11 Must-Try Cheap Eats On Venice Beach Boardwalk
Few would argue the quintessential LA-ness of a day at Venice Beach. Soaking in the sun; walking the Boardwalk peppered with hustlers, musicians, artists, and wanderers; and indulging on cheap beachside eats are mandatory experiences for Westside locals and tourists. But does Boardwalk snacking limit you to limp fries and mystery burgers? No way! We all have our go-to sit-down spots—breakfast at Sidewalk Cafe, sunset watching at High, and cocktails at the revamped Whaler, but for serious snack attacks, here's a short list of must-try treats. Read on for the best spots to eat well on the cheap while walking the Venice Beach Boardwalk, and if we've missed your favorite, please share it in the comments below.
Mini Donuts: Zelda’s Corner
Is there a better deal on the beach than 30 mini donuts for $6? Our crystal ball says no and advises you to head straight to Zelda’s Delicatessen just off the Boardwalk. The mini donuts there are made to order on a countertop conveyor contraption; then popped hot into a bag where they’re shaken with a generous amount of cinnamon sugar. Add the hard-to-find Bubble Up soda for a super a.m. sugar rush. The tiny shop also makes great sandwiches, but we rarely seem to get past the pillowy donuts. Thu-Tue 9:30am-5pm. Closed Wednesday.
Zelda's Corner // 9 Westminster Ave. at Speedway
Fries: The Wee Chippy
Fresh, hand-cut fries topped with salts like California rosemary, paired with dipping sauce like truffle mayo for less than $5? Yes please. Add a piece of piping-hot, deep-fried Atlantic cod and you still come in under $10 and have a meal that can be shared by two. The Wee Chippy was founded by a Scottsman who wanted to bring a little of his homeland to Venice Beach. You’ll never settle for limp Boardwalk fries again. Daily 12pm-7:30pm.
The Wee Chippy // 1301 Ocean Front Walk at Westminster Ave.
Fresh sorbet: N’ice Cream
When the sun has scorched your shoulders and parched your throat, a heaping scoop of fruit sorbet cools like little else. At N’ice Cream on the Boardwalk, part of a small local chain, the sorbet is made fresh every morning and you can taste it. The flavors can change daily, but on a recent visit lemon was appropriately tart, the strawberry subtly sweet, and the watermelon made us wish for a flask of vodka in a good way. It’s just water, cane sugar, and fresh fruit in the sorbets, so they work for vegans too. The shop also makes a rotating list of gelato flavors daily the likes of salted caramel and coconut banana. Daily 11am-5pm.
N'ice Cream // 619 Ocean Front Walk at Sunset Ct.
Fresh gelato: Venice Coffee & Creamery
New to the Boardwalk, Venice Coffee & Creamery gets points for its cute pink-and-white awning, spacious interior and broad selection of delicious desserts and fresh-made sandwiches. Everything is made in-house, and the employees go the extra mile to make sure the customers are happy. But who are we kidding? We’re here for the creamy gelato that comes in flavors like hazelnut and Nutella. The morning special includes a quiche and small coffee for $6, and in the afternoon you can get a croissant sandwich and soda for $7.75. Show your student ID and get an extra 20% off too. Daily 8am-7:30pm.
Venice Coffee & Creamery // 1307 Ocean Front Walk at Westminster Ct.
Grass-fed gyro: Malaka Brothers
The name Malaka Brothers might have you scratching your head—malaka is Greek slang for wanker—but there’s nothing questionable about the fare. This isn’t some greasy hole-in-the-wall with a spinning rotisserie of questionable provenance. Everything from sauces on up are made in house, the lamb and beef are grass-fed, and there wasn’t a limp leaf or wilted tomato to be found on our stuffed $9 sandwich. If you’ve got room, order a side of the smokey roasted eggplant dip. You won’t regret it, and you’re right by Muscle Beach to watch people working up a sweat while you chow down. Daily 11am-6pm.
Malaka Brothers Gyro // 1827 Ocean Front Walk at 19th Ave.
Trip to Hawaii: Poke-Poke
Eating raw fish from a Boardwalk eatery sounds fishy? Then you haven’t been to Poke-Poke, which will make a believer out of you for less than $10. The light, refreshing mix of sushi-grade ahi, shoyu, sesame oil and seeds, plus green and white onions comes by way of Hawaii where poke is a common dish. It’s a genius umami mashup that also happens to be pretty good for you (add-ons include avocado and kale). Hint: to avoid the often long lines, use the ChowNow app to schedule a pickup order. Daily 11am-6pm.
Poke-Poke // 1827 Ocean Front Walk at 19th Ave.
Peruvian: El Huarique
Fresh ceviches served with Peruvian corn, sweet potato and leche de tigre, and hot plates of lomo saltado (beef sirloin stirfry) with garlic rice and fries (each $11.25), are popular choices at this hidden gem. Finish your meal with a traditional Peruvian chicha morada (purple corn drink) or a maracuya (passion fruit juice). Daily 10am-7pm. Too crowded at the beach? They deliver to Venice, Marina del Rey and some parts of Santa Monica.
El Huarique // 1301 Ocean Front Walk at Westminster Ave.
Iced Coffee & Bread Pudding: Espresso Yo’Self
The cold-brewed Intelligentsia iced coffee at this little window next to Poke-Poke might seem pricey at $4, but its potency and size translate into one seriously good deal. Whether you choose to augment that icey cup of caffeine with a slice of wild whiskey bread pudding is totally up to you. Daily 7:30am-sunset.
Espresso Yo'Self // 1827 Ocean Front Walk at 29th Ave.
Burger: Hinano Cafe
OK, so it’s not technically on the Boardwalk, but we’re willing to bend the rules for this dive bar that’s been around since 1962. Its burgers ($6 for single, $8 for a double) are among the best in Venice with patties from Fulton Provision Co. in Portland. Toppings—lettuce, tomato, onion, mayo, mustard and relish—are no-nonsense but fresh, and you can choose between cheddar or Swiss. Chips, pickles, and peppers come on the side. Did we mention there’s sawdust on the floor, the popcorn is free, and the ice cold beer is served in frosty mugs? 21 and over. Cash only. Daily 8am-2am.
Hinano Cafe // 15 West Washington Blvd. at Speedway
Pizza: Big Daddy and Sons
If you’re going to eat Boardwalk pizza, you might as well do it somewhere where you can have it deep-fried too. That’s the charm of Big Daddy and Sons, a family business that's been in Venice for close to 20 years, and where they'll pretty much deep-fry anything. Any slice ($2.50 for cheese) can be ordered fried for an extra 50 cents, but you can also get Oreos, Twinkies, and DingDongs deep-fried. Oh, and they sell funnel cake (of course they do!). Hey, let's not forget that Venice was once the Coney Island of the west. Mon-Fri 9am-7:30pm, Sat-Sun 9am-8pm.
Big Daddy and Sons // 1425 Ocean Front Walk at Market Street
Candy Shop: It'Sugar
If it's a sugar high you're seeking on the Venice Beach Boardwalk, then this colorful candy emporium will satisfy any sweet tooth. From fist-size jawbreakers to half-pound Reese's peanut butter cups, you'll find super-sized versions of all your childhood favorites as well as other edible novelties you may want to explore. Can't decide? Make your own quarter pound mixed bag for $3.49.
It'Sugar // 2017 Ocean Front Walk at Venice Blvd.