Food & Drink

The 15 Most Essential Restaurants in Manhattan Beach

Tiffany Tse Published On 04/02/2016 Published On 04/02/2016
Courtesy of Fishing with Dynamite (edited)

Los Angeles It’s easy to mistake Manhattan Beach for a sleepy beach town (especially compared to its busier northern neighbors like Santa Monica or Venice), but don’t be fooled: the dining scene is full of diverse and legitimately great choices, from modern Eastern European to simple, homey American. Here are 15 area eateries you need to explore. More Stuff You Will Like

Courtesy of Manhattan Beach Post

Best brunch with a view: Manhattan Beach Post

  1142 Manhattan Ave Chef David LeFevre kickstarted Manhattan Beach’s restaurant revival by opening MB Post back in 2011, and locals still flock here for the killer brunch menu, which includes the savory (famously flaky bacon cheddar biscuits) as well as the sweet (sticky buns and pumpkin skillet cake).

Best burger: Ercole’s 1101

  1101 Manhattan Ave Ercole’s isn’t fancy, but you don’t need a cloth napkin to sop up the juice from this dive bar’s phenomenal burger. Expect a high-quality beef patty (from Manhattan Meats next door) loaded with toppings, and tucked inside a small bun for a sloppy and satisfying burger experience. Continue Reading

Courtesy of Love & Salt

Best pizza: Love & Salt

  317 Manhattan Beach Blvd Love & Salt is so much more than a pizza place, but when you consider the TLC that goes into making their dough, ordering a pie is a must (the duck egg pizza is a favorite). The restaurant brushes its dough with olive oil and sea salt before tossing it into an almond wood oven -- an untraditional method that yields a perfectly crisp, tasty crust.

Best fancy restaurant for when the parents are paying: The Arthur J

  903 Manhattan Ave When the ‘rents are in town, take them to LeFevre’s first-class steakhouse by the beach. The melt-in-your-mouth steaks aren’t the only stars on the menu; everything from the football-sized cheesy popovers to succulent Swedish meatballs and dill-soaked shrimp cocktail is downright delicious. (Mom and Dad will also dig their impressive wine selection.)

Best oyster hour: FishBar

  3801 Highland Ave 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.

Courtesy of Doma Kitchen

Best Slavic food: Doma Kitchen

  3562 N Sepulveda Blvd Stuff like Siberian-style chicken dumplings, Ukranian borscht, and a spicy/mint lamb salad come out of this eclectic, multiethnic kitchen, but you won’t walk away feeling turgid. Every dish is made with a modern, healthy twist, using fresh farmers market ingredients and house-made spices.

Best breakfast: Four Daughters Kitchen

  3505 Highland Ave This cozy, family-owned eatery is a beloved neighborhood staple serving up Lamill coffee alongside satisfying croissant sandwiches, chorizo scrambles, and pancakes -- just what you need to kick-start of surf and sand.

Courtesy of Marie Buck

Best seafood: Fishing With Dynamite

  1148 Manhattan Ave Another LeFevre gem, 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.

Best for raucous groups: Petros

  451 Manhattan Beach Blvd Suite #B110 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.

Courtesy of Rice

Best for vegetarians: Rice

  820 Manhattan Ave Suite #105 Borderline ascetic fare (meaning mostly organic and vegan-friendly) becomes 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.

Best sandwich spot: North End Caffe

  3421 Highland Ave Sure, it’s tough to mess up a sandwich, but it’s also tough to come by a truly memorable one. The latter -- fresh, hearty, and made with quality ingredients -- is what North End boasts on its comprehensive sammie menu, which includes everything from BBQ-basted turkey to slow roasted pork.

Courtesy of Little Sister

Best date spot: Little Sister

  1131 Manhattan Ave There’s never a quiet moment at this upscale Asian fusion 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.

Best cheap eats: El Tarasco

  350 N Sepulveda Blvd 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.

Courtesy of Manhattan Beach Creamery

Best ice cream: Manhattan Beach Creamery

  1120 Manhattan Ave The ice cream here (which comes in 28 from-scratch flavors) is made with 14% butterfat, meaning it’s extra-rich, dense, and decadent -- in other words, zero help to your summer six-pack.

Best late-night eats: The Kettle

  1138 Highland Ave 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). Sign up here for our daily LA email and be the first to get all the food/drink/fun Los Angeles has to offer. Tiffany Tse is a freelance contributor at Thrillist and, unfortunately, is never in the mood for a kale salad. Follow her adventures around town at @twinksy.

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1. Manhattan Beach Post 1142 Manhattan Ave, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266 (South Bay)

Chef David LeFevre kickstarted Manhattan Beach’s restaurant revival by opening MB Post back in 2011, and locals still flock here for the killer brunch menu, which includes the savory (famously flaky bacon cheddar biscuits) as well as the sweet (sticky buns and pumpkin skillet cake). This spot rocks an an upscale-barn vibe with exposed rafters and bleached-wood common tables. The menu's divided under whimsically named sections like "Eat Your Veggies,” "Meat Me Later" and "A Spoon Full Of Sugar…".

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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.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
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.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
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.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
10. Manhattan Beach Creamery 1120 Manhattan Ave, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266

The ice cream here (which comes in 28 made-from-scratch flavors) is made with 14% butterfat, meaning it’s extra-rich, dense, and decadent -- in other words, zero help to your summer six-pack, but 100% pleasure to your tastebuds.

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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.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
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.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
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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