Before chef David LeFevre opened Manhattan Beach Post in 2011, non-Manhattan Beach residents might have ventured to the area to surf, play beach volleyball or buy a home after signing a multimillion-dollar sports contract. You just didn't drive to that part of town for a single meal. But a steady influx of new restaurants over the last four years has turned the breezy beach town into a dining destination. Just call Manhattan Avenue the new restaurant row. Here are 10 places in the neighborhood for food and drink lovers to explore.
The Arthur J: It's an upscale steakhouse by LeFevre, with an ocean breeze. Translation: There are white tablecloths and $50 steaks on the menu, but the people sitting next to you are still in their flip-flops. The steaks are cooked to perfection on a J&R Wood Fire Char Broiler hardwood grill, and with a dirty martini in your hand, you'll feel like beach royalty. 903 Manhattan Ave., Manhattan Beach, (310) 878-9620, www.thearthurj.com
Bacchus Wine: A family-owned wine shop where you can buy a nice bottle of Champagne or pick up a $14 bottle of rosé. Unfamiliar with what to buy? This is not an intimidating place. In fact, the staff likes it when you need a recommendation. And if you're interested in learning more about wine or need a fun date-night activity, the store hosts tastings Sundays to Tuesdays for $10 a person. 1000 Manhattan Ave., Manhattan Beach, (310) 372-2021, www.bacchuswinesla.com
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Doma Kitchen: The small Redondo Beach restaurant, by owners Angie Corrente and Stan Mayzalis and chef Kristina Miksyte, has found new digs in Manhattan Village. There they are serving traditional Turkish coffee; Uzbek plov in a pot with turmeric-scented rice, chicken and vegetables; and potato or chicken dumplings in a dill broth called pelmeni. But if you stop in on a Saturday and want a traditional brunch, you can order waffles topped with Nutella and strawberries. 3562 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Manhattan Beach, (310) 647-3157, www.domakitchen.com
Ercoles bar: It's a local institution that's been around since 1927. There are $6 mai tais, $6 Moscow mules (not served in copper mugs) and, on Wednesdays, two-for-one burgers. At the edge of the bar, take your pick of free cheese balls (the neon orange kind), pickled eggs, pretzels and pepperoncinis. Pick up a game of pool, then make friends with the guy sitting next to you, who has been coming in since the '50s. 1101 Manhattan Ave., Manhattan Beach, (310) 372-1997.
Little Sister: In his review of chef Tin Vuong's Blackhouse Hospitality restaurant, Jonathan Gold called it a date-night restaurant with mayhem at its soul. And he couldn't have been more spot on. With a bowl full of salt-and-pepper lobster covered in butter-fried shallots, fried chiles and garlic to share, it's easy to fall in love with the person across the table. And the old-school gangsta rap soundtrack sets the mood perfectly. 1131 Manhattan Ave., Manhattan Beach, (310) 545-2096, www.littlesistermb.com
Love & Salt: Three words: mortadella hot dog. You'll see this luscious mortadella sausage with a soft, chewy bun, pickled vegetable relish and house mustard on almost every table. It's the perfect representation of chef Michael Fiorelli's playful food, and the dish you'll crave most while sipping one of consulting mixologist Vincenzo Marianella's cocktails. The space will be packed, even early on a Monday, so make a reservation. The best seat in the house? At the makeshift chef's counter to the right of the bar, where you can drool over the porchetta, gnocchi and crispy pig's ears. 317 Manhattan Beach Blvd., Manhattan Beach, (310) 545-5252, www.loveandsaltla.com
Manhattan Beach Creamery: A classic creamery with homemade ice cream, cupcakes, candy and ice cream sandwiches. On any given weekend, you'll end up waiting in line next to a mix of German tourists, surfers and toddlers, all eager to get their hands on a red velvet ice cream sandwich or homemade peanut butter cup. 1120 Manhattan Ave., Manhattan Beach, (310) 372-1155, www.mbcreamery.com
Manhattan Beach Post: It's LeFevre's restaurant that started it all, and he did it with bacon cheddar buttermilk biscuits. The music is loud, the dining room is lively and the biscuits come with maple butter. Depending on the day, there may be house-made pork and shrimp dumplings or bimbimbap on the menu, but the biscuits will always be there, beckoning, like that old flame you just can't get enough of. 1142 Manhattan Ave., Manhattan Beach, (310) 545-5405, www.eatmbpost.com
Manhattan Meats: If you're renting a beach house for the weekend, this is where you can find steaks for the grill and a variety of other marinated meats, seafood and prepared tamales. On top of the meat counter are clear plastic jars full of homemade jerky, which happens to be some of the best in L.A. And behind the counter? Rotisserie chicken. 1111 Manhattan Ave., Manhattan Beach, (310) 372-5406.
Paradise Bowls: Looking for that superfood you read about online? The one that looks like a pink cactus? It's called pitaya, and it's at this tiny shop, where dirty-blond surfer dudes sit behind the counter cutting up countless mangoes, pineapples, strawberries and bananas for your acai and pitaya bowls. Nine times out of 10, the person walking out the door is carrying a bowl the size of her head, packed with goji berries, fruit and granola. It's healthful, fruity — and just about the only thing you crave after a couple of hours in the water. 919 Manhattan Ave., Manhattan Beach, (310) 798-7100, www.paradisebowls.com