El Cholo

Interior

***** (5 stars)

I’ve been going to El Cholo on Western since I was a child, and it defines Mexican food for me, even if their idea isn’t perfectly aligned with what has come to be known as Tex-Mex, and even if it’s not all authentic Mexican either. I love it.

This location is just as good, if lacking a bit of the small house ambiance. Have a number 1 and original nachos. You won’t be sorry.

El Cholo
1025 Wilshire Blvd
Santa Monica, CA 90401
(310) 899-1106
https://www.yelp.com/biz/el-cholo-santa-monica-2

Melisse

**** (4 stars)

This is a good, but not great restaurant. The preparations are elaborate, and most results are quite tasty, but it is rare that things come together in that transcendental experience where the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

The wine list is good if, expectedly, pricey. There are some hard to find gems, although no great depth of vintages.

Service is efficient and accommodating, neither stiff nor particularly friendly.

Atmosphere is understated although the open room and fairly bright lighting aren’t particularly intimate.

A fine restaurant, but after two visits to check it out, not one that beckons me back.

Melisse
1104 Wilshire Blvd
Santa Monica, CA 90401
(310) 395-0881
http://www.yelp.com/biz/melisse-santa-monica-2

Ye Olde Kings Head

**** (4 stars)

If you like English food, this is a great  spot for it. Most is authentic, and what’s not authentic is in general an improvement. The BLSt used English bacon, and was a delicious combination of ingredients. The Ploughman’s Platter was more extensive than any I’ve had in England. And the chicken salad had just the right amount of curry.

The decor is really charming, much quainter than most real English pubs.There’s a cozy dining space and also a more traditional pub.  There’s also an extensive outside dining area along the sidewalk.

Next door is an English shop where you’ll find many hard to obtain foodstuffs.

Ye Olde Kings Head
116 Santa Monica Blvd
Santa Monica, CA 90401
(310) 451-1402
http://www.yelp.com/biz/ye-olde-kings-head-santa-monica