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) 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!
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.
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) 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.
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!
You can see more diner reviews here.
Questions for you:
Have you been to Mel’s Drive-In?
What is your favorite diner meal?