4 Essential Coffee Shops on the Westside

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By Kerry Slater

For coffee lovers, winter in Los Angeles means ditching the cold brew for a hot cup joe. With craft coffee shops popping up in nearly every neighborhood, the hard part is picking which establishment to choose. While the search for the perfect cup of coffee never ends, here are four Westside staples that do a near-perfect job of warming the soul, awakening the mind and pleasing the palate with their unique approach to brewing coffee.

Balconi Coffee Company
11301 Olympic Blvd #124, Los Angeles, CA 90064

Balconi Coffee Company baristas brewing coffee in siphons. Photo: Facebook.

Balconi Coffee Company’s small storefront on Olympic Boulevard may be easy to miss but all it takes is one sip for their coffee to be remembered by taste buds. Prepared with a siphon, Balconi takes what are already quality single-origin beans and brews them into something truly special. The “siphon method” gives the coffee the rich flavor profile usually found with a french-press but without the sediment. In addition, the extremely knowledgable staff, cool jazz and books to browse make Balconi the perfect place to sit down and enjoy a mug of warm coffee.

Menotti’s Coffee Stop
56 Windward Ave, Venice, CA 90291

At Menotti’s espresso-based drinks take center stage. Photo: Facebook.

With 90s hip-hop vinyl records bumping on the speakers and baristas pulling top-notch espresso shots, Menotti’s Coffee Stop makes the most out of their small Venice storefront. Menotti’s keeps it simple with their menu, which is primarily geared towards their specialty: espresso. Even those who may not normally have the palette for a straight espresso should give one at Minotti’s a shot, no pun intended.

Metro Cafe
603 Arizona Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90401

Metro Cafe in Santa Monica makes great coffee in a friendly environment. Photo: Kerry Slater.

Is the coffee at Metro Cafe above average? Yes. Is the coffee at Metro Cafe the best in the world? No. Does it deserve a place on this list considering the plethora of Westside coffee shops serving top-notch coffee? Absolutely. Located in Downtown Santa Monica, Metro Cafe’s welcoming enviroment and friendly staff foster a sense of community rarely found in urban coffee shops. The coffee is all donation based/name-your-price. In addition, Metro gives back to the community by operating a food pantry for individuals experiencing homelessness and others in need. With a modern indoor seating area and a spacious outdoor courtyard, Metro is a great place to grab a cup of coffee, have a conversation or get some work done.

1149 3rd St, Santa Monica, CA 90401

At Demitasse, which boasts some of the best cold brew in Los Angeles (pictured), the hot coffee is also top-notch. Photo: Kerry Slater.

While their specialty may be Kyoto drip cold brew, Demitasse baristas make every drink memorable. With a selection of single origin pour-overs that are constantly being updated, frothy lattes and unique barista signature creations, the constant theme that ties Demitasse’s extensive menu together is quality. Located in the heart of Downtown Santa Monica, just north of the Third Street Promenade, Demitasse is the perfect place to get a pick-me-up during work or a refresh after a long day of shopping and sightseeing.

Honorable mentions: 

  • Love Coffee Bar (1732 Ocean Park Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90405)
  • Coffee Tomo (11309 Mississippi Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90025)
  • 18th Street Coffee House (1725 Broadway, Santa Monica, CA 90404)


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