Where To Eat After Hitting The Beach guide image

LAGuide

Where To Eat After Hitting The Beach

A beach-by-beach guide to LA that’ll help you know exactly where to eat after your day in the sand.

From Malibu to Manhattan Beach, LA has some truly fantastic stretches of sand offering everything from beach volleyball to fire pits to watching a guy charm a snake out of a Dodgers hat.

But after four hours of laying out in the blazing sun, you and the crew are starving. That bag of chips you brought was gone before noon, and you need something substantial before everyone loses it. That’s why we’re here. We’ve broken down your best options beach-by-beach, so no matter which part of the coast you end up at, you’ll have your eating plans covered.


MALIBU

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8.0

Broad Street Oyster Co.

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23359 Pacific Coast Hwy, Malibu
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Broad Street Oyster Company is a fantastic seafood shack in Malibu that’s filled with so many oysters, mussels, shrimp, and uni you’ll wonder if their “local source” is actually the Aquarium of the Pacific. You’ll want to order a bit of everything here—oysters and spot prawns from the raw bar, a cup or two of their excellent clam chowder, maybe even a Caesar salad if you’re craving something green—but make sure to include their lobster roll. We like it served hot and absolutely smothered in butter, this luxurious sandwich is sure to impress even the pickiest seafood eaters. Yes, we’re looking at you, East Coasters.

photo credit: Jakob Layman

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8.2

Malibu Seafood

Malibu Seafood is the ideal post-beach spot—not only can you find the best seafood along PCH here, but it’s also casual and fun, meaning swimsuits are always acceptable. It’s everything you could possibly want, after a long day of floating around in the ocean and burying your friends under mounds of sand—the fish and chips is crispy and excellent, and the squid and fries is even better. There will definitely be a line, but when things are this relaxed and beautiful, who cares?

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As far as we’re concerned, no trip to Malibu is complete without a stop at Neptune’s Net. This random seafood shack on the side of the PCH is as no frills as they come—you order at the counter, wait for someone to call your name over the intercom, then enjoy baskets upon baskets of freshly fried clam strips and bowls of clam chowder. The crowd here ranges from intimidating-looking biker gangs to groups of twenty-somethings, to families making life-long memories, all enjoying the kiss of the brisk sea air and stunning views of the Pacific Ocean.

If you took a natural wine shop, a retro vinyl store, and a pizza parlor, threw them in a blender, then air-dropped them off in Topanga Canyon, you’d get Endless Color. Wind down in their silly, fun dining room after basking in the sun—you’ll spy wiggly light fixtures, blob-shaped tables, and disco balls hanging above a cactus-lined patio. Make sure to get a Neapolitan pie (they’re the main deal here), which sport charred and puffy crusts and are topped with gooey globs of mozzarella.

This grocery store off PCH is perfect for both pre- and post-beach snacking. They have all the prerequisite gourmet health food items you’d expect: green juices, non-pasteurized specialty cheese, and adaptogenic whatevers. But the deli is where the real action is. There’s a hot tri-tip sandwich with sautéed onions and bell peppers on a pressed panini baguette  that’s fully satisfying, especially when the only thing you’ve ingested all day is a mouthful of sand. And that wasn’t intentional.


VENICE

Gjusta might be an obvious choice—the Venice deli a few blocks from the beach is big, busy, and usually filled with everyone from locals to tourists and their suitcases. In addition to their grab-and-go menu, they now have an extended patio, where you can sit back and discuss whether you saw Tom Felton at the beach or just a guy who looks like him. Plus, their breakfast and lunch foods are still second to none. Try the burrata and tomato sandwich or open-faced bagel with an entire farmers’ market’s worth of produce and house-made gravlax stacked on top, and we think you’ll understand why Gjusta has so many devotees.

If you’re looking for some of the freshest seafood on the Westside, head immediately to Dudley Market. This neighborhood seafood restaurant in Venice is located steps from the boardwalk and now has a new front patio with excellent views of the beach and ocean. There’s a casual atmosphere here, so it doesn’t even matter if you roll up in a silk ball gown or just a beach towel. There are a few tables in their alleyway, giant platters of seafood on each of them, and propane heaters if you’re catching a little wind chill. And if eating delicious oysters and fish tacos while staring off into the surf isn’t your ideal post-beach dinner setting, we don’t have that in common.

We imagine that when McDonald’s opened their first location ever in San Bernardino, the burgers looked and tasted a lot like what you’ll find coming out of this Venice burger window, just blocks from the beach. Grilled on a flat-top with onions, topped with American cheese, pickles, and house sauce, and served on a Martin’s potato roll (and costs only $3.95), the burger is low-brow, but high-quality. Pair that with one of the best patios in town—a sandy, colorful oasis filled with lots of picnic tables that doesn’t not resemble your elementary school playground—it’s the perfect for when you’ve got seaweed in unmentionable places and just need something to eat, stat. They also have a second location, on the actual boardwalk, just in case you’re not in the mood for walking more than 15ft.

As relaxing as the beach may be, there’s also that part that involves getting sand in every crevice of your phone and flocks of seagulls chasing you down. Head to La Cabaña instead. They’ve got one of the most colorful, relaxing patios around (with a fountain and all), ideal for winding gown on and grabbing some chips and quesadillas, then thanking the beach gods that a seagull didn’t poop on you. If you’re lucky, you’ll get to see the house mariachi band perform on the roof.


SANTA MONICA

This Westside institution at the end of the Santa Monica Boardwalk is so close to the beach, you can walk up barefoot. Big Dean’s has been around since the 1970s and offers a spacious front and back patio, lots of TVs playing sports, and a fantastic burger: Two perfectly greasy patties, American cheese, lettuce, tomato, and house special sauce.It’s not fancy, but it’s exactly what you need after a long day of being thrashed in the waves.

Everyone knows that breakfast burritos are the unofficial food of any good beach trip (it’s just science), and there’s no better place to explore that than at Alfalfa. Located on the somewhat soulless Santa Monica Main St., this new spot serves some of our favorite tortilla-wrapped dishes in the entire city. Plus, their back patio is a sunny little nook that’s ideal for catching sun rays with a friend over great coffee and pastries, or an excellent breakfast burrito with silky eggs and charred shredded potatoes that you’ll want to hug before dousing it in salsa, and devouring it.

photo credit: Jakob Layman

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8.4

Crudo e Nudo

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You just spent the day swimming in the clear(ish), pleasant(ish) waters of Santa Monica beach and now need something delicious and preferably, luxurious for a picture-perfect end to the day.  Head to Crudo e Nudo, a sustainable seafood restaurant that takes LA’s specialties—locally sourced produce, ingredients that change with the seasons, yada yada—and turns  them up to a ten. You’ll of course need the namesake crudos, which change often. In the past, we’ve enjoyed rockfish dotted with dried Turkish chilis and kanpachi that arrives in a slick pool of olive oil and calamansi vinegar. Oysters and deep-fried fish collars should also hit the table.

The colorful Caribbean spot right off the sand is one of the few true BYOB joints in the entire city—and also just a great place to grab some lunch with friends. Their leafy patio will make you feel like you’re on a tropical vacation, and is the ideal place to head to with a couple of six-packs, order a plate of coconut chicken served with mango and jerk dipping sauce, then continue to soak up even more of the Santa Monica sun.

After a particularly harrowing day at Santa Monica Beach witnessing tourists trying to get a tan on top of the one they received yesterday, what you probably need is a trip to Tallula’s at the bottom of Entrada Drive near PCH. It’s a perfect place for a great Happy Hour of margaritas, guacamole, and a few tacos on their spacious patio with a few friends. It’s not so casual that you can roll up in your bathing suit (at least throw on a tasteful cover-up, or something).

Hinano Café is the kind of dive bar we presume Venice used to be full of during the Jim Morrison era. Laidback and chill, this spot has been around since the 1960s and is where you go in for one drink that turns into several. There’s a daily 4-8pm happy hour, free popcorn, pool tables, sawdust on the floor (can’t imagine what that’s for), and an absolutely legendary burger. If you’re looking for a low-key spot to grab drinks after dodging tourists and close-up magic magicians on the boardwalk all day, Hinano is your spot.

Just steps from the Third Street Promenade, Interstellar is one of your best post-beach meals in Downtown Santa Monica. Whether you’re rolling solo or with a group of friends, the small cafe’s menu pulls inspirations from lots of cuisines—you’ll find bulgogi burgers, katsu curry, pasta, chilaquiles, tacos, club sandwiches, and much more—and all of it hits the mark Plus, the patio is small, shaded, and discreet. If we were to write a pilot about a celebrity who goes missing after he sets off into the desert to take promo shots with cacti for his new tequila brand, we’d write it here.


MANHATTAN BEACH

Eating raw fish at the beach is perhaps a bit macabre for some, but for us, it’s just another opportunity to order lunch from Ali’i Fish Company. Simply put, this order-at-the-counter cafe in El Segundo serves some of the best poke in the city. From spicy ahi to ponzu-soaked salmon, the menu here is on par with anything you’d get in Hawai’i. Which makes sense—the owner used to be a buyer at the Honolulu Fish Auction, so all the seafood they serve is shipped in from the islands.

After spending a day in the sun, a plate of pasta is probably the last thing you want to eat. But you might want to reconsider—because Jame Enoteca is one of our favorite reasons to visit the Westside. It’s a small strip mall pasta spot in El Segundo, serving solid versions of burrata-adorned prosciutto, pesto mandilli, and pork shank around. Their spicy paccheri is a scientifically-proven cure to beach-related exhaustion, and they’ve got a great selection of wines to help with that, too. They also have one of the only kale salads in LA that we can confidently tell you to go out of your way for.

REDONDO BEACH / HERMOSA BEACH

Just a hop, skip, and a tiny jump from the Hermosa Pier, Ryla is a Japanese-Taiwanese restaurant that’s a neighborhood standout. Its intimate, candle-lit dining room is a welcome contrast from all the other breezy beach cafes and beer-laden sports bars in the area. You’ll want the Hokkaido milk bread, a slightly sweet pull-apart loaf that comes with a side of nori and tobiko spread. Larger  dishes are good too, especially the New Zealand Tai snapper that sits in a pool of silky lime-coconut broth that strikes the ideal balance between sweet and tangy.

A pier filled with knock-off t-shirt shops might not be the first place you’d look for an incredible seafood spot, but you’ll find one on the boardwalk in Redondo Beach. Quality Seafood is a completely chaotic fish market, where you select what you want from a seafood case loaded with freshly caught fish on ice, and they cook it however you want. And the way you want it is deep-fried - our favorites are the red snapper and steamed Dungeness crab, but you really can’t go wrong.

Gabi James is a little fancy for Redondo Beach—i.e. still pretty casual for everywhere else— and a nice option if you want a relatively quiet meal after the beach. The food here is excellent, and the people at the bar all look like they’ve been coming here consistently for the last twenty years (always a good sign), so order a tortilla espanola, some jamon, and a glass of albariño, and brainstorm how to get their kind of life.

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