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A chef at CafŽ Crepe on the Third Street Promenade prepares the restaurant's signature dish Ñ the crepe. (photo by Michael Ryan)

When I asked five of my friends if they were familiar with the Third Street Promenade’s Café Crepe, they all replied “yes.” But when I asked them if they ever stepped inside for some food, the answer was “no.”

That was surprising. After all, the corner of Third Street and Broadway is a major focal point for traffic, tourists, raucous street performers, and pestering solicitors. It is essentially enough to keep any local at bay.        

However, this corner cafe in the thick of tourist town had some merits worth pointing out.

For starters, the prices are very reasonable, especially in an area that is forced to do a little gouging just to pay the rent. Crepes range from $4 to $10 depending on how decedent you want to go. Refreshments are even more of a steal. Pitchers of beer are $11, which is one dollar cheaper than most dive bars here in town. Plus there are always a list of specials like the weekday soup, salad, and sandwich combos for $6.25. And being in such a competitive spot for business, the $6.55 burger and fries banner was what initially caught my attention and subsequently lured me in.

The burger, exceeding expectations in price and overall taste, was enough to warrant some repeat patronage the following days. Of course what is the point about reporting on Café Crepe without trying their namesake? With two pages of options to choose from there is certainly a large list of both the sweet and savory crepes. Ranging from simple plain crepes, to more Americanized offerings dressed to the nines in Nutella, Grand Marnier, banana, strawberries, and whipped cream, I steered more in the direction of excess. The strawberry, banana, and Nutella crepe, accompanied by a double espresso was more than enough of a power surge to kick off a day of bike riding around town.

Café Crepe also offers a list of traditional baguette sandwiches, paninis, and a customary salad Niçoise. Along with these standard options, Café Crepe has a variety of pizzas, specialty cocktails, and a noteworthy Parisian hot dog — a 12-inch wiener, Swiss cheese, béchamel sauce, on a baguette. C’est une bon!   

The greatest feature of Café Crepe is without question its prime spot for people watching. With outdoor dining right on the promenade, it is an ideal place to spectate the parade of shoppers and their array of fashion, for both better and worse. Café Crepe has a very European feel to it, which explains the chatter of German, Italian, and French, coming from the surrounding seating. While I usually steer clear of the masses, it is a viable option if you find yourself in the middle of the mayhem of Third Street.   

Of course with parking being such a hassle, biking down to the promenade is encouraged. And for some people, like myself who are car free, biking is the only way to ride, eat, and buy local.

If you go

Café Crepe

1460 Third Street Promenade

Santa Monica, Calif.

90401

(310) 576-0499

http://cafecrepe.com/

Michael can be seen riding around town on his bike burning calories so he can eat more food, or on CityTV hosting his own show, “Tour de Feast.” To reach him visit his website at tourdefeast.net or follow him on Twitter @TourDeFeastSM.

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