This must be Culver City

In 1917, Harry Culver incorporated an area roughly midway between downtown L.A. and the ocean and gave it a slogan: “All roads lead to Culver City.” That’s true, assuming the roads you’re referring to are the 405, the 90 or Venice Boulevard.

Get to know Los Angeles through the places that bring it to life. From restaurants to shops to outdoor spaces, here’s what to discover now.

In many ways, Culver City does feel like L.A.’s point of intersection — and not just in a geographic sense. Considering Culver City’s distance from actual Hollywood, there’s a lot of Hollywood history in this town. “Gone With the Wind,” “Citizen Kane” and “The Wizard of Oz” were filmed here. Now that the writers’ and actors’ strikes are over, the studios are buzzing again. “Jeopardy!” and “Wheel of Fortune” tape at Sony Pictures Studios.

The future of Hollywood is in Culver City too: TikTok HQ is up the street from the Westfield mall. Apple and Amazon Studios have taken up residence in recent years, agitating some longtime residents and worsening the housing crunch.

Locals love that despite its glitzy history, Culver City maintains a bit of a small-town feel with its winsome downtown and hyper-local newspaper. I’m not saying the way of life is a bit slower here, but the police sent me a press release about a birthday party they were throwing for a dog.

Still, any resident, old or new, could tell you things are changing. The Westside cool of Venice is creeping in with spots like Roberta’s Pizza, Etta and Simonette. The Silicon Beach young professional crowd is spilling over from Playa Vista, taking up tables at independent coffee shops between meetings at the WeWork. Culver City has long been considered a good spot for families, thanks to an abundance of high-quality public parks and schools, and we have the boutique children’s gyms and family friendly brunch spots to prove it. It’s not exactly an L.A. nightlife hot spot, but there are lots of good places to get a drink with friends. The city has an Erewhon — “the ultimate sign that an L.A. neighborhood has arrived,” per my colleague Josh Rottenberg — and a meme Instagram account.

“All roads lead to Culver City” is also true for me, personally. After 11 years in a tiny, rent-controlled apartment in West Hollywood, I was ready to spread out. I wanted a place in a good public school district with lots of green space that wasn’t too far from the L.A. Times office in El Segundo. And so my family and I moved to Culver City in the summer of 2020. We couldn’t swing a single-family home here, where those public perks command a sky-high premium. But squarely within budget was an updated condo in Fox Hills, a charming neighborhood hugging a 10-acre park with pickleball courts, a playground, soccer fields and a walking trail. Is it a glamorous neighborhood? You tell me: Leonard Nimoy, Jack Benny, Eydie Gorme, Shelley Winters and Monty Hall are some of my neighbors.


Getting to report this story was really a treat, talking to the owners of some of my favorite local spots about why they chose this area and love being here. Phrases like “walkable” and “community” came up a lot. There are so many great places that I couldn’t put all of them on this map. I’ve tried to include some of the city’s most iconic locales as well as smaller places that deserve your attention.

This is the heart of screenland. And, increasingly, streamland. This must be Culver City.

Love where you live? Tell us which neighborhood we should feature next.

What's included in this guide

Anyone who’s lived in a major metropolis can tell you that neighborhoods are a tricky thing. They’re eternally malleable and evoke sociological questions around how we place our homes, our neighbors and our communities within a wider tapestry. In the name of neighborly generosity, we included gems that may linger outside of technical parameters. Instead of leaning into stark definitions, we hope to celebrate all of the places that make us love where we live.

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People walk at the Culver City Steps
(Joel Barhamand / For The Times)

Try everything at the Culver Steps

Culver City Plaza
Not to be confused with the Culver City Stairs — the popular name for the 282 stairs up to the Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook — the Culver Steps is what real estate developers would call “a mixed-used development” and what a normal person might call “a plaza with a bunch of stores and restaurants.”

Park in the public underground lot and emerge to a day’s worth of places to see and things to do. Some ideas to get you started: Sample the monthly flavors at Salt & Straw before ordering your regular scoop of Gooey Chocolate Brownie. Swing by Pop’s for a half a dozen of what even the New York Times conceded are some of America’s best bagels. Down a gigantic iced coffee from Philz while your kids race around the artificial turf in the center of the plaza. Decide between the “Not So Fried” Chicken and the pesto caprese at Mendocino Farms — and don’t forget a side of spicy curried couscous. See a movie at the no-longer-the-Arclight-but-still-pretty-great Culver Theater. Enjoy live music and a cocktail at Lillie’s at the Culver Hotel. Gawk at the iconic Mansion House at Culver Studios, which resembles — but is not — the house from “Gone With the Wind.” Pick up produce at the farmers market if you happen to be around on a Tuesday afternoon. Become the second person to try every single smoothie at Erewhon. Or just people-watch from the actual steps, which this place has plenty of.
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A defiled painting of Lenin in the collection of the Wende Museum
(Joel Barhamand / For The Times)

Dive into Cold War-era history at the Wende Museum

Culver City Museum
A small, dark-looking museum dedicated to the Cold War might seem like a bit of a downer. That was my assumption whenever I passed by the Wende Museum on Culver Boulevard. But I’m thrilled to tell you that assumption was wrong.

“People think it’s going to be a lot of military- and spy-related stuff,” said Andrew Hartwell, the museum’s communications director. He explained that most people of that time “weren’t Stasi agents or dissidents” but rather everyday people trying to live their lives as best they could.

The Wende (pronounced VEN-duh) celebrates those individuals, including residents of the Soviet Union, China, East Germany, Vietnam and other parts of the Soviet Bloc, and is absolutely worth a visit. There’s art that reflects on the legacy of the Cold War and relics from the era itself. (The “Mad Men” midcentury modern furniture craze extended beyond the Iron Curtain; Soviets celebrated the Space Race with painted porcelain jugs of vodka bearing the likenesses of Belka and Strelka, Russian dogs who went to space. The Cold War could be camp — who knew?) Right out front, you’ll see a bust of Lenin that was splattered with pink paint by East German protesters — “our Mona Lisa,” per Hartwell.

The garden in back is an event space as well as a showplace for eclectic items, including a gigantic bust of cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin and a converted guard stand. Beyond the garden, a three-story community center that will have classrooms and a theater is under construction, with plans to open early next year. Recent museum special programming has included events like “An Afternoon With Bowie’s Piano Man” and a dance performance inspired by a moon rock that Apollo 15 astronaut David Scott recently donated to the museum.

“We’re focused on being part of the community,” Hartwell said. “We have events that are free. We want people to come.”

The Wende Museum is free to visit and is open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
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Shelves of books at the Village Well
(Joel Barhamand / For The Times)

Find community — and your next great read — at Village Well Books & Coffee

Culver City Bookstore
When Jennifer Caspar thought about her ideal bookstore, she imagined a book-centric community gathering place.

“I always wanted to be in a place where I could build community directly,” said Caspar, who got her start working in affordable housing. “A bookstore, a coffee shop — those are my two favorite places to hang out.” She wanted to create a “third place” for people: “Not work, not home, but another place where you can be comfortable and feel welcome and spend the interstitial moments of your day.”

What she dreamed up became the Village Well.

Here in this shop, there are books, of course, as well as book-themed and book-adjacent gifts. There’s also a cafe with tasty food and fresh locally-roasted coffee (and a beer and wine license to boot). If you’re stopping in for the first time, Caspar recommends trying a cappuccino and a turkey cheddar tomato panini, one of the shop’s first menu items and a perennial bestseller.

On a recent visit, I had a smooth cold brew coffee (all of their coffee is sourced from an Inglewood roaster whose family owns the El Salvador property where the beans are grown, Caspar told me) and a heated-up slice of rich, dense carrot-zucchini walnut loaf. After that, I browsed the kids’ section, where I picked up a copy of “Night Night Truck” for my book-and-truck-obsessed toddler. I stay glued to their frequently-updated Instagram to see what’s on the events agenda for that week: I see regular author events, poetry readings, book and cookbook launches. There’s a board game night the first Friday of every month, a family friendly open mic the second Friday of every month, an artists’ creative gathering the first Wednesday of every month, and a kids’ story time every Saturday morning.

“I built the place I wished I had in my life, a place I could walk to,” she said. “I love Culver City. It’s got walkable streets and it’s got a lively downtown area.” After moving here, she realized the small city government and local school system make it feel like everyone knows each other — “a really great connected community.”
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Dining alfresco at the Pasta Sisters
(Joel Barhamand / For The Times)

Decide between tagliatelle, spaghetti or papardelle at Pasta Sisters

Culver City Restaurant
Line up at Pasta Sisters, a Helms Bakery mainstay, and prepare to choose your pasta adventure. At the counter, you’ll pick a fresh, house-made pasta (tagliatelle, spaghetti, papardelle, penne or gnocchi) and a signature sauce (pesto, arrabiatta, bolognese, tomato and basil, or porcini mushroom). I’ve tried just about every combination and I’ve never had a bad plate, though it is difficult to resist the allure of the bolognese over gnocchi with a big goose egg of burrata on top. (The gnocchi and burrata both cost extra, but are worth it.)

Seat yourself in one of the two patios. While you wait, there’s fresh bread to be swirled in olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Most Angelenos would demur dessert after a big plate of carbs. Resist that urge; dig deep and find room in your heart and your stomach to try the ricotta pie studded with chocolate. It is spectacular.
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Karaoke at Backstage Bar & Grill
(Joel Barhamand / For The Times)

Belt it out at Backstage Bar & Grill

Culver City Karaoke Bar
Backstage Bar & Grill, the oldest bar in Culver City, becomes one of L.A.’s karaoke hot spots on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Head up to the DJ booth and put your name down to snag your place in the lineup. Sign up early: Spots go fast.

While you wait your turn to lead the crowd in “Sweet Caroline,” order a Backstage Burger — “most people who try it say it’s the best in Los Angeles,” says owner Ben Myron — or the mac and cheese. He also recommends checking out the newest addition to the drink list: the Utopia, which has blueberry essence and fresh lime with Meili vodka shaken over volcanic ice.

Sony Pictures Studios is right across the street, and this laid-back spot is the perfect place to refuel after a long day on set. It has been for generations: This was the bar where the actors who played the Munchkins in “The Wizard of Oz” went for after-work drinks.

Also, now that the studios are up and running again, Backstage is a primo spot for a potential celebrity sighting. Star power even infuses the drink menu: The owner of Meili vodka “is a friend,” Myron said, demurely. The owner is Jason Momoa.
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Churros and coffee treats are the specialty of Azucanela in the Fox Hills Mall
(Joel Barhamand / For The Times)

Chase those hot churros at Azucanela

Culver City Coffee
On the second floor of Westfield Culver City, just outside the entrance to Macy’s, you can find Azucanela, a coffee shop and churreria that opened this outpost in fall 2022.

Churros are made fresh to order, so come hungry and be prepared to wait a few minutes. You can also order online ahead of time or get your order delivered via its website. The shop offers hot and iced coffee and espresso drinks, including horchata lattes and cafe de olla. Also on the menu: teas, lemonades, several varieties of avocado toasts, and churro concoctions like the signature Churro Donut, which comes with two churro donuts, two dipping sauces, two scoops of ice cream and a pile of fresh berries. The whole thing requires a full set of utensils and numerous napkins to properly eat.

If you haven’t been, Westfield Culver City — formerly and still frequently known as the Fox Hills mall — is a fairly standard midsize indoor mall with an array of major brands (Target, Best Buy, Old Navy, Nordstrom Rack, a recently opened Uniqlo), smaller brands and independent shops (including Lush, Savage x Fenty, and Black-owned Malik Books and Uplift Us Marketplace), and a perfectly respectable food court (yes, there’s a Shake Shack).

Open Mondays through Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sundays 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
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The menu at popular lunch spot Monroe Place is written on large yellow dots on the walls
(Joel Barhamand / For The Times)

Sample sandwiches with a twist at Monroe Place

Culver City Sandwich Shop
This funky sandwich shop opened in Culver City’s arts district in 2021, serving up made-to-order options with some unusual ingredients. Co-owner Sara Fakhfouri said the most popular sandwich is the “Serenity Now!” which she described as a “spicy Mediterranean-style turkey sandwich.” Between focaccia bread from Bub & Grandma’s bakery in Glassell Park, it’s got herb turkey, feta cheese, cucumber, and tomato and red onion salad slathered with a spicy serrano-cilantro spread. Another popular option: the W.L.F., another herb turkey on focaccia; this one with saffron mayo, cucumber, dried barberries (like cranberries, but a bit more tart), pistachio, arugula, pomegranate molasses and crispy shallots.

“I’m Iranian, so I do draw a lot of influence from food I grew up with,” Fakhfouri said. “We like to look at things from a different standpoint. We look at dinner dishes that we love and we brainstorm how to re-create it in an easy transportable lunch form, through a sandwich.”

Everything is made in front of you and all sandwiches can also be constructed as salads. To accompany your main course, there are several homemade beverage options — the day I visited, there was watermelon lemonade, cucumber-mint limeade and cardamom iced tea — as well as a fridge full of more canned Coke and Diet Coke and a selection of Olipop sodas and De La Calle Tepache. There’s also a shelf of chips and other snack-y items, many from women-owned businesses.

Monroe Place has a few seats at a pair of wooden counters inside and a couple two-top cafe tables outside, but it’s more of a to-go place than a sit-down destination. I took my sandwich, got a drink from Hi-Lo across the street, and thoroughly enjoyed my lunch at a picnic table in Veterans Park.

Open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays. Monroe Place only has a limited amount of bread and ingredients every day — some days it sells out and has to close early. Closed Sundays.
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Pizzas are made to order at Windsor Hills Pizza.
(Joel Barhamand / For The Times)

Bump into your neighbors at Windsor Hills Pizza

Culver City Pizza
I discovered the Windsor Hills Pizza truck parked up the street from Fox Hills Park, where owners Kyle and Luke Lucas typically set up shop on Wednesday and Friday evenings. The menu is small — typically a cheese pizza, a pepperoni, and one specialty pizza — plus chocolate chip cookies and mango lemonade. Neighbors get to know each other while waiting for their orders under the truck’s string lights. Kids shout and run around the playground nearby. Music plays from a docked phone. Sound charming? It is — and it’s exactly what the brothers had in mind when they started their business.

Their mission, according to Luke, was “to glorify God by creating community and bringing families closer together.” They wanted to do this specifically by selling their food in neighborhoods that don’t have a lot of mom-and-pop eateries in walking distance. The brothers launched Windsor Hills Pizza with a single pizza oven on a 10-foot-by-6-foot utility trailer in March 2022. Today, they have a custom-fabricated food trailer with three ovens. At events they’ve catered, they’ve served more than 2,000 people.

“It’s just grown and grown and grown,” Luke said. “I would have never guessed we’d be where we are now.”

The brothers grew up in the area, playing soccer and reffing games at Fox Hills Park, as well as nearby Lindberg and Carlson Parks, which are also regular stops for the truck. As they grew up, they got jobs in restaurants to learn the secrets of running a successful food business. Kyle went abroad to work at a Parisian bakery, where he so impressed the owners with his American work ethic that they gave him some of their 58-year-old sourdough starter as a parting gift. The brothers brought the starter back to life (no easy feat, as many of us learned the hard way during the pandemic) and that sourdough is used to make all of their pizza crusts.

If you’re visiting for the first time, Luke says he recommends trying out the cheese pizza to give you a chance to savor the flavor profile of the sourdough crust. I typically go for the special, the rotating selection of which includes the Street Fighter (slow-cooked angus chuck barbacoa, au jus, cilantro, onion and lime), the Ratatouille (bell peppers, zucchini and summer squash), the Vesuvio (caramelized onions, cherry tomatoes, creme fraiche, chili oil and lemon zest) and a seasonally-inspired pie (this winter, it’s going to be a French onion pie with caramelized onions and aged gruyere).

Because of their mounting catering obligations, the schedule changes from week to week — you can find it on their website or on their regularly updated Instagram Stories. You can also place your order ahead of time over the phone or through their website.
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Gratitude Market provides groceries, wine housewares and gifts in the heart of Culver City's downtown
(Joel Barhamand / For The Times)

Pick out a delightful housewarming gift at Gratitude Market

Culver City Gift Shop
Gratitude Market is one of my favorite places to stop in when I’m in downtown Culver City. With fancy jams, honeys, small-batch spices, cookbooks, salsas and sauces, cheeses and baking mixes, the gourmet grocery section was made for kitchen tinkerers like me. I always come home with something new to cook or bake with — or snack on. The Brooklyn Delhi spicy mango chutney and Butcher’s Bunches balsamic berry drizzle have earned permanent spots in my refrigerator. The Too Good to Go Toffee was a huge hit at a recent game night with my friends (too big of a hit, frankly; I regretted sharing).

Owner Lisa Schultz originally ran an art gallery in this space. During the early days of COVID, she said she used the space as a food distribution site for her nonprofit, the Peace Project, and then permanently transformed it into Gratitude Market in 2020.

Beyond the food offerings, Gratitude Market sells jewelry, greeting cards, wine, bar supplies, candles and spa products, ceramics, kids’ toys — it’s one of those places where you might wander in thinking, “Oh, I need to find a gift for so-and-so,” and then certainly find something. There is a tidy wine selection “curated to be delicious, affordable and have really interesting labels,” Schultz said. The store holds wine tastings in the back from 4 to 7 p.m. on Tuesdays for $5 and Saturdays for $7.

She said one of her goals with the store was to offer items at a wide variety of price points.

“My focus has always been on trying to ensure that there’s things that feel accessible here,” she said. “I have things that might be under $20 as well as things that are in the hundreds of dollars.” (The toffee, if you’re wondering, will set you back $9 for a 4-ounce package. Buy two.)
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The Museum of Jurassic Technology blurs the line between art and artifact
(Joel Barhamand / For The Times)

Be mystified at the Museum of Jurassic Technology

Palms Museum
I won’t say too much about the Museum of Jurassic Technology, to preserve this experience for you, and because the people who work there would prefer there to be an air of mystery to the windowless institution on Venice Boulevard.

Still reading? That curiosity will serve you well on your visit.

A few caveats: Parts of the museum are dark and narrow, and there is no elevator to the second floor, so people with limited mobility may not be able to get the full experience. (The museum discounts tickets for people with disabilities to account for this.) Though nothing is expressly inappropriate for children, younger or more sensitive kids might not enjoy themselves — if they’d be freaked out by a taxidermied mouse, skip. There’s a surprise on the roof.

General admission is $12 and must be reserved ahead of time. Tickets for children 12 and younger are free; $10 for students, educators, seniors and unemployed people; and $3 for people with disabilities and active-duty military. Masks are still recommended inside the museum. Open Thursdays and Fridays from 2 to 8 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 6 p.m. Closed Mondays through Wednesdays.
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The bar at Hi-Lo Liquor
(Joel Barhamand / For The Times)

Find your new favorite drink at Hi-Lo Liquor Market

Culver City Liquor Store
The name of this bright and airy liquor market is a nod to what it offers: High-end, low-end, and everything in between.

“We want to have stuff that’s neighborhood-centric but also well-curated,” said co-owner and -founder Talmadge Lowe.

Consider Hi-Lo your one-stop shop for stocking up before a party. There are walls of spirits and wine and refrigerator cases bursting with beers, seltzers and sparkling waters, teas and fermented drinks. There is a vast selection of alcohol-adjacent options, including nonalcoholic beers and liquors from brands like Seedlip and Kin. You’ve got things that go in and around your cocktail, like bitters, olives, dried fruit, salt and other seasonings for rims, and various garnishes. In the center of the store, tables heave with party snacks like chips, crackers, jams and fancy candies. If you’re overwhelmed, the friendly and incredibly approachable staff is happy to give recommendations.

“The one thing that we really want to be is a neighborhood store,” Lowe said. “We want it to feel like it’s a place where the neighbors can come hang out, bring the kids. It’s not a weird place to bring your kids or your family. We want it to feel like it’s open to the whole neighborhood, the guys doing construction down the street, the people who’ve lived there for 30, 40 years, the new people who just moved in.”

There’s a bar area called the Counter that opens daily at 4 p.m. (though “if someone comes in at 3, we’re still gonna serve ‘em,” Lowe said). It offers wine flights on Thursdays, beer flights on Fridays, and wine and beer by the glass every night as well as nonalcoholic options and low-alcohol cocktails. Join the mailing list to find out about upcoming tastings and other events.
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Romantic bookstore the Ripped Bodice
(Joel Barhamand / For The Times)

Pick up a dreamy (or steamy) romance novel at the Ripped Bodice

Palms Bookstore
You might not know that Culver City is home to America’s first romance-focused bookstore. Sisters Bea and Leah Koch raised $90,000 on Kickstarter to start this store, which opened its pink doors in 2016.

The shop — which makes you feel like you’ve stepped inside a box of Valentine’s Day cards — sells romance novels as well as kids’ books, YA literature, books on feminism and related topics, sexual health and wellness nonfiction, and in the back, sections for erotica on one side and mainstream fiction bestsellers on the other. Also on the shelves: romance-themed chocolates and candles (each has a variety called “Mr. Darcy” and “There Was Only One Bed”), teas, and a selection of greeting cards, games, pins, and store merchandise like T-shirts and bucket hats. One wall displays Koch’s Lego creations, including a custom-made Lego version of the shop itself.

If you’re a newcomer to the genre, the staff is happy to assist in finding your first title. And if you’re already a fan — one of the readers who contributed to the 52.4% increase in romance book sales in 2022 — you can join one of the free book clubs, or check out their many events, including a free stand-up comedy show on the third Thursday of every month and midnight release parties for popular books like “Iron Flame.”
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People taking in their morning exercise and views at the Culver City Stairs at Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook
(Joel Barhamand / For The Times)

See a stellar view of L.A. at Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook

Culver City Hike
Runyon who? This is the chic short hike in this neck of the woods, which takes you up 282 steps from Jefferson Boulevard to the Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook. The concrete stairs are uneven and tall, so you’ll have good company if you need to stop for a break on the “landings” en route. From the top, you get one of L.A.’s most iconic views, including the entire basin, the Hollywood sign, the Griffith Observatory, the Pacific Ocean and the mountains. It’s a great place to catch the sunset, and with less of a parking struggle than watching it at Griffith Park.

Walk around the overlook and enjoy the restored sage scrub habitat, where native plants and wildlife have been flourishing since this park opened in 2009. There’s also a small visitor center, though it doesn’t seem to be open consistently. Once you’ve had your fill of the view and have fully caught your breath from the climb, take the gentle switchbacks back to the bottom of the stairs, or walk past the visitor’s center and take a sloping sidewalk back down.
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The backyard seating area at the Jackson Market & Deli
(Joel Barhamand / For The Times)

Find a lush, hidden patio at Jackson Market & Deli

Culver City Sandwich Shop
Tucked away on a residential street, you’d be forgiven for walking past this place without realizing what it is. Jackson Market is a sandwich shop, breakfast spot, bakery and small-scale general store with a surprisingly lush dining patio out back. This place has been open since 1925 and maintains a lot of that old-school charm. Fill out a sheet of paper with your order and then browse the bodega-esque selection of beverages, chips, treats and a handful of odds and ends like cold medicine and boxes of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. There’s also a selection of party-worthy meats, cheeses and wines. Sometimes a pizza oven roars to life out back serving freshly fired pies.

The free WiFi makes this an ideal work-from-home-but-not-your-home spot.

This place gets busy during the lunch rush — consider ordering online or over the phone if you’re crunched for time.
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Roberta's Pizza
(Joel Barhamand / For The Times)

Sample seasonal offerings at Roberta's Pizza inside Platform LA

Culver City Pizza
Roberta’s Pizza was born in Bushwick in 2007 and opened its hip Culver City outpost in 2018. Head chef and owner Carlo Mirarchi said they had done a pop-up in Culver City the year before and really liked the neighborhood for its nice people and walkability. The menu on the website has its year-round offerings, but there are always special seasonal or limited-time dishes. For first-timers, he recommends trying the potato pizza with anchovy (the Side Zaddy) or the classic margherita. The sea urchin pasta and squash pizza (Squash Lardo) are also popular. The clam pizza, Ursula’s Parade, is his personal favorite. My favorite is the Bee Sting, which has soppressata drizzled with hot honey; and the Speckenwolf, which has speck, mushroom and onion.

Roberta’s is located in Platform LA, an upscale mall with lots of places to shop and eat. Parking there is frustrating — there’s a structure, but it’s pricey, and you will encounter a preponderance of empty spots reserved for electric vehicles. But once you’ve successfully jettisoned your ride, there’s lots to do. Get brunch or pick up pastries at Bianca. Try the tacos at Loqui, where even the most dedicated meat-eater will salivate over the white button mushrooms cooked in chili oil and soy sauce.) Over-caffeinate with the iced coffee at Blue Bottle. Browse trendy tops at Reformation and the quirky, artsy offerings at Broome St. General Store. For a special date night, make a reservation at Margot on the second floor — the charred broccoli is the best I’ve ever had. If you save room for dessert, try the ice cream at Van Leeuwen.
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The bar at restaurant Simonette
CULVER CITY CA - DECEMBER 7th: The bar at restaurant Simonette on Thursday, December 7, 2023 in Culver City, CA. (Joel Barhamand / For The Times)
(Joel Barhamand / For The Times)

Eat like a Parisian at Simonette

Culver City Restaurant
Simonette is a gem of a restaurant, a little open-air oasis in the Palihotel. The menu is French-inspired, and so is the vibe, says Casey Lane, the creative director of food and beverage for boutique hotel chain Palisociety.

“With the entire ethos of the restaurant, we not only wanted it to be a French concept of what cooking is, we want to delve into how French people really eat and why in France people love their food,” he said. “It’s a more genuine approach to French eating and dining than a French restaurant concept.”

Think: Alfresco seating at Parisian cafe tables. (Simonette has some indoor seating, but push for a spot by the carrotwood tree in the courtyard.) A divine chocolate croissant. An upscale bistro feel that’s still casual enough to bring your baby to brunch (yes, they have high chairs). And a menu that marries American diner concepts like burgers with luxurious French ingredients, such as the Parisienne, topped with sauce Bordelaise and caramelized onions. Lane also recommends the beef cheek hash from the brunch menu and the roast chicken on the dinner menu. If you want to go more traditionally French, he said to try the poisson en papillote.

Lane referred to its location as “a touch off the beaten path.” If you park near the Culver City Steps, you’ll walk past the Culver Hotel and the Culver Theater to Van Buren Place. When you see the turquoise hotel with the vintage neon sign atop a seemingly-William-Morris-inspired mural, you’ve reached the right place.
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Breakfast is cooked in the pizza oven at Lodge Bread
(Joel Barhamand / For The Times)

Order a massive pastry at Lodge Bread Company

Culver City Bakery
Do you ever wake up hankering for a hubcap-sized cinnamon roll? Great news: Massive pastries are the specialty here at Lodge Bread Company. Every bakery item is made with sourdough, and almost all of them necessitate a knife and fork. Stop by to grab breakfast and pick up a hearty loaf of bread for the week.

Co-owner Or Amsalam says that along with the legendary cinnamon rolls, the croissants are very popular, and the breakfast sandwich is his personal go-to. Located in Culver City West, this is one of those places where you’re supposed to line up, order and get your number before grabbing one of the picnic tables outside. Because the bakery is north-facing and along a major street, this isn’t the most picturesque brunch spot in Culver City, but it is kid-friendly and relatively easy to get a table. Open daily 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
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Co-owner of Lei'd Cookie, James Lewis sets up for opening
(Joel Barhamand / For The Times)

Savor gooey sweets at Lei'd Cookies

Culver City Bakery
Popular Smorgasburg vendor Lei’d Cookies has launched a colorful new storefront along Washington Boulevard in Culver City’s Arts District, featuring gooey cookies with global flavors, such as a spicy brown butter chocolate chip with cinnamon and cayenne that recalls Mexican hot chocolate and a Belizean-inspired guava and goat cheese option. Co-owners Leilani Terris and James Lewis launched their pop-up cookie business during the pandemic and will continue their Sunday appearances at Row DTLA alongside the new location.

Read about Culver City’s new cookie spot.
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The Culver Theater
(Stephanie Lara / The Culver Theater)

Grab a cocktail before your movie at the Culver Theater

Culver City Movie Theater
Culver City, historic home of studios like MGM and Sony, has long billed itself as “The Heart of Screenland,” but when the coronavirus pandemic shut down the local ArcLight in March 2020, its downtown was left without so much as a single screen. Ironically, it was a streaming giant that came to the rescue when Amazon Studios, headquartered in Culver City, quietly reopened the theater in late 2022 in its first foray into the traditional theatrical business. The six-screen Culver Theater retains all the amenities that previously drew film fans to the Hollywood ArcLight: a cocktail bar, premium concessions, comfortable seating, good (albeit relatively small) screens and sound. But while the surrounding area has been booming with restaurants, cafes and a recently opened Erewhon (the ultimate sign that an L.A. neighborhood has arrived), few seem to have gotten the word that the theater is back in business. So tickets are, for now at least, generally readily available.
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