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Malibu in the Mornings

First off, neither Me nor P. are in rehab, nor have we won the lotto...

BUT, I'm going be spending some time in Malibu through out next month mostly before noon with an hour or two to kill. I went yesterday and had Grom. It was good, but a bit flabby! But it was nothing like the disaster of a meal I had at Marmalade Cafe... ugh.

Going next week and probably will hit Maison Giraud. But for the coming weeks, are there places in near Malibu/Palasades worth sniffing out for breakfast/lunch/brunch? Any Markets? Gourmet Shops? Good Saturday Farmers Markets?


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  1. Any time I'm in Malibu I always like to stop at Malibu Seafood, get a nice plate of grilled seabass with all the fixins and wander across PCH (kinda like Frogger LOL) and stake a spot in the sand.

    ...and, yes, I hit Grom on the way home.

    1. Did you try any of the fresh fruit flavors at Grom? those are the best. I love the melon...

      2 Replies
      1. re: wienermobile

        I didn't get any of the fruit flavors because they didn't have anything all that exciting. Just rasberry and pear. I would have been all over a peach or apricot or cherry. I guess I'm spoiled by Sweet Rose when it comes to unique seasonal flavors.

        I did get the Tiramisu and Pistachio. Both were very good flavor wise, I just felt the gelato has this overlying fatty heaviness, that provented the flavors from sparkling. Maybe I'm just too used to the lower fat mouthfeel of Scoops, which I actually prefer...


        1. re: Dommy

          The comparison to Sweet Rose is apt. I used to think Groms sorbet was tops but SR has really been sparkling lately.

      2. Love the breakfast burritos at Lilly's in Point Dume. Be sure to get some of the roasted salsa.

        2 Replies
        1. re: whatsfordinner

          Point Dume is lovely -- those outdoor lounge areas are very relaxing, and a person could grab something from the market and sit out and have a very nice time.

          If Dommy's appointments have her in "downtown" Malibu, though, it probably bears noting that Pt Dume is about 6 miles upcoast, so she'll want to budget for that 12-mile-RT drive-time. Very pretty drive, though, and typically flows without horrible traffic during the mid-day, so that's not necessarily a downside.

          Pt Dume also opens up the possibility of Ollies Duck & Dive gastro-grub, if sufficient lunch time allows (open at 11:30).

          1. re: spoonlicker

            I'll probably be there where there isn't much traffic and in between appointments might have an hour or more to kill. That is why I can get back down into the Palasades I think with good enough time. Thanks for the suggestion of Lilly's... for me it's a sign. :)


        2. A little out into the canyons, but brunch at Saddle Peak Lodge could be the best I've ever had in Southern California. Certainly the best baked goods.

          5 Replies
          1. re: Tyus4pt8

            Agree. Those wild game sausages are the best ever….

            1. re: Tyus4pt8

              I had no idea they did brunch!! :DDDD P. might get super jealous of this news...


              1. re: Dommy

                recently had a soft boiled egg served with toast sticks for dipping, and caviar for dip 2....and the sausages!

                  1. re: wienermobile

                    Drat! Sunday is probably the only day I can't go. :(


              2. You can pick up some nice baked goods - pastries, scones, baguettes - as well as chicken pot pie and soups at K Bakery. It's on south side of Sunset about 1/4 mile east of PCH, on the way into the Palisades. Do check out Maison Giraud and, of course, test MG's famous croissant. I guess you won't be there for dinner (though I think it's open for lunch), but you also can check out the greatly overlooked Casa Nostra, nicely situated about 2 miles up Palisades Drive (which is off Sunset about 1/2 mile east of PCH). Very nice pastas and pizza; in particular the pappardelle with duck ragu.

                10 Replies
                1. re: Wayno

                  Wonderful! I was hoping for bakery/market recs (aside from Maison Giraud!) as I'm sure P. is going to want me to bring some of these goodies home! :DD


                  1. re: Dommy

                    Maison Giraud is great! I respectfully disagree with the K bakery recommendation

                    1. re: budlit

                      I adamantly disagree with the MG reco for croissants.
                      They are VERY disappointing.

                      1. re: VenusCafe

                        Each to their own taste. I have never, until now, heard anyone describe MG croissants as "VERY disappointing.

                        1. re: budlit

                          Yeah, I was shocked by that, as if there was something personal involved in that assessment. But, I guess one could find them "too buttery."

                            1. re: Wayno

                              Well Wayno, the only personal' part is that I have had so much better; after a few Sunday morning tastings, my shock is reserved for all the ubiquitious overpraise those croisants keep getting. That is even more amazing than how many CH's just LOVE McD fish fillets!

                            2. re: budlit

                              MG croissants are the closest I've been to God for a long time! Brilliant!!

                      2. re: Wayno

                        Congrats, Wayno, on being so confident of East/South, etc.,
                        along those winding roads to Palisades. (Topanga as well!) You must have a compass in your car.
                        Additionally, along the coast, beaches change from West facing to South facing. It is the only area that I cannot designate by N/S/E/W directions.

                      3. I often have an hour or so to kill in the a.m. up Malibu way en route to a client. My typical m.o. is to grab something portable at the Ralph's, and then relax al fresco either at the park across the street (lots of interesting sculptures and bird-watching), or I drive just a few clicks up PCH to the Bluffs Park and enjoy a nosh overlooking the ocean. The latter option has the benefit of restrooms, picnic tables, and easy-peasy free parking. I usually put a picnic blanket under one of the trees on the grass, spread out with a book, and relaaaaax like Malibu royalty.

                        There is also a juice truck that parks on the ocean side of PCH, under the eucalyptus trees just north of Cross Creek Rd, if juice is your thing.

                        I should also mention PC Greens as an alternative to Ralph's for grab-and-go when you are heading northbound.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: spoonlicker

                          Wonderful!! I plan to make use of the downtime knitting. So some shore time is on the plan. In fact on the first visit that was suggested to me, I was too embarrassed to say "Ocean? No... I'm going to get Gelato!" LOL!!!


                          1. re: spoonlicker

                            PC Green also has the best tortillas in L.A.,
                            Gratias A Dios

                          2. Get the sorbet at Grom instead. Very flavorful and not so dense and heavy. Very good afragotto though.

                            We always stop after Malibu Seafood.

                            1. There's a fruit truck I love, wonderful strawberries just picked, amazing mangos, peaches, etc... it's parked along the PCH, I wish I could remember the exact location but it's more south than north. In fact, it may even be south of Malibu proper. I've gone there three times, in the past month, I love it. Also, south of Zuma I've been really loving the smoothies at the Vitamin Barn, it's a strip mall... I discovered it randomly. I've been trying to spend at least one day a weekend in Malibu, also early to avoid traffic so I really am appreciating this post.

                              1. Cafe Vida, hugely popular w/ Palisades crowd. I can usually find street parking in the a.m. Great smoothies, veggie quesadillas....

                                Malibu Country Kitchen, always a line for sandwiches/deli. If you want humongous pastries/cakes/sweets, this is the place.

                                Tra di Noi at Malibu Country Mart for a higher-priced lunch. Otherwise grab a salad/smoothie at John's Garden and hang out at one of the tables in the shade.

                                + one for Lily's—love their chicken quesadillas. either order ahead or be prepared to wait.

                                haven't tried the new Malibu Farm on the pier but the menu looks great and it's a place that probably could use a boost to stay in business.

                                Farmer's markets in Malibu and PP on Sundays, alas.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: iOnLa

                                  + one for John's Garden. Also, the lamb sandwich at Taverna Tony's is delicious.

                                2. I went yesterday and had Grom. It was good, but a bit flabby!

                                  First time I've ever heard anyone describe gelato as "flabby". Awesome.

                                  1. Try Plate http://www.platemalibu.com/ Monday through Friday breakfast from 8 to 11 AM.

                                    1. I am mystified that such a destination as Malibu has such a low standard for restos. Seems like such an opportunity. I would 10 times rather stay in Venice than do Malibu where you have crazy expensive (i.e. Nobu) and then a big drop to the "just ok" (e.g. Tra di Noi).

                                      11 Replies
                                      1. re: MaxTartuffo

                                        Apples and oranges. Venice has a deep multi-ethnic demographic base that right now favors hipsters, tech start-ups and tatted, edgy chefs. Malibu has a strong year-round population but is still seasonal, and restaurants rely on that summer surge. Sage, Savory and even The Sunset started out strong and faded or closed. There have been numerous places between Carbon Beach and the pier that have failed.
                                        Tra di Noi to me is like the old La Scala...classic Italian, maybe not brilliant, but certainly better than "just ok."
                                        also have a soft spot for Taverna Tony. Dommy can do a light lunch solo or order the lamb and take it home for dinner w/ hubby.

                                        1. re: iOnLa

                                          Riffing on the good points you make:

                                          I think too that, as much as I love the area around Malibu, the city center proper doesn't make for much of a destination for many folks. For people who don't surf, hike, or sunbathe, the options for idle entertainment are few, esp. compared to Venice or Santa Monica. You have a nice meal, maybe catch a sunset, and then what? For shoppers, the boutiques are limited; for boozers, cabbing to/from the 'bu to greater L.A. is expensive and logistically tricky.

                                          For day-trippers (vs. residents) it can sometimes seem like, to quote Ms. Stein, "There is no there there."

                                          And the actual day-to-day population of Malibu locals is pretty small -- some/many folks who have homes there also have places "in town" (L.A.), so they aren't out there every night anyway. Or, they eat in L.A. in the evening after work to kill time and avoid the commuter traffic headache northbound on PCH. Hence, the lack of a reliable pool of regulars, which I suspect ties into the failures of the restaurants you mentioned.

                                          Plus, factor in the limited access routes -- people who aren't familiar with the backroads into the area aren't going to be happy to sit log-jammed in summer PCH traffic...

                                          I have a lot of love for Malibu in the daylight hours, but it's not top-of-mind when I am looking for a night out.

                                          1. re: iOnLa

                                            What I am saying is that residents of Malibu deserve better. You front one of the most fertile and unique microclimates to the north, are actually home to local wineries, and reside on an extraordinarily biodiverse coastline. All that and you get excited about tired Greek food in a shopping center?? Hello - reality check. After my hipster media career, I'm going to drive up the road and open "Coast," a simple celebration of our Pacific southwest ingredients. I and my boyfriend will save you from greasy souvlaki. Warm regards!

                                            1. re: MaxTartuffo

                                              as Spoonlicker says, there is no one center, just 20-odd miles of strung out neighborhoods, which makes it tough for any restaurant to build a dependable, year-round clientele.

                                              I worked in Point Dume for 7 years, so I've eaten at the higher end and the blech and the in-between, and I watched as people tried to raise the bar and failed.

                                              not sure how a "soft spot" for Taverna Tony was interpreted as "getting excited about tired Greek food in a shopping center." If you are going to succeed, and your name doesn't end in Ellison, then high-traffic Cross Creek or the shopping center where Ralphs is or Point Dume or Trancas seem the most central and logical places to open. regardless, you will be dependent on locals, not seasonal homeowners or tourists, for your business.

                                              here's my reality check—I wish you great success w/ your dream restaurant.

                                              1. re: iOnLa

                                                That dive bar at point dume shopping plaza a gem. Been a while for me.

                                                1. re: jessejames

                                                  The Dume Room! dear lord—just a whiff from that front door was enough. never set foot inside. now it's too late, for better or worse.

                                                  1. re: iOnLa

                                                    Megadeth cheap drinks and definitely an oasis of filth and squalor jn Malibu. Too bad it's gone.

                                                    1. re: iOnLa

                                                      That's one dive I somehow managed to never set foot in, but I fondly recall seeing stumble-drunks staggering out at mid-day.

                                                      I also remember when Neptune's Net was a bit rougher around the edges -- circa the late 80s. I had many a colorful meal there. Filed under Unsmart Things Done in my Wild Youth: dropping acid and ordering $100 of seafood there. I will never look at shrimp the same away again...

                                                      (Sorry for the digression -- old person nostalgia.)

                                                      1. re: spoonlicker

                                                        Now remembering the 80s is for 'old persons'?
                                                        Count me in; I remember similar episodes, but wouldn't say
                                                        they were 'unsmart'! They were outrageous and fun.
                                                        My dear friends lived on the ocean near the old Sea Lion and they account for many wonderful memories.
                                                        One person living there was also a Dr and a personal friend of Timothy Leary; he kept our inventory fresh.

                                                        1. re: VenusCafe

                                                          I hear ya, sister! I regret nothing of those years. L.A. in the 80s was amazing -- the music, the underground arts scene. I'm so glad I was here to experience it. No regrets for the wild times. I've long since ditched the intoxicants but kept the wild hair and the gleam in my eye...can you relate?

                                                          I don't recall the Sea Lion -- is it now Duke's? I did a search on it and found a fun old L.A. Times article about it, if you want to take a nostalgic trip:


                                                          1. re: spoonlicker

                                                            Yes, Dukes is the old Sea Lion.
                                                            Thanks for the article! Both of my friend's
                                                            daughters worked at the Sea Lion during the 70s.

                                          2. You can get a stiff dink and a decent lunch at Casa Escobar that is now in the Malibu Inn across from the pier. I think they open around 11.

                                            Not sure if you want to, but if you have time to dig deeper in the 'sades village, try the Garden Cafe on La Cruz. He's got so much more going on there than just burgers and coffee drinks. James is a great asset to our community, and my sons school.

                                            Also, if you want to do a lunch take out and sit on the bluffs for a peaceful picnic, Beech Street makes killer salads and paninis, wraps at Cafe Vida & a few killer froyo shops.

                                            1. Has anyone tried the new Malibu Pier Restaurant & Bar from the Lark Creek Restaurant Group?

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: wienermobile

                                                Oh my god, that flooring--! My head hurts.

                                                I'm heading up thataway for the 4th to watch the barge-fireworks, so if it's not a huge flustercluck, I'll pop in and grab a bite and report back.

                                                1. re: spoonlicker

                                                  What a floor, indeed!
                                                  Would that design be called a Floor-di-Lys?

                                              2. As I have recommended previously, I LOVE Fish Grill, right
                                                across from Malibu Pier and the kayak rentals
                                                They serve wonderful mesquite fish tacos and fish plates,
                                                their RED snapper is the best and only snapper I've ever liked
                                                They are closed Friday at 2 PM and all day Saturday.
                                                Enthusiastically recommend John's Garden~healthy snacks, unique
                                                selections and great sandwiches. They close early, at 4PM.
                                                In the same center, try Mutts for very good falafel.
                                                Also Malibu Seafood, but they have dumped their lobster rolls. Enjoy!
                                                Malibu and Palisades both have Sunday markets.

                                                1. Thanks everyone!! The trips were fruitful and the pup was all better!! However, I was often there with another fretful puppy raiser so I didn't take many pictures. :( But we did get some good eats...

                                                  First trip we went to Malibu Country Kitchen, it was a cute place and loved the selection of chips (I got some McClures Bloody Mary Chips). Both P and I are Chinese Chicken Salad fiends, so I had to order their Chinese Chicken Salad wrap! For a decent price (in malibu) you get a huge wrap full of chicken salad with a great dressing and plenty of yummy almonds. We went here because we didn't want to be far from the pups, who made it through their first treatment with flying colors!

                                                  Second trip, we felt comfortable enough to wander so we went to Maison Maison Giraud. However, by the time we arrived there the croissants were already all sold out. :( So instead I got Pain au Chocolat which was good, but I would say a touch TOO buttery. I think I perfer the croisants at Bread lounge instead. It has a good balance of butter and flake (the croissants at proof I find too flakey)

                                                  For my main I had the Croque Madame. Again, quite buttery and actually was a bit small. The side salad it came with was okay (I'm spoiled by the best side salad ever at Blu Elefant Cafe).


                                                  I also took home a baguette which was wonderful and crisp outside and soft inside. Really great specimen.

                                                  On the final trip they fluffed up our appointments and the pups had to stay all day. My friend actually just drove back home. But I decided to wander a little bit. First I went to Lilys! I was so excited to try their breakfast burrito and when I came into the little shop, I was told that it would take 30 minutes to make my burrito!!! I went ahead and ordered it and then went across the way to Cafecito Organico, perhaps one of the best coffee shops in the area for a sweet latte (I love that they and G&B Offer that! :))


                                                  After that I wanted to bring home something sweet and we went to K Bakery. We had the ginger cookie, which was good and the Lemon Bar which had a wonderful crust, but otherwise was an average Lemon Bar.

                                                  With even more time to kill, I headed up to Canyon Gourmet in Topanga. It was cute, but the cheese selection wasn't impressive. But it had some neat things. I got a wonderful soup, a favorite brand of gourmet pasta and some super pricy local eggs

                                                  On my way out I managed to hit my favorite find, Country Natural Food Market. It looks like any number of side convience stores, in fact I just stopped in for a drink, but it seems to be run by this korean lady that makes some wonderful items! She sells seasoned tofu by the square, so tasty! She makes Veggie Kim Bap rolls, fresh and cheap. She makes the most wonderful deviled eggs. Most of the deviled eggs in the current deviled egg craze have been meh at best! Hers were SUPER good and four pieces (two eggs) for $2!! A Steal!!

                                                  And with that the Puppy was done with the treatments and I say good bye to Malibu for now! Thanks for the good chow tips!


                                                  4 Replies
                                                  1. re: Dommy

                                                    Malibu coast animal hospital, I'm guessing?

                                                    1. re: budlit

                                                      Correct. Dr. Victor rulez!


                                                      1. re: Dommy

                                                        Dr. Victor is the best!!!! I love them all over there. Dr. Victor has the magic touch. Not bad to look at either!

                                                        1. re: budlit

                                                          LOL!!! I can just say, all the female puppy minders we have going over there don't complain much about visiting Dr. Victor... the Grom Gelato next door is just a bonus for them...