10 Best Restaurants in Long Beach
Long Beach is home to the largest population of Cambodians outside of that country, and their colorful culture runs rampant along Anaheim Street, with dozens of restaurants, dressmakers and jewelers lining the strip now known as Cambodia Town. Sophy's is one of the few Khmer restaurants that veers off the road most traveled, but its comprehensive menu of Cambodian specialties and Thai dishes (to ease in the timid) makes it an easy place to crash into whichever Southeast Asian country you're feeling like sampling from that day. Trained palates go deep with Sophy's Khmer food, which shares its savory meat marinades with Thai cooking and its herbal reliance with Vietnamese cuisine. A fish paste called prohok is used in many dishes (a Khmer house without it is like an Italian kitchen sans garlic), and a lemongrass-tumeric spice mixture called kreoung permeates the rest. Try the Phnom Penh noodle (a breakfast soup), beef lok lak, or any one of the coconut milk–based Khmer curries. —Sarah Bennett
3240 E. Pacific Coast Hwy., Long Beach. (562) 506-2162, facebook.com/sophyrestaurant.
Courtesy Public Beer Wine Shop
4. Public Beer Wine Shop
This bottle shop/restaurant hybrid only offers sit-down service from Thursday through Sunday. Yet it's well worth adjusting to its schedule for a taste of what Eduardo Ruiz is cooking. The James Beard–nominated chef from Corazon y Miel launched his second project just steps from his living room so he'd have a place to unwind and drink craft beer after work. Long Beach is a more delicious destination as a result. In addition to a tear-inducing queso fundido, studded with spicy chorizo and Anaheim chilies, Ruiz has his way with crunchy yet moist Cubano sandwiches, and a smoked gouda and fried sage–laced mac and cheese worth braving 405 traffic for. Pair any of this with your own $12 beer flight, customizable from a dozen rotating handles.
121 W. Fourth St., Long Beach. (562) 499-0415, publicbeerwineshop.com.
3.) Taste Wine-Beer-Kitchen
As a culinary formula, nothing about Taste is groundbreaking: seasonal, farm-to-table provisions, sized from small to share, with flatbreads out of a wood-fired oven. You've seen it all before. But the wow factor here comes from expert execution. The "snacks" are all winners, start to finish. From the belly-cut "pork and beans" with pickled Fresnos, to bison sliders with blue cheese aioli, you're unlikely to regret a single choice. But the true champion here is a seared duck breast, drenched in ginger pan sauce, with vanilla-scented sweet potato mash and roasted quince. Does it sound like a pretentious preparation? Well, you're not here for what the dishes sound like! Arrive on scene with multiple mouths to fully explore the menu, while contributing to the eatery's boisterous atmosphere.
3506 E. Broadway. Long Beach. (562) 433-1000, taste-wbk.com.
Roe Restaurant and Fish Market
Courtesy Roe Restaurant
2.) Roe Restaurant and Fish Market
All your seafood dreams are realized at Roe. From seafood towers to sushi and sashimi, caviar to crustaceans, the ambitious menu builds off of well-sourced fish, artfully rendered in a lofty, warehouselike interior. Add to the equation some playful cocktails (Sriracha-tinis and hibiscus-infused whiskey sours) and three hours' worth of daily happy hour specials, and you've got yourself a neighborhood mainstay. If you want to avoid decision paralysis, set your course for the brandy-spiked crustacean bisque; the spicy scallop ceviche with sunflower seeds and black mint; and a gently salted, herb-brined sea bream in salsa verde. The main dining hall is joined by outdoor seating within stone's throw of the bay, as well as a casual to-go dining option.
5374 E. Second St., Long Beach. (562) 546-7110, roeseafood.com.
4th and Olive
1.) 4th and Olive
It's hard to believe that a place less than three months young can have such an immediate impact on its surrounding community. Yet here is 4th and Olive, with its well-pedigreed staff (chef from Salt's Cure, sommelier from Bouchon), inspiring Alsatian menu and notable hiring practices making waves in Long Beach. The owner, a Navy veteran, actively employs disabled servicemen and women, who make up about half of the restaurant's current staff. There's even a specially designed bar tap to accommodate a bartender who lost his arm in combat. As for the food, the nascent eatery is a meat-focused affair celebrating the cuisine of northeastern France in dishes such as duck liver, pork rillette, boudin blanc and venison braised in red wine. Thus far, the pork shoulder chop, seared in a deep brown butter sauce, and moules frites, marinated in beer and garlic, have emerged as crowd favorites. A drink list exclusive to beer and wine, most of it sourced from Germany, Belgium and France, never leaves you wanting for anything higher in ABV. By way of approach and ambition, 4th and Olive might well signal Long Beach's arrival to the statewide culinary scene.
743 E. Fourth St., Long Beach. (562) 269-0731, 4thandolive.com.
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