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Manhattan Beach - A culinary wasteland?

So the BF and I just moved to Manhattan Beach, and so far, well, we're unimpressed with the offerings. We've found some great stuff in Lawndale, etc. (many thanks to Mr. Gold for his CI tips), but that's a long way to travel on a regular basis. We'd love it if there was a local joint (or two or three) that we could call home. Are we missing something? Is there any great food to be had in MB? Most especially we miss that heavenly combination of high quality and low price...

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  1. I like Versailles on Sepulveda, despite the detractors on here that don't like it...garlic pork for me...their lauded chicken is usually too dry.....food is great stuff on the cheap too. i need to work my way through the menu some time....

    Houstons is always great.

    I like bristol farm's cafe too.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Xericx

      Don't bother working through the menu. You hit the bullseye with your first pick. The roasted pork is the best.

      1. re: mattesq

        Second... The rest of their stuff is just awful... :P


      2. re: Xericx

        Versailles on Sepulveda has the best atmosphere of the 4 Versailles Resturants and I agree he Lechon is great and the Chicken Dry......try the Rabo Encendido you won't be disappointed and if you are go to Havana Mania it's great there and the Mojito's are good too at Mania

      3. Manhattan Beach and Low Price are mutually exclusive. There are several nice places to eat in MB, but cheap eats they are not.

        In addition to Versailles, the other best bang for the buck in MB is Back Home in Lahaina. And the El Tarasco on Rosecrans. Bring your own beer and sit on the roof and watch the sunset.

        1. Try Il Boccaccio @39 Pier In Hermosa by very close to MB

          1. Not sure what part of MB you live in, yet if in the northerly portion, try El Segundo for options, as the commercial rents, especially downtown, are MUCH cheaper, and thus you can find some quality dining where landlords have not forced the tenant to jack up prices beyond imagination.
            Here is a recent thread that might at least get you started. Also, like I did, use the search feature, entering whatever titles of interest, specify the LA Message board, and then see what has already been mentioned.

            1. My post from a previous thread:

              El Pollo Inka: Peruvian

              Great peruvian food. Someone below mentioned the one in hermosa, but I think that that particular El Pollo Inka waters down their flavors for the HB crowd. The one I like is just a block or two north of Hawthorne and Manhattan Beach Blvd. You MUST try the saltados, preferably the saltadao camarones. I also like the camerones picado (although I am looking at the menu now and think they might have droped this last dish). Don't forget the delicious green sauce.


              La Creme de la Crepes- French

              A crepery. I haven't been there in 4 years, but I know a lot of people who go regularly. They have expanded their menu beyond crepes and now have other dishes (nothing too fancy). Also, they have free escargo on thursday nights!


              Poulet Du Jour- Rotasserie/Mediterranean

              This place (as its name suggests) does chicken, very well! It's very tasty. They do free delivery to MB, which is what my family always does. For sides, get humus (duh!) and their cole slaw. You can also order the chicken without the skin, which is nice.



              If you like Brooklyn style pizza (which I'm sure you do), order delivery from Valentino's. They have a pretty darn authenitc NYC style thin crust pizza. They also have coupons in the Beach Reporter and Easy Reader, so snap those up. Note that it's a little oily, but nothing absurd. (note: the pictures of the pizza on the website below is not their actual pizza... so don't worry



              Al-Noor: Indian/Pakistani

              I've mentioned this place a few times over the last few days here on the board, but I simply love it. Get the paneer tikka massala and rice and naan and you're set. This is one of my favorite restaurants, it's AMAZING.


              Pennylane: Neighborhood Sushi... it's kinda a secret

              This place in downtown is pretty good, though not amazingly special/extraordinary. Your typical sushi joint, but more traditional. I like it a lot. After you meal, you can walk down to the strand in like 2 minutes. I like the spyder roll.

              Penny Lane
              (310) 374-6311
              820 Manhattan Ave # 105 (cross street is 9th
              )Manhattan Beach, CA 90266

              El Tarasco- Mexican

              There are many El Tarascos (even 2 in MB), but the one on Rosecrans in downtown MB is by far the best. A favorite of local surfers, it's a pretty darn good mexican restaurant, and very cheap. You eat at the counter, which is covered in surf stickers. Check it out.

              manhattan+beach,+CA&sll=37.062500,-95.677068&sspn=23.875000,57.630033&latlng=33884722,-118410000,16155927076216783362" target="_blank">http://news.google.com/maps?hl=en&amp...

              Azuma Izakaya: Japanese (pub/tavern style


              The south bay has a ton of great japanese restaurants. I just happen to go to this one, which is pretty respected. I like the combo dinners (which are enormous). Excellent tempura and really amazing terriyaki steak. Also try the croquettes. Don't be intimidated if you are the only non Japanese person in there. Also open late (like 2am) on the weekends.


              La Cueva: $1 tacos (need I say more?


              This place opened up about a year ago. A pretty good taqeria for south bay standards. I like the chorizo and carne asada tacos (each $1). A good snack when you go to the Galleria for shopping (right across the street). Parking is behind the shop.


              Let's see, what else?

              El Gaucho Meat Market: Argentinean Meats

              Although this place has a deli, I've never tried any of their sandwiches (although my argentinian friend says the lomo is great). My family always gets their marinated meats, either skirt steak or the chicken, and brings them back and make them on the grill. They are very well marinated, with a lot of cilantro. You should also try their empenadas. I like the chicken and the spinch ones. ALso ask for the empenada dipping sauce.

              beach&sll=37.062500,-95.677068&sspn=23.875000,57.630033&latlng=33849167,-118387500,2150825270712269878" target="_blank">http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&amp...

              Thai Dishes (Sepulveda location next to the post office): thai

              This place is by no means excellent Thai Food, but when you're not in the mood to drive to Thai Town for some Ruen Pair, this place fits the bill. Just normal, Americanized versions of Thai dishes. Great, cheap lunch specials. I really LOVE the garlic chicken, although I warn you your breath will smell for days... it't that strong (but oh so good!). Usual pad thai is good too, as is the vegetarian fried rice. Just a local, dependable Thai joint. They do free delivery. They also sometimes do coupons in the Easy Reader and Beach Reporter.


              Well... that's more or less every restaurant in my MB and environs rotation. I guess a general rule of thumb is if you want to go ethnic, you should drive out a mile or two east onto Hawethorne blvd/lawndale blvd. or 5 or so miles south east into torrance/gardena area for great Asian food (so many too choose from) which I haven't exlored as much as I would like.
              END OF POST

              New thoughts: I don't see how a drive to lawndale can be long. Al Noor, my favorite restaurant, takes maximum 10 minutes from MB. I am the type of person who likes great food at low prices, and MB has very little of this, so I think doing a 10 minute drive is worth it.

              1 Reply
              1. re: young_chower

                Poulet Du Jour is definitely tasty, but prepared to load up on water. They are not shy about the salt.

                Poulet Du Jour
                233 Pacific Coast Hwy, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254

              2. Wow, thanks for the replies everyone! Young Chower - Al Noor is one of my favorite restaurants too, so I'll definitely try all your other suggestions. Also, its not that I mind driving 10 minutes for great food, but I'd love it if there were a hidden gem I could walk or bike to (like it was in my old neighborhood, which was right near Sawtelle - oh the good food that was walking distance!). Anyway, I'll be trying everyone's ideas and more, and will let you know if I find anything new!

                1 Reply
                1. re: CravingLady

                  I hear ya on the walking thing. Unless you live downtown MB, walking in MB is kinda difficult. Even then, downtown MB has very few great chowhound worthy areas. Sad, but true.

                2. A very wise hound gave us great advice as we looking for a place to move. As we scouted out and considered neighborhoods, she warned us that some neighborhoods in L.A. are great, but are drive only. Sadly Manhattan Beach is one of those neighborhoods (I spent lots of time in the last few years).

                  Aside from the great recs above... Here are some other options nearby.

                  * Osho Sushi: Sushi is okay, but their cooked food is really tasty and not bad priced!


                  * Pupuseria Arcense: Great Pupusas, Caldo de Pollo, Tamales, Yucca. One of my favorite Salvadoran Restaurants in all of L.A. A true hound find:


                  * Wahoos: I know it's a chain, but with the cheap 'Beer of the week'. and decent fish options. Sometimes it does hit the spot! :)



                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Dommy

                    Ooo.. I've been looking for a Pupuseria in the area. What should I order? I've never had a pupusa before?

                    1. re: young_chower

                      To get whole sense of the dish, order the Revueltas, which is a mixture of beans, cheese, meat and herb. The cheese is a little too heavy for me. Lorroco (The herb they use) is a little too subtle and the meat is scant (Because they have to flatten them, they can't have huge chunks of meat inside). So by getting the combo, you get the best of both worlds.

                      They have a 'sampler' plate where you can try their 'best'. Pupusa, Fried Yucca, Sausage and Empanada (With the shell made of mashed plantain and the filling being black bean or cream). Salvadoran food is GREAT. There is so much to explore there... This place was a saving GRACE for me when I was in the area a LOT. :)


                  2. In Hermosa (yeah not MB) there's New Orleans on Pier, above Hermosa Ave. Cajun, spicy, reasonable price.

                      1. re: triplecreme

                        Triplecreme, in regards to Avenue, do you have any particular dish recommendations?

                        1. re: CravingLady

                          Don't know whether the menu is up to date or not, since Shaffer's bio mentions that he and his wife live in PDR and run Avenue and Chloe, the latter which closed over 6 months ago. They now have a restaurant in Ojai as well as Avenue, and I cannot imagine that commute at all. Thus who is running the kitchen in MB would be a good question - one I have no answer for, yet would like to know.

                          1. re: carter

                            There's something new in the old chloe space...Minotaur or something like that...just passed it over the weekend.....looked like a wine bar.

                            1. re: Xericx

                              Yes, it is Minotaur, a wine bar which has already had an ad on Craig's list for additional help just after having a very successful opening. Sounds like new post time!

                          2. re: CravingLady

                            Their menu changes monthly, but they usually have a foie gras dish on the menu that is great.

                        2. north end caffe is good, good sandwiches, coffee, etc.

                          1. re: Avenue.

                            Menu is up to date (see month), but some of the website is not. I Think Shaffer is focusing on Ojai (they are having occupancy problems, or lack there of) so if you go to Avenue, you won't see much of him.

                            1. Upscale Greek: Petros (at the Metlox center)
                              French: Cafe Pierre
                              Bargain: Back Home in Lahaina

                              1. MB is a bit of a wasteland in comparison to many other areas of LA. However, MB does breakfast really well. The Kettle has great muffins, Uncle Bill's does good pancakes, and Koffee Kart does good, hearty breakfast food (try the El Paso). After breakfast, the options get a bit slim, in my estimation.

                                1. How's Rock N' Fish? I passed by there when I ate at Beaches (bleh, except for the view) and it was packed and the menu didn't look too bad.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: Xericx

                                    I love rock n' fish. i used to work there so i've tried most of the menu. I'm not just saying i like it because i used to work their either. their seafood is incredibly fresh. i would recomend the seared ahi. definitely try the potatoes au gratin.

                                  2. I would recommend Sharkeez on Highland and Rosecrans for a great happy hour and taco tuesday. They also have specials daily. The food is surprisingly good.

                                    Also, I agree on MBs breakfast being good. You should check out the Beach Hut for Hawaiian breakfast. They just moved to a new bigger location down the street from Sharkeez. The service is awesome and the corned beef hash is tasty.

                                    Also, for Peruvian, I'd venture out to Redondo Beach and go to Pollo Grill. I prefer the saltado there over El Pollo Inka.

                                    In the same area, you should check out Rice Things for cheap, decent Japanese food. It's more of a fast food Japanese place but pretty good in terms of quality.

                                    1. I forgot to mention Big Wok for Mongolian BBQ. The sesame "bread" pockets that come with the meal are really good. The place isn't the highest of quality but I still enjoy it everytime I go.

                                      1. Jorge:

                                        Can you clarify the restaurant of which you speak?

                                        I live in Hermosa, previously lived in MB. When we moved two yrs ago from the Westside, we were DISTRAUGHT over what we perceived as a culinary wasteland. We too had dreams of walking or biking along The Strand for lovely leasurely meals...then we got over it. We love living here, the pace agrees with us and we love that we can walk to the beach. Although, reading this board makes me nostalgic and envious at times. I agree with several of the recommendations and condemnations above. Additionally,I'd like to mention:

                                        Pomodoro-Italian at top of MB Boulevard is part of a N.Cal chain and the food is reasonably priced and IMO far better Italian than Momma D.'s, Il Boccoccio (so expensive).
                                        Buona Vita -on Pier in Hermosa has good pizza, salads and pasta and has a nice ambience.
                                        Chef Melba's-the find for use. On Hermosa Ave, and 13th? Just two blocks from Pier. Really well prepared eclectic food (seafood, meat, salads, soups, etc). I love the scallops/shrimp in a lemony sauce over pasta. The menu also has some healthy choices in form of quick sautees, brown rice, etc.
                                        Japonica-on PCH in RB. Reminds me of a few sushi spots in New York. Has an upscale club feel. Great music. Food and service very good. Not cheap.

                                        In MB proper, I like:

                                        Corkscrew Cafe-on Highland at Marine -hip wine bar in a very vertical space, offerering small plates.
                                        Bobo's Chinese Deli-acrosss the street from Corkscew-take out only. It is IMO the better Chinese to be found locally. The branch in HB though is to be avoided.
                                        Petros-I enjoy the upscale Greek cuisine-the eggplant dip is fantastic.
                                        Doughboys-across from Petros-avoid at all costs
                                        Pain Q-next to Petros-nice late breakfast/early lunch-good open faced sandwiches, fresh bread with butter and homemade preserves and a bowl of coffee.
                                        Rock N Fish-I enjoy the food-it is very consistent. The seared ahi appetizer is a favorite. The mac and cheese is very very good too.
                                        The Koffee Kart-great for breakfast especially when Uncle Bill's is packed (which is often).
                                        There is a sub shop on Rosecrans, right next to El T. Really good sandwiches. We also like the sushi place next door-is it Katsu? Service can be ssslowww though.

                                        Finally. in PDR, which you can bike to along The Strand, there is Caffe Penguini. IMO, it is the best Italian in a 10 mile radius.


                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: Densible

                                          The sub place is/was a Papa Jake's Philly Cheese steak place. I haven't eaten there in a while, but speaking as a chower but non-expert, I thought it was a pretty respectable version. I was chatting with some guys I know recently and one of them ate a Joey's the new bbq place opened by Luke Walton and his brothers. The person who ate there said the meat was good, but he didn't care for the sides. He's a bbq fan, so I'd give his opinion some weight. Joey's is in the Manhattan Mall.

                                          1. re: Feed_me

                                            i went to Joeys bbq the other day....the sides were atrocious...baked beans and coleslaw were horrible.....the bbq didn't impress...everything seemed really corporate-y.....the sauce was way too sweet and way too vinegary for my tastes...the Baby Backs were tender but the chicken sucked.

                                            i'd go try the rest of the menu again though......

                                            1. re: Feed_me

                                              I love Papa Jakes... they even fly in Tasty Cakes...


                                          2. No one has yet mentioned Bora Bora. Its a fantastic steak/meat/fish place that does things a little differently. While it isnt necessarily cheap, the portions are huge and you and your BF could easily split something and not go hungry.
                                            Mama D's pasta place is pretty decent...but go for lunch as the prices are almost half of the dinner options.
                                            Havana Mania has fantastic fried yucca...its almost enough to make you swear off french fries. They also have a fairly decent bar and salsa dancing one of the days during the week!
                                            DO NOT go to the Kettle. Bad food and it isnt clean...no need to say more.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: sarahrcross

                                              Petros is great but expensive. If you live fairly close to Rosecrans venturing into downtown El Segundo will net you some fine tasty affordable eats. Try the Hummus Factory in the mall with Rite Aid. Very good Lebanese food. There is also a Cuban restaurant right near Main St in the same mall as Dijon Chicken. I think the roast pork, plaintains and cubano sandwich are all excellent (much better than Versailles IMO). Plates and sandwiches are very inexpensive - all under $10.

                                              1. No one even mentioned Martha's in Hermosa on 22nd Street or La Playita also in Hermosa.

                                                Must eats when in the area!

                                                La Playita
                                                37 14th St, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254

                                                1. Well, since someone dragged up this five year old post, at least some new mentions would include Tin Roof Bistro, Darren's, Simmzy's for the beer crowd, and the soon to open Manhattan Beach Post Office, cheffed by David Lefevre, ex Water Grill.

                                                  229 Manhattan Beach Blvd, Manhattan Beach, CA

                                                  Tin Roof Bistro
                                                  3500 Sepulveda Blvd, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: carter

                                                    Don't forget Hot's Kitchen and the new spot from Neal Fraser (Grace) called Strata, the de Cuisine is the other Travis from Gjelina.