Under $10 Free WiFi Watch: Novel Cafe, Ocean Park


Novel Cafe on Ocean Park: Under $10 AND a great cafe office.

I have seen many Novel Cafes around town. The one I’m talking about is on Ocean Park in Santa Monica. It’s a splendid place to get work done for many reasons:

  • you can get a nice meal for under $10
  • the staff takes care of you, and doesn’t give you a hard time if you stay there a while
  • there are outlets every few feet.
  • There is a cushioned banquette so your bum doesn’t get sore.
  • Outside seating means regular lunch people still have a place to sit.
  • Wifi signal is very good.
  • Cooking smells stay in the kitchen.
  • The food is good.
  • Loads of free parking!

Enjoy tasty breakfast and lunch at the Novel Cafe. They have the usual breakfast fare, and it’s all quite satisfying. While the menu may sound middle-of-the-road, believe me, you are in for a rollercoaster, because the preparation varies from day to day – in a good way. I love this. I love it because it means that they are making it fresh. If stuff tastes the same every time you go out, it might be because it’s from a can. Now, if you’re paying $5 or more for someone else to open a can for you, you are a chump. Or it might mean that you are frequenting a place owned by a corporation. How good does that feel? Not very good. It reminds one of hog farms, and feed lots. Yuk.

If the food is variable, it may also mean the cook is emotional; but an emotional cook is the spice of life.

I always get the Novel Rancheros. Last week the Novel Rancheros was darned spicy. Today it was mild. I feel very close to the cook.

I have also enjoyed the Chilaquiles, which some of you may feel should be called Migas. But we are in LA, and in LA, we call them Chilaquiles. If you want Migas, go to Texas. I hear Migas are wonderful in Texas, but it’s a little too far for me to travel in order to get some work done AND eat breakfast. The Chilaquiles at Novel Cafe are made by scrambling eggs with salsa of varying hotness (depending on the day), and tortilla chips. It is served with black beans which are fairly flavorful and not mushy. You can taste the fresh lemon in the guacamole, which I delight in.

The coffee is good.

The salads look very good. They are big.

My husband also enjoys the Novel Omelette.

The music is usually fine. But sometimes it is some godawful playlist that makes me personally, a little homicidal. This playlist consists of “cafe acoustic” vocalists doing mournful covers of really great songs. For what do I need to hear a soulful cafe vocalist doing a cover of one of my all time favorite songs, “I Get A Kick Out of You” ? Sinatra will always have more soul than you, bitch. I almost started crying. But I am strong. I stayed. I had to get work done. And I wanted my Novel Rancheros. And lastly, they switched the playlist to something ambient. You can actually ask them to change the station – they have XM Radio and want very much to please their customers, no matter how long you linger or how obvious it is that you are using their cafe as an office.

The banquette is a little too low, unless you are a tall fellow.


During certain hours at certain times of the year, there is a ferocious glare from the windows. It passes. Use that time to enjoy the $55 photo of lilypads hung on the wall opposite your table.

The fact that there’s free parking available makes this place a standout in the grim offerings available to us itinerant cafe office workers foolish enough to live in Santa Monica. Almost every other nice cafe in Santa Monica does not have parking and you are subject to the severe constraints imposed by the City Of in the manner of permitted parking or parking meters, and ferocious, committed meter maids.

Novel Cafe on Ocean Park is technically my husband’s main cafe office. So please, if you go there, do not take the table in the corner by the east door. It’s his table.

But you must not go there too much! Otherwise you will ruin it for all of us.

Novel Cafe
2901 Ocean Park Blvd
Santa Monica, CA 90405
Monday-Sunday 8am-11pm