The Local’s Guide to Eating and Drinking in Malibu
When it comes to many "best of Malibu" lists, there's something left to be desired. Malibu has a relatively underdeveloped food scene, and there's a tendency to allow a good view to make up for pricey, subpar food. But there are some solid, off-the-beaten-track places that locals frequent, and they're well worth checking out.
From post-surf egg sandwiches to killer pizza to unmarked Mexican food trucks, these are the best places to eat and drink in Malibu like a local.
This roadside stop has been a favorite of Malibu locals since 1972, so much so that when it threatened to close in 2014, patrons successfully rose up with a petition to keep it open. The Country Kitchen's claims to fame are its breakfast burritos and its egg sandwiches served on a warm roll with mayo and your choice of bacon, ham, sausage or hot pastrami. For lunch, go for the "Big Burger," which comes on an extra long, toasted French roll. The "California" version has two quarter-pound patties, bacon, avocado and cheese, or keep it classic with the regular cheeseburger. Either way, you're going to want a side of crispy tater tots. 21239 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu; (310) 456-8708.
This supplement shop brimming with teas, vitamins and tonics is tucked away between a dry cleaner and a Ralph's. It also happens to be home to the best juice and smoothie bar in Malibu. Locals head to Vitamin Barn to get their daily fix of green juice, fruit smoothies, post-workout protein-packed shakes and wellness shots and teas. Insider tip: The signature lean protein shake, the Vitamin Gene, is named after owner Gene Arnold and is better if you sub the almond milk with hemp milk. While the store stays open until 6 p.m., the juice bar usually closes around 4 p.m. 23823 Malibu Road, Malibu; (310) 317-4833.
Malibu Pier Cafe recently expanded on the pier with Malibu Farm Restaurant, which has turned the pier into Malibu Farms' miniature food empire. The farm-to-table fare by Helene Henderson comes with a side of sweeping ocean views and is a favorite of locals and tourists alike. While breakfast, lunch and dinner are served throughout the week, the best part of Malibu Farm Restaurant is perhaps its brunch. Head there early (brunch is only served until noon) and enjoy coconut-blackberry French toast pudding; sweet corn pancakes with berries, bacon and maple syrup; green eggs and ham shakshouka with fried eggs, gruyère, harissa chickpeas, tomatillo and chorizo; or the killer skirt steak and eggs with lobster scramble béarnaise. Street parking is difficult on weekends, so you probably will have to succumb to valet or the paid lot across the street. But once you're there, with the ocean breeze and a bloody Mary in hand, it all seems worth it. Malibu Pier, 23000 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu; (310) 456-1112, malibu-farm.com.
Located in the back corner of the country mart, you'll find Malibu's resident Greek restaurant and its owner, Tony Koursaris, most likely sitting outside the front door, greeting regulars as they walk in. On warm evenings, the outdoor patio, which is enclosed by lush purple bougainvillea, is bustling with loud music and louder voices, a lively atmosphere that seems just right for your standard Greek restaurant. The restaurant has become a staple for both locals and weekend visitors looking for a taste of an authentic Malibu-casual, see-and-be-seen dining experience. Standout dishes include the chargrilled octopus drizzled in olive oil, garlic, lemon and an ample amount of bright, fresh herbs; thick, tangy tzatziki with fresh pita bread (or veggie sticks upon request); beef-and-rice-stuffed dolmades covered in lemon sauce; and a perfectly grilled swordfish steak dressed in lemon and herbs. The standout dish, however, is from the restaurant's list of "daily specials," which I'm pretty certain has been made up of the same five dishes for at least the past six years: a plate of butterflied and grilled giant prawns served simply with lemon, olive oil and parsley alongside the Taverna Tony's signature combination of rice, assorted veggies and lemon-paprika potatoes. 23410 Civic Center Way, Malibu; (310) 317-9667, tavernatony.com.
If you're looking for a sandwich or some deli takeout to bring to the beach, PC Greens' grocery store deli counter is the place to stop. The counter is stocked with all-day breakfast burritos, rotisserie chicken, plates of turkey meatballs with mashed potatoes, taquitos and chile rellenos, an array of rotating salads (from quinoa tabouleh to shaved Brussels sprouts with Parmesan), a wide selection of sandwiches and burgers, and vegetarian, gluten-free and vegan fare. There's even an amazing vegan orange chicken. Plus, you can pick up organic, locally grown fruit from One Gun Ranch or a nice bottle of wine to sneakily drink at the beach. 22601 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu; (310) 774-0791, pcgreens.com.Next Page
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