Dining with the moon | Beachside Restaurant & Bar, Marina del Rey, LA, CA

By Sophie Gayot

Peaceful times at Beachside Restaurant & Bar Marina del Rey

Marina del Rey (LA), CA, September 2023

• GAYOT’s Rating: 14/20
• CuisineCalifornia
• Open: Dinner nightly 4 p.m.-10 p.m., Weekend Brunch 7 a.m.-3 p.m.
• Beachside Restaurant & Bar is on GAYOT’s:
Best Santa Monica & Marina del Rey Romantic Restaurants
LA Best Beachside Restaurants
Best Santa Monica & Malibu Value Restaurants.

Jamaica Bay Inn, 14160 Palawan Way
Marina del Rey, CA 90292
310-439-3033 | View Website

Beachside Restaurant & Bar is a hidden gem in Marina del Rey right in front of Marina Beach, more famous under the appellation of “Mother’s Beach.” This half-mile crescent-shaped beach is a 12-acre restful lagoon, created in the early ’60s when Marina del Rey was being developed. Marina del Rey is North America’s largest man-made small-craft harbor. The restaurant is the only one to have direct and unobstructed access to the sand — there are only two restaurants along Mother’s Beach. I actually went on it to take photos of the Jamaica Bay Inn in which it is housed (see photo gallery below).

Nowadays, we all have hectic lives. Beachside Restaurant & Bar is a great spot to replenish your body and soul while sipping on drinks or dining with the palm trees and the soothing water as a backdrop. But in order to do so, it is best, not to say imperative, to sit outside on the patio, and not inside. Heat lamps and glass panels will protect you from the cold and the wind if necessary.

Time to dine

The bar calls for cocktails to whet your appetite for chef Irene Verceles’s cuisine. If Irene is shy, her dishes are not. Who would have thought to put fresh mint on the, now classic, Tuna Tartare? I was very intrigued with the addition of the herb. Honestly, besides in tea, I am not a fan of it as mint is very powerful and its flavor usually takes over the rest. But, balanced by the puffed rice, what a great idea!

The proximity to the ocean calls for seafood. The Grilled Octopus is served with an avocado purée and a passion fruit vinaigrette; and the Pei Mussels are prepared with chorizo. At that point, you start guessing that chef Verceles has Filipino roots. And bingo, she does. The creamy farro and wild mushrooms are addictive. They composed the bed of the pan-seared Branzino. The Salmon is quite colorful on the plate and in the mouth with its parsnip purée, Okinawa sweet potato (purple) and a red chimichurri.

I still wanted to try a produce from the earth, so I choose the Porkchop. The 10-ounce chop is topped by tangerine and seasoned with mostarda and accompanied by red mustard greens.

Desserts are not a forte right now. It seems that chef Verceles needs to put on a pastry apron so they can taste more in line with what she has accomplished in the savory part.

Another recommendation: arrive during the daytime so you can follow the sunset and the rise of the moon. Luckily, the day I went it was a full moon, adding to the romance of the lieu.