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Feb 9, 2009 04:12 PM

Not too adventurous and moderately priced in Marina del Rey?

I am taking an out-of-towner to dinner, looking for a restaurant in close proximity to Marina del Rey. This person appreciates good food and a nice atmosphere but may not like ethnic food. Cafe del Rey is too pricey for us, looking for a less expensive option in the area. Hoping for better food than C&O or Alejo's, and better atmosphere than Antica. Any ideas?

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  1. 26 Beach

    26 Beach
    3100 Washington Blvd., Venice, CA 90292

    3 Replies
    1. re: monku

      nicole, just so you know, the decor at 26 beach is shabby-chic (pillows strewn around the dining room, intentionally mismatched tables and chairs, etc), so if this is a business meeting you might want to take a look at the room before you go.

      the prices run from the mid-teens for a burger with choice of salad or fries or an entree salad to over $30 for a lamb chop entree.

      personally, i feel their strength is in the area of the entree salads--they offer a large selection of them and almost all are absolutely terrific.

      their burgers are also very, very, good as are their fries.

      i am not so much a fan of their entrees.

      they have a suprisingly nice wine list of wine by the glass. (including a raymond chardonnay)

      1. re: westsidegal

        FYI burgers start at $12 and it is a rack of lamb for $31. The rack of lamb is excellent as are the entree salads. I really like some of the pasta dishes, the Cajun pasta, Curry pasta amd the chipotle pasta, they have a new one that reminds me of the great dish from The Old Spaghetti Factory, a browned butter with Mizithra cheese. The inside dinning area is more formal than the garden area you described. It is kind of like inside is masculine and outside is feminine.

        1. re: Burger Boy

          Hmm, it sounds like 26 Beach is the unanimous choice, so we'll probably go there. Thanks so much for the info, everyone!

    2. Have you considered Caffe Pinguini in Playa Del Rey? I think the atmosphere is very pleasant and it gets solid reviews. I've only eaten there once and had a nice meal. Not sure about the prices, but have a feeling it's a bit more reasonable than Cafe Del Rey.

      1. We ended up going to 26 Beach. It was a solid choice that certainly met our needs with respect to the large menu of American food and location, but the food and service weren't as good as I expected, based on a lot of positive reviews on this board. We didn't think we'd need reservations on a Tues, but the place was actually packed when we got there around 7 and we had to wait a while for our table. They seated us outdoors right next to a heating lamp that we soon realized wasn't on. When we asked to have it turned on, they said that people have been asking but they can't turn it on because it's out of fuel. Since they clearly knew it couldn't be turned on before we sat down, I wish someone had informed us of this and asked if we minded before seating us there. It wasn't that bad when we first sat down, but by the end of the evening I was really cold. 1 of us ordered a pasta dish, and seemed to enjoy it. 2 of us ordered the Kobe beef burger, medium. It came out very well-done, so it didn't have a lot of flavor. We didn't have time to send it back, and didn't want to complain in front of our guest anyway. For $17, I expect a perfectly cooked burger. That bun was the best burger bun I've ever had though. Fries were very good. Service was quite slow throughout the evening. I suspect that the restaurant was more crowded than they were prepared for, so the service and execution of the food suffered. I would be willing to go back and give it another shot, but I don't think I'll be able to get my husband to return since he was pretty disappointed with the burger.

        8 Replies
        1. re: Nicole

          Thanks for your report, Nicole. And my wife would have made me give up my jacket (if I had one with me) and my shirt (if I didn't) under those circumstances - really the restaurant failed you when they seated you there without letting you know and giving you the option of waiting for a warmer spot.

          1. re: Servorg

            Service in that restaurant has failed so many times we gave it up long ago. I like their croissant-made french toast, but interacting with the indifferent staff has been *so* unpleasant that I would not recommend that restaurant anymore to anyone, ever. The food isn't good enough to make up for the ulcers induced. just sayin....

          2. re: Nicole

            Sorry you had a bad experience there. I have found that the servers at 26 Beach are a bit lackadaisacal. (it took 2 HOURS for 1 course brunch last Sat.) The bus "boys" however, are fantastic; I ask them for what I need.

            1. re: Nicole

              Thanks for all the thoughtful responses. It seems like I am not alone in experiencing service issues there. It just feels like it COULD be so good if everyone just tried a little harder! It's a shame, really.

              1. re: Nicole

                I am sorry you did not have as great an experience as I have had. Tuesday night, busy, good for them, I bet they were not ready at all for that. Inexscusable for a burger to miss the temp by that far. All I can say is sounds like they had an off night, as far as servers, yeah they have one or two that are like slugs, sorry you were there when they worked. I was there last week for lunch and had a great carne asada salad with a cilantro dressing, ny friend had a great grilled cheese with tomato soup, basic cheddar but very good.

              2. re: Nicole

                Nicole, Did you just walk in without a reservation or did you make one and end up surprised at how crowded they were? One lesson I've learned over the years is that if at all possible, I'll call to reserve, even if I'm only fifteen minutes away on a weeknight. I just think it can never hurt, and it always helps with them having hopefully jotted down your name and knowing you took the time and effort. Seating you next to a nonworking heatlamp with a reservation, without a mention of outdoor seating, would seem to me a worse sin.

                1. re: nosh

                  No, I didn't have a reservation. In the future I will call ahead. I'm certainly not complaining about the wait, I just wish that someone mentioned the heat lamp issue to me up front...I would have waited longer for a better table. Burger Boy, I did get the feeling that this is a good place that was having a bad night. I think I might go back sometime soon and give it another shot.

                  1. re: Nicole

                    I think you hit the nail on the head, they got real busy on a night that they had not planned to be busy. Ummm, the heat lamp thing, that sucks. I would give them another chance, check out the weekend brunch menu, some pretty outrageous french toasts and stuff. I have been going for years, the owners is a nice guy and it still has a friendly family feel from the OG days when it was mom, pop and 2 sons. The father was a sushi master and come from a long line of sushi chefs in Tokyo, I think he told me once that the family in Japan has 36 sushi restaurants. I was there tonight and had a real nice ciopinno from the specials menu, I even tried one of the desserts for Valentines day a Valfhona chocolate cheese cake. I love cheese cake!