The Most Overlooked Sauce in American BBQ
Best pho: Le Cellier
417 Washington Blvd
Good pho on the Westside is few and far between, making this French-Vietnamese restaurant’s complex, fragrant version all the more special. Also on the menu: duck foie gras, lemongrass BBQ ribs, and a solid assortment of wines.
Best fancy restaurant for when you’re not paying: Cast & Plow
4375 Admiralty Way
Located inside The Ritz-Carlton, Cast & Plow is a hotel restaurant that stands on its own. Aside from a picturesque view of the marina, you’ll also get impeccable service and locally grown, organic food -- like made-in-house herb brioche and sweet potato gnocchi.
Best pizza: Settebello
13455 Maxella Ave Suite 250
Settebello’s Neapolitan pizzas are the real deal -- made with imported Italian flour, and briefly tossed inside a wood-fired oven crafted by Italian oven makers (yes, that’s a thing). The result? Soft, slippery, delicious pies best eaten with a fork and knife -- as they do in Napoli.
Best brunch: Cafe del Rey
4451 Admiralty Way
Forty bucks gets you a three-course prix fixe brunch served with your choice of sparkling wine, cider, mimosas, or Bloody Marys -- not a bad deal when there’s braised pork chilaquiles and crispy polenta on the menu.
Best cheap eats: Taqueria Chihuahua
505 Washington Blvd
This strip mall joint makes bomb burritos that all hover around the $5 mark. For a little extra, get yours either Pancho Villa-style (smothered in enchilada sauce and melted cheese) or El Norteno-style (stuffed with guac, cheese, and sour cream).
Best sandwich spot: Mendocino Farms
4724 Admiralty Way
Get here early if you want to avoid the rush hour mob: Mendo’s fantastic and flavor-packed sandwiches, served on freshly baked artisanal bread, are a huge hit in the neighborhood.
Best for vegetarians: Rainbow Acres Natural Foods
13208 W Washington Blvd
Vegans and vegetarians flock to this health food store’s hot-food counter, with its rotating selection of legit chow (like oven-roasted, herb-seasoned Brussels sprouts, spanakopita, and Hawaiian stir-fried tempeh).
Best late-night food: Killer Cafe
4211 Admiralty Way
One of the only spots in MDR that’s open 24 hours a day, Killer Cafe whips up hearty comfort food reminiscent of what you’d find at your county fair (only better). Load up on bacon lobster mac & cheese croquettes, fried queso fresco, and cheese-smothered tater tots.
Best burgers: Cafe Buna
3105 Washington Blvd
This hole in the wall serves some unexpectedly tasty and creative burgers -- don’t sleep on the signature Buna (with fixings like pickles, avocado, BBQ sauce, and bacon) or Hawaiian (pineapple and Swiss cheese on Hawaiian bread).
Best for non-basic breakfasts: J Nichols Kitchen
4375 Glencoe Ave
This spot’s got all the usual breakfast foods made better, but go for the one-of-a-kind specialties, like a pork belly English muffin sammie and a pancake stack layered with melt-in-your-mouth BBQ pork.
Best happy hour: SALT Restaurant & Bar
13534 Bali Way
Salt’s happy hour, which runs daily from 4 to 6:30pm, is the area’s best-kept secret. Deals include quality appetizers like yellowtail ceviche, $5 draft beers and well cocktails, and priceless harbor views -- OK, that last one’s not so much a deal as a reason to scope the place early & get a seat by the outdoor fire pits.
Best for carb feasting: Casa Ado
12 W Washington Blvd
The pastas at this cozy Italian spot are homemade and perfectly cooked. All-stars include the black ink tagliolini noodles tossed in a spicy marinara and their famous red beet pasta served in Parmesan fondue.
Best Italian: Locanda Positano
4059 Lincoln Blvd
Marina del Rey clearly has plenty of top-notch Italian spots, but this intimate restaurant is the local favorite. Don’t be fooled by its unassuming location across from an IHOP; the wild boar pappardelle and fresh seafood linguine will transport you straight to the Amalfi Coast.
Best BBQ: Morfia’s Ribs & Pies
4077 Lincoln Blvd
When you’re craving Texas BBQ, go to Morfia’s for sauce-drenched ribs smoked in a brick pit. The portions are always generous, the meat’s always moist, and even if you’re stuffed, you can’t end the meal without a slice of baklava cheesecake or sweet potato pie.
1. Le Cellier417 Washington Blvd, Marina del Rey
2. Cast & Plow4375 Admiralty Way, Marina del Rey
3. Settebello Pizzeria Napoletana13455 Maxella Ave Ste 250, Marina del Rey
4. Cafe del Rey4451 Admiralty Way, Marina del Rey
5. Taqueria Chihuahua505 Washington Blvd, Marina del Rey
6. Mendocino Farms4724 Admiralty Way, Marina del Rey
7. Rainbow Acres Natural Foods4756 Admiralty Way, Marina del Rey
8. Killer Cafe4213 Admiralty Way, Marina del Rey
9. Cafe Buna3105 Washington Blvd, Marina del Rey
10. J. Nichols Kitchen4375 Glencoe Ave, Los Angeles
11. SALT13534 Bali Way, Marina del Rey
12. Casa Ado12 Washington Blvd, Marina Del Rey
13. Locanda Positano4059 Lincoln Blvd, Marina del Rey
14. Morfia's Ribs And Pies4077 Lincoln Blvd, Marina del Rey
Located on the ground floor of a mid-century building in Marina del Rey, this part-French, part-Vietnamese restaurant is a modern neighborhood spot for good food and casual vibes. The menu is a cool fusion mix of French meats and cheeses, Vietnamese spices, and of course, wine. Open for lunch and dinner, Le Cellier serves a complex and fragrant pho that's hard to forget, banh mi sandwiches, and noodle salads.
Located inside Marina del Rey Ritz-Carlton, Cast & Plow is a hotel restaurant that stands on its own. Aside from a picturesque view of the marina, you'll also get impeccable service and locally grown, organic food. Even if you don't eat carbs, you have to try the house-made herb brioche and sweet potato gnocchi -- they're worth every doughy calorie. The vibe is Southern California chic, but the place still feels upscale and refined.
For a solid taste of Naples in Marina del Rey, look no further than this refined pizza chainlet. Made with flour and cheese imported from Italy and cooked for one minute in a wood-burning oven, Settebello's Neapolitan pizzas are the real deal. The menu is split between simple pizzas topped with cured meats and antipasti dishes. The second-floor space features outdoor balcony seating and heat lamps, so you can sit outside anytime.
Overlooking the marina, Cafe del Rey is a sophisticated spot fit for a power lunch, romantic dinner, or special occasion brunch. The upscale Mediterranean menu is heavy on fish and seafood, and the three-course prix fixe brunch, which includes sparkling wine, mimosas, and Bloody Marys, is a solid deal.
This strip mall Mexican joint in Marina del Rey is home to some seriously great tacos, burritos, tortas, and more quintessential south-of-the-border eats that hover between $5 and $10. Taqueria Chihuahua's counter-serve space is pretty bare bones, but that's part of what makes it such a cheap eats gem.
The Marina del Rey location of Mendocino Farms is arguably one of the most popular lunch spots in the neighborhood. The sandwich emporium serves up fantastic flavor-packed creations on freshly-baked bread, as well as leafy green salads and grain medleys. Mendo's Chinese Chicken Salad, which started as a limited-time item, is now a house signature known for its sweet dressing and crispy wontons. The outdoor shopping center spot is usually jam-packed at weekday lunch, but there are plenty of seats both inside and out.
Vegans, vegetarians, and gluten-free foodies flock to this health food market in Marina del Rey for organic groceries, cold-pressed juices, and above all, legit chow from its made-to-order counter. Rainbow Acres serves a rotating selection of sandwiches, salads, and prepared hot dishes with roasted chicken and salmon, sautéed vegetables, and grains. The market also includes a Whole Foods-like salad bar, making it a destination lunch spot for any kind of eater.
One of the only spots in Marina del Rey that’s open 24 hours a day, Killer Cafe whips up hearty comfort food reminiscent of what you’d find at a county fair, but better. This offshoot of Killer Shrimp serves up irresistible all-day food from eggs Benedict and brioche French toast to bacon lobster mac & cheese croquettes and shrimp pot pie (a Killer Shrimp fave). Add the diner-style setting and you've got an everyday restaurant whose menu never gets old.
Cafe Buna is a little hole in the wall that serves diner-like comfort food. The burgers are creative and tasty, like the signature Buna burger with all the fixins' (pickles, avocado, barbecue sauce, and bacon). The café boasts an all-day breakfast menu filled to the brim with creative griddle options (cornflakes French toast, red velvet pancakes with white chocolate chips) and loaded omelettes.
This Marina del Rey spot first set up shop as a diner in the 70s, but now it's more of a refined neighborhood restaurant. The menu still revolves around casual American comfort food, and though it's a go-to for the usual breakfast items, the kitchen serves up one-of-a-kind specialities like a pork belly egg muffin sandwich and bacon & egg flatbread.
Located inside the Marina del Rey Hotel, SALT is a quintessential Southern California restaurant with seasonal cuisine, harbor views, and an airy outdoor patio. The menu features a solid mix of small and large seafood and meat plates. The interior feels chic and modern with light wood, warm lighting, and communal tables.
Right near the beach, this upscale Italian spot in Marina del Rey serves perfectly cooked, homemade pastas and grilled meat entrees. The cozy dining room will make you want to carboload on dishes like blank ink tagliolini noodles, seafood risotto, and ricotta gnocchi. Snag a seat on the outdoor patio to watch the sun set and you've got one heck of a romantic night.
Marina del Rey has tons of top-notch Italian spots, but this intimate restaurant, hidden in an unassuming spot across from an IHOP, is a local favorite. The homemade pastas and grilled catch of the day will transport you straight to the Amalfi Coast, while the cozy dark interior will make you forget that you're in Southern California.
When you’re craving Texas BBQ in Marina del Rey, there's Morfia's. The laid-back, checkered table-clothed spot specializes in sauce-drenched ribs smoked in a brick pit. The portions are generous, the meat is always moist, and even if you're full, the dessert (baklava cheesecake, sweet potato pie) is impossible to let go to waste.