HOME > Chowhound > Los Angeles Area >


Good Restraunts in South Bay LA

I live in the south bay and have lived here for 24 years and am always trying to find a good restraunt that isnt too over the top (i.e. price per quality of food or trying too hard to be cutting edge) but is still a great meal that may not be on everyones radar screens. An example of what I am speaking of is Bora Bora in Manhattan Beach. I love this restraunt and am always trying to find others that are similar in that they are great, high quality food where the people are unpretentious and you feel like its sort of your gem because its not over flowing with people all the time.

Does anyone know of some other restraunts in the South Bay Area (Primarily Manhattan Hermosa Redondo) that are similar to what I described above. I know its a bit vague but if anything jumps to mind thanks so much.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. All of your qualifications can be met at Chef Hannes in El Segundo
    I have always wondered about Bora Bora, nice to hear some rec's on this place!

    1 Reply
    1. re: MahiMahiFish

      chef hannes is now awful.

      was there three weeks ago with a party of 7.
      it was a friday night.
      the restaurant was practically empty, so it wasn't a 'they-were-busy' issue.
      there was no excuse for what we were served.
      after this experience, none of us will EVER go back.

    2. Think Bistro in San Pedro, corner of 25th and Western. Very romantic...which is to say it's small and intimate. The food is very good...their tomato soup is the best I've had. They say all they do is boil the tomatoes down and add cream, salt and pepper. YUM!


      1. Our go to place in the South Bay is Scardino's. Solid Italian offerings and the prices are reasonable. Last time I was there, we had a pre-fix dinner that included wine, salad, main entree and dessert. I can't remember the exact price but I'm sure it was less than $20.00 per head.

        It's located on a strip mall along Torrance Blvd. but don't be put off by that. Owners are pleasant and more than happy to honor special requests.

        4801 Torrance Blvd
        Torrance, CA 90503
        (310) 793-8646

        Enjoy :)

        1 Reply
        1. re: sharkgirl88

          Chef Melba's is small, intimate and very good. The shrimp and scallops in a lemon scented sauce is outstanding as is the grilled bread and salads. On Hermosa Ave and 15th (or 13th?)
          For PanAsian, we like Gina Lee's Bistro in Torrance (on Palos Verdes I think). I could drive you there but can't tell you where it is...
          Enoteca in Hermosa is the Italian version of Bora. Again, not sure of eact location but think it is Manhattan Ave. Very small, dark. Sometimes the owners are clearly sulky and service suffers but when they are on, it is very good indeed.
          Have you tried Jackson's on Pier? I have heard good things but not a meat eater so have never been.
          Buona Vita on Pier is good Italian-for this area, the Napolitan pizza is excellent.

          We have tried Scardinos and were very underwhelmed as we are with most of the Italian in this area.. Also Christine's gets good reviews but we found it incredibly reliant on cream based sauces.

        2. Venture over to Gardena for some great Peruvian food at El Rocoto on Artesia, a couple doors away from the 99 Ranch... If you want sushi to go with that tallarin saltado, go to Kotosh at Kamiyama in Lomita - Peruvian food plus sushi...


          2 Replies
          1. re: bulavinaka

            and speakijng of Japanese....what about Japonica on PCH in Redondo? We really love it. Cool decor, great service, very good food and accessible.

            I am intrigued by Peruvian food, specially the seafood soups! Will be visiting Lomita this weekend. If I don't like/like the food, I will comfort/award myself the consolation of a cream puff.

            1. re: Densible

              i second japonica. nice atmosphere and quality food. also! love their sake sampler - $5 for three (and happy hour until 7:00 p.m., too).

              another option is avenue, though it seems their service is slipping a little lately.

          2. Great call on Bora Bora! I also love that place! Have you tried Jackson's Bistro on upper Pier Avenue in Hermosa? The Head Chef / Owner, Scott, is creative and a master! Try to get a table on the patio!

            1. I quite like Belacan though I don't remember if it's Redondo or Hawthorne.

              1 Reply
              1. re: SauceSupreme

                Belacan is right on the border of North Redondo Beach and Torrance... Great rec as usual, Sauce... go for the crab - any crab...

              2. I got another perfect place for you: Baleen in Redondo Beach. It's behind the Portofino Inn, and away from the craziness of the Cheesecake Factory next door. Great food (sort of eclectic) and great view (of the RB Harbor).

                9 Replies
                1. re: kealoha

                  Have you eaten there lately? We went a few years ago (maybe it was called something else?) and never returned. I saw the menu recently and it sounded lovely. Just hope it is a new chef.

                  1. re: Densible

                    Yes! We've (my husband and I) been there for intimate dinners just for two, and we've been there with groups, all within 2007. And yes, it was something else a few years ago, I don't remember what, but Baleens' current menu is outstanding. They have a chocolate dessert that was fabulous, I don't remember what they called it, but it comes in 3 parts. Try to get a table in the room with the fireplace, very cozy.

                    1. re: kealoha

                      we will go there very soon and report back.

                  2. re: kealoha

                    Baleen is a great VENUE - a good, scenic, romantic spot for drinks that overlooks the marina, but other than that, everything else was unsatisfying - especially once we were served the bill. $200 for drinks, wine, appetizers and entrees for 2, would have been fine except the service was totally lacking and the food was unimpressive. The waitress asked the obligatory, "How is your salad?" and I didn't hesitate to tell her that I wasn't a fan (I had the chilled roasted beat salad with goat cheese). To which she replied, "Ok. Would you like another glass of wine?" Umm... Why even bother asking if you don't care to hear the answer?

                    My boyfriend ordered the most expensive item on the menu - the filet mignon - and said he could have done better at home with a grill and a nice slab of meat. He said the sauce was unidentifiable and the scalloped potatoes were a cold slab of starch.

                    My own entree, the Shiitake Mushroom Fetuccini was cold and the pasta was stuck together in a melange of overcooked mushrooms and cream sauce.

                    The best-tasting part of the meal was their signature appetizer: A hot stone on a bed of sea salt upon which you cook your own slices of rare beef, tuna sashimi or scallops. Perhaps that was the best item because it was do-it-yourself. But if you're going to do DIY for this price, save your energy and money for Shabu Shabu at Gyushintei in Torrance where you can get a full meal for two, plus a movie at the same price ($46).

                    I expect a lot more for my money than this. I would only recommend this spot for drinks in the cozy bar area. Skip the food, the uncaring service and the inflated prices.

                    1. re: djwahine

                      Crikey! I have reservations here for New Years Day for visiting relatives. I am looking for good food in an impressive setting. The only other place I can think of is Trumps Golf Course. Any thoughts?

                      Kealoha, have you been to Baleen recently? Please weigh in!


                      1. re: djwahine

                        We did end up going to Baleen for New Year's Day lunch. I decided to be positive.

                        Booked a table for 6 via Opentable. Received a confirmation from Baleen. A few days before our visit, I changed the reservation from a party of six to a party of 7 via Opentable. Received another confirmation. Great.

                        New Year's morning, called the restaurant directly to confirm (Type C personality). Spoke to someone, letting them know we were running 15 minutes late and reminding them we are a party of 7. No problem. Great again.

                        Arrived-the upstairs is empty, no one there to greet us. There is a sign saying "Please join us for breakfast downstairs" Alrighty then, we go downstairs, no one there to greet us. Restaurant has a few tables with diners. I go to the staff hub and everyone ignores me. We are a big group-7 people loitering in a tight space. PLEASE TAKE PITY ON US.
                        A woman approaches, I tell her we have a reservation. She says with confidence "We don't take reservations". "Really?" I reply with equal confidence. "I made one on Opentable." Says she, "Oh Opentable, we have a lot of trouble with them." Confused am I. "Well I received two confirmations via email plus I called and confirmed this morning." This raises her hackles, "Oh yeah, who did you speak to?" Gee, I don't know-I did not ask for her name....This could have (should have been the end but it wasn't)

                        Long story short, she had a table set up for us-outside on a cloudy chilly day. We can't sit upstairs in the restaurant proper because "we are not working that part right now."I was ready to walk but had 5 guests and did not want to take them to The Cheesecake Factory. (Hindsight is a killer).

                        We took the table and the server arrived promptly (first and last time) to hand round menus and take drink order. It took 15 mins to get 1 coffee, 1 glass of champagne and a glass of wine. We order appetizers of lemon hummus and spicy steamed mussel and a bowl of soup for our 4 yr old. She wants bread, we all want bread. No bread served-we asked and are told "we have not prepared any and it will take a while to prepare it. I have to ask the chef" WHATEVER. I am getting re-annoyed writing this.

                        Service problems continued. Our server disappeared mid meal and did not return until credit cards were placed on the table. The bus people did their best to help us. One server so reeked of cigarette smoke- my SIL felt ill.

                        The food:

                        Hummus-good texture, nice hit of lemon,
                        Spicy steamed mussels-good size portion and at $12 bucks (considering that a small green salad is $9), the best deal on the menu. The spicy tomato sauce was very good and how nice it would have been to have some bread to finish it off.

                        Chinese Chicken Salad-small portion, overdressed and bland.
                        Cheeseburger-ordered and served rare with very well done fries (potato and sweet potato)
                        Lox and Bagel plate-my husband thought is was great-very good smoked salmon and a lot of it for 12 bucks.
                        Scallops-3 small overdone tasteless bites, with a bit of rocket and a few drops of balsamic reduction. Saddest about this one because it was mine.
                        Fish and Chips-those well done fries again and some very thickly battered fish. Not my dish but my SIL said it was good. She can't be trusted though as she was trying keep me from going off.

                        No one checked on us at all and we had to ask for refills of water, etc. Ordered another round of drinks and were warned, "we have to go upstairs for those and we do not have a bartender right now" Okay-so, do you not want us to order the 9 dollar glasses of wine? WHATEVER!


                        Vanilla Creme Brulee-a putrid mysteriously muted mustard colored plop (yes PLOP) on a plate with a bit of torched sugar on the top. The stuff had the texture of dental cement. Shockingly bad. $7

                        Cheesecake with pecans and dulche de leche. Tasted like they got it next door at the Cheesecake Factory. The best dessert and a shocking $11 bucks.

                        Brownie Sundae-umm I think the fudge sauce was from a squeeze bottle of chocolate flaroved corn syrup. It had that that artificial chocolate aftertaste. Gross. $10.

                        20% gratuity added.

                        I agree-the VENUE is lovely and it is most disconcerting and very disappointing that the food and service are not a reflection of the space.

                        1. re: Densible

                          Awful, terrible (but very funny description of it, for which I thank you) service. When things start to go wrong like that it just seems to get worse and worse - like a snowball headed downhill and picking up steam and more snow. And the fact that your meal was the worst of any of them is another example of Murphy's Law (maybe a corollary). I might have argued that added 20% gratuity with the MOD but then again I'm sure you were just trying to run as far and as fast as possible from your little "Brunch from Hell" at that point.

                          Happy New Year!! ;-D

                          1. re: Servorg

                            Thanks-I appreciate the empathy. It is amazing how much the taste of a bad meal lingers.....

                            Onward and Upward!
                            Happy New Year to You Too!

                          2. re: Densible

                            I just went for dinela. It's so pretty and the service is so good, but our food was cold and not memorable at all.

                      2. When I read your post, the first place that came to mind was Il Chianti, an Italian-Japanese restaurant in Lomita. Though the combination may sound a little strange, the cuisines actually play very well off of each other and on any given night, you'll see people from all walks of life. We came after a stint at Manhattan Beach, but there were also couples celebrating anniversaries and business people talking money. I think that's truly a testament to how diverse and universally appealing the restaurant is. I hope you get a chance to give it a try! And if you've got some time before, check out Patisserie Chantilly for a pre-dinner dessert. =]

                        Il Chianti: http://poptisserie.blogspot.com/2007/...
                        Patisserie Chantilly: http://poptisserie.blogspot.com/2007/...

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: poptisserie

                          Love both! They're my picks for dessert and Japanese-Italian (there are a couple more in the South Bay) food. Sometimes a special, the uni pasta is deliciously rich and to die for.

                        2. J Trani's in San Pedro ( 9th near Grand ) 310-832-1220.
                          Great Northern Italian specialties. This restaurant has been run by the Trani family for over 30 years. While always a good restaurant, it has had a re birth under the grandson ,Destin Trani. Jim Trani's grandson. You will find old favorites as well as some really special new items on the menu. Sure to make a trip to "Pedro" worthwhile

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: big dave

                            Trani's is a classic. Italian food is definitely a strong point here in Pedro. I also like Rafaello's, Marcello, and Neil's

                          2. restaurant christine and the depot in torrance.

                            seconding others' recos - i have had good meals at think and so-so meals there (i second the soup comment, though). j tranis (in san pedro) is pretty solid as is jacksons (on pier)!

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: spressogeek

                              I concur with Christine and the Depot. Those two have some connection; I think the proprietors are former spouses.

                              I live in San Pedro, and generally choose Neil's for a slightly upscale dinner.

                            2. Papa Lucci's, inexpensive small restaurant, good Italian.
                              in Long Beach area.

                              1. Try Coyote Cantina for good and unique Mexican food

                                6 Replies
                                1. re: alliefair3

                                  Two places I frequent: Bistro 767 in Palos Verdes on "the hill" is very good and unlike anything else in the area and I also like Christines. I think both of them are the closest thing to non chain/ real dining that you can find in that area. Chez Milange is also great but much more expensive.

                                  The former two will not disapoint though.

                                  1. re: thomtompkins

                                    i think you guys got everything....there is this italian place i like up in rolling hills called giorgios. nice small dining room, excellent pastas. HOWEVER, thre is this italian restaurant next to cheesecake factory in hermosa beach, i forget the name dont go there. the food was horrible, over priced and the service was pretty bad except for the manager who was nice.........

                                    1. re: AGENT FOODIE

                                      Beachside Italian...formerly Harbor Drive. Same owners I think, same dismal reviews.

                                      1. re: Rizza

                                        I thought it is called Venezia or something like that? Have not been because of suspicions that it was still Harbor Drive (worst brunch ever anywhere) disguised as an Italian. Thanks for the confirmation. Will have to try Giorgios as part of my continuing quest for good food

                                    2. re: thomtompkins

                                      I have to disagree on Bistro 767. I had been meaning to try the place for a long time and finally got around to it a few days ago. We started with the bread basket which was frozen(the bread, not the basket); then we had the mushroom soup which tasted like canned soup, pomme frittes with a weird oily taste to them, caesar salad with the anchovies laid on top of the romaine instead of integrated with the dressing(bizarre), filet which was cooked as ordered but the bacon wrapped around was overpowering and the braised shortribs w/ yam puree which was like a dessert it was so sweet. I probably should have left after the bread discovery but at least now I don't have to go back. Also, the restaurant was completely empty except for one other table. And that place is huge! I don't know how they've survived so long.

                                      1. re: baloney

                                        i think there was a different restaurant there before that the bistro 767.

                                  2. My favorites in the South Bay:

                                    Versailles on PCH (part of a family chain) excellent Cuban

                                    El Pollo Inka (PCH, plus other locations) Peruvian

                                    Ocean Diner on Aviation

                                    Aimee's Bistro on PCH - a little more expensive, but worth it for great French

                                    I second Bellacon Grill

                                    Sangria on strand at HB PIer Ave

                                    All three Cajun places in HB