A rustic-chic backdrop at Il Corso complements wood-oven pizza, homemade pastas, fresh salads and other authentic Italian fare.
Breakfast and Brunch
Rise, shine, and wake up the day at AC3 Restaurant + Bar, Café des Beaux-Arts, The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, Daily Grill, The Fix, Il Sogno, JC’s Café, Starbucks Coffee, and Wilma & Friedas Cafe (where Benedicts and French Toast compete for top billing).
Comfort Food Classics
Hearty traditional chicken pot pie at Daily Grill marries a flaky crust with a creamy center of chicken and vegetables. Meatloaf and fish and chips are among regulars’ orders, as are salmon, trout, and the popcorn shrimp starter.
At Le Paon, contemporary French dishes from a chef classically trained at Le Cordon Bleu are nearly always succeeded by a fluffy soufflé. Café des Beaux-Arts stirs a longing for Paris with a bowl of French onion soup and flakycrusted quiche Lorraine. Timeless niçoise salad and chicken curry salad are other standouts for a light lunch indoors or out.
Mid-day Meal on the Patio
Family-owned since 1987, JC’s Café offers open-air seating tucked into an El Paseo courtyard. Salads, sandwiches, burgers, and breakfast draw locals who like to try something different each time.
New American With a Twist
The word is out. Airy and modern AC3 Restaurant + Bar inside Hotel Paseo has fast grown a following with their health-wise salads, fresh seafood, and innovative mains. Three courses comprise the daily pre-fixe menu offered 3:30 to 5:30 p.m.
Pizza and Italian
Crisp crust, bubbling cheese, bright marinara sauce. Revisit the Old World’s most quintessential flavors at California Pizza Kitchen, Il Corso, Piero’s PizzaVino, Ristorante Mamma Gina, and Sammy’s Woodfired Pizza & Grill.
Seafood and Steakhouses
Surf and turf is an El Paseo tradition. Reserve your bliss at Eddie V’s Prime Seafood, Mastro’s Steakhouse, Mitch’s on El Paseo Prime Seafood, Pacifica Seafood Restaurant, Sullivan’s Steakhouse, or Tommy Bahama Restaurant & Bar. (Surf is the highlight at The Venue Sushi Bar & Sake Lounge.)
Spices and Cooking Tools
If chopping, seasoning, simmering, and sautéing make you sizzle, see what’s cooking at Savory Spice Shop, The Upper Crust Cooking Company, and Williams-Sonoma.
When noodles are calling, Thai Smile obliges. Lunch specials — from Pad Thai and Panang Curry to Szechwan-style Kung Pao Chicken cooked over a high flame — include steamed rice and salad or tom kum gai soup.
Warm Butter Cake
Only Mastro’s Steakhouse finishes a decadent meal in a dimly lit cozy corner with a shareable serving of this melt-in-your mouth dessert.
PHOTOGRAPH BY LISA CORSON