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Long Beach Aquarium area recs?

Hello 'hounds!

Looking for a chow-worthy place for dinner in the general area of the Long Beach Aquarium. Price is not an issue. We don't drink, so alcohol is not a consideration as well. As far as preferences go, we like pretty much everything except Indian food. This is for a birthday dinner. Thanks for any tips!

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  1. We recently went to the Long Beach Aquarium and then headed over to Musha for some outstanding Japanese fare, including charcoal grilled stuff. Everything we ate was incredible.

    Ebi Mayo (v rich); Pork Belly; Risotto (served tableside from a huge hunk of cheese) etc

    Musha
    1725 W. Carson, Torrance NW cnr of Carson and Western
    310 787 7344

    Sunday -- 6pm-10.30pm

    The house cold sake was excellent, too.

    1. I've heard good things about At Last Cafe. Well executed homey food at great prices, haven't been there yet.

      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/596288
      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/588286

      1. Last time we went to the Aquarium we ate at Open Sesame. It was delicious, nice atmosphere, and friendly service.

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        Open Sesame
        5215 E 2nd St, Long Beach, CA 90803

        1 Reply
        1. re: JEN10

          Open Sesame is our usual spot when we eat in Belmont. My only complaint is that seating can be screwy now that they have two locations in the area and they are still incredibly busy.

          La Creperie is also in Belmont Shore and they serve up some tasty savory crepes. I recommend the Al Mare if you like seafood.

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          La Creperie Cafe
          4911 E 2nd St, Long Beach, CA 90803

        2. Would definitely recommend Tracht's which is w/in walking distance from the Aquarium -- at the corner of Pine and Ocean. Suzanne Tracht's (Jar, Suzpree) place. Really solid food. Insane double-cut cha siu baau-style pork chop, duck fried rice and her famous chocolate pudding.

          1. this is going to sound really weird, but once last year it was really late and i had the barbecued shrimp at bubba gumps and it was pretty darned good. unfortunately, that whole Pike neighborhood is pretty much given over to chains ... pf chang, gladstone's, cpk, etc. if you go up the hill (quite a hill, actually), dining is a little better, but i'm not sure whether tracht's fits the bill as "chow-worthy" since it's essentially fine-dining (figure probably $40 to $50 per person). if price isn't a concern, then by all means it's a great place. More in keeping with the spirit of an aquarium visit (and at a slightly lower price point) would be King's fish house. Order simply and you'll eat pretty well at probably $30 to $35 per person. If you go to Belmont, Open Sesame is good, but I still prefer Sunnin, which is practically across the street. Another good option would be either No. 9 Noodle or Lola's on Fourth Street, in Retro Row (especially if you like mid-century modern furniture). Musha's and that whole Torrance-Gardena area have terrific food, but I'm afraid the only people who would call it Aquarium-adjacent must be coming from the Valley ... it's a good 30 minutes at least away from Long Beach.

            2 Replies
            1. re: FED

              Within that glut of chain restaurants at the Pike is Auld Dubliner pub, which I would gladly enjoy over the Yard House. Nice place to relax with some fish n' chips and a pint of Guinness.

              Agreed on Musha. I love the place, it's a few minutes from home, but it's not very close to Long Beach.

              1. re: FED

                *sheepishly comes forward...* There are certain cravings... that a person has... that can only be quenched by having a bucket of 'boat trash'. Just Sayin'... ;DD

                And while Sunnin has an overall better menu, the Kibis at Open Sesame are the best anywhere... and I know my Kibbehs... :)

                When we went to the aquarium last year with friends with young children. One of them with allergies of all types. As the ring leaders, we told them to meet us at Pho America and to trust us. It was a huge hit because their place is casual, but kept up nice with plenty of parking, their menu was broad and approachable. The Pho was also rather tasty too! :)

                http://tinyurl.com/nfm8qo

                Living in Long Beach, I would happily drive to Westminster for KILLER Pho... but for Aquarium meetings, I am glad to have this option. :)

                --Dommy!

              2. I’ve eaten at all these restaurants (except Malvasia & Margarita Grille) and enjoyed each for the different seasons and reasons. Good food and atmosphere. There are so many other wonderful little places all in and through this area, but a list must end somewhere. All these are easily accessible from the Aquarium via the Passport,a bright red complimentary mini-bus that transports peeps to and from Downtown’s major attractions, such as the Queen Mary, Shoreline Village (Aquarium), the Convention Center and East Village Arts District. For a small bus fare routes to Belmont Shore, the Marina and every in between is available too. Another form of public transportation is the AquaLink, a 68-foot catamaran that comfortably ferries up to to the most popular attractions in Long Beach Harbor and on down to Alamitos Bay Landing.( My notes in parenthesis)
                La Creperie French Restaurant 562-433-8499
                5110 E. 2nd Street, (Belmont shore, casual, reasonable, tiny café. Scrumptious crepes! Entres & Desserts)
                Long Beach
                Ooh-la-la the crepes! The locals stand in line just to get some, and now they have a table waiting for you! Enjoy the finest in crepes and other bisto faire. Great patio, too!

                Malvasia (Belmont shore, I never ate here, walking distance to LaCreperie)
                5316 E. 2nd Street
                Long beach
                562-433-5005
                Step into opulence and sit down to amzing Greek food. A popular and amazing tavern! Come for the atmosphere and stay for the food.

                L'opera Ristorante (Downtwn on Pine, expensive, formal, great food & service. I
                101 Pine Avenue celebrated an elegant, romantic birthday here)
                Long Beach
                562-491-0066
                Gorgeous setting and the finest in classic and modern Northern Italian cuisine. Multiple award winning establishment.

                Margarita Grille (Never ate here, ride the Passport, about 5 blks east of Pine
                70 Atlantic Ave. off Ocean Blvd.)
                Long Beach
                562-437-4583
                Fun and relaxed atmosphere with great happy hour, margaritas, and ,of course, authentic and nouveau Mexican cuisine. The best Mex menu in Long Beach!

                La Palapa
                4020 Olympic Plaza
                Long Beach (Lovely ambience, contemporary dishes, stylish/semi-casual, average
                800-958-7729 priced. small fare on the Passport -red bus easy)
                An ocean front eatery with the freshest and finest in Latin style seafood dishes. A great place with a great view!

                555 Restaurant (semi-expensive, stylish, great food & service. Had many good times.
                555 E. Ocean blvd About 5 blks east of Pine Ave across from the Cooper Arms)
                Long Beach
                562-437-0626
                This was voted the best steakhouse in California, and has received awards from Wine Spectator as well. Great steak, prime rib, and seafood. A must-eat-at! Reservations recommended.

                Sir Winston's Aboard The Queen Mary
                1126 Queens Highway (Like the Aquarium, south of Ocean Blvd, free transport via the
                Long Beach Passport,and no admission fee into Queen Mary with
                800-437-2934 reservations at restaurant; semi-casual to dressy, pricy, good
                food and service)
                A truly unique fine dinig experience! Hop aboard the one and only Queen Mary and partake of one of the finest meals available in California. this one you'll be writing home about! Reservations recommended!
                Long Beach Cafe
                615 E. Ocean Ave.
                Long Beach (very casual climate & food, relatively reasonable, small restaurant, about
                562-436-6037 5 blocks east of Pine, next to ‘the 555’ and Margarita Grille).
                Just good food in a great cafe. Try the giant omelets and 1 pound burgers. A local favorite and a must-eat-at!
                Wasabi Japanese Restaurant
                200 Pine Ave. (Great Food! Great Atmosphere! Stylish-casual. Average priced & service.
                Long Beach Often crowded, right on Pine Ave – ride from Aquarium on the Passport for no parking problems)
                866-348-1490
                Fun and funky atmosphere combined with incredible sushi bar and teppen-yaki tables make for a great dining experience!

                1 Reply
                1. re: ladycakes

                  Malvasia has been gone for some time. It is a George's Greek, same as the on Pine.

                  Magic Lamp is another middle eastern type restaurant on 2nd that I love just as much as Open Sesame.

                  Off of 2nd street is a little Italian place called Cafe Gazelle. It is one of my favorite spots and has only 8 tables I believe and they only fit 2 or 3 at most per table. Not sure the size of your party, so you would have to take that into consideration.

                2. Forgot about Cafe Gazelle. So right, it is a great spot to enjoy a good meal, but very tiny. I think Gazelle Restaurant on Broadway in East Arts Village area is owned by same people. Food and service always excellent. Beatutiful restaurant, but in a sort of artzy street folksie 'anything goes' part of downtown area.

                  One of my favorites was always Cafe Piccolo at 3222 E Broadway, so cozy and intimate you feel like you've been on a mini holiday. Atmosphere and food is always wonderful. However, I moved to SC about 5 years ago from Long Beach, so can't verify it's still there. I think it is perfect place for a special occassion.

                  Thnks for update on Malvasia. I was in Long Beach about 2 weeks ago, but I spent my time at Trader Joe's and Whole Foods trying to stock up for the cupboards at home. BTW - Phone number to Cafe Piccolo is (562) 438-1316.

                  1. Went to Famous Dave's BBQ last night which I thought was very good for a chain. Very crowded for dinner and the prices were moderate. It's located on Pine and Shoreline Dr. and parking is validated valet @$6. The baby backs were tender and flavorful. Too much food with lots of leftovers.