For those of you who know me, you know that I love to eat and I am extremely thankful for my high metabolism (thanks mom)! People are always asking me where I like to eat, so I decided to put together a list highlighting some of my favorite, casual spots to grab a bite that won’t break the bank. I’m the type of person who, once I find something I love, I usually always order the same thing from that place every time. Sometimes I will start thinking about dinner right after breakfast and the craving will begin. Here, I’m sharing my “go-to” eats from all my LBC faves in no particular order. You can click on the pictures to go to the restaurants websites. I hope this makes your mouth water and inspires you to get out and try something new!
1) I love a good, super thin crust, traditional Italian style pizza and Michael’s is just that. I usually crave the simple basil, red sauced and mozzerella pizza but I have tried some of the specials and been blown away. The decor is simple, modern and cool and there is a beautiful rooftop bar at Michael’s next door that is a nice stop before dinner or if you are waiting for a table.
2) Wade and I always share the mixed molcajete which we call the bubbling cauldron of goodness. It is full of chicken, chorizo, mexican cheese, steak, shrimp and cactus in a salsa sauce. The homemade corn tortillas are super buttery and delicious and the guacamole is perfection. There are two locations: the one on Anaheim has a dining/bar area where the tables are first come first serve and the restaurant area, which, has more atmosphere versus the smaller and less atmospheric location in my neighborhood. However, the food in both locations are equally fabulous.
3) I love, love, love this place. The decor is so cute and when I’m there I don’t feel like I’m in Long Beach – more like northern California? Everyone raves about the stuffed french toast at Starling, including my husband. Because, I’m more of a savory gal, my favorite thing here is the BLT Salad with a poached egg on it. Delish! I could eat it everyday. Because it’s a salad it feels healthy but it’s loaded with applewood smoked bacon and the gooey poached egg. Yum!
4) The Coffee Cup Cafe is my go to place for breakfast. Yes, there is always a wait on the weekends but they do have coffee while you wait. There are also a couple of cute boutiques next door to browse. My favorite dish at The Coffee Cup is Sal’s Enchilada Eggs. Wade laughs at me for loving this because he says it’s bland but I love it. To me, it’s a savory balance of eggs wrapped in corn tortillas with red enchilada sauce topped with sour cream. The breakfast potatoes are exceptional and are not to be missed. My other favorite is the Baja Burrito with veggie chorizo. The portions are “healthy” to say the least. The staff is always efficient, attentive and friendly.
5) This is the ultimate comfort food for me. I love the Green Goddess salad, and I always either get the pot roast or the meat loaf. They are both AMAZING! Dessert: I usually don’t do it! Here it is homemade, perfectly delicious and I can’t say no. The cheesecakes are, well, SPECIAL. John, the chef/owner is great and can usually be found chatting up the customers at the end of the night.
6) Steamed is a newer place on our radar when we are craving clean, fresh, simple, healthy food but are too lazy to make it ourselves. My go to meal here is the Dang Quesadilla. The atmosphere is really cute and I love that they shop at our local farmer’s market!
7) This is the newest place we have been hitting up. 3 times in less then a week to be exact. The rotisserie chicken is the best in town! Just trust me. For $9 you get a whole chicken, warm tortillas and 2 kinds of fresh salsa. It’s perfect to take home for dinner. Although the chicken makes great tacos, it can be used in many other dishes including salads for lunch the following day. It’s our new favorite thing!
8) The Torpedo. This sandwich is in a class of it’s own and is a must have! The deli/shop carries all things Italian and is wonderful and adorable. They are always busy and take pride in their work so I recommend calling in your order. It’s the perfect sandwich to take to the beach!
9) HANDS DOWN, the best Pho in Long Beach. The atmosphere is really simple and sometimes you are at a shared table just like in Vietnam, but the delicious, medicinal broth of this traditionally slow cooked soup keeps us coming back for more. I always get the small #1. The thinly sliced beef starts out rare but cooks quickly in the super hot broth.
10) Honestly, we had passed this place up for years because it doesn’t look like anything special from the road. Things changed after our friends Ed and Carrie ended up trying it and gave it their “foodie” thumbs up. I think they actually said it was “legit” and… they were right. They have a variety of fresh fish cooked anyway you like it. I love the grilled fish tacos with a side of their sweet crisp coleslaw and crazy good garlic bread. The people that work here are super cool and friendly too which is always a plus.
11) Cong (as we like to call it) is right in our own backyard. I love that we can walk there. Even though I am not a Vegan, I go gaga over the vegan apple sage sausage. It is wrapped in a warm, fluffy flat bread of sorts with the most delicious mustard and grilled bell peppers on it. You should seriously give it a try. The Roast Tomato & Garlic flatbread is delicious too. And, the beer selection is, of course, every beer lovers dream come true. I like the casual, order at the counter and take a number vibe.
12) Great food, cool location and a simple, modern decor. I love the cold vermicelli rice noodles (bún) with grilled pork, shrimp and egg roll. A great stop while shopping Retro Row on 4th street or before or after a movie at The Art Theater. There is also a location close to my salon in Hermosa Beach but I haven’t had a chance to check it out (yet).
13) The best Lebanese food in town. I always get the lentil soup which is full of flavor and perfect on a cold, winter day. They do meat-on-a-stick better than anyone else in the city! I also love the little Lebanese pizzas and the falafel pitas. They have the best mini pickles in them and the garlic sauce a.k.a. “garlic crack” is a must, however, be prepared to stink for the rest of the day!
*14) Ok, #14 is a bonus. I am sure you weren’t expecting to see PF Chang’s on the list, but it is, and here’s why. Somehow, Wade and I, ended up here on our first official date so it holds a special place in my heart. We love to sit at the bar and order lettuce cups, edamame dumplings, and a bunch of side dishes like garlic spinach and shanghai cucumbers (that are just $3.95 for the small sides). We also love the orange peel chicken. It’s pretty sweet and not the healthiest thing on the menu but hey, sometime you’ve just gotta do it! The food is always consistent and brings us back to where it all began!
There are so many awesome places popping up all the time that its hard to keep up. If you have a favorite spot in Long Beach or elsewhere, please leave a comment and tell me about it! Happy eating!