Mel’s Drive-In (Santa Monica)

While running a race in Santa Monica, I went to Mel’s Drive-In. I’ve actually been to the location in San Francisco, even before we moved to California. I actually went in 2019 when my husband and I were looking at the local area as a move possibility.  There are actually 8 locations with 4 in Northern California and 4 in Southern California. This also isn’t to be confused with The Original Mel’s, which has locations across California. Apparently, Mel is a fairly popular guy in California!

Mel's Drive-In (Santa Monica)

Mel’s Drive-In (Santa Monica) Atmosphere: A

If you are looking for a retro and fun diner, you can’t get any more old school than Mel’s Drive-In. Similar to the location in San Francisco (and other’s I assume), it’s is basically the most retro you can get. Shiny and metallic walls and the interior has several booths and tables.

A fun fact about the location in Santa Monica spent 25 years as the vintage 1959 Penguin coffee shop. Mel’s Drive-In was restored to be a retro diner. According to the website, the location will sometimes hold drive-in movies! You cannot get more retro diner than that!

Mel's Drive-In (Santa Monica)

Coffee: X

I didn’t order coffee this time around as we had a long drive ahead.

Mel’s Drive-In (Santa Monica) Food: B

Mel’s Drive-In menu has all of the diner staples. There are fun options like “Nutella french toast” or “the Elvis scramble,” but you also have your basics like a BLT or cobb salad. The Mel’s Drive-In in Santa Monica even has a fresh juice bar. I don’t know any other diners with a juice bar! You can see the full Mel’s Drive-In menu here.

Mel's Drive-In (Santa Monica)

I was in the mood for something salty and decided to order the BLT with sweet potato fries. The BLT was fresh and tasted good. The sweet potato fries were a little mushy for my taste, but they weren’t terrible. In all, it was a good meal but I do wish my the sweet potato fries were slightly more crispy.

Mel's Drive-In (Santa Monica)

Mel’s Drive-In (Santa Monica) Service: A

The waitress and the entire staff was friendly. Despite being fairly busy on a Saturday, we had an enjoyable experience, and the food came out quickly.

Cost: $$

For my BLT, the cost was $14.25.

Overall Thoughts/Would I Come Back to Mel’s Drive-In in Santa Monica?

I liked Mel’s Drive-In, and it’s a great spot. It’s an “upscale diner” with slightly higher prices, but it’s quality food that tastes good. There is a lot on their menu I want to try! Both locations I’ve been to have been great and it’s one of the most retro diners you can find in the state of California!

Atmosphere: A

Coffee: XX

Food: B

Service: A

Cost: $14-20

Overall: A

You can see more diner reviews here.

Questions for you:

Have you been to Mel’s Drive-In?

What is your favorite diner meal?