Westwood, Brentwood, Culver City, Venice, Santa Monica all fine. Doesn’t have to be destination-worthy by itself, but a couple of steps up from fast food would be nice (probably doesn’t need to be said :P).
800 Degrees 1:30am in Westwood and Santa Monica
Swingers Santa Monica 2am 3am thurs-sat
Pacific Dining Car Santa Monica 24 Hours
Izzy’s Deli Santa Monica 24 hours
La Cabana Restaurant Mexican cantina Venice serving until 3 AM daily
Wurstküche Restaurant Venice Open until 12:00 AM
When you say, “[A] couple of steps up from fast food,” do you mean in terms of ambiance or in terms of food quality? The reason I ask is b/c most of my suggestions are pretty fast food-y (except Bossa Nova):
- Tacos Tu Madre (only past midnight on Fri and Sat; I loved my first visit, was “meh” my 2nd visit; other posters have had variable [or just bad] experiences)
- Bossa Nova
- Ruben’s Taco Truck (not a revelation, but certainly a decent choice)
Food quality - ambiance is nice but not mandatory. I’ve found Bossa Nova to be mediocre at best but maybe I’m not ordering the right things - anything in particular to order?
Alas, I’ve only been a handful of times over the yrs, so I haven’t tried a ton of dishes. I generally have stuck w/ the pasta (rosado and alioleo) and found them to be… serviceable. It’s ain’t gonna win any awards, but when you want something in a relatively nice atmosphere at midnight…
Father’s Office (until at least until 1 am, sometimes 2 am)
Just did some more Googling…
Bar Food: until 1AM on Sat (food is okay)
Brü Haus: until 2AM on Thurs-Sat; partner and I enjoyed their pastrami (or reuben?) once or twice, but it’s not on the menu anymore! I remember it well b/c I was shocked that a bar in that area actually had good food. Still, might be worth a try, if you don’t mind what I imagine would be a very loud and raucous environment.
I believe the kitchen at FO closes an hour or two before midnight. Not sure though since I leave before 10-1030PM. Pretty sure I’ve heard last call for the kitchen that early.
They’ve relaxed that cutoff in recent years, esp. on Friday nights (when I usually go).
Alibi Room. They serve a bunch of dishes from Chego and Kogi.
Definitely some great recs on this thread that are all above fast food level. many are FTC-worthy places.
As others have pointed out, being able to eat stuff like:
Tsujita Ramen (high quality Tonkotsu Tsukemen / Ramen noodles)
Morinoya: Japanese Izakaya (some misses but some very good hits also)
Father’s Office: Quality Burger and other interesting dishes from Chef Sang Yoon
Pacific Dining Car: Classic American Steakhouse
Lots of options for you.
A little further afield from your original parameters is Aburiya Raku on La Cienega.
Here’s a handy EaterLA link
Pho Show in Culver City is open until midnight on weekdays and until 2 a.m. Thursday thru Saturday. The food is inconsistent and the service too, but sometimes you just need a big bowl of noodles near home after the bars…
On Sawtelle, Tsujita is open until 2 on Thursday thru Saturday and Tatsu is open until 3. Better bowls of noodles here.
Tentenyu, the new chicken ramen on Sawtelle, is also open until 2 AM and is down the street from Tsujita/Tatsu.