by the staffs ability to remember our coffee order (on top of everyone else’s). Almond milk is heaven & they have cups to enjoy the ceramic coffee in-house. If you’re planning on parking yourself here with a laptop, I’d get there early as it’s almost always full. Not much in the way of food, just fresh pastries.
- Blue Bottle – Located on Abbot Kinney. More or less a hole in the wall with a clean, functional set-up that turns over coffees in an instant. Not a day goes by where I don’t see one of their iced-coffees walking down Abbott Kinney.
- Great White – Australians can spot an Aussie restaurant a mile away, and that’s why when we stumbled across @greatwhitevenice we knew we were in for a treat. Everything we “Aus-Zies” know and love at breakfast, with a sprinkle of the US. Located closer to Muscle Beach than Abbot Kinney, but worth the walk.
- Bluestone Lane – Located on Rose Ave, across the road from Cafe Gratitude. All your Australian coffee options on offer, with everything from almond —> oat milk. Their breakfast is delicious and as Australian as you can get in LA.
- Tocoya Organica – This Mexican restaurant was recommended by locals and epitomises California living. Fresh, organic, tasty, relaxed (and a nice break from the Abbott Kinney price tags). They have salad bowls, tacos and what some might say, the best burritos in town. A great spot for lunch.
- The Butcher’s Daughter – Food is locally sourced and organic wherever possible. Breakfast and lunch were a little basic, but the line out the door means it’s catering to the masses and doing it very well. My favourite time of day was between the hours of 5pm-7pm AKA “happy hour” where you can escape the Abbott Kinney price tag and enjoy some people watching from the front “courtyard”.
- Gjelina – Chef Travis Lett does an incredible job of turning every single dish into a work of art. Think woodfire pizzas on the crispiest base, pastas, vegetables, charcuterie and other main meals, all with a Mediterranean twist. The staff were a stand out and really made our night, the wine list was also perfection. Cannot recommend it enough! Reservations recommended
- MTN (Mountain) – Chef Travis Lett (yes, same guy as above) infuses Japanese cuisine with that of the Venice Street culture at MTN. This dark and moody restaurant is buzzing from 6pm with all bar stools packed with locals and travellers alike. The menu is designed to share, but when your bowl of Ramen arrives, trust me when I tell you that sharing is the last thing you feel like doing. Never have I had such an incredible bowl of ramen, ever – I had the prawns; my husband had the pork and both of us could not rate it higher. NOTE: Ramen is a large portion – I couldn’t finish mine. Reservations recommended.
WHAT OTHERS LOVE
- Cafe Gratitude – This restaurant used to be one of my favourites, but upon returning 5 years later, I was a little disappointed that it hadn’t moved forward with the times. If you’ve never been, this extremely popular vegan restaurant is worth a look see.
- Kreation Juice Bar – Another popular spot on Abbot Kinney. Food is Mexican inspired, simple yet satisfying 🙂
If you have any more to add, please share you experiences in the comments below, I would love to know where to go next time!