Summer might be over in mere minutes, but that doesn’t mean it’s time to put away those shrimp forks. Even if it’s cooling doesn’t mean you can’t still get yourself in the mood for waves, sand, and sunsets by visiting an array of LA seafood hot-spots and some old-time classics. Here is a list of our favorites.
Blue Plate Oysterette – Santa Monica
Blue Plate Oysterette
1355 Ocean Ave
Santa Monica CA 90401
Blue Plate Oysterette will easily become your favorite neighborhood sea-foodie restaurant. Perched high up above the ocean in Santa Monica on Ocean Drive, the restaurant has outdoor seating where you see nothing but blue skies and even bluer water. The menu features seafood classics, and a friendly wait staff who love to make recommendations on their fresh catch of the day, the best raw oysters, and a perfect beer or glass of rose to go with your meal.
Menu Must-Haves: Raw Bar Combo (a fresh mix of ocean-fresh oysters and clams on the half shell, crisp prawns, and ceviche on a platter); Oysters Rockefeller (an oldie but an oh-so goodie); Lobster Mac and Cheese (complete with truffle oil and fresh herbs).
Son of a Gun Restaurant – West Hollywood
8370 W. 3rd Street
Los Angeles, CA 90048
The LA foodie scene is all a-twitter at the recent opening of Son of a Gun Restaurant in West Hollywood. No other chefs in recent memory have been as embraced and applauded by the culinary industry as the duo behind the acclaimed Animal Restaurant, Chefs Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo.
The menu changes not only seasonally, but sometimes, daily – and largely depends on what Shook and Dotolo find fresh in the local farmer’s markets and fish markets. In an ideal world, you’d come with friends, order one of everything on the menu, and share. You’ll love every morsel.
Menu Must-Haves: Lobster Roll (with celery and a light lemon aioli); Cured Salmon Collars (with yakitori, and pink peppercorn); Shrimp Toast Sandwich (Siracha mayo, smoked Steelhead roe with a dollop of maple cream on pumpernickel).
The Hungry Cat – Hollywood
1535 North Vine
(Sunset & Vine)
Hollywood, CA 90028
Suzanne Goin is one of LA’s most beloved chefs. As chef and owner of other LA culinary hotspots like Lucques, AOC, and Tavern, Goin has been part of the movement that’s elevated the Los Angeles food scene over the past decade. The Hungry Cat is housed in a minimal, industrial, loft-like space making your dining experience, all about the seafood. The menu is broken out into sections including, three different sizes of seafood platters, oysters, caviar, a raw bar menu, and a limited but unique list of entrees. The menu changes often, depending on the season, but there are some staples that will always keep me coming back for more.
Menu Must-Haves: House-made Chorizo and Braised Clams (with shell beans, black kale, grilled bread and aioli); Alaskan King Crab Legs (with spicy blood orange butter); and Peel and Eat Shrimp.
Water Grill – Downtown LA
544 S. Grand Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90071
The Water Grill is LA’s consummate high-end seafood restaurant. What Mastro’s is to steaks, the Water Grill is to fish. Helmed by Amanda Baumgarten, who audiences will remember from Season 7 of Bravo TV’s “Top Chef”, the restaurant features an extensive oyster and raw bar selection and sampling of the world’s best seafood, earning it a prestigious Michelin star. The sophisticated and open dining room is accented with auburn woods and ocean murals. At the center is an elegant zinc-inlaid bar which displays an always changing selection of over 14 raw bar items to include Long Island Littleneck clams, Channel Islands sea urchins and six varieties of oysters on the half shell.
Menu Must-Haves: Raw Bar (eight types of oysters, nine varieties of chilled shellfish including large Channel Islands purple sea urchin, Alaskan king crab “nuggets”, and Oregon Dungeness crab available by the piece, ½ pound and whole pound).
Duane’s Prime Steaks & Seafood – Riverside
At The Mission Inn Hotel & Spa
3649 Mission Inn Ave.
Riverside, CA 92501
Nestled inside the stately and historic Mission Inn Hotel & Spa, Duane’s Prime Steaks & Seafood is the only Inland Empire AAA Four-Diamond Awarded restaurant. Most recently, the restaurant also received the Golden Bacus Award for outstanding wine selections. Duane’s is both a steak and seafood restaurant – preparing both thoughtfully and carefully, with the menu being split down the middle for each. Make sure you take a stroll around the Mission Inn Hotel before you leave. It’s a historic landmark that over the years has been host to numerous celebrities and dignitaries. In fact, The Presidential Lounge pays homage to the 10 U.S. Presidents who have passed through its doors.
Menu Must-Haves: Lobster Tempura (half-pound Australian lobster tail prepared tempura style, served with orange-chili sauce); Shrimp Scampi (with jasmine rice and asparagus, sashimi-grade Ahi tuna with a soy-ginger beurre blanc).
Gladstones – Pacific Palisades
17300 Pacific Coast Hwy.
Pacific Palisades, CA 90265
Truthfully, this restaurant used to be one of my least favorite oceanside eateries. It was rundown, overpriced, and the food was subpar. However, Gladstones recently underwent a complete renovation under the meticulous eye of Sam Nazarian, founder of luxury hospitality group sbe, and is now more than worth the second chance. Corporate Executive Chef Daniel Elmaleh has reinvented the menu to emphasize the freshest ingredients available—from classic seafood dishes to an array of other options including salads, burgers, and more.
Menu Must-Haves: Premium Seafood Tower (includes paddlefish caviar, whole lobster, superior king crab, exotic oysters, jumbo shrimp cocktail, scallops, and seasonal crab claws); “All In” Seafood Risotto (seared scallops, shrimp, mussels, clams, andouille sausage, mâche, and oven-dried tomato).
Javier’s Cantina & Grill – Crystal Cove
7832 East Pacific Coast Highway
Newport Beach, CA 92657
Javier’s, located in the prestigious Crystal Cove area of Newport Beach, is a seafood restaurant with a Mexican twist. Located right on the ocean with incredible views of the water, Javier’s is not just a pretty picture. Here, authentic Mexican cuisine showcases fresh seafood, and most classic dishes highlight fish. They feature only 100% white Mexican prawns, Dungeness crab, and Maine lobster. Javier’s also boasts the largest selection of premium tequila in Orange County. It’s a great place to go with a group of friends, enjoy the sunset, and a frozen margarita.
Menu Must-Haves: Any (or all!) of their five different Ceviches; Nachos de Mariscos (with shrimp and Dungeness crab); Cabo Azul entrée (with Maine lobster enchilada, and chili relleno stuffed with shrimp and Dungeness crab).