A Guide to the Mar Vista Area’s Best Fine Dining Restaurants

Frequently cited as one of the best places to live in California, Mar Vista is noted for its friendly community, proximity to the ocean, and incredible views. When you’re in town looking at Mar Vista CA real estate, make sure you reserve some time to experience the best fine dining restaurants in town. These eateries are perfect for a date night or to celebrate making a successful offer on one of the Mar Vista homes for sale!

1. Rustic Kitchen Restaurant & Wine Bar

The Rustic Kitchen is a cozy restaurant perfect for a fine dining adventure after dark. When you stop in early, you’ll find a casual deli-style café and a gourmet market that serves grilled veggie burgers and avocado fries and sells cheeses, cold brew coffee, pickles, and other items. By night, the space becomes an intimate wine bar that features rare and collectible wine as well as frequent winemaker dinners. Past dinners have featured four-course wine pairing menus with dishes like charred corn and lobster chowder, braised short ribs with wild mushroom ragu and fried parmesan polenta, and baked stuffed clams. Yum!

2. N/Naka

Located less than three miles from most Mar Vista California real estate, in Culver City, N/Naka is a Japanese standout that’s perfect for date nights and celebratory dinners. However, if you plan on taking part in the 13-course kaiseki menu, it’s more than worth the price tag. It’s something everyone in the area should do at least once, as it’s a fascinating tour through traditional Japanese cooking techniques and flavor pairings. If you’d like something more affordable, you can choose the vegetarian tasting or a selection of their other offerings.

3. Margot

Also located in Culver City, Margot is the ideal place to bring a first date or to celebrate with your significant other when you’ve made a successful offer on one of the Mar Vista homes for sale. Make sure you get reservations around sunset (or just plan to stay after you eat and indulge in some after-dinner gin and tonics—a house specialty) as this is one of the best places to watch a sunset. As far as the food goes, expect to enjoy house-made focaccia, shrimp tagliarini, grilled Hamachi collar, and seafood risotto. If you decide you’d rather hit Margot for brunch, you can look forward to poached eggs and polenta, black truffle soft scrambles, and American wagyu steak and eggs along with berry spritzers, wines by the glass, or a good selection of beers.

4. Dear John’s

Dear John’s is another fine dining spot that is a must when you’re in the area looking at Mar Vista real estate. This old-school steakhouse is very ‘Old Hollywood’ with its swanky décor and low lighting. Along with fantastic steaks, you can also get spaghetti and clams, oysters Rockefeller, lobster thermidor, and sides of creamed spinach, German potatoes, and mashed potatoes. Dear John’s also has a nice selection of wines by the glass and, if you really love one of the sauces you taste at the restaurant, such as the three peppercorn brandy sauce or green acres sauce, you can buy your own and bring it home.

5. Citrin

Though you’ll have to drive slightly further from Mar Vista to dine at Citrin in Santa Monica, it’s well worth it. The slightly more casual sister restaurant to chef Josiah Citrin’s Melisse, Citrin has delicious oysters, Japanese king crab, lobster truffle risotto, and a fan-favorite Dirty Chicken for Two (served with summer white corn ragout, potato mousseline, and roasted chicken au jus). If you want the full treatment, opt for the tasting menu that includes dishes like egg caviar, lobster Bolognese, wagyu beef sirloin, and peach melba for dessert. Want something slightly more casual? Head into the Cirtin bar from 5:30-7 pm Tuesday through Saturday for food specials, $10 glasses of wine, and $11 cocktail specials.

6. Rustic Canyon

Serving farm-to-table fare in Santa Monica since 2006, Rustic Canyon is a standard favorite that you simply can’t miss. All plates are made for sharing, so make sure you bring along your significant other or friends to munch on grilled shrimp with hazelnut romesco and fried bread, pork chops with smoked trout roe sauce, or Baja scallop Crudo with mango and brown butter. Enhance your meal with a glass of wine or a classic cocktail like the El Negroni, Hemingway Daiquiri, or Executive Manhattan. Rustic Canyon also serves a curated selection of craft beers and ciders from California, as well as house-made sodas for those who don’t want to imbibe.

The Mar Vista area is the perfect place to relax, enjoy endless amenities, and get some of the best food in the country. If you’re going to be in the area looking at Mar Vista CA real estate, make sure you reserve some time to try out the local cuisine at one (or all) of the restaurants on this list.

Haven’t yet found an agent to help you with your Mar Vista home search? Reach out to one of the experienced local agents at The Ravelo & Deane Group. The experts on their team can help you choose the exact home for your needs.

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