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Apr 18, 2008 10:40 AM

Lunch between LAX and MDR

Does anyone have any suggestions for a nice sit down lunch place between LAX and Marina del Rey? Here's the brief story- my fiance and I are getting legally married at the LAX courthouse next Friday (4/25). (We are doing an actual ceremony in Cabo San Lucas a few weeks later but didn't want to deal with the requirements for a legal marriage in Mexico) My Chinese parents, who are very picky eaters, decided that they want to come out for the civil ceremony, which means it's now been turned into a special occasion and we need to find a nice spot for lunch afterwards. I know Chinese food and dim sum are pretty sparse in those areas- they don't like sushi but might be up for other Japanese/Asian food.


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  1. if i were in your shoes, i'd go to cafe del rey in marina del rey.
    the food is good.
    they offer some japanese inspired dishes
    the view is lovely
    you will be able to stroll around the boat docks after your lunch if you like.
    the prices are more than fair for what they offer.

    there is no noteworthy chinese restaurant in the area.

    1 Reply
    1. re: westsidegal

      Definitely consider Cafe Del Rey. It is very convenient from LAX -- you just go up Lincoln and then turn into the bay and then they have easy valet parking. They have step-up level tables so even if you aren't right against a window you have a marina view of all the boats. They have a nice website that has menus with prices. If you like the dishes and the prices are within your budget, they are the nicest view restaurant in the area.

    2. Try 26 Beach Restaurant 3100 Washington, in Venice/Marina Del Ray. North side of Washington is Venice, south side is Marina.

      5 Replies
      1. re: Burger Boy

        26 Beach has good burgers and an extensive menu for dinner, lunch or brunch, with burgers high-priced in the low-teens and a lot of choices. But it is a wicker furniture, pillows on the chairs faux beach setting that is great for a casual weekend eye-opener, but perhaps way too downscale for a wedding party coming in from a distance at some expense.

        1. re: nosh

          You say high priced and I would disagree, 12-14 for their gourmet burgers, The Bombay, with mango chutney and home made curry sauce includes a good sized dinner salad or a ton of french fries. All this on a homemade bun, who else in town makes their own buns on premise, I sometime buy the buns 12 at a time in the summer for BBQ's.

          1. re: nosh

            to me, the price/quality/quantitiy ratios at 26beach are terrific.
            very few restaurants give that much quality and quantity for the buck.

            i do, agree, however, that it is not fancy enough for a wedding celebration.

            1. re: westsidegal

              If Cafe Del Rey doesn't do it for you and you want really high-quality food at modest prices, you may want to drive a bit further north and make reservations at Nook Bistro on Santa Monica Blvd. in W.L.A.

          2. re: Burger Boy

            although i love 26 beach, i would categorize it as a 'first date' restaurant, not nearly lovely enough to be a 'wedding celebration-special occasion' restaurant.

          3. My guess is you and your fiance are flexible with most foods are CHOWable, but your parents probably are a totally different story (my in-laws are Chinese as well: Chinese FIL = World's narrowest definition of what is edible). It might be easier to give you more recs if there's any ability to expand on some more of your parents' parameters; e.g., would they rather eat any Chinese food rather than the best Italian? Are they averse to salads/raw foods like a lot of Chinese? Would they prefer a relatively quiet dining environment or more festive? Are you willing to expand your eating locale to Venice or Santa Monica?

            Like others, I personally like Cafe Del Rey because not only is the food more than acceptable, most people will find something on the menu that appeals to them. Then interior is nice, the service is quite good, and parking easy. The seafood items are very fresh and well-prepared, and the locale seems to fit your request.

            I really like Joe's in Venice. Like Cafe Del Rey, they do seafood exceptionally well, and it always seems to be quite fresh too. Street parking can be a flip of the coin here but you can park in back for (I think) five bucks. It's much smaller than Cafe Del Rey - no harbor view - but they do have a nice patio in back. I would add that the attention to detail seems higher here, and that is what does it for when it comes purely down to the food.

            I would think that both of these places would work for you two - as for your parents, you may want to check out their website menus to see if anything might appeal to them. And of course, if your parents are anything like my FIL, the prices will become an issue. "Hah - for this much money I could eat for a month back home!" Yeah yeah, whatever...



            Cafe Del Rey
            4451 Admiralty Way, Marina Del Rey, CA 90292

            Joe's Restaurant
            1023 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice, CA 90291

            8 Replies
            1. re: bulavinaka

              Cafe del Rey was my backup plan- I live across the street from it and like their food. My dad would prefer Chinese above anything else- second place would probably go to Thai. My mom is a bit more adventurous but generally prefers Chinese. You are correct, they do not like raw foods and my dad doesn't think salad makes a meal. I've taken them for Persian, which they thought was okay but haven't wanted to go back since. I was thinking that Japanese small plates might do the trick. I'd prefer to do something between LAX and MDR. My parents are elderly and driving anywhere with them as passengers is a very trying experience.

              Very funny- my parents wouldn't complain about the prices but would probably be thinking that they could either make the food for cheaper or get something Chinese for cheaper. I definitely know my dad would be thinking that!

              1. re: PrettyPlaty

                There were more than a few good reports on Sakura House on Washington Blvd. in Marina Del Rey. Here's a link to one of the threads.


                Sakura House
                13362 W Washington Blvd
                Los Angeles, CA 90066
                (310) 306-7010

                1. re: Servorg

                  I didn't think they were open for lunch- SH is one of my favorites- will check on the times. Great possibility. Thanks!

                  1. re: PrettyPlaty

                    not sure if this is good for the parents but what about The Del in Playa Del Rey?? Can anyone here speak about it?

                    edit. never mind :( not open for lunch

                    1. re: NYCnowLA

                      Cant compare the Del to Cafe del Rey. I tried the Del last night. It was okl. We had some oysters. They were fine. We had the butter lettuce salad. Cant say anything was wrong. I ordered the eastern sea bass. It was ok, but I could swear it was trout, not sea bass. I know my fish. Not in a hurry to go back to the Del. But looking forward to my next return to Cafe del Rey.Hope that helps.

                    2. re: PrettyPlaty

                      Sorry, PP I didn't even think about this being lunch and not dinner.

                  2. re: PrettyPlaty

                    If you were interested in Japanese, there's also Irori on Glencoe

                    Small plates, albeit Mediterranean influenced, could be had at Primitivo.

                    I'm a big fan of Cafe del Rey, but you might also look into James' Beach, as well as Lilly's (if you don't mind French, which the folks might...).

                    1. re: Emme

                      unless the parents are open to sitting on the floor, skip irori.
                      the sushi there is just ok--i pass it on my drive to hide.

                2. Ok, this is definitely not between LAX and MDR but Sea Empress is not that far South and East of LAX and may provides your best Chinese food/dim sum option short of going to SGV. The dim sum quality changes with their chefs--I have had quite good lunches here and I have had ones which made me sorry that I did not head up to VIP Harbor instead.

                  Sea Empress Seafood Restaurant
                  1636 W Redondo Beach Blvd, Gardena, CA 90247

                  1. How bout Hawaiian? Back Home in LaHaina is just a hop skip and a jump from the airport, in North Manhattan Beach. Nice-sized platters for sharing.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: jackattack

                      i would not consider back home in lahaina a special occasion restaurant in any way.