Food & Drink

The 15 Most Essential Restaurants in Manhattan Beach

Published On 04/02/2016 Published On 04/02/2016
Courtesy of Fishing with Dynamite (edited)
Courtesy of Manhattan Beach Post
Courtesy of Love & Salt
Courtesy of Doma Kitchen
Courtesy of Marie Buck
Courtesy of Rice
Courtesy of Little Sister
Courtesy of Manhattan Beach Creamery
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1. Manhattan Beach Post 1142 Manhattan Ave, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266 (South Bay)

The flagship restaurant of the acclaimed and highly influential Chef David LeFevre, M.B. Post ignited a burgeoning restaurant scene in 2011 in an otherwise culinary wasteland in the South Bay. M.B. Post is housed in an old post office, with funky, 60s-style decor -- like a vintage post office desk, sun-bleached reclaimed wood tables, and kitschy, repurposed beach trinkets -- abetting in a casual atmosphere. Though the American menu is divided into whimsical categories like “Pass the Bread,” “Eat Your Vegetables,” “Seafood… Eat Food… ,” “Meat Me Later,” and “A Spoon Full of Sugar,” the food is upscale, innovative, and technically intricate, all reflective of Chef’s background at lauded restaurants around the world. The brunch and dinner menus rotate seasonally, but you can always expect (and should always order) the famous bacon cheddar buttermilk biscuits, no matter the time of day. They’re worth the inevitable wait.

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2. Ercoles 1101 1101 Manhattan Ave, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266

One of the few classic dives that hasn’t received a shiny new coat, Ercoles maintains its Cheers-vibe, welcoming regulars with a glance-up-from-my-PBR hello, while you settle into well-worn booths and stools. You'll need a stack of napkins to sop up the juice from this dive bar’s phenomenal burger. Expect a high-quality beef patty from Manhattan Meats next door, which comes loaded with toppings and tucked inside a small bun for a sloppy and satisfying experience.

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3. Love & Salt 317 Manhattan Beach Blvd, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266

Love & Salt is an Italian restaurant with a California soul. Try its breakfast-meets-lunch options, which include Nutella toast with strawberries & sea salt, a smoked fish board with housemade bagels (the chef is from New York, so you know these will be good), and wood oven-baked eggs with grilled bread.

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4. The Arthur J 903 Manhattan Ave, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266

David LeFevre was an MVP of the Manhattan Beach dining scene (M.B. Post, Fishing with Dynamite) long before he opened this new-school-meets-old-school steakhouse by the pier. The Arthur J serves up melt-in-your-mouth steaks and first-class comfort foods like classic pot roast and Swedish meatballs. The swanky and upscale restaurant is definitely the kind of place you choose when someone else (ahem, your parents) is paying the bill.

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5. Doma Kitchen 3562 N Sepulveda, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266

This family-owned restaurant in Manhattan Beach (where it relocated after first opening in Redondo Beach) serves European and Central Asian dishes in a colorful and homey spot. Expect hot and cold small plates alongside kitchen specialities like Uzbek rice braised with veggies, lamb stroganoff, and borscht. Every menu item is made with farm fresh ingredients and house-made spices. As for seating, a long communal table takes over the center of the dining room.

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6. Fishing with Dynamite 1148 Manhattan Ave, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266 (South Bay)

Another LeFevre gem (MB Post, Arthur J), Fishing With Dynamite serves up some of the most succulent seafood in the South Bay. We’re talking still-kicking shellfish and tender octopus, as well as more inventive dishes like their creamy, flavor-packed Koshihikari rice and a must-try pretzel and chocolate bread pudding.

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7. Rice 820 Manhattan Ave, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266

Borderline ascetic fare (meaning mostly organic and vegan-friendly) is mouthwatering under the direction of Rice’s chef, Hiroyuki Igarashi. Nosh on spicy miso ramen made with tempeh, a seaweed-and-kelp “beach” salad, and a variety of shareable, well-prepared veggie plates -- ideally washed down with a not-so-ascetic sake cocktail.

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8. Little Sister 1131 Manhattan Ave, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266

Combining Euro styles and Southeast Asian spices, this Manhattan Beach staple turns out some serious shanks -- all of which are caramelized, red vinegar glazed, and peanut-scallion topped with a persimmon side. There’s never a quiet moment at this upscale spot, meaning zero awkward silences for you and your date. Go here for the stellar food (like pork belly crepes and lemongrass beef noodles) as much as for the relaxed-yet-hip vibe.

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9. El Tarasco 350 N Sepulveda Blvd, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266

This hole in the wall has served up greasy, flavorful, easy-on-the-wallet Mexican food to locals for decades. Feel free to come here shirtless, shoeless, and starving straight from the beach—no one will blink an eye.

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10. Manhattan Beach Creamery 1120 Manhattan Ave, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266

Manhattan Beach Creamery is a nostalgic ice cream shop located just steps from the Manhattan Beach Pier. On offer daily are 28 from-scratch flavors -- made with butterfat for a dense, decadent texture -- from a rotating roster of old favorites as well as new releases. Manhattan Beach Creamery was the birthplace of the now popular Cream’wich, an ice cream sandwich featuring the creamery’s signature ice creams, sandwiched between two cookies from local family business Katella Bakery. Indulge in ice cream, a Cream’wich, frozen bananas, artisanal cupcakes, macarons, and any other sweet treat your sugar-craving tastebuds desire.

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11. North End Caffe 3421 Highland Ave, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266

Sure, it’s tough to mess up a sandwich, but it’s also tough to come by a truly memorable one. North End Caffe’s are made with fresh, hearty, and made with quality ingredients, and the same goes for the salads, sandwiches, and burgers. NEC is best known for the Kahlua Pig Monte Cristo Egg Rolls, which got it featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.

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12. Petro's 451 Manhattan Beach Blvd, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266 (South Bay)

Feel free to bring an obnoxiously large group of friends here: this Greek restaurant’s patio can accommodate bigger parties, and their various dips and appetizers make tapas-style dining easy. Sit near the beach and fill up on morsels like a classic eggplant and beef moussaka, lamb pasta with broccolini and olives, and feta giant shrimp pasta.

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13. Four Daughters Kitchen 3505 Highland Ave, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266

This cozy, family-owned eatery is a beloved neighborhood staple serving up Lamill coffee alongside satisfying croissant sammies, chorizo scrambles, and pancakes -- just what you need to kick-start of surf and sand.

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14. FishBar 3801 Highland Ave, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266

This sports bar doesn’t serve anything like your typical bar fare. Instead, you’ll find upscale seafood starters like chipotle shrimp quesadillas, salmon bites, and lobster guac, as well as a popular weekday oyster hour: $1.75 each, in increments of six.

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15. The Kettle 1138 Highland Ave, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266

Whether you’re stone-cold sober or the opposite, this always-open-for-business diner’s insane muffins will do the trick (seriously, everyone talks about them).

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