Quiet dinner near Malibu
I'm visiting my parents in Malibu next week and would like to take them out to a nice meal but not too expensive - entrees in the $25 range or less.
I've read a lot of great things about Palate, but it seems to be a bit of a drive from Malibu (I live in NY, so what seems far to me may not be far to everyone else). I'm also not familiar with traffic in the area, so I don't want to think I can get there in 30 min. and it ends up taking an hour.
We'd be going with 4-5 people on a weekend, and I'd prefer a place where we can hear each other across the table.
Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!
So, the bad news is that there aren't too many decent restaurants in Malibu in your price range. Sorry.
If you can possibly go up to $20-$30 entrees, then I would strongly recommend the Sage Room on the corner of PCH and Kanan road. The food is California-Italian, and while it isn't world-class, it is quite good. The chef makes an effort to find local and organic ingredients, if you're interested in that sort of thing, and the atmosphere is...well, it's not <em>quiet</em>, but it's probably about as quiet as you're going to find on a weekend evening.
If the $25 limit is firm, you still have some options. You could head up to Neptune's Net (BYO wine, glasses, and sides), get a few crabs, and sit on the picnic tables on the patio and watch the sunset. The crab takes a while to eat, so you'll have time for conversation, but this isn't exactly white-tablecloth dining. The food on the live-seafood side is chow-worthy (avoid the fried stuff on the other side).
Your other option is to go to one of the touristy places on the beach side of the highway: Moonshadows, Duke's, or Paradise Cove cafe. (I can't speak for the food at the first two, but the latter is acceptable. Not chow-worthy, but acceptable.) And the view should be good. Avoid Gladstone's.
I notice you didn't mention what part of Malibu you're staying in. If you're on the extreme North or South ends, you probably don't want to go driving to the other end (Malibu is about twice as long as Manhattan). Traffic should be okay Northbound, but will probably plug up between 4pm and sunset Southbound.
If you're on the extreme South end of Malibu, consider driving into Santa Monica for a slightly larger selection of restaurants.
You don't want to go to Palate -- it's quite nice, but Glendale is really far. Rustic Canyon in Santa Monica is similar, but everyone complains about the noise, no maybe not the best choice. There's not a huge selection in Malibu -- everything's either very touristy or rather over-priced or a combination of both.
Maybe someplace in Venice like Joe's would be a good choice for you.
1023 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice, CA 90291
I like Duke's. It's a chain. The food is decent, and the view of the ocean is lovely. I don't know how quiet it will be. The bar area tends to be a bit noisy, but I have always been able to have good conversations in the restaurant area.
21150 Pacific Coast Hwy, Malibu, CA 90265