When the sun eventually comes out, this will be a nice place to sit and sip cocktails. Credit: Scott Snowden

The slow-but-steady progress on the new Pierside Hotel took another giant step forward on Tuesday as the signature restaurant, called The Surfing Fox, opened its doors for the very first time.

Located at 120 Colorado Ave — adjacent to Tongva Park and just meters from the Santa Monica Pier — the site was formerly operated as a Holiday Inn then a Wyndham. However, arguably the most notable difference between what was and what is now, is the radical transformation of the ground floor dining area that now incorporates a stylish outdoor, al fresco dining area.

“As Santa Monica’s newest hotel near one of the most iconic locations in the country, the Pierside will invigorate one of the city’s most lively street corners for guests and locals alike,” said Hotel General Manager Karina Sedigh.

“Dining in Santa Monica is not just a meal, it is an experience we have the opportunity to offer to both visitors and locals seeking the best of the city,” says Surfing Fox General Manager Clayton Favela. “The restaurant combines elements of coastal casual cuisine with a California SoCal twist. It’s a smorgasbord of a little bit of everything, with something for everyone.”

The inside offers a contemporary coastal-themed decor, where modern California meets vintage surf culture. Sitting outside, diners can enjoy a view of the iconic Santa Monica Pier archway together with the hustle and bustle of Colorado Ave and all that that entails. Thankfully, all the trees have been retained and will eventually provide a lush, leafy umbrella and even a water utility pump has been turned into a feature.

Favela says that Executive Chef David Yamaguchi, who is following his most recent role at Michelin-awarded Chulita in Venice, has Japanese and Mexican roots, so we can expect both classic dishes, including ceviche, Caesar salad, a burger, fried chicken sandwich and fish tacos plus some with quite unique twists.

Fusioned flavors include Koji-brined roasted chicken with coconut sauce and green sambal, halibut with yuzu tomato butter, Thai tea tiramisu with brown sugar boba together with a variety of unique “Foxtails,” the restaurant’s own branded libations, such as the Prickly Pear, a combination of tequila, prickly pear, hibiscus cordial and black lava salt.

A sprawling bar sets the stage for the venue’s beverage program, featuring a selection of California sourced spirits, beers, and local wines. The elevated sit-down venue offers a breakfast and coffee program in the bar area, inclusive of a coffee house-style menu with morning favorites such as varieties of La Colombe coffee, select tea options and fresh pressed juices from a local purveyor that are available for takeaway or dining in. Cocktails start at $17, while glasses of wine at $14.

Favela says that the menu will change throughout the year, but it will more than likely change on a seasonal basis. “Chef has already started thinking about what specials he’s going to introduce, but first we want to get a read on what’s going to read well with the Santa Monica community.”


Scott fell in love with Santa Monica when he was much younger and now, after living and working in five different countries, he has returned. He's written for the likes of the FT, NBC, the BBC and CNN.