CITYWIDE — The weather outside is far from frightful in Santa Monica where beachfront hotels, world-class restaurants and award-winning Farmers’ Markets make it an ideal place to celebrate the holiday season.

With farm-to-table cuisine and cocktails, it’s no wonder Zagat has named Santa Monica the best place for dining in all of Southern California for two consecutive years.

So this year, instead of slaving away in the kitchen cooking Thanksgiving dinner, check out a local hotel or restaurant and spend more time chatting with the family instead of wrestling with the bird.

Here’s a list of some of what’s available in the city by the sea:

• Locanda del Lago (www.lagosantamonica.com) has been situated on the Third Street Promenade for over 20 years, giving the restaurant front row views of the two weekly Downtown Farmers’ Markets for years. It’s no wonder Locanda del Lago will feature an apple tortelloni at Thanksgiving dinner made with apples from the market — $49 three courses, $59 four courses, $20 optional wine pairings; tax and gratuity not included. Offered from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.

• Catch at Hotel Casa del Mar (www.hotelcasadelmar.com) offers gluten-free menus to enjoy with ocean views from their dining room, and Casa Del Mar will feature gluten-free holiday cookies for diners this season. Catch’s Executive Chef Jason Bowlin, who is also a surfer, has created menus for the holidays featuring sustainable seafood and Farmers’ Market fresh ingredients.

• At Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel (www.santamonicaloewshotel.com), guests can enjoy breathtaking ocean views and holiday cheer in the lobby lounge with an inspired menu of small bites like roast pork taquitos, candy cane and peppermint shrimp, turkey rhubarb and roasted pumpkin seed on lavash crisps. On Thanksgiving Day, indulge in an exquisite Champagne brunch with made-to-order omelets and waffles, gourmet eggs Benedict and grilled cheese stations, sushi and raw bar selections, carving stations featuring Thanksgiving favorites, a lavish dessert display and more. $74 for adults, $37 for children. Reservations available from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Its restaurant Ocean & Vine will also be serving a four course, prix-fixe dinner with maple roasted turkey and seasonal favorites — $44 per person. Reservations available from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.

• To toast the season, Santa Monica celebrity chef Michael McCarty has a new Farm-to-Glass mixology program at the newly renovated dining bar/lounge at Michael’s (www.michaelssantamonica.com). Mixologist Jason Robey features fresh seasonal herbs and fruits grown on the new rooftop garden along with fresh produce from the Santa Monica Farmers’ Market, which celebrated it’s 30th anniversary this year. 

• FIG restaurant at Fairmont (www.fairmont.com/santamonica) will encourage diners to manage portion sizes with a “leftovers first” Thanksgiving menu featuring creative twists on traditional dishes — think turkey tacos, quinoa stuffing and potato and chorizo empanadas.

• On the oceanfront, Santa Monica’s legendary restaurant The Lobster (www.thelobster.com) offers guests pairs of the freshest catch alongside vegetables and legumes from area farms. Dishes like steamed American lobster with sautéed Swiss chard and Weiser Farms heirloom potatoes and grilled wild Alaskan king salmon with Rutiz Farms fava beans and fiddlehead ferns celebrate the many flavors of Santa Monica.

• At Santa Monica Place’s newly opened True Food Kitchen (www.truefoodkitchen.com), new seasonal dishes developed in partnership with Dr. Andrew Weil have been introduced. Tempting appetizers like roasted beet and mozzarella agrodolce, gluten-free harvest chopped salad and vegan organic tomato, roasted kale pizza provide a healthy complement to the holiday shopping experience.

For those who still would like to cook, but need some assistance, check out The Market at Santa Monica Place.

• The Gourmandise School of Sweets & Savories inside The Market will have its baking hotline available — (310) 656-8800 — for all those Thanksgiving emergencies! They will also offer a gluten-free class on Nov. 22 at 6:30 p.m. For $75, you can learn gluten-free recipes from pastry Chef Hadley Hughes. There will also be two pie workshops on Nov. 23. Just bring two pie tins and they’ll teach you the rest.

For more information, go to thegourmandiseschool.com.

• The Curious Palate will be making delicious sides to help you out as well. Enjoy staples like mac-n-cheese, sweet potatoes whipped with maple rum butter and buttermilk biscuits. Call (310) 395-2901 to order.

news@www.smdp.com

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