In the beachfront land of the rich and famous, aka Malibu, visitors are able to get a taste of power and prestige by dining at one of Malibu's top-notch restaurants. Malibu's culinary scene often focuses on local ingredients sourced from farms in the Malibu area. Organic, farm to table and locally sourced are common terms you'll see in reference to Malibu's best restaurants. Some of the most acclaimed restaurants in Malibu are ones that have the lucky position of being right by the ocean, in many cases it will seem almost as if you're dining on top of the ocean as the cliffs that line the Malibu coastline provide high vantage points for restaurants to border – and in the case of restaurants on the lovely Santa Monica Pier, you will be dining right over the waves. The best oceanfront restaurants in Malibu have open air terraces that are always the first tables to get nabbed. However, that's not to say that the often fancy indoor dining areas don't provide an excellent atmosphere as well; most restaurants have large windows that face the ocean so indoor diners can still have ocean views. In addition to oceanfront dining, the best restaurants in Malibu also include gastropubs, shopping center eateries and seafood cafes.
Tra di Noi
Tra di Noi is an Italian restaurant located in the Malibu Country Mart shopping center. Tra di Noi means "between us" and that phrase was chosen for the name of the restaurant as its goal is to evoke a homey, casual atmosphere where you can enjoy dining and conversation with friends and family. It has a welcoming indoor dining room decorated in warm colors reminiscent of Tuscany and the restaurant also has a peaceful outdoor patio. The menu has an array of Italian cuisine classics like gnocchi and spaghetti. There is also a pizza menu plus high end meat and seafood options on the menu. (310-456-0169)
Paradise Cove Beach Cafe
Paradise Cove Beach Café is located right on the beach. The inside has funky booths with a beach-inspired vibe and large windows overlooking the Paradise Cove Beach. You also have the option of sitting outside on lounge chairs right on the beach, giving you a chance to enjoy good grub and take in the Malibu sunshine with your feet in the soft sand. The menu consists of a diverse range of options with a focus on seafood options and BBQ food, both of which have sampler options ideal for sharing. Paradise Cove Beach Café also has a fun drink menu with fruity cocktails and ice cold beers, perfect for a warm, sunny California day. ((310) 457-2503)
Malibu Pier Restaurant and Bar
Malibu Pier Restaurant and Bar is a brand new restaurant on the Malibu Pier. For trendsetting foodies who like to be the first to try the next big thing should, a reservation at Malibu Pier Restaurant and Bar is a must. The boxy blue and white restaurant has windows from every side, offering excellent views of the ocean waves and coastline plus the rest of the pier as Malibu Pier Restaurant and Bar is located at the start of the Malibu Pier. Acclaimed head Chef Jason Fullilove is at the helm of the menu creation, which includes seafood, meat and pastry options. (310-456-8820)
Duck Dive Gastropub
In the land of ritzy restaurants and long lines for seaside restaurants in Malibu, it is refreshing to come across Duck Dive Gastropub, located in an upscale strip mall in Malibu. Duck Dive Gastropub has a laidback ambiance with modern décor. The inside has large booths bordering a long bar, where you can order a craft beer, glass of wine or delicious cocktail. If you're looking for a non-alcoholic drink, try the homemade lemonade. The menu has high end gourmet comfort food like macaroni and cheese with pork belly and the restaurant uses locally grown and sourced products whenever possible. The best spot to eat, however, is on the patio, which stretches around the interior of the restaurant. In the back of the restaurant is a shuffle board table, helping to elevate Duck Dive Gastropub into an interactive date night place or a fun place to go with friends. (310-589-2200)
Geoffrey's Malibu is designed to bring the outside in. Each table in the restaurant has a stunning view of the Pacific Ocean and the outdoor terrace will make you feel like you're on vacation with its bright flower décor and location under the Malibu sun. Geoffrey's Malibu's location and top of the line gourmet menu attracts elite clientele from all over the world. The menu consists of seafood like oysters, Moroccan shrimp and Maine lobster. You'll also find delicacies such as waygu beef, chicken roulade and Pacific swordfish. Geoffrey's is open for lunch and dinner plus brunch on the weekends. (310-457-1519)
Malibu Farm Pier Cafe
Malibu Farm Pier Café is a restaurant is focused on fresh, organic produce and dairy. The Malibu Farm Pier Café is a true farm to table eatery as it is an extension of Malibu Farm, a farm that grows much of the ingredients for Malibu Farm Pier Café and even offers cooking classes on its property – so if you find yourself falling in love with your meal at Malibu Farm Pier Restaurant you may want to look into booking one! The restaurant is located at the end of Malibu Pier and has both indoor and outdoor seating, both of which offer great views of the surrounding ocean and coastline. Arrive early in the morning to avoid a long line as the restaurant doesn't accept reservations. ((310) 456-1112)
Duke's Malibu is named after Duke Paoa Kahanamoku, an Olympic gold medalist who grew up in Hawaii. Duke's Malibu is right at the ocean's edge and provides upscale American comfort food with Hawaiian island twists and gorgeous views of the Pacific Ocean. Duke's Malibu has a large terrace which is called the Barefoot Bar and will get you in a beach minded mood thanks to the ocean views and tiki style umbrellas over the tables. The indoor dining area gets you out of the hot sunshine and ocean breeze while still letting you enjoy views of the ocean. No matter where you sit, Duke's Malibu provides a laidback beach dining experience in Malibu. (310-317-0777)
Malibu Seafood is a little roadside café that offers some of the freshest seafood around as some of its offerings are even fish caught off the shores of Malibu each morning. Malibu Seafood is able to achieve this as its owner is a commercial fisherman who opened Malibu Seafood in 1972 in order to offer the freshest seafood available. Menu items change depending on what's fresh, but you'll find whole fish available each day along with clam chowder and shrimp cocktail. You'll typically encounter a line so arrive early in the day – this will also help ensure you get the freshest seafood options. (310-456-3430, 310-456-6298)
Moonshadows Blue Lounge
Moonshadows is built along the side of a cliff in Malibu and has wide views of the ocean from its airy sun deck and relaxing indoor dining room, plus – sticking to its name – there are a lot of trendy blue accents and decor in the restaurant. The menu serves up an array of gourmet American cuisine with Italian and Asian infusions and a special focus on seafood. The Blue Lounge is a more laidback part of Moonshadows, with a patio and blue mood lighting plus often has DJs spinning tunes for visitors to enjoy while sipping an expertly made cocktail or top of the line glass of wine. (310-456-3010)
Nobu's stunning Malibu location has an enviable location with a wraparound patio on the coastline. You're literally right on top of the waves. Even indoors, you'll enjoy gorgeous views of the wide Pacific Ocean. Living up to Nobu's acclaimed reputation, the Malibu location continues the tradition of gourmet seafood dishes created by head chef Nobu Matsuhisa. There is also a sushi bar area where you can get some excellent sashimi and nigiri. For those just wanting to enjoy the ocean views, a bar area where you can grab a cocktail and small bites is available – and usually the only place you might be able to find a spot without a reservation. (310-317-9140)
About Gina Douglas Tarnacki
Gina Tarnacki is a freelance writer and marketer and an avid traveler. When she's not busy finding a creative way to squeeze in a few more vacation days so she and her family can explore the world together, she writes about making the most of a destination when time is short at One Day in a City.
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