10 Best Restaurants in Long Beach
As the second biggest city in Los Angeles County, Long Beach is often overlooked and perpetually underrated. It lays claim to L.A.’s only officially sanctioned dog-friendly beach, vibrant nightlife and an increasingly impressive array of restaurants. And it’s only getting better. Rising restaurant costs in the city of L.A. continue to price out fine talent, while the relative affordability of Long Beach is luring them in. Even thriving Angeleno restaurateurs are now eyeing the city to the south to set up satellite enterprises.
There was a time in the recent past when a neighborhood hot spot existed here as a hidden gem exclusively for locals to embrace. But the secret is getting out, and adventurous diners appear willing to trek to Long Beach in search of fine food and drink. The resulting landscape is developing rapidly enough to produce a list of the city’s current best that's different than the one compiled just a few short years ago. So why wait? Taste your way through these 10 best restaurants of Long Beach today (or maybe over multiple days, as your appetite allows). Who knows what tomorrow will bring?
Downstairs at Bo-Beau
10. BO-beau kitchen + roof tap
BO-beau livens up downtown Long Beach with its outdoor rooftop patio, offering an elegant assortment of small plates, 50 craft beer taps and live music. The "Beer Bites" section of the menu riffs on traditional pub grub (wings, mac and cheese, poutine) with little bits of flair such as Sriracha emulsions, fried artichokes and truffle cheese sauce. Oven-fired flatbreads are topped with shredded pork confit or grilled eggplant. Downstairs, a more wine-focused menu makes the space feel more like a French bistro: stylish but not stuffy.
144 Pine Ave., Long Beach. (562) 983-0056, cohnrestaurants.com.
The Boulevard Burger
Courtesy Beer Belly
9. Beer Belly
Re-creating the formula that made it a hit in Koreatown, Beer Belly brings its A-game to Long Beach. In short, this means hyper-local beer on draft alongside unapologetically calorie-dense cuisine. This is where you come when you want your pork belly fried and fashioned into "chips." Or if you desire Death by Duck — greasy fries drowning in a confit of its namesake waterfowl. Most dishes hover around $10, even the so-called "share plates," a relative term in a place where the oversized burger requires roughly four hands to hold. You won't find a beer brewed more than 50 miles from your barstool. But leave room for a couple of surprises: The neighborhood newcomer pours impressive cocktails from a concise menu, and it has even been known to assemble the occasional salad or two.
255 Long Beach Blvd., Long Beach. (562) 436-2337, beerbellyla.com.
Dinner 14 stories above Long Beach
Courtesy The Sky Room
8. The Sky Room
With the best dining real estate in town — perched 14 stories above the city, with unobstructed views of the surrounding shoreline — the Sky Room could easily fall into the trap of many a scenic restaurant. Read: mediocrity. But the staff here works harder than that. Classic American steakhouse selections are thoughtfully executed, befitting the room's throwback art deco decor. But just because it's old-fashioned doesn't mean it can't feel fresh. Homemade pastas have inventive, seasonal sauces, and the meat (which includes game such as bison) is never overcooked. The wine list is exhaustive and the attire business casual — yet the bill will likely be far more sensible than a similar experience further north. Come on Saturdays for big-band dancing.
40 S Locust Ave., Long Beach. (562) 983-2703, theskyroom.com.
7. Thai District
With all the tried-and-true all-stars of L.A.'s Thai Town, it can be hard to imagine traveling from that famous restaurant neighborhood for excellent Thai food. But this comforting, unassuming establishment forges authentic Thai flavors just as well, geography be darned. Standouts here include a superbly spiced lemongrass soup and just about any wok-tossed noodles on the menu. Khao soi, a house specialty from the owner's hometown in northern Thailand, is a sensory overload: Crispy fried egg noodles tower above a rich curry broth infused with citrus zest, herbs and your choice of protein.
149 Linden Ave., Long Beach. (562) 951-7181, thaidistrictrestaurant.com.
Spicy chicken tortilla soup
Tavern on 2
6. Tavern on 2
Come for the spicy chicken tortilla soup and stay for ... the spicy chicken tortilla soup. Drink a few craft beers in between. This is Mexican comfort food improbably served out of a kitchen masquerading as a gringo gastropub. But this is Southern California, after all. As good as that Tavern burger is — a faithful ode to the famous Father's Office burger, with a triple cream brie standing in for blue cheese — the duck tacos with ginger jam and mint are better. A condensed list of food and drink enables laserlike focus on quality over quantity; there's only a handful of beers on draft (many more in bottles) and it's hard to find a stinker in the bunch. One of the most expensive (and fun) items on menu is a $15 DIY s'mores dessert, flamed tableside. The Belmont Shore fixture is such a hit, it recently expanded after an adjacent tenant moved out.
5110 E. Second St., Long Beach. (562) 856-4000, facebook.com/tavernon2.
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