Since 1969, restaurant, hotel, travel & other witty reviews by a handpicked, worldwide team of discerning professionals—and your views, too.



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by Sophie Gayot





I think when restaurateur/hotelier Michael Zislis created The Strand House Culinary Masters Series, he had a very good idea. Every time I have attended one of the events, the restaurant has been completely full. I didn’t see a single empty seat; instead I saw lots of people enjoying the cuisine of Josiah Citrin, Michael Cimarusti, Nancy Silverton, Alain Giraud, Douglas Keane or Tory McPhail to name just a few of the participating chefs. To top it off, diners can eat the fine food while watching the sun set over the Manhattan Beach pier and the Pacific.

During one of the dinners, where Trefethen wines were served, I finished the evening talking with chef Rick Tramonto who had flown in from Chicago. In the above video, you can watch as we flip through the pages of his autobiography together. Tramonto is a true success story; TRU restaurant under his direction was named one of’s Top 40 Restaurants in the U.S. in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007. And Restaurant R’evolution in New Orleans, where he has partnered with chef John Folse, made’s Top 10 New Restaurants in the U.S. list this year.

Continue reading “Chatting with Chef Rick Tramonto” »


The Skydeck at Shade Hotel in Manhattan Beach, California

The Skydeck at Shade Hotel in Manhattan Beach, California


Made in the Shade

In the summer of 2005, downtown Manhattan Beach’s first hotel opened its doors to the picturesque beachfront community in Southern California. Adjacent to dining and shopping destination Metlox Plaza (a former pottery factory that produced the ceramic sign for Pantages Theater in Hollywood), Shade Hotel is an upscale property conveniently located within walking distance of the pier and beach, and just fifteen minutes from Los Angeles International Airport. The area is known for its beauty – it’s even nicknamed the “Pearl of the South Bay” and has been used as a filming location for numerous movies and television shows, including “Jerry Maguire,” “Point Break,” “The O.C.” and “90210.”

Continue reading “Shade Hotel, Manhattan Beach, California – Hotel Feature” »

Dining by the Pier

on September 01st, 2012
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by Sophie Gayot

Michael Zislis’s latest achievement is The Strand House, the beautiful restaurant overlooking the pier in Manhattan Beach, CA. Before that, he put his energy, and he has quite a lot, into restaurants ROCK’N FISH, Rock & Brews, and Mucho Ultima Mexicana, as well as the Shade Hotel.

Not only does he like to invite guests to his restaurants and hotel, but Michael, who is obviously in the hospitality business, also has created a Guest Chef Series at The Strand House where chef Greg Hozinsky cooks and creative exec chef Neal Fraser comes by a few times a month.

Continue reading “Dining by the Pier” »