photo credit: Jessie Clapp

Dear Jane's image

Dear Jane’s


Marina Del Rey

$$$$Perfect For:Eating At The BarSpecial Occasions


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If Dear Jane’s in Marina Del Rey feels like a relic pulled from decades past, that’s because it is. A follow-up from the owners of retro steakhouse Dear John’s in nearby Culver City, this swanky seafood spot took over an aging waterfront restaurant, gave it a fresh coat of paint, and tossed some buoys up on the walls. The result is a white tablecloth dining room that balances classic American nostalgia with some nautical touches—even the servers commit to the bit by wearing striped sailor shirts. But despite its charming scenery, the beautifully presented food here is tolerable at best. Dear Jane’s feels like a dated dinner cruise to nowhere.

Marina Del Rey is saturated with forgettable waterfront restaurants that squeeze money out of yacht club members like a lemon wedge over fried calamari. Given the success of Dear John's, we had high hopes that Dear Jane's would raise the bar for this sleepy dining scene. And while it's true that the retro seafood menu here is an improvement over the MDR competition, Dear Jane's is ultimately just another wood-shingled building with an overpriced menu that, for the most part, tastes like one big afterthought. Yes, the crustaceans and shellfish are high-quality, but a majority of the dishes here lack flavor and finesse.

Dear Jane's image

photo credit: Jessie Clapp

The “bougie” fish sticks topped with caviar would benefit from some finishing salt and a squeeze of citrus. The crab-stuffed prawns are tough and dry. And even after watching a server mix over 10 different ingredients into the tableside tuna tartare, it still tastes like it's missing something. If you’re lucky, the squid ink capellini in the crab nero might come out al dente. But even then, a lot of table salt is needed to make the $45 plate of pasta sing. With so many uneven items on the menu, the most consistent meal we had here involved a platter of oysters and a cocktail at the bar.

Unless you have some wealthy relatives in town or a friend dead set on overpaying for a marina view, we can’t think of many good reasons to make a special trip to Dear Jane’s. It’s a frustrating restaurant sequel that overpromises with half-baked nautical charm and delivers mostly underseasoned seafood. In fact, the best dish on the menu is a carryover hit from Dear John’s—their excellent chicken parmesan. If you do want to experience this nostalgic waterfront spot, the best way to do it is to slip into the bar area for a drink and a bite or two. Otherwise, you'll be committing to an expensive meal that you'll have forgotten about by the time you get home.

Food Rundown

Dear Jane's image

photo credit: Dear Jane's

Fish Sticks, Caviar, and Seven-Layer Dip

There’s something provocative about marrying freezer food with caviar, but at $45, the result is pretty underwhelming here. The housemade fish sticks mostly function as a gimmick (and provide a bit of crunch), while the salty cured roe is unevenly spread and gone in one bite. What’s left is a creamy dip of whipped creme fraiche and salmon roe, plus half a fish stick, and the unshakable feeling that you’ve just been ripped off.
Dear Jane's image

photo credit: Jessie Clapp

Fried Calamari

A simple plate of calamari with some marinara and aioli. It might not look all that impressive, but the squid is tender and the breading is incredibly light and crispy. If you’re looking for an appetizer to pair with your drink, this is what you want.
Dear Jane's image

photo credit: Jessie Clapp

Crab Stuffed Prawns

Someone at your table will likely want to order this. Just be sure it's not you. The thick jumbo prawns come out overcooked and the crab inside is a little dry. The bed of red sauce underneath has a decent amount of flavor, but doesn't make up for the rubbery seafood.
Dear Jane's image

photo credit: Jessie Clapp

Crab Nero

You can skip the pasta at Dear Jane's. This includes the boring scampi, the mushroom ravioli, and this bowl of squid ink capellini with chewy bits of crab on top. It’s by no means terrible, but it isn’t very memorable and you’ll probably regret spending $45 on it.
Dear Jane's image

photo credit: Jessie Clapp

Trout Amandine

Trout covered in brown butter and toasted almonds sounds like it should be a recipe for success. Sadly, this version is extremely mild and unremarkable.

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