Bravo Cucina on Santa Monica's Third Street Promenade stands out as the best place to stop for delicious Italian cuisine with a Californian twist. With classics like handmade gnocchi, “pillow light” potato dumplings, with a choice of Bravo’s organic pesto sauce, or Bravo’s classic pomodoro sauce, chicken piccata, and cioppino, you can satisfy your Italian envy. The Californian twist is the use of organic produce and lighter local choices whenever available like the egg white omelet with sauteed vegetables they serve for breakfast. With the perfect outdoor patio right on the Promenade, this is one of those rare finds in a tourist mecca that is actually worth a stop for a bite whether it is morning, noon, or night.
Just a few (literal) steps away is the fast food version of Wolfgang Puck's restaurants, the Wolfgang Puck Express. Upstairs, above the movie theater is a mini version of the famous restaurants which made Wolfgang Puck famous. If you have never eaten his food before, this is a great place to sample his staples, ranging from a four cheese pesto pizza, to an organic spinach salad served with granny smith apple slices, radiccchio, gorgonzola, and caramelized pecans served with a sherry vinagrette, and finally his fragrant rosemary and garlic roasted chicken served with garlic mashed potatoes. They even have a kids menu with simple fare for young palates, like Linguini with tomato sauce. With a large outdoor patio overlooking the busy promenade, this is the kind of fast food place that sets the mark for others; great food in a pleasant setting for low prices.
Tourists on Third Street can get lucky and find Bravo Cucina or Wolfgang Puck's Express amid the throng of eateries that line this destination, but luck has nothing to do with restaurants that thrive by beating out the competition in taste, ambiance and prices.