Category Archives: *South Bay

Island Eats Hale Aina

19106 Normandie Ave
Ste 2
Torrance, CA 90502

(310) 329-3835

http://www.yelp.com/biz/island-eats-hale-aina-torrance

 

I’ve been on the hunt for good Hawaiian food in the South Bay.  There are actually quite a number of Hawaiian joints in South Bay, but not too many that have decent Yelp reviews.  Island Eats is one of the few that has 4 stars on Yelp, and is relatively easy to get to (just off the 405) and park.

Island Eats is located right at the corner of 190th and Normandie, tucked between two tall buildings (a credit union and a storage place I think).  There’s plenty of seating, both inside and outside.  The restaurant itself is pretty casual and relaxing.  Simply place your order and pay at the register, then wait for the food.  Everything is made to order so might take a while for the food to be ready! During most of the weekdays, Island Eats is only open for breakfast and lunch (until 2pm).  Fridays and Saturdays are the only 2 days that they open for dinner, so plan accordingly!

Island Eats serves up quite a variety of Hawaiian favorites, such as lau lau (pork wrapped in taro leaves), loco moco (hamburger patties covered with gravy, and topped with sunny side-up eggs), kalua pork, saimin, spam musubi, poke and garlic shrimp.

The restaurant has a small signage outside.  Look for the canopy!

 

Poke rice – recommended by a lot of Yelpers and it did not disappoint!  This is listed under one of the side items.  It is a meal by itself — generous amounts of tuna poke on top of wasabi cream sauce drizzled warm rice.  For those of you who do not know poke, it’s basically raw tuna marinated in soy sauce and sesame oil, then sprinkled with scallions, sesame seeds and seaweed.  Kind of like an Asian ceviche.  Yum!  $8

 

Uncle’s Fried Chicken plate – “island style” boneless chicken thigh pieces, comes with salad, potato mac and rice.  The island style chicken has a sweet batter (I think Hawaiian style chicken usually uses a bit of rice flour) and is well marinated.  It was freshly fried, so very crunchy on the outside and still juicy on the inside.  The potato mac was a little bland though.  Overall, decent portion size and well prepared.  $8.95

 

Will definitely have to come back and try other dishes that Yelpers also recommend, like the lau lau and the loco moco!  🙂

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Tofu Village

15128 S Western Ave
Gardena, CA 90247

(310) 527-3737

http://www.yelp.com/biz/tofu-village-gardena-2

 

This is one of my favorite weekday lunch spots, although I don’t make it out here often.  Tofu Village is located in a small strip plaza, near the corner of Western and Marine.  Parking is easy to find inside the plaza. Even though Tofu Village is usually pretty busy,  table turnover is fast, so not much wait during lunch time.  Service is normally good and quick.  Most of the clientele is Korean, so that should tell you about its authenticity!  I like it better than Lee’s Tofu down the street — the taste is more on par with the soon tofu places in K-town.  : )

 

Tofu Village is located inside this shopping plaza.

 

Sample of the lunch menu — all of the lunch specials look pretty good but I’ve only tried the soon tofu so far.

 

The banchans (side dishes) are all really good and usually includes kimchi, spicy pickled radish and cucumber, bean sprouts, potato salad and chap chae (Korean glass noodles).  There’s even fried yellow croaker (a small fish), similar to the ones at BCD Tofu House.  You can request for complimentary refills on the side dishes.

 

There’s an assortment of different soon tofu to choose from (seafood, combination, kimchi, etc), as well as the spiciness.  I usually get the combination medium (which has seafood and beef).  Comes with purple rice in a stone pot – the servers will scoop it up into the steel bowl for you.  At the end of the meal,  add water to the rice stone pot to make crunchy rice soup.   Yum yum yum…. $7.99

Fishbar

3801 Highland Ave
Manhattan Beach, CA 90266

(310) 796-0200

fishbarmb.com

http://www.yelp.com/biz/fishbar-manhattan-beach-2

 

Fishbar is my favorite Manhattan Beach restaurant lately.  I’ve been here a handful of times and food has always been consistent.  Fishbar is located at the old Sharkey’s space, in north Manhattan Beach, right by El Porto.  It’s a pretty casual place, and set up like a sports bar, with lots of TVs inside!  I haven’t had any difficulty finding parking – there are plenty of metered street parking and there’s even the metered parking structure across the street.  The good news is, the meters now take credit cards!  I think it’s about $1 per hour.

Fishbar is actually a large restaurant and I haven’t had much of a wait here.  I’ve been during brunch, lunch and dinner.  It’s a “Seat Yourself” kind of policy, yet the service is prompt from the moment you sit down.  The only time I experienced some wait was when Fishbar was really busy, and so I had to flag down a waiter in order to get the check.  There’s a daily special almost every day – Shrimp Shack Mondays, Taco Tuesdays, Crab Wednesday, Lobster Thursday, Saturday Brunch, etc.  Check the restaurant’s website for menu details.

Here are some recommended items:

Brunch

I was on the hunt for a brunch place in Manhattan Beach which wouldn’t have much of a wait.  From experience, most of the brunch places in MB (North End Caffe, The Kettle, etc) have at least a 30+ minute wait during the weekends.  I was getting ready to write a post on Fishbar, when lo and behold, I see that they also have brunch.  The menu looked really good, so the decision was easy.  And it turned out to be an awesome idea!

 

The lobster hash – crispy fried potatoes & brussel sprouts tossed in sweet & spicy chipotle sauce, sauteed lobster, two eggs sunny side up, and spinach hollandaise.  The brussel sprouts were out-of-this-world good!  I couldn’t really taste the spiciness of the chipotle sauce, but this dish had the perfect combo of taste and texture.  So good!!!  $14.99

 

Flat iron steak & eggs –  flat iron steak with 2 eggs any style, crispy fried potatoes & brussel sprouts.  My friend omitted the potatoes but really enjoyed this dish and said that we should make Fishbar our new brunch spot!  $13.99

 

Lunch

I’ve been here for Taco Tuesdays lunches for a few weeks now and have tried an assortment of different tacos.  The tacos at Fishbar, are of course, for the most part, seafood!  So here are my favorites:

 

Seared ahi tuna tacos – ahi tuna with cabbage, avocado mousse, pico de gallo and Thai chili sauce.  The Thai chili sauce adds just a bit of a kick, not that spicy.  $10 for an order of 2

Blackened salmon tacos – salmon with cabbage, avocado mousse, pico de gallo and cotija cheese. $8 for an order of 2

Sauteed lobster tacos – lobster with with cabbage, avocado mousse, pico de gallo, taco sauce and cotija cheese.  $9 for an order of 2

 

Hope you guys enjoy this place as much as me!  : )

 

Marion Crepes – Pop-up Store @ Torrance Mitsuwa

21515 S Western Ave
Torrance, CA 90501
 

Marion Crepes, the famous patisserie from Harajuku in Tokyo, has a pop-up store inside the Torrance Mitsuwa for a limited time!!!  I chanced upon it while I lunched at the food court last week, and vowed to be back during the weekend when I had more time.  The pop-up store will run until 3/30/2014, and there’s a 30 minute break daily between 4pm -4:30pm.

The line was pretty long today.  We waited in line for about 15-20 minutes just to place our order.  Once our order was in, we waited another 5 minutes for the crepes to be made.  There are only 2 workers at the pop-up store, so expect a bit of a wait.

 

 

The display case with the model crepes.  There are so many choices!  It’s mostly dessert crepes, with 2 different savory tuna crepes.

 

There’s also the option of adding additional toppings.  Go for the green tea ice cream!

 

All of the crepes are made fresh-to-order.

 

We got the #16 – nutella with banana crepe, and added the green tea ice cream.  The nutella crepe is a warm crepe, so they left the crepe on the pan longer – the result is a wonderful crispy wafer cookie texture.  The green tea ice cream really complemented the crepe – it’s so rich and creamy!  The gooey warm nutella and banana are winning combinations with the crepe.  So yummy!  $7.09 including tax

 

For sure, will be back before the pop-up store closes, so that I can try the other flavors!  🙂

Harry’s Chicken Cafe

1721 W Redondo Beach Blvd
Gardena, CA 90247
(310) 324-4231
 
http://www.harryschicken.com/
http://www.yelp.com/biz/harrys-cafe-gardena

 

This place was recommended to me by a co-worker.  It’s been around for many years, but was formerly known as Harry’s Aloha Chop Suey.  So as you can probably guess by its former name, Harry’s serves Hawaiian food.  Harry’s is located on Redondo Beach Blvd, in a tiny strip mall.  Parking is a bit sparse, but I think you should be able to park in the parking lots of the adjacent strip malls.

 

Besides the obvious Hawaiian-style fried chicken, there’s also Hawaiian favorites such as loco moco, saimin, chicken katsu, teriyaki chicken, spam musubi, etc. The fried chicken comes in regular and boneless versions.  The restaurant itself is a bit small, with only a few tables, which is why I think most people were ordering to-go.  Even though I ordered food to be eaten at the restaurant, they still served it to me in a to-go box, which worked out since portions are generous!

 

The store front

 

Menu is up on the board and there’s just a few tables inside the restaurant

 

I got the Harry’s Mixed Plate which comes with Harry’s Fried Chicken, char siu pork, spare ribs, fried wonton, macaroni salad and rice.  The fried chicken is coated in a sweet batter and was moist and flavorful.  My favorite was the spare ribs, which were fall-off-the-bones good, and drenched in a gravy.  The macaroni salad is actually a mix of a macaroni and potato salad, and pretty tasty.  The char siu (Chinese-style bbq pork) was also good.  The fried wontons were only ok for me.  Portions are pretty generous.  $8.95.

 

So far, this is one of my favorite Hawaiian joints in LA.  I’ll be back to try the loco moco!!!

Quality Seafood

130 S International Boardwalk
Redondo Beach, CA 90277

(310) 372-6408

 

I’ve been coming to this place a few years now and every time I come, I discover and try something new!  Quality Seafood is a seafood market, located at the Redondo Beach pier.  It’s hidden in a corner, close by the docks and the old arcade.  Even though Quality Seafood is a seafood market, all the seafood that you see, can be prepared either steamed, grilled/broiled or fried for free!  There is a lot of live seafood, ranging from crabs and oysters, to sea urchin and clams.  In addition to live seafood, there’s also a wide assortment of fresh whole fish, cooked seafood, clam chowder, ceviche, etc.  During the month of September, when all of the lobster fests are happening around the beach cities, Quality Seafood also offers freshly steamed lobster meals for under $20!

Street parking can be a little hard to score, so park at one of the adjacent parking structures to be safe.  Dining at Quality Seafood is very casual… and you might be sharing your meal with a few sea gulls so dress accordingly.  During the weekends, if it’s crowded, it takes at least 30 minutes to have your food to be ready.  I saw on Yelp that sometimes people even bring their own condiments, which is a great idea — Quality Seafood just has the basics (salt, pepper, lemon, etc).  So come prepared… and get ready for a seafood feast!

 

The dining area – it’s mostly al fresco!  There are stacks of old newspapers by the bar (yes, there’s even a bar!), so get some and lay them out picnic style!  🙂

 

Different clam varieties

 

Looks like it’s crab season!  Quality Seafood is so thoughtful that they separate the male and female crabs into separate tanks – it makes it easier to pick them out, either for the crab meat, or for the roe.

 

I think it’s blue crab season too?

 

And for the sea urchin lovers, Quality Seafood is currently running a special on uni until Valentine’s Day at $7.50/lb!!!

 

The live uni – the spine was still moving just a little bit.  This was my first time having uni from the shell… it was a bit salty from the sea water, and covered with the veins.  Otherwise, it was good.  I was a little creeped out by the moving spines though, so I’ll stick with the restaurant versions from now on. :p   $17.50

 

We got half a pound each of the manila and the littlenecks neck clams, steamed with veggies for an extra $1.50.  The clams were soo good!  The veggies soaked up the clam juices, and the white wine sauce so they were delicious as well.  Steamed clams only took 6 minutes to cook.  $11.50 (including the veggies)

 

The wild Alaskan snapper was on sale for $4.98/lb so we got one too.  The one we picked was a huge one, at over 4 pounds.  I think that’s why it took longer to cook — about 20+ minutes.  We had it broiled, and it was so juicy and delicious!  Add your own seasoning (salt, pepper, lemons, etc) to taste.  🙂

Have fun at your own seafood picnic!

 

Fishing with Dynamite

 

1148 Manhattan Ave
Manhattan Beach, CA 90266

(310) 893-6299

eatfwd.com

http://www.yelp.com/biz/fishing-with-dynamite-manhattan-beach

 

Fishing with Dynamite is a very small restaurant (about 5 tables total), owned by the same chef as MB Post a few doors down.  I’ve heard that it’s very hard to snag a dinner reservation, since the restaurant is so small.  So decided to go here for lunch instead.  Lunch reservation for New Years Eve was relatively easy — just made it on OpenTable!

I wasn’t really sure what to expect — the best seafood I’ve had was in Seattle, and hadn’t had anything in LA that came close.  But the restaurant has an impressive selection of oysters and other seafood.  Everything we had was so fresh and delicious!  Parking is always a little tricky around Manhattan Beach, so make sure you’re parked at one of the longer-term parkings, like the one with the underground parking. Most of the street parking is 2 hours max and may not give you enough time.   Bring lots of coins, as most of the meters only take coins.  Try to make a reservation if you can, otherwise the wait could be horrendously long!

 

Inside of the restaurant.  Like I’ve mentioned… it is very small!

 

The oyster sampler with half a dozen oysters.  The oysters come with a little card, which says the type of oyster and the place where it came from.  We also got the live uni (a daily special)!  It was all very fresh, and naturally sweet.  My favorite oyster was the Double DD (second from the right).  The oysters were hands down, some of the best I’ve had.  Mmmm…..  $18.25 for the half dozen oyster sampler.  $15 for the live uni.

 

The oysters came with 3 different sauces:  horseradish/mignonette, cocktail sauce and the ponzu.  The horseradish and the ponzu were really great on the oysters.  Really brought out the natural taste.

 

Steamed manila clams comes in a little iron crock.  It’s steamed in tomato, vermouth and linguica, and comes with grilled foccacia bread.  The clams were really tender and flavorful.  And the foccacia was perfect to soak up the sauce with!  $15

 

The Cape Code Squash Rolls with rosemary butter were really good, but a bit on the small side.  We also used this to dip in the clam sauce.  Mmm…  $5

We’ll be back to try the oyster poboy and the mahi mahi fish tacos!  We saw that people all ordered different dishes and everything looked so good~~