The Lobster

Santa Monica has precious few restaurants with ocean views. The Lobster, cantilevered over the sand, is one of them. If you’ve always thought of this as a tourist trap, silly you. Chef Allyson Thurber has impressive credentials from her days at Philadelphia’s Striped Bass, and her food is vivid and full of flavor. Along with shrimp cocktail, crab cakes, and assorted lobster preparations, she offers a slew of interesting salads (arugula with black fig, hazelnuts, and Gorgonzola). Entrées such as wild king salmon with garlic masheds and haricots verts aren’t eclipsed by overwrought accompaniments.