You’re either a potluck person or you’re not. Maybe mixing foods is so frightening that you freak out if a pea touches your mashed potatoes. But if you love the idea of having ceviche, mac and cheese, and beef bulgogi on one plate, there’s a good chance you’ll like Baran’s 2239. It’s a neighborhood restaurant in Hermosa Beach that feels like a big hangout with friends, involving a slightly random assortment of food.

In a strip mall on PCH removed from the Hermosa Pier, Baran’s looks kind of like a homey, laid-back apartment, with crooked shelves, wine bottle holders on the wall that were last seen in the ’90s, and sports playing on the TV. It’s also full of extremely friendly people, like the person sitting next to you at the bar who will chat about work and then share her brussels sprouts, or the server who will talk sports or politics with you. And then there’s the chef hanging out in the back, cooking some of his favorite things. Which, it turns out, could be almost anything.

Baran’s 2239 review image

At first glance, the menu reads like the email chain for a potluck where everyone announces what they’re bringing and nothing quite goes together. It changes pretty regularly, but you’ll find everything from squid ink gnocchi with crab to a shrimp tostada and jerk chicken wings. Those jerk wings are legitimately spicy, and the shrimp tostada is fantastic, but there are also some misses. The Italian-ish gnocchi is overpowered by the crab that comes with it, and the crispy octopus sounds interesting, but instead is pretty bland. And at some point, you might feel like you could have gone through dinner without having both fried chicken and spaghetti aglio e olio in the same meal.

But at the end of dinner at Baran’s, you probably won’t remember that tostadas and gnocchi don’t really go together. You’ll accept that you ate a bunch of different stuff, most of it good, and probably made friends with the people at the table next to you. Sounds like a pretty successful potluck to us.

Food Rundown

House Focaccia

Generally, we get kind of mad when restaurants make us pay for bread. But this parmesan focaccia comes with a rich, tomato-y butter that we would eat on its own.

Baran’s 2239 review image

Red Curry Brussels Sprouts

Yes, fried brussels sprouts with an egg on top will remind you of 2012. Also yes, these ones are fantastic.

Baran’s 2239 review image

Shrimp Stuffed Tostada

This is really a tostada sandwich, involving two crispy tortillas with shrimp in the middle and cumin crema and an avocado aguachile on top. We like this sandwich.

Baran’s 2239 review image

Extra Spicy Jerk Wings

If you order these, you’ll be warned about the spice, in case you didn’t catch that “extra spicy” on the menu. You probably won’t need to pause for a glass of milk in the middle, but you will likely need a tissue.

Gnocchi Nero

If you like gnocchi and if you like seafood, this seems like a no-brainer. But this dish just doesn’t really work. The gnocchi is just fine, and the crab ends up being a bit too overpowering.

Baran’s 2239 review image

Smoked & Fried Chicken

This is some pretty great chicken - it’s not dried out but it’s perfectly crunchy, and the smokiness makes it different from every other fried chicken you’ve ever had. It is just chicken on a plate though, and they don’t have any sides you can add on.

Bistro Filet

We generally prefer the appetizers at Baran’s, but the filet is an exception. The meat is high-quality and will be cooked exactly how you ask for it. Also, the corn puree underneath it is possibly the best part.

Baran’s 2239 review image

Butter Cake

This buttery bundt cake is brûléed before it arrives at your table. We would like all cakes to be blasted with a blow torch before we eat them.

Baran’s 2239 review image

Featured in

16 Restaurants Perfect For Literally Everyone guide image
16 Restaurants Perfect For Literally Everyone

Choose one of these restaurants for pretty much anything, and there’s (almost) no way you can screw it up.

Suggested Reading

Manhattan Beach Post review image
Manhattan Beach Post

An above-average neighborhood joint in Manhattan Beach.

Where To Drink After Hitting The Beach  guide image
Where To Drink After Hitting The Beach

The 13 best bars to keep your post-beach game going strong.

Where To Eat in Manhattan Beach guide image
Where To Eat in Manhattan Beach

The ritzy beach town didn’t always have great food, but that’s changed now. Here is the best of Manhattan Beach.

The Arthur J review image
The Arthur J

When you're near Manhattan Beach and the mood for steak, The Arthur J is your answer.