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Sep 20, 2011 05:07 PM

Long Beach eats

I'll be in LB in two weeks. Which bars and restaurants should I check out?

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  1. Where will you be? How far are you willing to go for good food? Breakfast/lunch/dinner? Budget? Any cuisines you especially love/loathe? What kind of bar-- chill lounge, good happy hour, meet market, LGBT, dive, what?

    The food scene in Long Beach isn't anything like LA or other big cities. Things are quite a bit humbler in this city. That said, there is good food to be had, Some for a pretty penny, some for mere pennies.

    You'll hear about the same places over and over, I do warn you:

    -- Michael's on Naples for grown-up Italian

    -- Enrique's for cocina jalisqueña

    -- Jongewaard's Bake 'n Broil for diner food and killer desserts (nothing earth-shattering, just comforting and familiar)

    For cheaper Italian, there's a place called Café Piccolo that serves very tasty food in about as cozy and charming a room as you'll find around here. Lasher's serves very delicious American cuisine in a restored 1900's California bungalow; many here find the menu very 80s ("raspberry vinaigrette for salad? Let me get my acid-washed jeans and Members Only jacket!") and rather unironic, but I love their food. Bono's in Belmont Shore has a gorgeous room and good American food; the owner has sold to an Orange County interest and will be re-opening her eponymous room, Christy's, in November, Flying Spaghetti Monster willing, but she's still runnning the show at Bono's (yes, named for the Palm Springs eatery her father-- a guy named Sonny, you might have heard of him-- ran).

    I really like Baja Sonora for fast-food Mexican that's gooey and saucy and spicy and just GOOD. Others like Super Mex, which I also enjoy (especially when very drunk).

    George's Greek has solid, tasty Cypriot-Greek food. I also like Café Ambrosia, which has a purer Greek menu and a full bar.

    Downtown, there's L'Opera for Italian and Café Sevilla for Spanish, as well as Alegría (Latin American). You'll find chain-resto Hell over at the Pike, although if you head to Shoreline Village you've got the Yardhouse, which is part of a southern CA chain of beer-centric pubs with lots and lots of beers on tap and pretty yummy bar food. You can do far worse over in that part of downtown (say, PF Chang or Gladstone's). Parker's Lighthouse is a maddeningly inconsistent seafood place, although the last time I ate there I was shocked at how good it was. Go figure. King's Fish House on Pine is more consistent-- always pretty darn good-- but it's better to take the drive to Los Alamitos (barely 20 minutes away) for the Original Fish Company. Yum.

    Panvimarn and Tiny Thai are both close to Long Beach City College and Boeing-- and both serve delicious Thai food. Panvimarn has the better room and a bit more flair to the offerings, but the owner of Tiny Thai is very sweet and the food is cheaper, if pretty standard in the menu.

    These are stream-of-consciousness recos. Others will have more thought-out things to say.

    Parker's Lighthouse
    435 Shoreline Village Drive, Long Beach, CA 90802

    101 Pine Ave., Long Beach, CA 90802

    King's Fish House
    100 W Broadway Ste 1000, Long Beach, CA 90802

    Tiny Thai Restaurant
    4152 Norse Way, Long Beach, CA 90808

    Baja Sonora
    2940 Clark Ave, Long Beach, CA 90815

    Bake 'n Broil
    3697 Atlantic Ave, Long Beach, CA 90807

    George's Greek Cafe
    5316 E 2nd St, Long Beach, CA 90803

    Shoreline Village
    419 Shoreline Village Dr, Long Beach, CA 90802

    5 Replies
    1. re: rjw_lgb_ca

      The Econo lodge on east PCH (don't laugh). I'll be with a few teammates would probably enjoy visiting any local LGBT bars/restaurants. We are on a little bit of budget but there's room for must haves.

      1. re: MIss G

        Broadway seems to be the heart of Long Beach's gay community, Ripples, being an exception, but there is Sweet Water, the Falcon, Pizza Place and Garden Cafe, The Mine Shaft, the Paradise Piano bar and more.

        Paradise Piano Bar & Restaurant
        1800 East Broadway, Long Beach, CA 90802

        Mine Shaft
        1720 E Broadway, Long Beach, CA 90802

        1. re: MIss G

          The Coffee Cup Cafe is a good choice for breakfast and is very LGBT friendly. The coffee is actually only okay, but the food is yummy. I like the veggie omelette.

          If you go to Bake 'n Broil for breakfast, get the lemon blueberry pancakes if they are on the specials board.

          Coffee Cup Cafe
          3734 E 4th St, Long Beach, CA 90814

          Bake 'n Broil
          3697 Atlantic Ave, Long Beach, CA 90807

        2. re: rjw_lgb_ca

          Café Piccolo - last time we drove by this place (about 6-8 weeks ago) it had a banner over its sign with the name of a new restaurant. Haven't tried the new place yet and don't recall the new name. We did enjoy eating there before "curtain call" at the Long Beach Playhouse. You can park in the Playhouse lot, walk to the cafe, and walk back for the performance. Beats eating elsewhere and trying to get a spot in the lot just before 8 . . .

          1. re: Joani Macaroni

            That is NOT Café Piccolo (which is on Broadway). You are talking about a place that used to be called Picarelli's, on PCH at Clark, which indeed has a new name and concept.

            Café Piccolo is alive and well (we dined there a month ago and enjoyed it very much indeed)!

        3. cambodian food is a plenty out here. near PCH/Anaheim blvd and Cherry blvd's.
          I havent tried them all yet, but on my radar (based on other reviews) is Siam reap, Hak Heang, Phnom Penh

          other than that, if you like italian, go with La Parolaccia.

          1 Reply
          1. re: samtron608

            I'll add one more (Cambodian) - Monorom, on Anaheim east of Cherry. Under new mgt. Went the other day for lunch. Great value, fresh ingredients. Had Ch. broccoli w/ fried pork chunks, seafood noodles (meh) and the grilled steak skewers (awesome). More of a lunch place, but really clean and friendly.

          2. but to be honest, LB is not that great in terms of food. If you have a car i strongly suggest driving up to LA one night for dinner. if you are okay with a late dinner, you can leave LB around 7pm and get to LA in about 30 minutes or so.
            even easier drive may be up the 405 in Culver city. you can try Fathers Office and a few other gems in that area.
            if you want to come to mid city LA, there are tons of places to try.

            1. There's Beachwood BBQ (which I love for the beer selection) and Sophy's for Cambodian/Thai, there's 555 East for steaks and, yes, seconding Jongewaard's Bake-N-Broil.

              (The Places link goes to the original Beachwood BBQ in Seal Beach, but there's another on Broadway in DTLB.)

              Beachwood BBQ
              131 1/2 Main St, Seal Beach, CA 90740

              555 East
              555 Ocean Blvd., Long Beach, CA 90802

              1. I like Open Sesame .... it's Lebanese food and the Naples area of LB is good for a nice walk and to people watch..... There are also a few bars in the area....

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

                1 Reply