Food on Pico: A serving of Restaurants
Pico Blvd. offers a wealth of food and culture. From the beach to downtown, the street stretches across the city with our small school adjacent to a piece of its twisting path. As a student looking for something to eat, a great variety of food is offered in close proximity to the campus.
First, across the street from Santa Monica College's main campus is a small, quaint and untapped resource of amazing food. The restaurant has a wide variety of choices that meets the needs and desires of every customer. Renowned for its bagel-like crust and amazing ambience, Abbots Pizza has the best that there is to offer.
A metal counter that makes it look lika a real New York pizza stop surrounds the small interior of Abbots. They play modern music and the walls are covered with past awards and a white boards to write fun messages on. The environment is great for kids and adults alike.
"I've been there twice and think that the pizza is the best in the West! The service is great. I really think they should franchise," said Matt, a 20-year-old SMC student.
Students and citizens flock to their two locations in Los Angeles. The original location where it all began is at 1407 Abbot Kinney Blvd., in Venice. Thomas and Richard Bronx, the founders, first came over to Los Angeles with a different take on pizza.
They held a recipe that was truly unlike anything else happening at the time, and they opened a small hole-in-the-wall restaurant in Venice in 1995.
Customers agree that the best pie is the mushroom pizza with four different kinds of mushrooms mixed together with an olive pesto sauce instead of the baseline marinara.
The Venice restaurant won recognition for its amazing food in the Los Angeles Zagat Restaurant Survey in 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, and 2002.
In 2003, Abbots made it to the number four spot in the Top 100 Italian Restaurants in the Los Angeles Southern California area.
"Its pretty good for the price. It could be a little cheaper, but in general, I really enjoy it," said Jeremy, who is in his first semester at SMC.
When compared to other restaurants, Abbots pizza blows most of the competition out of the water. Some of the most common and crowded places on Pico Boulevard are Subway and Barbeque Garden.
Obviously, Subway may be considered one of the healthier choices, but the service is slow and students trying to grab a quick bite in-between class usually overrun the place.
"Don't get me wrong, Subway is cool, but around campus, nothing beats the atmosphere that Abbots produces," said Mescal, a 34-year-old SMC student.
One customer referred me over to the Barbeque Garden just a mere half block away, where it not only had a B health rating, but the atmosphere was quiet and despondent. The food was mediocre at best, and I felt almost guilty for even eating there.
Also, just across the street from the school you will find the Hungry Pocket, with all you can eat falafel pockets Monday and Wednesday, from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m., and Foster Freeze, an establishment that has been around for 50 years.
Moving up and down Pico you of course have all of your fast food, McDonalds, Burger King, Kentucky Fried Chicken and even a Weinersnitzchel, but other hidden treats lie along the boulevard.
"Rae's is good food for the price. On Saturdays it is packed, but it seems like a hangout crowd though there are always pretty girls," said Robert Stevens, West side resident. Rae's Restaurant stands on Pico near the ten and has been an establishment since 1958.
The Lazy Daisy CafÃ© was a favorite with one SMC student. Andre EspaÃ±a, soon transfering to UCLA, said, "I come here all the time, I drink Pellegrino, I eat lunch and read. Everything else around school is sort of gross."
At the Lazy Daisy you can find such stuff as organic coffee and a variety of vegetarian dishes. They also serve breakfast all day.
Another good eat includes Gilbert's El Indio Mexican Food. A classic Mexican joint with its cousin restaurant Paco's having two locations outside of Santa Monica.
"For the price it is the best Mexican food you will find around Santa Monica," said Mauricio Viles, a 19-year-old SM resident. "The food is good and I would rate it a ten because it's so cheap."
So if your not in a rush and are looking for some good, fresh food, start with Abbots Pizza and then work your way around to some of the other treats.w