Dining Guide for the Westside 2014—Restaurant Listings

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Posted March 31, 2014 by The Argonaut in Columns

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AMERICAN

Hal’s Bar and Grill
Eclectic Hal’s Bar and Grill is a renowned Venice locale offering distinctive American cuisine alongside a lengthy wine and specialty cocktail list that appeals to a diverse clientele. Enjoy signature favorites like the Spicy Lolita at Hal’s 40-foot wood and stainless steel bar during half-price wine nights and happy hours, and explore an extensive small-plate menu that includes ceviche, lamb sausage rolls, fried calamari and organic quinoa salad. 1349 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice | (310) 396-3105 | halsbarandgrill.com

J. Nichols Kitchen
Nichols Restaurant opened in 1974 as a casual neighborhood coffee shop and diner serving traditional comfort favorites with a smile. Still family-owned and operated, the restaurant has evolved to suit discerning contemporary tastes with inventive original dishes but without losing sight of its roots as a diner. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are still made from scratch daily, with fresh, whole ingredients. Quality is a top priority.  4375 Glencoe Ave., Marina del Rey | (310) 823-2283 | jnicholskitchen.com

Melody Bar and Grill          
The closest bar to LAX is also a restaurant focused on serving high-quality food. Amber chandeliers dangle from ornate copper ceilings in the dining area, where guests can enjoy steak, chicken and rib entrees or more causal fare like burgers, sandwiches and chicken strips. Mornings feature a breakfast menu rich with American classics. In the evening, intricate signature cocktails mix with frequent drink specials, live music and special events — and best of all the kitchen stays open late. 9132 Sepulveda Blvd., Westchester | (310) 670-1994 |melodylax.com

Mo’s Place at the Beach
Playa del Rey’s go-to sports bar is also a fun pub serving salads, burgers, fish and chips, steaks and daily specials. Enjoy four pool tables, a dart board and Golden tee golf while choosing from a variety of wines, cocktails made to order and a variety of beers on tap or bottled. During the season, Mo’s hosts the best Monday Night Football party in town. An expansive breakfast menu includes everything from omelets to pancakes to huevos rancheros to bagels and lox. 203 Culver Blvd., Playa del Rey | (310) 822-6422 | mosplacepdr.com

The Proud Bird
The Proud Bird offers great food set in an aviation-themed atmosphere and unbeatable views of planes landing nearby at LAX. Aircraft displays decorate the restaurant and grounds, including planes dating back to World War I. Try the popular Sunday Brunch buffet or come for dinner and enjoy steaks, burgers and seafood while you watch the runway activity just outside the windows. 11022 Aviation Blvd., Westchester | (310) 670-3093| theproudbird.com

The Soup Bar
The Soup Bar offers a healthy, quick-service alternative to traditional fast food with a variety of hand-crafted gourmet soups and grilled cheese sandwiches. You’ll also find an assortment of fresh side and entrée salads, artisan breads, cookies, healthy snacks, fine chocolate, beverages, soup-related edibles and unique gift items for the soup lover — all brought to you by friendly “Souparistas” in an upbeat, inviting, cozy-casual atmosphere. 310 E. Grand Ave., Ste. 112, El Segundo | (855) 768-7227 | soupbar.com

Tony P’s Dockside Grill
The friendly service at Tony P’s creates a winning combination of gorgeous waterfront views and a feel-at-home vibe. Night owls and the happy-hour crowd flock to the sports-themed tavern, featuring a rotating list of 40 draught and 80 bottled beers from close to home and around the world. Weekend breakfasts are also a big draw, and the Dockside Room is perfect for business meetings and private parties. 4445 Admiralty Way, Marina del Rey | (310) 823-4534 | tonyps.com

 

ASIAN FUSION

Craft Sushi & Noodles
Craft Sushi and Noodles is a fusion of Asian cuisine and contemporary, California-inspired recipes. The restaurant features over 30 gourmet hand rolls, including the adventurous Crazy Cajun (crawfish, cucumber, green onion, jalapeno) and the Slammin’ Salmon. You can also make your own bowls or customize a roll. Craft Sushi offers plenty of vegan and gluten-free options in addition to rolls, noodles, salads, steak and chicken dishes. 4370 Lincoln Blvd., Marina Del Rey | (310) 822-6869| craftsushiandnoodles.com

FIN the restaurant
FIN is praised for its imaginative Asian/American fusion cuisine and craft cocktails. Trendy ambiance is marked by Asian lanterns and tea light candles, but the blend of vibrant flavors on the dinner menu is the restaurant’s main draw.  The popular Asian tapas include dishes such as glazed green beans and spicy rock shrimp tempura as well as more traditional Japanese cut and hand rolls. Indulge in signature drinks and dishes at happy hour, from 5 to 7 p.m. weekdays. 12223 W. Washington Blvd., Culver City | (310) 398-8611 | finculvercity.com

Humble Potato
The Humble Potato’s Original Hambaga embodies American comfort with a Japanese kick. This neighborhood eatery’s menu includes burgers, hot dogs, sandwiches, salads, sweet treats and an array of specialty beverages, all at very reasonable prices in comfortable but cool atmosphere. Especially good fries come with tasty dipping sauces. Open 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and from noon to 10 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. 8321 Lincoln Blvd., Westchester | (323) 989-2242 | humblepotato.com

BARBECUE

Morfia’s Ribs and Pies
Morfia’s is the Westside’s go-to place for barbecue. Beef brisket, chicken, pork and sausage are brick-pit smoked to perfection and served with cornbread and sauce, with dinner specials and combination plates on the menu as well. Barbecue sandwiches on a French roll are among customer favorites, as is the famous “baklava cheesecake,” which is part of wider dessert menu that includes homemade pies and cakes. Catering and party trays (small, large and Texas-size) are also available. 4077 Lincoln Blvd., Marina del Rey | (310) 821-6939 | morfiasribsandpies.com

BRITISH

Ye Olde King’s Head
Santa Monica’s famous restaurant, pub, gift shoppe and bakery serves British cuisine and brews, including — of course — great fish and chips. Afternoon teas happen Monday through Saturday, Sundays feature a roast dinner, and happy hour is from 4 to 7 p.m. on weekdays. Find freshly baked pies and cakes at the bakery and a wide selection of imported foods and gifts in the shoppe. Dine on the patio and feel the pulse of the heart of Santa Monica. 116 Santa Monica Blvd., Santa Monica | (310) 451-1402 | yeoldekingshead.com

CONTEMPORARY CALIFORNIAN

Bin No. 73
This ultra-cozy wine bar next to sister restaurant Mercede’s Grille has a ceiling decorated with bottles from its ever-changing wine list. The menu features gourmet tapas, lavash flatbread pizzas and decadent meat and cheese plates, salads, sliders, steak and weekend $5 brunch specials. Craft beer is on tap and a special drink menu includes flavorful twists on the classic mojito, margaritas and a pair of delightful champagne cocktails. 18 Washington Blvd., Marina del Rey | (310) 577-0035 | mercedesgrille.com

Feed
Feed offers lunch, dinner and weekend brunch using primarily local, sustainable ingredients. Stylish ambience and an outdoor patio are only part of the restaurant’s draw. The kitchen emphasizes the bounty of plant-based food but operates within the full culinary spectrum vegetarian dishes as well as hearty entrées such as a fresh ground aged burger, grass-fed filet and Scottish salmon – making Feed a welcome addition to Abbot Kinney’s vibrant foodie scene. The full bar boasts an extensive wine list, craft cocktails and 17 varieties of beer. 1239 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice | (310) 450-5550| feedbodyandsoul.com

Louie’s of Mar Vista
A lively atmosphere compliments quirky Southern California cuisine that’s sure to impress. Unique dishes are influenced by recipes from all over the world, including New Orleans, Japan and Hawaii. Best of all, Louie’s raises its own bees to combat a worldwide honey shortage and is conscious of humane practices in meat production. Everything in this restaurant is custom and memorable — try a signature Bee Sting cocktail at the friendly bar. 3817 Grand View Blvd., Mar Vista | (310) 915-5300 | louiesofmarvista.com

Marla’s Café
A professional caterer and party planner for more than two decades, Marla Barreira puts her vast culinary experience to work in a menu that explores exciting fusions of American, Latin, Italian and Portuguese cuisines. Her cozy café, complete with heated patio, offers daily specials for both lunch and dinner as well as small bites, sandwiches, wraps, salads, pizza and pasta. Desserts include Marla’s famous cookies, brownies and pecan squares. Take-out, delivery and catering are also available. 2300 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice | (310) 827-1843 | marlascafe.com

The Wood Café
A locally owned restaurant with a focus on fresh, seasonal ingredients from local producers, The Wood features regional artisan brews in addition to mouth-wateringly simple menu staples like grass-fed lamb chops, crab cakes and seasonal risotto. The signature Wood Burger features a half-pound of Paso Prime grass-fed beef topped with applewood bacon, local greens, onion rings, garlic aioli and other premium ingredients. An extended brunch menu extends late into the day.  12000 W. Washington Blvd., Culver City| (310) 915-9663| thewoodcafe.com

CUBAN

El Rincon Criollo    
Find authentic and always fresh Cuban cuisine at “The Creole Corner,” known for its roast chicken and the leanest, firmest lechon (pork) dishes — each served with rice, black beans, plantains and lots of wonderfully seasoned onions. Seafood specialties abound. Enjoy generous portions at moderate prices in a warm, friendly atmosphere rich with Cuban art, or call for catering or take-out. 4361 Sepulveda Blvd., Culver City | (310) 391-4478 | bestcubanfood.com

Mercede’s Grille
Fresh and tasty ingredients make for authentic Cuban dishes like lechon Cubano, tomatillo pork enchiladas, jerk chicken enchiladas, ropa vieja and sweet-and-spicy papaya chicken stir fry. Appetizers, salads and small plates are prepared with a healthy California flair. The original Cuban mojito is joined on the menu by numerous specialty cocktails to make for adventurous evenings just steps away from Venice Beach.  14 Washington Blvd., Marina del Rey | (310) 827-6209 | mercedesgrille.com

DELICATESSENS

Del Rey Deli
Del Rey Deli is Playa’s favorite sandwich stop. Conveniently located at Pershing and Manchester, the deli has built its reputation on fresh ingredients and friendly staff. Build your own sandwich or choose from a lengthy list of classic combinations and unique gourmet delights. There’s also a weekend brunch and a variety of interesting soups, salads and sides. Del Rey Deli offers gluten-free alternative bread and is great for vegetarians, too! 8501 Pershing Drive, Playa Del Rey | (310) 439-2256| delreydeli.com

Gelson’s Marina del Rey
Gelson’s stands out as a grocer with the flair of a restaurant. A full-service deli with fresh sushi made daily, a gourmet salad bar and a Wolfgang Puck Express make the store’s dining area a hotspot for lunch. Also find the finest in baked goods, cheeses, and natural and prepared foods alongside aisle after colorful aisle of grocery staples, wine and spirits. Open daily 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. 13455 Maxella Ave., Marina del Rey | (310) 306-2952 | gelsons.com

Roxy’s Café
Smoothies, sandwiches and wraps are the name of the game at Roxy’s Café. Build your own sandwich from a choice of meats, breads, cheeses, sauces and toppings or explore signature specials like The Roxy — teriyaki-marinated chicken heated to perfection with mozzarella cheese, pineapple and red onion. Treat yourself to a decadent milkshake or a satisfying smoothie such as the Roxy-berry, featuring vanilla ice cream with fresh strawberries, blueberries and raspberries. 8601 Lincoln Blvd. (enter from Manchester) | (310) 569-8824 | roxyscafeandeatery.com

DESSERTS

Cherry on Top
Create your own unique combination of self-serve frozen yogurt made from California milk with live, active cultures that are important for digestive health. The possibilities are endless at Cherry on Top. Alongside classic fro-yo standards are tart flavors like pomegranate and green apple, crèmes like gingerbread, eggnog and pecan praline, and sorbets such as watermelon and margarita. Delectable toppings choices include fruit, candies, cookies and nuts. 12350 Washington Place, Culver City | (310) 391-6526| cherryontop.net/culvercity

FOOD TRUCKS

Beach Eats
The Beach Eats gourmet food truck gathering offers a wide variety exciting culinary options every Thursday from 5 to 9 p.m. starting May at Mother’s Beach in Marina del Rey. There’s truly something for everyone and always something new to try, with trucks and menus changing each week. Grab your food and enjoy the sand or picnic tables in the picturesque harbor. Park in county lot No. 10 for just 25 cents each quarter-hour.  4101 Admiralty Way, Marina del Rey | (310) 305-9545 | marinadelrey.lacounty.gov

Westchester First Fridays
On the first Friday of each month, L.A’s tastiest neighborhood block party erupts with music, vendors a beer garden and a fleet of food trucks representing a full spectrum of Southern California’s diverse culinary landscape. The festivities last from 4 to 9 p.m. and span an entire city block, with food truck lineups rotating monthly. Come for the food, stick around for the fun. 6200 block of W. 87th St., Westchester | facebook.com/WestchesterFirstFridays

 

FRENCH

Crème de la Crêpe Bistro
Crème de la Crêpe is known for its traditional European crêpe recipes that are ideal for breakfast, lunch, dinner or dessert. Savory and sweet crêpes abound on a menu that also includes gluten-free buckwheat crêpes with eggs, breakfast meats, cheeses and vegetables. Traditional crêpes are delightfully paired with fruits, jam and cream. Other classic options like omelets, sandwiches, salad, pasta and quiche are also on the menu. 6000 Sepulveda Blvd., Ste. 1305, Culver City | (310) 391-8818| cremedelacrepe.com

INDIAN

New India’s Oven
New India’s Oven, previously Shershah, offers traditional Indian dishes that have been called the best in and around Marina del Rey. An emphasis on delicious vegetarian and vegan meals as well as favorites like chicken tikka masala and lamb kebab mean the restaurant is perfect for seasoned Indian food lovers and novices alike. Highlights include a delicious lunch buffet with specials to suit every taste. 13444 Maxella Ave., Marina Del Rey | (310) 306-1500| newindiasovenca.com

ITALIAN

Alejo’s Presto Trattoria
A longtime neighborhood restaurant operated by Claudia Castro and her family, a meal at Alejo’s feels like dining at home with family. The menu includes Alejo’s famous paella, signature bread and garlic, pizza, pasta, calzones, lasagna, linguini a la mare, chicken marsala, veal parmigiana, eggplant mama mia, ravioli, daily specials, beer and wine. Space is available for family, holiday and office celebrations. Open 8343 Lincoln Blvd., Westchester | (310) 670-0799 | alejosrestaurant.com

C & O Trattoria / C&O Cucina
Owned and operated by the Singer family, both restaurants have built strong reputations by serving unforgettable Italian cuisine. Known for gargantuan portions and killer garlic rolls, C&O Trattoria opened in 1992 and remains within steps of the Venice Pier. C & O Cucina, eight blocks east by Lincoln Boulevard, opened in 2003 and offers the same excellent cuisine as well as an enticing grill menu to compliment its fully stocked bar. 31 Washington Blvd., Marina del Rey | (310) 823-9491 | cotrattoria.com; 3016 Washington Blvd., Venice | (310) 301-7278 | cocucina.com

Café Pinguini
Café Pinguini is one of Los Angeles’s most romantic restaurants, cozied up just off the beach at Playa del Rey. The beautiful outdoor patio is made to impress, while the rustic Italian atmosphere inside offers a quiet ambiance. The restaurant is known for its authentic Italian family recipes, excellent service and fresh, gourmet ingredients. Reservations recommended on Fridays and Saturdays. 6935 Pacific Ave., Playa Del Rey | (310) 306-0117| caffepinguini.com

Cantalini’s Salerno Beach
The fine Italian cuisine at Cantalini’s Salerno Beach includes homemade pastas, fresh seafood, hand-tossed pizzas, fine wines, imported beer and daily chef specials. Signature ravioli and gnocchi highlight a menu inspired by owner Lisetta Maria’s grandmother, Anna Cantalini, who was born in Abruzza, Italy, and took old-world recipes with her to the new. Live music happens from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Sundays. 193 Culver Blvd., Playa del Rey | (310) 821-0018 | cantalinis.com

The Good Pizza
The favorite pizza place of Playa and Westchester is aptly named. The Good Pizza is known for its signature Neapolitan pizza made with fresh, real ingredients in a fun environment by refreshingly cheerful staff. Order a whole or half pizza — portions run large! — or grab a large slice of cheese, pepperoni or salsiccia. The Good Pizza offers other traditional Italian dishes like sandwiches, pasta and salad. The Pesto Pizza Bianca, made with pesto and ricotta, is great choice. 7929 Emerson Ave., Westchester | (310) 215-1883| thegoodpizza.com; 8115 W. Manchester Ave., Playa Del Rey | (310) 827-0500 | thegoodpizza.com

JAPANESE

Kabuki Japanese Restaurant
Kabuki is a form of traditional Japanese theater dating back to the 17th century, with performers traveling the land and sharing their stories. Offering a wide variety of appetizers, salads, seafood, sushi and sashimi, specialty rolls, entrées and signature dishes in a friendly setting, Kabuki is an ideal place to share stories with friends and loved ones. An award-winning kids menu keeps everyone happy. Howard Hughes Center, 6081 Center Drive, No. 203, Westchester | (310) 641-5524 | kabukirestaurants.com

 

MEXICAN

Casa Sanchez
For traditional Mexican food in an inviting family atmosphere, look no further than Casa Sanchez. Unique family recipes passed down for generations and frequent live mariachi music give life to a menu that includes creative combination plates, fajitas, enchiladas de mole, traditional tacos, lamb shanks and steaks. A carefully crafted wine and cocktail list and a special menu for kids means Casa’s kitchen has something for everyone. 4500 S. Centinela Ave., Del Rey | (310) 397-9999, casa-sanchez.com
Hacienda Playa
Traditional Mexican food and margaritas are the specialties at Hacienda Playa, now in Playa del Rey in addition to the original Westchester location established by the Hernandez family in 1973. Popular menu items also include their famous homemade tortillas, tacos, combo dishes, seafood, nachos and guacamole. Breakfast is on the menu as well, and there’s a full bar with ample seating for later in the day. 8415 Pershing Drive, Playa del Rey; (310) 751-6135 | 8347 Lincoln Blvd., Westchester; (310) 670-8588

Tamara’s Tamales
Tamara’s is known for handmade, fresh tamales made from traditional family recipes. Experience the Westside’s best authentic, modern and gourmet tamales fresh out of the steaming pot and bring some home with you for later. Tamara’s offers more than 25 varieties, including vegetarian and vegan tamales, seafood tamales, classic carne tamales, and sweet tamales like pumpkin and even chocolate! 13352 W. Washington Blvd., Marina Del Rey | (310) 305-7714| tamarastamales.com

SHOPPING CENTERS

Waterside at Marina del Rey
The upscale shopping and dining destination in the heart of Marina del Rey offers numerous dining opportunities to suit any taste, including California Pizza Kitchen (pizzas, salads, pastas, soups, desserts), Chipotle Mexican Grill, Fresh Brothers Pizza, Mendocino Farms, Pinkberry, Rainbow Acres (natural foods), Ralphs Fresh Fare, See’s Candies, Starbucks Coffee, Sugarfish by Sushi Nozawa (sushi), and The Counter (custom-built burgers).  4700 Admiralty Way, Marina del Rey | shopwaterside.com

The Promenade at Howard Hughes Center

Newcomers Buffalo Wild Wings and Dave & Buster’s recently joined The Promenade’s diverse culinary offerings, including: Delta Pride Fish Grill, Islands, Souplantation, Stefano’s Pizzeria, Wetzel’s Pretzels, Wild Thai, The Hummus Factory, Star Chicken, Starbucks, Subway, Rubio’s, Kabuki, Johnny Rockets and Ben & Jerry’s for a sweet after-meal treat. There’s truly something to suit anyone’s taste buds. 6081 Center Drive, Westchester |hhpromenade.com

STEAKS & SEAFOOD

The Chart House
Spectacular waterfront views, daily happy hours, a heated patio, valet parking and even a dinghy dock make dining at The Chart House an experience to remember and repeat. The menu includes hot and cold appetizers, soups, salads, specialty seafood, jumbo crab cakes, prime rib, filet mignon, cold-water lobster tail, signature sizzling sides and a famous salad bar. There’s also an extensive gluten-free menu. Daily happy hour specials start at just $4. 13950 Panay Way, Marina del Rey | (310) 822-4144 | chart-house.com

Dear John’s
Old-school charm meets live music and delicious food at Dear John’s. This hidden gem offers a cozy, classic vibe with a quiet ambience and a friendly, accommodating wait staff. Excellent cocktails and a Friday/Saturday late happy hour from 9 to 10:30 p.m. accompany a menu that includes burgers, salads, lobster, steak and a few Italian favorites. Live music performances feature classical guitarists and jazz dynamos on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. 11208 Culver Blvd., Culver City | (310) 397-0276 | dearjohns.net

Killer Shrimp
For more than 20 years, Killer Shrimp has been making mouths water with its signature dish — Killer Shrimp cooked to order in a spicy secret sauce. Patrons also love the tasty Killer Mac and Cheese or can enjoy fresh seafood, steak, salads and soups. Every seat boasts fabulous waterfront views, with outdoor and banquet-room seating available. The Killer Café features a full breakfast menu, including the Killer Bloody Mary, and happy hour specials abound. Cars park for free; dock-and-dine slips available. 4211 Admiralty Way, Marina del Rey | (310) 578-2293 | killershrimp.com

Whiskey Red’s             
With 180-degree views of the Marina del Rey harbor, Whiskey Red’s affords landlubbers unparalleled dining on the Pacific. The spectacular setting now includes fireside dining on a renovated patio. Enthusiastic service pairs hand-crafted libations and the marina’s largest whiskey collection with delectable dishes such as seasonal fresh oysters, local Pacific rockfish, Japanese miso-marinated sable fish, crab louie salad and light-battered fried calamari. A great spot for parties. 13813 Fiji Way, Marina del Rey | (310) 823-4522 | shanghairedsrestaurant.com

 

THAI

Natalee Thai
Natalee Thai delivers an authentic Thai dining experience using fresh ingredients that are locally sourced whenever possible. Dishes are served family-style in a warm and pleasant ambiance. Find all your Thai favorites, including Tom Yum soup, pad Thai, monsoon noodles and a variety of curries in addition to their signature entrée variations. The frequent lunch and dinner specials in this upscale-vibe Thai eatery are also well-worth exploring.  10101 Venice Blvd., Venice | (310) 202-7003| nataleethai.com


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