Los Angeles has no shortage of cool neighborhoods, in all shapes and in all sizes. There's the lowkey beauty of Los Feliz, the überhip Sunset Boulevard vibes of Silver Lake and Echo Park, and then, of course, the buzzy, still-comin'-up areas like Highland Park and Eagle Rock.
But maybe none is quite so iconically LA than Venice Beach, where bodybuilders flex, stoners amble, impossibly beautiful women gallivant in short shorts, and skateboarders soar in a beachside halfpipe. Make no mistake: This is LA cool at its most iconic.
Venice also has treasures old and new when it comes to its restaurants and bars, from crazy-hyped Gjelina to the classic appeal of The Great Western Steak & Hoagie. Here are eight places you shouldn't miss next time you're living the good life in Venice.
Gjelina: An early adopter of the rustic chic aesthetic, Gjelina is known for brusque service (don't even think about asking for any substitutions) and incredible California-Italian cuisine. Pizza is a must-order, whether you're here for brunch, lunch, or dinner.
Gjusta: The most chaotic deli counter in LA serving incredible California cuisine. While anything with fresh baked bread is a solid choice, the brisket sandwich showcases not only the wildly good bread, but the wonder of Gjusta house-smoked meat as well.
Rose Café-Restaurant: This place serves up high-quality, seasonal offerings for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It makes for a great place to meet with an old friend and catch up over a plate of pumpkin hummus and na'an.
Poké-Poké: There exists no better power lunch by the beach than a large order of a tuna poke with everything: jalapeño, shoyu, onions, sesame seeds, and obviously kale, because you're in LA. Weirdly, kale tastes really good with huge piles of chopped tuna.
wallflower: Venice may be the last place in LA where you would expect to find full-flavored Indonesian food, but it's there. Their cocktails—with things like pandan, coconut, and other Southeast Asian flavors—make it all go down smoother, too.
Mariscos Guillen La Playita: Cash-only Mexican taco stand with a seafood focus. Beyond the mean shrimp cocktail and briny tostadas, chicharron tacos and meaty tortas will make your day.
The Great Western Steak & Hoagie: This is one of Venice's last-remaining dive restaurants. Come here whenever you want to escape the yuppiness of it all for their juicy, filling, and affordable steak sandwiches.
C&O Trattoria: It is impossible to leave C & O Trattoria without stuffing yourself silly with their stupidly addictive complimentary garlic knots. They serve old-school Italian-American food in all of its glory, and their huge patio keeps you coming back.
For more tips for where to eat, drink, and hang out in every corner of LA, check out the complete MUNCHIES Guide to Los Angeles.