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Dinner near Aquarium, Long Beach?

Looking for a place to have a very casual (price doesn't really matter, but we will be dressed in t-shirts and jeans or shorts depending on the weather) dinner for two next Saturday evening, close to the Long Beach Aquarium/ Convention Center. We'd prefer not to need to make a reservation, as our arrival time in LA is still up in the air.

Just about any cuisine is fine, though I'd prefer Japanese, and hubby would prefer to have less spicy and heavy options, as we will be heading out to sea early the next am, and he is prone to mal de mer. I did see there is a Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles somewhere around there, but alas, fried chicken is one of the few foods hubby really dislikes (yeah, I know...).

Klyeoh had some nice postings not too long ago, but most were about places that are more upscale than we are looking for (Michael's, L'Opera)...I did see several mentions of Enrique's for carne en su jugo. Is that our best bet? Are there any other better options or options as good, perhaps a big closer to the convention center? And if we go to Enrique's, what other dishes to the hounds recommend (particularly that aren't too heavy)?

Thanks for any help!

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  1. I love Enrique's, but some of their best things like the pork shank can't exactly be considered "light" as far as food goes. How about http://www.opensesamegrill.com/ for some nice Middle Eastern/Mediterranean fare?

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

    3 Replies
    1. re: Servorg

      Just in case this recommendation appeals to you and your husband there are actually two places very close together to choose from (and I like them both). The other one is: http://www.magiclampgrill.com/

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      Magic Lamp
      5020 E 2nd St, Long Beach, CA 90803

      1. re: Servorg

        ooh...great idea, thanks...although I suspect I'd love Enrique's also, I know hubby would much rather have Middle Eastern/Lebanese, and it is something we don't have here at home in Merced (not that our Mexican places are any great shakes either, but still...). Of the two I'd guess we'd prefer Open Sesame since they have beer and wine, (since Magic Lamp says they are halal, I am guessing they don't. In any event, if they are Muslim owned, operating hours might be an issue since it is Ramadan, though we won't be dining early anyway. Still, great to know about.)

        I take it we should be able to get in to either without reservations? Thanks; will let you know what I think.

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

        Magic Lamp
        5020 E 2nd St, Long Beach, CA 90803

        1. re: susancinsf

          I would make reservations, (if possible - can't recall if they are taken or not or if so for what size party) because the Belmont Shore area is pretty popular.

      2. Very close to the Aquarium, open until 9 p.m. on Saturday. Pasta, sandwiches, salads. Very casual. http://www.modicas.com/Home_Page.html

        1. At Last Cafe but make a reservation, small restaurant that gets packed. Good food, good prices.

          1. Enrique's has excellent sea bass as well as a salmon dishes (off menu but always available) that are on the lighter side. I also love their eggplant appetizer which is on the lighter side as well.

            1. I can't see Enrique's as "light" fare. If you're going to do fish etc why not stay downtown and go to Kings.

              If your hotel has a restaurant it may be worth investigating as well.

              8 Replies
                1. re: mlgb

                  Have you had either Enrique's sea bass or salmon dishes in order to make that statement? They surpass King's. For example, the sea bass is served on top of spinach in a ligtht broth.

                  1. re: JAB

                    that does sound good....what else do you like there?

                    1. re: JAB

                      I guess it's on the secret menu that isn't printed, so no ,I have not. How does one find out what else is "off menu" since the regular menu is well, just Mexican.

                      PS Enriques often has a lengthy wait. For a reason, of course.

                      1. re: mlgb

                        "PS Enriques often has a lengthy wait. For a reason, of course."

                        The reason being - They don't take reservations... ;-D>

                        1. re: Servorg

                          Well, that and the braised pork shank in tomatillo sauce

                           
                          1. re: Servorg

                            The carne en su jugo is good too. Never tried their fish here. Might have to get that next visit.

                        2. re: mlgb

                          This I agree is a problem as the wait staff doesn't always tell everyone what the "specials" are. I remember the 1st time that I went and looked for the pork shank and the sea bass and didn't see them on the menu and I didn't bother to ask and just ordered off of the regular menu. I was still very pleased however.

                      1. re: Servorg

                        best laid plans....dallied at my granddaughter's and daughter's in North Hills longer than we should have, ran into even worse than usual traffic on the 405 from the fire near Getty (glad we were southbound, not northbound!), had to deal with some loading and organizational issues with our private boat charter once we finally made it to Long Beach, and the bottom line: it was after nine when we finally could think about dinner. Knowing we had to be at the dock at six forty five am, we wanted something within a few blocks of our hotel; didn't want to drive around looking for anything. Hubby vetoe'd Roscoes, which was right up the block and had a line. Friends who had arrived earlier had eaten at the Long Beach Cafe, (I think that is the name?) which has a Greek inspired menu, but weren't impressed....I vetoe'd Hooters (just kidding, hubby would never try to go there...).

                        Anyway, we ended up at Hamburger Mary's, because I just wanted anything to eat and hubby had once had an 'interesting' brunch at the one in SF. Yes, we know it leans gay and that it is related to the one in San Francisco (and perhaps a few others?)...they were just setting up the music, but we were able to eat outside (a plus, much quieter, and the night was warm, unlike the rest of our week on Catalina...).

                        The good: service was excellent and friendly. Had my burger in no time flat. I asked for my burger medium rare, and it came on the rare side of medium rare. Exactly as I ordered it. How often these days can you really get a burger cooked to order? that alone was enough to endear the place to me...also, the bun was nice: so many burgers I've had lately have buns that don't hold up to the meat, but this one did...ok, no bad jokes about what one would expect from a meat market, please....also, my cole slaw was nice: a bit on the sweet side, but not overdressed, which I appreciate.

                        The ok: we ordered Guinness and we got Guinness: but in a bottle! Hmm: guess I should fault the server for not mentioning that not-so-minor detail.

                        The bad: the fries. Truly awful. Some of the worst fries I've had in a long time. To be avoided.

                        I'd go back for a drink on the patio and possibly for a burger if it were late at night and I needed a quick meal to get me through the night....

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                        Hamburger Mary's
                        740 E Broadway, Long Beach, CA 90802

                        1. re: susancinsf

                          That (the running late, everyone's tired, let's go across the street) is how we end up at less than the perfect place (as if THAT even existed) more often than not.

                          The funny thing is the only time I've been to one of the Hamburger Mary's outposts is the one (now closed I believe) up in SF at their SOMA location.

                          Thanks for the report back in any case.

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                          Hamburger Mary's
                          8288 Santa Monica Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90046

                          1. re: Servorg

                            I have so many good memories of downing Anchor Steam before going clubbing at that location :)