photo credit: Benji Dell
Love & Salt
If you’ve watched enough HGTV or are a human being who’s had to look for a place to live, you know there are three words that count for everything: location, location, location. That apartment with questionable plumbing above a biker bar is going to look a lot more attractive if it’s right near Sunset Junction as opposed to Mid-City. The same logic applies to food. The restaurant at The Magic Castle might have a 1980's-style menu of beef wellingtons and stuffed mushrooms, but you’re at the goddamn Magic Castle, so it’s also one of the best meals of your life.
When you’re in Manhattan Beach, Love & Salt feels like the coolest restaurant around. It’s busy, it’s pretty, it’s noisy, everyone is happy, and the food is tasty. It’s pretty easy to get caught up in the Manhattan Beach-ness of it all, and start declaring this the best restaurant in the city. As you drive home, you realize the food was good, if not out of this world, and that Love & Salt is definitely not the best restaurant in the city, but it is a pretty damn excellent neighborhood spot.
If you’re an MB local, or you find yourself down there for the day, Love & Salt is certainly your best bet for upscale Italian food in a cool setting. The pastas are made in-house, there are some English muffins you’ll wish you could take home for breakfast tomorrow, and the roast chicken is seriously good. Oh, and you didn’t hear it from us, but the out of this world (and possible road to a heart attack) burger you had at brunch last week? If you ask nicely at dinner, you can have one then too. It’s called the Downlow burger for a reason.
Love & Salt might not be the G.O.A.T. place it can occasionally feel like while you’re there, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t still great. Date night, dinner with the parents, a solo burger when you’re hungover on a Sunday - Love & Salt is a reliable and fun move for all of these things. And it doesn’t really matter whether it’s in Manhattan Beach or not.
$6 for a couple of English muffins might seem ridiculous, but these are some tasty muffins. Is there such thing as better-than-usual butter? This butter is better than usual. If you were to order some cured meat to go with these, that would not be the worst decision.
We’re just going to ignore the name of this freekeh salad and talk about how it was fresh and a nice addition to a table full of pastas.
Duck Egg Pizza
There are two types of people: those who are OK with potato on their pizza, and those who aren’t. We’re very OK with it, and this is a good way to have it. Stick to ordering this guy for brunch though, it's too breakfast-y for dinner.
Creste di Gallo
This rigatoni-type pasta comes with a slow-braised lamb ragu and why even do you need to ask about ordering it? It’s rich and hearty and all-around comforting.
Despite the impressive show you get if you order this simple bone marrow and garlic pasta (they’ll bring the bone over and scoop all that marrow into the bowl in front of you), this is actually kind of bland. Save room for other things.
The entrees are the highlight at Love & Salt. Rabbit done porchetta-style comes over an insane black rice and farro thing. If you're smart you'll order another one for a leftover sandwich tomorrow.
Good roast chicken is good. Excellent roast chicken is amazing. This is an excellent roast chicken, with big bits of slightly toasted bread and a great jus over the top. Get this.
While we generally like to share here, if you’re feeling the burger you’re not going to want to give anyone else any, and you probably won’t be able to eat much else. This thing is like a Big Mac, but actually good, and you should order it here at least once.