Want to eat like a local?
I’ve been living in Marina del Rey for almost two years and I have a few favourite restaurants that I go to over and over again. I thought I would share my choice picks with you in case you ever find yourself in this little community next to Venice Beach.
These are definitely not the fanciest places, but more of my local favourites. Here are my favourite places to eat in and around Marina del Rey:
Jamaica Bay Inn – Happy Hour at Beachside Restaurant and Bar is a always a solid choice when I have out-of-town guests. The drinks are 2-for-1 and the tempura-battered fish tacos are some of the best I’ve ever had. The pretty view of Mother’s Beach from the patio makes it one of my favourite places in Marina del Rey.
Mendocino Farms – Craving a sandwich or need a quick lunch? Mendocino Farms is my go-to place for a sandwich at lunchtime. Seriously, the sandwiches are so big that I eat half for lunch and the other half for dinner. I always go for a side of sweet potato chips and a side salad to round it all out. They source their ingredients from local farms and try to keep everything as natural as possible. Quick serve.
Settebello – The DOC Margherita is one of the BEST Napoletana pizzas in LA. If you’re serious about your authentic Italian-style pizza, make a beeline for Settebello. The dough and the crust are incomparable to what you find in most pizza places. Their secret? They import the flour, tomatoes and many other ingredients from Italy. It’s generally more slow going at lunch time, but evenings and weekends are usually busy. I suggest going for dinner!
Gaby’s Express – My husband swears by the Chicken Kabob Plate with rice, salad, hummus and pita at Gaby’s Express. Don’t forget the garlic sauce! I like the Healthy Wrap or the Chicken Shawarma. We usually call ahead and do take-out – as the dining room is not super fancy or anything. Plus they’re open late. Quick serve.
Irori Japanese Restaurant – If you’re looking for good, quality sushi that won’t break the bank, Irori Japanese Restaurant is my go-to. I usually order a bunch of different rolls from their a la carte menu. Make sure to wear your nice socks, because you take off your shoes and sit on the floor, Japanese-style! Cheap lunch specials, busy at dinner – make a reservation!
Jerry’s Deli – In the same plaza, you will find Jerry’s Deli. How did I ever survive a cold without a big bowl of Matzo Ball soup from Jerry’s? If you’ve just got off a flight from LAX and you’re starving, the kitchen here is open late. I usually call in my order in the cab on the way home. I also recommend the Pastrami Sandwich and the Black & White Cookie here. The menu is so big, that you’ll definitely be able to find something to eat here.
SusieCakes – Are you prepared to eat some of the best cake of your life? That’s what someone asked me when I first heard of SusieCakes. And guess what? It WAS the best cake I’ve ever eaten in my life! I’ve been to over 400 weddings and eaten A LOT of cake in my life and the Pineapple Coconut Cake at SusieCakes is a must-try. They make other things like cupcakes, but you need to get over there and try a slice of their Pineapple Coconut Cake! Cupcakes are good too.
Le Pain Quotidien – Avocado toast with a soft-boiled egg is how I like to start my morning at Le Pain Quotidien. The coffee is pretty good too and the WiFi is free. It’s a great place to come have lunch and get a bit of work done. Do note that they are only open for breakfast and lunch.
Joni’s Coffee – If I’m looking for a quick breakfast and a coffee, Joni’s Coffee is a great place to start your day. The food comes out pretty fast and they serve classics like bacon, eggs, pancakes etc for under $10. Definitely a locals favourite! Quick serve.
Med Cafe – Just outside of Marina del Rey in Venice is Med Cafe. My picks here are the chicken shawarma sandwich, their fries and their gyro sandwich. Quick and fast food, that’s restaurant-quality.
Kanpai – Located just a bit further out in Westchester is my favourite sushi place Kanpai. The fish is all fresh and the food is quite authentic and the service is fast. I recommend the Chicken Japanese Curry Cutlet Dinner, any of the Ramen Bowls and ALL of the sushi. I’ve never been disappointed by any of the food here. Word is getting out, so call ahead to reserve.
Ekkamai – Sitting sort of on the Culver City border is Ekkamai, a wonderful little Thai place that I usually get take-out or delivery from. You can’t go wrong with their Pad Thai, Bam Boom, Green Curry and Mango Sticky Rice.
Tamara’s Tamales – Just across the street you’ll find homemade tamales from Tamara’s Tamales. They live up to all the hype. Try as many as possible and bring a couple home with you to freeze.
So those are my favourite local places to eat in Marina del Rey. I haven’t tried all the fancier fine dining restaurants yet – but the list above are the places I go to all the time.
Do you have a favourite place to eat in Marina del Rey? What do you usually order?