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Malibu Specialty

Specialty neighborhood
John’s Garden
3835 Cross Creek Rd., Malibu
John's Garden has occupied the same spot in the Malibu Country Mart since long before it was known as the Malibu Country Mart. It's changed a few hands in its 40 years of business, but the sandwich menu has kept to the same standards of freshness and goodness the whole time. Every regular has their favorite, and ours is the Surfer Princess—a perfect turkey-on-wheat piled high with sprouts, avocado salad, and Vegenaise. It pairs well with the coconut-macadamia-chocolate-chip cookie. You can grab a seat by the swings so the kids can play through lunch.
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Little Beach House Malibu
22716 Pacific Coast Hwy, Malibu
Sharing a driveway with another highly-trafficked Malibu spot, Nobu, Little Beach House Malibu caused quite a buzz when it first opened in May 2016. (A bit of backstory: even those who were already a part of Soho House have to apply specifically to this location for access.) Much of the activity centers around the wrap-around terrace, which juts right up First Point Break and a stretch of sandy shoreline. (There are heat lamps and blankets, too.) The space itself is quintessential California, with a minimalist palette, teak wood, indoor/outdoor fireplaces, floor-to-ceiling windows, and a large and impressive gallery wall featuring a mix of contemporary artwork. There’s often a DJ playing a set, or live music, and on the weekends, many gather for their weekend “Feast”—a prix-fixe brunch served from 10am-4:30pm that has everything from an omelet and carving stations to Belgian waffles and some pretty-hard-to-resist red velvet cake. (Littles are welcome, too.) An all-day menu utilizes local produce and includes standouts like the shareable cauliflower in a black garlic vinaigrette and the avocado dip, which is served with taro chips and crudité.
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Malibu Farmers Market
23555 Civic Center Way, Malibu
The Malibu Farmers Market is a low-key operation—so low-key, that it hasn’t yet made it on the radar of LA’s Sunday farmers market crowd. Actually, its compact size is what makes the experience so enjoyable. Set up in the local library parking lot, within walking distance of the Country Mart, this is where you’ll find the freshest seasonal produce, driven in from local organic farmers that morning, pastry and snacks by small family owned businesses, and the prettiest just-picked flowers. Best of all, there’s usually plenty of parking.
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Malibu Kitchen & Gourmet
3900 Cross Creek Rd., Malibu
Located in the Malibu Country Mart, the breezy sea vibe makes this feel like it could be on the shore back East (the owner is, in fact, from New York). The flat and crispy chocolate chip cookies and cranberry muffin are particularly delicious, as is the tuna salad sandwich and fried chicken (when available, which is rare). There are a few tables scattered about, though most take their loot to go. Keep in mind that lines stretch out the door on weekends. (Hint: Don't have your cell phone out while ordering—the staff here tends to get grumpy if a customer is distracted during the process.)
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Malibu Mutts
3835 Cross Creek Rd., Malibu
One look at the menu—chicken tenders, chili cheese fries, hot dogs, burgers—and it’s clear Mutt’s really knows its customer: The little take-out stand is located just steps from the Malibu Country Mart’s adorable playground. It’s kid food at its best, and for mom and dad there are veggie burgers and a solid falafel wrap (also comes in salad form). There’s no designated seating area, so grab your order and find a shady bench or picnic table; there are plenty throughout the mart.
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Rosenthal
18741 Pacific Coast Hwy, Malibu
A relaxed tasting room on the east side of the PCH (marked by giant blue beach chairs that you won't miss), Rosenthal has a small interior that opens onto a mountainside, hidden backyard space outfitted with picnic tables, umbrellas, and patio lounge furniture. They serve two labels: The Malibu Estate wines (mostly reds) are made from the twenty-acre Malibu vineyard that's four miles in and up from the ocean, and their Surfrider label (more variety) sources grapes from around California. Rosenthal offers tasting flights but the move is to post up with a bottle of wine and some friends on the back patio—if you can, plan to bring snacks/a picnic spread and games with you, although you can buy a cheese spread there, and there's a food truck, plus live music on the weekends. (Rosenthal is also next door to Reel Inn, which is always an option if you're in the mood for seafood. And it's directly across from beach access, at Topanga, if you want to squeeze in some time at water, too.)
Malibu
The Country Kitchen
21239 Pacific Coast Hwy, Malibu
Recently, there’s been a lot of speculation about the state of The Country Kitchen’s lease, but somehow the teeny hole-in-the wall burrito/burger joint persevered. Taking up the same sliver of a small strip mall across the PCH from the water since the early ‘70s, it’s the go-to for post-surf session bacon-egg-and-potato breakfast burritos and chili-cheese burgers. There’s nothing fancy about the execution—though it’s always delicious and wallet-friendly—and the same can be said of the picnic-table seating, which is great when you’ve wandered in off the beach (i.e. no shoes or shirts required).
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