Photograph courtesy corazonymiel.com
This is the kind of place most hip cities have dozens of but that had somehow eluded Venice: a great neighborhood restaurant. The eat-up bar, the back patio packed with locals, and the prices (nothing over $18) are what make it neighborhoody. What makes it great is the outstanding slate of everyday dishes executed by French Laundry and Tasting Kitchen alumnus Jesse Barber. Newly minted regulars use hunks of bread to soak up the Moroccan-spiced sauce in the braised baby octopus. A ceramic dish holds a cassoulet with shelling beans, sausage, and pulled pork. A glass of wine and the catch of the day (loup de mer, perhaps) are weeknight splendor achieved. » 1715 Pacific Ave., 310-581-1015 or barnyardvenice.com.