Should a tsunami strike Venice, James Beach would be among the first places washed out to sea — it's mere steps from the sand. But unlike many of the restaurants along the honky-tonk boardwalk, it's a classy affair. You'd be OK coming here in your flip-flops and beach coverrup, but you'll also see couples on first dates and girlfriends confiding over their mojitos. (The restaurant claims to have kicked off the city's craze for that minty drink and there are a half-dozen options, along with just as many margaritas and fruity martinis.) Both the airy front room and dining room to the side are attractive spaces generally filled with attractive people, and while the food won't blow your mind, it's well executed. Beware the $27 shrimp tacos, but remember you're not just paying for the food — you're paying to get away from the riff raff out there banging their drums all day.
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