Located near the 3rd Street Promenade in Santa Monica, is Buddha’s Belly - an Asian Fusion restaurant that, in my book, could completely defeat P.F. Changs if it ever got the chance to become a chain (it currently has two locations). Now, I know what you are all thinking - another Asian Fusion restaurant that will completely distroy individual cuisines and turn them into something Americanized? And, well, you’re right. Except, this is really good.
The key is to go with the expectations that you will not get authentic Thai or Korean or Japanese. But, you will get a delicious assortment of Asian flavors, such as ginger, lemongrass, coconut milk, oyster sauce, bonito flake, and, well, you get the picture. And, if you go in expecting a California-ized version of your favorite Asian meals, you will not be disappointed.
I think one of the best things about Buddha’s Belly is that it can satisfy a large group of people. From the Crispy Chicken Breast to the Mixed Seaweed Salad, from the Ahi Tuna Burger to the Singapore Seafood Noodles, you can satisfy even your pickiest friend while still getting something exotic. I think it’s the breadth of the offerings, plus, simply, how good everything is, that accounts for why this place has been packed whenever I have gone. And, on top of it all, it’s pretty reasonably priced. You can get a decent meal for two, two blocks from the ocean, for under $50 (including tax and tip).
When the husband and I went, we were excited as we walked into the dimly-lit, very stylized dining room. It’s a small space, but you won’t feel packed in like a sardine. Right away, we were greated by the friendly hostess and seated. The waitstaff are nice and helpful as they guide you through the menu.
We decided to start off with something green from the vegetable section,and settled on the steamed Chinese broccoli with oyster sauce and sesame seeds:
As you can see, this wasn’t your typical broccoli, and in fact, I had never had Chinese broccoli before. It was a delicious way to start the meal - light and healthy, and yet very flavorful. I loved how this broccoli has a bit of a cabbage taste to it - very remincent of bok choy.
For his entree, the husband went with one of his favorites at the majority of Chinese chains, Chicken Lettuce Cups (also available in tofu):
While this is listed as an appetizer, it’s definitely large enough to be eatten as a meal.
After much debate, I went with the
The slogan for Buddha’s Belly is “Good Food! Good Fortune!”. Considering the reasonable prices, I would say this slogan sums up the experience. This place truly is a treat in Santa Monica, and I hope you get a chance to check it out.
Buddha’s Belly is located at 205 Broadway, Santa Monica, CA 90401
7475 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90036