It’s a great time of year to visit Redondo Beach.  The air is cool and crisp, the crowds are down, you can see Catalina and the culinary scene is smoking. Here are three great reasons to make a trip to the South Bay any time.

The new Cal Mex Cantina on the Redondo Beach Pier is a vibrant gastropub helmed by executive chef Samanta DeLeon, with expansive floor-to-ceiling ocean views and an outdoor patio in 3,600 square feet. The first-generation Mexican American chef previously at Las Brisas in Laguna Beach puts her own spin on classics like a birria grilled cheese on sourdough with broth for dipping and tinga flautas with chipotle chicken and a gruyère cheese blend. 

Standouts include the fire-roasted fresh chile relleno burrito that comes with either chicken or beef, but I’d get it with the oyster mushroom adobado. All the dishes are artfully and thoughtfully plated, like the head-on Camarones al Mojo de Ajo. There’s no shortage of great tacos and margaritas, like the prickly pear or Chain Smoker, featuring tequila, orgeat, and Aperol, smoked and served tableside. 

Redondo Beach

Chipotle chicken tinga flautas at Cal Mex Cantina (Michele Stueven)

Bonus: If you decide to stroll down the boardwalk back to your car and are in the mood for a good old-fashioned, hard-to-find pier dive bar, park it at The Slip. There’s always something festive going on and live music with a nostalgic beachy feel and sounds of waves crashing in the background. 

Named after a luxury gambling ship during the 1930s prohibition era, The Rex Steakhouse is fine dining at its best and a tough competitor in the steak sphere even beyond the South Bay. Native Angeleno executive chef Walter Nunez takes authentic Sanuki Olive Wagyu, a rare breed of Japanese beef that is exclusively fed a diet of roasted olive pressings to grilled perfection on the wood-fired grill, and butchers all of the meat that comes into the luxurious tri-level restaurant overlooking Palos Verdes. 

Redondo Beach

Upstairs at The Rex Steakhouse (Michele Stueven)

There is a variety of individual and special cuts like porterhouse and tomahawk, as well as tours of beef and wagyu that feature a selection of filet, New York and ribeye, sourced from the U.S., Australia and Japan in one sitting. All steaks come with a choice of five sauces including bernaise, peppercorn, horseradish cream and chimichurri in as many doneness levels. There are also plenty of classics like Clams Casino and steak tartare.

The Rex’s new al fresco bar, The Drift, is located on the second floor Manhattan Terrace with sweeping views of the South Bay.

If it’s sweets, carbs and coffee you’re looking for, Tommy & Atticus is the new neighborhood hotspot with lines of locals out the door. Known for their sourdough loaves, choices include daily baked seeded country, honey whole wheat, raisin cinnamon swirl, rosemary garlic, cheddar jalapeno, polenta pepita rosemary and challah on Fridays. There’s always a rustic prepared sandwich of the week available for dining on the patio or taken to go, and all pastries are made in-house daily, like a long list of croissants (the signature almond is always the first one to sell out), citrus morning bun, blueberry scone, chocolate fudge brownie, seasonal fruit tarts and galettes. 

Redondo Beach

Tommy & Atticus (Michele Stueven)

Redondo Beach

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