There is a new restaurant near the Pier / Promenade area of Santa Monica that we really like. It's called Buddha's Belly. We like it so much that we've been there for dinner three times in the past two weeks. The other reason for this is that there simply aren't very many good restaurants in that area. And, since we're in that area so often, this is pretty much the default now when we're there and we're hungry.
It's a pan-Asian restaurant with good atmosphere and best of all a very nice combination of Thai, Chinese, Japanese, and California flavors sprinkled throughout the dishes. Plus, it is very reasonably priced, so you could go there any time you feel like it. The only downside is on Saturday night we showed up with five people and the wait was about forty minutes. They're just not set up for groups. But, if you have up to four peeps, you should easily get a nice booth near the window and be happy. Oh, and they have a bar so you could just wait there and have a few : )
Here are some of the dishes we've tried:
Albacore and Avocado Spring Roll
This thing rocks!! It just melts in your mouth and has a great combination of flavors.
Chilled Vietnamese Rolls
I had to try these since I love these kinds of rolls so much. They were good. The fried onions added a nice touch. The two sauces that came with it were very good.
Spicy Thai Beef Salad
Good, the beef was delicious, not a ton of it. Maybe a few too many onions but overall quite tasty.
Vegan Tofu Salad
Tasty, I would have liked some more "stuff" in it. Good if you're not super hungry or as a side-dish.
Rice and Noodles:
Roasted Garlic Fried Rice
Woah.. awesome! Plenty of cloves of roasted garlic in a Chinese-style fried rice. Great side-dish.
Singapore Seafood Noodles
These are squid-ink (purple), kind of thick, vermicelli noodles with plenty of seafood, and the right touch of heat. You could really tastes the five-spice powder in here, and I'm totally into that right now so I loved it.
These are good if you like Chines lo-mein, because that's what it reminded me off. I'm not nuts about lo-mein in general.
Spicy Peanut Noodles
I didn't like these, although my boyfriend gobbled them up. I thought it was way too peanut-y.
Thai Green Curry Chicken and Jasmine Rice
This should really be listed under Entrees because it's a square meal. You get a bowl of white meat chicken in a delicious coconut curry sauce with lightly cooked fresh veggies such as Japanese eggplant (which is a fave of mine) and others. Generous side of Jasmine rice (not too fragrant though). Great. My boyfriend loved this dish.
Santa Monica, CA
7475 Beverly Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA