Travel

Malibu Restaurants

Establishment neighborhood
Malibu Cafe
327 Latigo Canyon Rd., Malibu
Wedged between the Santa Monica Mountains and Malibu wine country, Malibu Cafe and its sprawling grounds (one hundred and thirty acres, to be exact) and outdoor games (corn hole, pool, and shuffleboard) make it a great place to bring littles. Much of the action centers around the courtyard, which is set up with a bar, lawn games, and picnic tables. Cafe reservations are recommended, especially on weekends, when without one, the wait can be several hours for a table. A BBQ-heavy menu includes pulled pork, brisket, and Southern fried chicken, but there are a handful of veggie options, like, say, a Brussels sprout salad with Cara Cara oranges and avocado, for those looking for something lighter. There’s a small kids menu with grilled cheese, a burger, and pasta. On the way out, stroll through the little boutique, Shop Calagmigos, which is stocked with beach-y separates like YSTR dresses, tassel bracelets, and Apolis reusable totes.
The Reel Inn
18661 Pacific Coast Hwy., Malibu
Another PCH standby, the beauty of The Reel Inn lies not only in its massive seafood offering—everything from fresh lobster, mahi mahi, ahi tuna, and shrimp tacos, grilled or fried at your request and arranged into refreshingly generous portions—but also in its brilliant layout: The restaurant is split into two sprawling seating areas, one indoor, one outdoor, with rows upon rows of booths and picnic tables, meaning that finding a spot for the whole crew is doable even during peak season. There’s no waiter service, just a walk-up window with an easy-to-navigate chalkboard menu.
Paradise Cove
28128 Pacific Coast Hwy., Malibu
Tucked into a particularly idyllic nook off the PCH, Paradise Cove lives up to its name. While it bills itself as a café—and it’s definitely worth making the drive for a lunch of live Maine lobster or their famous fish tacos—it’s really more of a beach club. Everything from beach beds to umbrellas to full-on beach terraces is available for rent, meaning you can post up for the day. Expect a fun, lively vibe—perfect for kids. (Note that the beach can get packed during the summer months.)
Tra di Noi
3835 Cross Creek Rd., Malibu
This traditional Italian food spot is situated right in the center of the Malibu Country Mart, making one of the outside tables prime people watching real estate. The fact that the menu of house-made pastas, risottos, and fish dishes is undoubtedly the best in town is icing on the cake. Pro tip: if you can’t get a table, order pizza and salad (try the Tuscan kale) at the little take-out window and stake out a shaded benches or patch of grass for an impromptu picnic.
Taverna Tony
23410 Civic Center Way, Malibu
What’s great about Taverna is that while it’s definitely one of the more scene-y restaurants in town, it’s also one of the best food-wise. The menu has all the traditional Greek specialties covered (dolmathes, spanakopita, and more) with an emphasis on fresh seafood—get the bass, it’s grilled and served whole with just the right amount of seasoning—and vegetarian dishes which range from elaborate savory pastries to basic grilled veggie plates. The restaurant is deceptively large, with an outdoor patio, indoor balcony, and massive main dining room, which on weekends also hosts live music and belly dancers. For a car snack, get some humus and pita to-go—trust us.
Neptune’s Net
42505 Pacific Coast Hwy., Malibu
This roadside spot has remained a Malibu classic since the 1950’s, offering the best grilled seafood and beer-battered fish-and-chips, chowder, and all the expected sides (cole slaw, fries, onion rings) in a setting that’s more biker bar than restaurant: If you don't recognize the sign from its many film cameos, just look for the line of gleaming motorcycles out front. It’s downright blasphemous not to stop in for a quick meal on your way up the PCH—leathers not required.
Malibu Seafood
25653 Pacific Coast Hwy., Malibu
Every item on the modest menu at this beloved local spot is a sure thing, whether it’s the chowder (both Manhattan or New England are available), steamed mussels, tuna burger, or fish-and-chips (the fish is gently battered, never heavy). You place your order at the counter then carry your tray up to the semi-open-air patio to take in the views of the Pacific right across the PCH. Best part: BYOB. The teeny fish market is always well stocked with the best local catch with extra attention paid to freshness, which makes sense since the owner was a commercial fisherman for years. For working off a big meal, the entrance to the Corral Canyon hiking path—quick, relatively easy, and really beautiful—is right at the adjoining parking lot, just keep in mind that the rangers are not shy about writing tickets if you park and don’t pay the fee.
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