Dining by the Beach | Beachside Restaurant & Bar, Marina del Rey, LA, CA
Restaurant on the beach
Marina del Rey (LA), CA, August 2021
• GAYOT’s Rating: 14/20
• Cuisine: California
• Open Brunch & Lunch daily 8:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.; Happy Hour daily 4:00 p.m-6:30 p.m; Dinner nightly 4:00 p.m.-10:00 p.m.
While the Pacific is part of the equation when living in Los Angeles, there are not that many restaurants by the beach considering the size of the City of Angels. The Jamaica Bay Inn in Marina del Rey appropriately named its dining venue Beachside Restaurant & Bar. Yes, it is located by an artificial beach, named Mother’s Beach, and not by the real ocean, but it is has its advantages. It is always quiet and smooth, protected by condominiums that project their colored lights on the water at night, making you feel you have escaped to the Mediterranean.
There are tables inside, but that is not where you should sit; by all means, make your reservation on the patio. The restaurant has a casual vibe and chef Victor Morales has perfectly captured it in his dishes. His cuisine is in harmony with the relaxed atmosphere. Morales is of Guatemalan descent and he was born and raised in Los Angeles, so he has witnessed the evolution of the LA culinary scene. He has mixed on the plates the diverse influences to which we have now been accustomed: Asian, South American, Italian, California, French. He added a pinch of Mediterranean flair, which makes THE difference creating his very own style.
Arrive before the sun sets, and relax with a craft cocktail, selecting a tequila or a mezcal from the spirit list Margarita Bar. Start your friendly dinner with the mezze, part of the “Share” section in which you will also find hamachi crudo with unusual accoutrements (sambal cucumber, kaffir lime, basil, coconut lemongrass). I liked the “Midcourse” section, another excuse to share Morales’s flavors with your family and friends. Before indulging in the bone marrow, take a look at the dish. The eggplant purée of the Spanish octopus is like no other (I think I am going to ask the chef for the recipe). Morales had the idea to serve grilled prawns with labneh, bringing together tastes you’ve most likely not had before. I liked the shrimp fettucini, but I cannot say the same for the creamy clam chowder, especially considering how good Morales is at presentation and there is not much he can do here (just a bowl of white soup).
Being near the ocean calls for the whole grilled branzino covered with fragrant herbs and pistachio dukkah in a rosemary vinaigrette. I also got to try a brand new dish: braised short ribs marinated in soy sauce. I am sure it will become a favorite. Finish with dulce de leche cheesecake, as I think the classic warm chocolate chunk chip cookies can not showcase the chef’s creativity. Short wine and beer lists. Amiable service.