Los Angeles County lays out roughly 70 miles of pristine coastline from Malibu to Orange County, and there is no shortage of delicious cuisine along the way. Unlike other beach destinations, though, few restaurants literally sit on the sand, but the stellar views and food at these five seaside restaurants more than make up for it.
Designed to emulate a sprawling, two-story Malibu home, Nikita welcomes diners and loungers who covet spots on its breezy teak and bubinga wood patio. Alfresco seating and tables in the dining room offer stellar vistas of gorgeous Carbon Beach (aka Billionaires Beach), sounds of waves crashing against the shore and the gentle kiss of the crisp sea breeze. The setting is reminiscent of a tranquil spot in Saint-Tropez, and it is beautifully complemented by Mediterranean cuisine from executive chef Salvatore Sodano and his team of Italian chefs, serving handmade pastas, fresh seafood and indulgent meat dishes like veal Milanese.
Malibu’s newly opened destination for ocean-to-table fare sits at the top of the 780-foot-long picturesque pier. Its sophisticated-surf ambience welcomes everyone from special-occasion diners to those who just brushed the Surfrider Beach sand from their toes. Find fresh food from chef Jason Fullilove (formerly of the Patina Restaurant Group) and menu highlights such as the Malibu Pier stew with PEI mussels, Carlsbad clams, striped bass, wild octopus and saffron pasta pearls; tuna crudo with crushed olive, bergamot, Ojai Pixie orange, Setton Farms pistachio and petit seagrass; and Malibu Rum cake with coconut meringue, vanilla glaze candied pineapple, served with coconut milk ice cream.
Just pulling into the driveway at Nobu Malibu is a luxurious experience; you’re surrounded by A-listers as they valet their latest Ferraris and Teslas. But if you think Kim Kardashian and Jessica Simpson sightings are nice, the extravagance continues inside where you find chef Nobu Matsuhisa’s signature Peruvian-influenced Japanese cuisine and ocean panoramas from nearly every table. For patio dining, make sure to reserve well in advance — the sound of waves crashing onto the beach below make it well worth the effort. Start your experience with a cocktail at the restaurant’s 14-seat bar and, for full gratification, indulge in one of the chef’s multicourse omakase menus that serve top selections from sushi to hot and cold dishes from land and sea.
Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star Casa del Mar offers unparalleled luxury in its seaside locale. For fresh-from-the-boat coastal cuisine in elegant surroundings, opt for an evening at Forbes Recommended Catch. With the early May opening of the Terrazza café and lounge, you can now indulge casually as well. Feel the ocean air as it comes through two-story-high, floor-to-ceiling windows and take in epic scapes of Santa Monica beach and the Pier. On crisper afternoons, you can even warm your toes on the heated, handmade floor tiles imported from Spain. The menu is decidedly Italy-meets-California with a large selection of thin-crust pizzas, market-inspired small plates (steamed mussels, crispy artichokes) and a rotating selection of crudo.
Just across Pico Boulevard from Casa del Mar you can dine in refined opulence at the Four-Star Shutters On the Beach’s adored eatery, One Pico. Whether you’re in the mood for a leisurely lunch in the carefree dining room, or you’re having an intimate dinner served during one of Santa Monica’s picturesque sunsets, awe-inspiring service is always paired with managing chef Sven Mede’s fresh cuisine. A seasonal menu that changes with finds from the Santa Monica Farmers Market has recently included a market beets salad with fresh burrata, capers, plums and organic watercress; maltagliati pasta with slow-braised oxtail, broccolini and Parmesan; and pan-seared Maine diver scallops served over saffron risotto.
Photos Courtesy of Alen Lin and Malibu Pier