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Metro Touts Culver City’s Great Food Establishments Ahead of Expo Station Opening

Metro has created a road map for L.A. food lovers, highlighting some of the best eateries they can visit when they travel on the Expo line to Culver City.

Culver City-ites already know that some of the best dining is available in the Heart of Screenland. Now, Metro is letting the whole of Los Angeles know it too.

, Metro is highlighting a list of some of the best food establishments in Culver City, along with a “road map” to help new visitors sample Culver City treats.

In addition to noting that the opening of the Culver City station coincides with downtown Culver City’s Third Wednesday Summer Solstice Happy Hour (), Metro has created a list of must-visit food establishments – all of which are a 5 – 15 minute stroll from the new Culver City Expo Line Station.

In an official release, Metro stated that “with maybe an assist from a Metro bus down Venice Boulevard -- Metro can carry you to delicious burgers, crunchy fried chicken, weird and wonderful ice cream, creative salads, hearty Cuban food and yeasty baked bread hot from the oven.”

Culver City President Steve Rose and Chamber Chairman Goran Eriksson both told Patch they’re excited about both the opening of the Expo Line to Culver City and Metro’s promotion of local businesses.

“The opening of the Culver Station of the Expo Line will be the beginning of providing transportation to downtown Los Angeles and in a few years to Santa Monica,” Rose said. “As it is completed and becomes known, it will add to the business base of our city, especially upon completion of the Culver Station project."

Eriksson added, “It is great that we finally are getting light rail to Culver City and that Metro is promoting Culver City and its businesses as an exiting destination to explore. The Metro light rail will drastically improve the commuting options between Culver City and Downtown Los Angeles and beyond to the benefit of Culver City residents, business employees and customers.”

Mayor Andy Weissman also told Patch the City is looking forward to the possibilities the Expo Line to Culver City can offer, particularly to out-of-towners.

"We encourage visitors who travel to and from Culver City via light rail to enjoy the ambience of Downtown Culver City and the dining and shopping amenities along East Washington Blvd. and the Helms Bakery building," Weissman said, adding, "Transportation to and from the Culver City Station is available by way of Culver City Bus and Metro, pedestrian and bicycle access is provided and there is ample and convenient parking for those who can't leave their automobiles behind.  We look forward to the opening and to the opportunity to provide the means to help change transportation habits along this very congested corridor." 

Below is the Metro Foodie Road Map:

  • Begin at . Just a block west of the station on Washington Boulevard, Royal/T is a restaurant, an art gallery, and a gift shop. At the same time it's a Japanese cosplay maid café -- an establishment, currently tres hip in Asia where the wait staff dresses in upstairs maid outfits. And yet the dress is more doll-like than suggestive and the food is tasty. On the menu are rice bowls, curries, sandwiches, salads, pastas and pastry and all kinds of teas. Breakfast is served all day. 
  • Within a 5-minute walk west of Royal/T is - famed restaurateur Celestino Drago's hard-to-find bakery outlet. The breads are lovely but make sure you grab an oatmeal cookie while you're there. Open weekdays only.
  • Directly across National Boulevard from the Culver City Station -- barely enough distance to burn even a fraction of a calorie -- is the foodie favorite grocery, cookware shop and cafe . Surfas is imported cheeses and rolling pins and gadgets food lovers think they need. There are imprints of cooking utensils on the entryway floor and endless metal shelves of pans and honeys and chocolates and couscous. There's also a café but Surfas is more about shopping for ingredients and equipment than it is about grabbing lunch, although if you ask nicely they may just let you sample a really fine cheese.
  • From Surfas if you head east just a couple of blocks you'll end up at the Shop where an ice cream sandwich filled with beer and pretzel ice cream can be a great substitute for lunch. Just don't tell Mom. Also on the changing menu of the tiny storefront -- an extension of the popular food truck -- are red velvet ice cream, Nutella almond, yogurt and berries, balsamic fig and mascarpone and candied bacon. Remember, we did say weird and wonderful.
  • Nearby is -- serving what some say is the best burger in town -- in the Helms Bakery center of restaurants and design shops a block east of the Culver City Station.
  • Food neighbors in the former bakery include (Father's Office owner Sang Yoon's Asian restaurant), French café, and the fancy hot dog truck, which rolls in Wednesday through weekend for lunch.
  • Are you full yet? If not, either trek or hop on the Metro 33 or 733 bus west to Bagley/Main Street and then walk the short block down Main Street to Culver Boulevard. You will be facing where the munchkins were lodged during filming of The Wizard of Oz and you will be standing in the middle of a string of restaurants that have opened during the past decade or so.
  • For good salads, sandwiches and soups go to or . For rustic Mediterranean, leaning toward French there's (Editor’s note – but it ). (accomplished Chef Ben Ford is Harrison's son) is a gastropub with upscale tweaks.
  • A few steps west is yummy greasy fried chicken. It's not on the Weight Watcher’s plan -- particularly if you order the buttermilk biscuits and honey, fries, coleslaw, potato salad and hushpuppies -- but who cares?
  • Here's where you will need a reusable/sustainable fabric bag to go with your reusable/sustainable Metro Expo Line and bus. On Tuesdays from 3 – 7 p.m. the sells organic and locally grown fruits and vegetables, as well as a variety of prepared foods. There's lots of traffic on market day so taking Metro to the Culver City Station, then hopping on the Metro bus 33 or 733 west on Venice Boulevard to Bagley/Main Street can save time, parking and the stresses of driving.
  • While you're in the neighborhood, a little further west on Metro Venice Boulevard 33 or 733 bus, is Versailles Cuban restaurant (10319 Venice Blvd. 90034; 310-558-3168; versaillescuban.com). It's famous around L.A. for great Cuban roast pork and garlic chicken, black beans and rice and Cuban sandwiches.
  • At a similar latitude -- although too far from Expo to walk, unless you're an athlete -- is . Jackson Market is a one-time butcher shop that became a market that became a deli. Now it's a lunch shop with good sandwiches (bbq brisket with sautéed onions) wraps and drinks in a tiny establishment tucked into a residential area. Since it's south of Culver Boulevard that means a long trek from Expo and the Metro local bus along Venice but you might consider hopping on Culver City Transit down Culver City Boulevard to Jackson/La Salle … if only for the brisket.

We know there are a LOT of great eateries here and some didn't make Metro's road map. Which ones would you add to this list? Tell us in the comments, below.  

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