A local cookbook author and foodie shares the top spots for fun in L.A.’s coastal enclave

Cassia, Santa Monica
Rick Poon

Amelia Saltsman, seasonal-foods expert, family-farming advocate, and author of the Seasonal Jewish Kitchen and the Santa Monica Farmers’ Market Cookbook shares her tips on how to make the most of the beachside community’s cultural and culinary offerings.


Saltsman is a big fan of Palisades Park, an easy 1.6-mile stretch of  historic parkland sandwiched between Ocean Avenue and the coastal sandstone bluffs that overlook the Pacific Ocean. 


When she’s in the mood for something old-school, Saltsman heads to 1959 dive Chez Jay for a vodka martini with extra olives and some scampi rice pilaf. “It’s just what you’d hope for at a beach-town joint; ship’s wheel at the entrance, peanut shells on the floor, and a diverse clientele of old-timers, surfers, bikers, artists and actors.”


Saltsman and her husband love Cassia’s spacious bar for cocktails and dinner. “We go early,” she says, “it’s our hassle-free strategy for getting into the city’s top restaurants.” Her favorite picks are the charcuterie fried rice or chopped escargots.


Each week Saltsman heads to the Santa Monica Farmers’ Market to catch up with neighbors, chefs, and farmers who’ve become friends. “I marvel at the ever-changing kaleidoscope of fresh ingredients and the diversity of people who shop; it’s a beachside cultural and food mash-up.”


Saltsman sends guests to the Channel Road Inn. “This refurbished 1910 Cape Cod–style Colonial-revival home always makes me fantasize about what it must have been like in the early 20th century when stylish vacationers from Pasadena and downtown came west to take in the salt air.”