While establishments have popped up across Venice to showcase new-age, sophisticated cuisine, few have dared to border the iconic boardwalk. Surfside is that brave soul, challenging the typical grab-n-go shacks that define the area’s otherwise lowbrow dining scene. This loud, high-energy restaurant rises above the riffraff, but does so with a smile on its face, letting the food speak for itself with just the right touch of Venice pizzazz.
Surfside’s menu is inventive, worldly and delicious. An American comfort food base layered with Korean and Mexican influence produces works such as their top-selling Korean fries, covered in bulgogi steak, melted cheese, sriracha mayo and kimchi. The LA street corn is something truly special, genius in its simple approach to crushing cotija cheese into the corn to get the most decadent bite, every bite.
The mac ‘n’ cheese is something else here. Surfside nails it with the exact kind of indulgent creaminess you’d hope for. Burgers are a staple, as are bowls and salads for a healthier approach. The Mexicali bowl is an absolute favorite, made all the more special with rich chipotle crème. Surfside is a seasonal restaurant, so the menu will change frequently, but expect the execution of Head Chef Jesse Gutierrez to remain excellent.
Portion size lands in the guest’s favor here, a rare find for food this good in a prime location. Just be sure to navigate the menu the right way. As great as it is, Surfside can’t afford to stay in business by giving away expensive ingredients…another way of saying that if something has lobster in it, it may not fill you up as much as would a burger or bowl.
A fun cocktail list rounds out the culinary experience, but a visit to Surfside is capped off with some spectacular people-watching. The price point is in a sweet spot—high enough to keep out most of the ‘I don’t shower’ crowd, yet reasonable enough to attract some very interesting personalities. Sports may be playing across the restaurant and bar, but all eyes tend to focus on some of the characters that walk through Surfside’s doors.
Surfside is located at 23 Windward Ave, Venice, CA 90291. Open for food service 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. Sun – Thurs, 11 a.m. – 11 p.m. Fri/Sat. Bar open until 2 a.m. Mon – Sun. Average out-the-door price for split appetizer, entrée and 1 – 2 drinks is ~$56/person. For more information call 424-256-7894 or visit Surfside online.
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Benjamin Brown is a seasoned restaurant writer and hospitality consultant, serving up SoCal's hottest food news and reviews.