In spite of the seemingly bottomless popularity of Santa Monica’s Third Street Promenade, relatively few restaurants have stepped in to feed the droves of tourists and locals parading through. Monsoon Café, one of the mall’s best offerings, does a satisfying and consistent job of feeding the hordes.

The Asian fusion restaurant offers a great venue to take out of town guests or a date. The room, spacious and airy, feels like a colonial set piece straight out of Indochina. Bamboo and rattan proliferate with side booths set on the perimeter in a way that resembles balconies. Fans hang from the ceilings along with gorgeous chandeliers.

The menu offers something for just about everyone with a full sushi bar (Japanese), Chinese favorites like Kung Pao Chicken as well as Thai dishes like Tom Yum Koon (lemon grass soup) and chicken pot stickers served with spicy Korean miso.

Monsoon also boasts a full bar offering exotic drinks, like the Green Dragon, Kama Sutra and the Xia Gua Tini (a martini made with vodka, watermelon liqueur and lime juice). An extensive wine list and Asian beers like Singha and Tsingtao carry on the theme of melding various countries in Asia.

Besides mixing up food from different regions, Monsoon also mixes in Italian classics like fried calamari. The squid, atypically breaded tempura style, comes with a curry dipping sauce, which adds a twist to a common appetizer.

Other examples of fusion-induced cooking include the jalapeno sushi role, which includes tuna, salmon and avocado layered with slices of jalapeño and topped with a spicy ponzu sauce and sweet eel glaze.

The alternative combinations continue through to the desserts with American classics like the banana split battered in tempura and a crispy Fuji dim sum, which bears a strong resemblance to apple pie with fried wontons substituting for the crust. Also delicious is the cheesecake, which departs from the expected with a topping of toasted coconut. Monsoon offers live music at the Lounge, as well as salsa dancing and lessons on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

For more information, call (310) 576–9988 or visit