Can't decide if you want Chinese, Thai or Japanese food? There is a place that serves all three, right on Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica, called Yangtze. They are one of the few places on the Promenade to offer a 1/2 price sushi bar happy hour every day after 5pm except Friday and Saturday. When you can't decide what you want to eat, or there are several of you each wanting a different Asian cuisine, you can come here without compromising on your craving. They do a very respectable job in each of the cuisines and they do a very good job of adjusting the spiciness of certain dishes to your taste. This is the place where you can start with pot stickers, then segway to pad thai and kung pao. My favorites here are the spicy noodles with shrimp and the fish with black bean sauce. One of the things I like best about Yangtze is their outdoor patio which looks directly onto the Promenade. You can people watch as you graze, but keep in mind that just as you can see them, they can see you too, so if you don't know how to use chopsticks, you may want to stick with a fork.
Just a few blocks and a couple of mental continents away, is the English Pub, Ye Olde King's Head. Serving standards like fish and chips (best with malt vinegar), shepherd's pie, Welsh Rarebit (which as their menu says, has nothing to do with rabbits) and Scotch Eggs (again as their menu says, wrapped in sausage, not whisky), this is where ex-pats of England go for a taste of home. I came here after I had been to London, and it was a great reminder of the family feel of the pubs, with friendly service and the kind of meat and potatoes comfort food that most people crave. In a nod to it's location in health food oriented Santa Monica, they do offer a few salads and vegetable dishes along with a few curries in a nod to the heavy Indian presence in the U.K. There is a shoppe next to the restaurant, selling all things English from tea cozies to shortbread, and a bar with two dart boards where very competitive games are played. If you are looking to watch a good game of football (we call it soccer) with people who know the game, stop by here for a pint of Guinness with your mates. If you prefer English tea, come by on a week-end or get a group together and ask them set up a tea party for you. It's fun as an alternative to an American brunch.
Two restaurants that start with the letter Y, continents away from each other in ambiance and offerings, yet only a few blocks away from each other. It goes to show that your world is as close or far away as you make it.