The fourth-annual Dine Out Long Beach Restaurant Week 2.0, (not to be confused with Dine LBC Restaurant Week, which occurs in the summer) begins Sunday, and thanks to founder and organizer Elizabeth Borsting, this citywide feast has grown nicely out of those awkward early years into a fully thriving food event.
More than 50 local restaurants (with at least 20 of those eateries being dog-friendly) offer special plates and exclusive prix-fixe menus on the cheap (or cheap-ish). Dinner selections start at $20, and breakfast and lunch options start at just $10. There’s also optional beer and wine pairings at many places for an additional charge.
Though Long Beach residents aren’t exactly complaining about two competing restaurant weeks (we’ve got one of the most burgeoning food scenes in Southern California), we wondered, “What’s new this time around?”
“In order to brand Dine Out Long Beach as the city’s premier dining event, we try to keep it familiar from year to year, but add subtle changes,” says Borsting. She explains that this year’s event includes a new contest in which guests can vote for their favorite Restaurant Week dish for a chance to win a trip for two to Catalina Island. “We also have some unconventional destinations that other Restaurant Weeks don’t include,” she says, “such as Dine + Duffy with London Boat Rentals, plus Chow + Ciao with Gondola Getaways. For these two options, you have the choice to pick up food from one of our participating restaurants and enjoy it while cruising the canals along Naples Island.”
Whether you opt to enjoy your meal on land or water, there’s no shortage of cuisines to choose from. Participating establishments include standards such as Naples Rib Co., the Crooked Duck and Fuego, plus newcomers the Pie Bar, Long Beach Fish Grill, Salud, Ashley’s On Fourth, Buona Gente and District Wine.
Here are a few of the menus I’m looking forward to the most:
A three-course meal at District Wine downtown can include (should you choose this strategy) strawberry-jalapeño jam with goat cheese and baguette, followed by a pork-belly grilled cheese sandwich and a skillet cookie, all for $30 for two people.
Look closely and you may find some exclusive menu items not usually offered, such as the pan-roasted chicken at Vue Bar & Restaurant that comes with rice, shallots, green olives and dates in a butter sauce. They’re also serving a cheesecake bar just for the week.
The Pie Bar is offering savory pot pies (chicken or spicy black bean and corn) paired with a slice of sweet (hello, Mississippi Mud); there’s even a “Pet Pie” menu with some all-natural pumpkin treats for dogs (another exclusive for the fest).
Louisiana Charlie’s in Shoreline Village is offering a $45-per-person menu with options such as barbecue shrimp, crawfish etouffee and catfish, and peach cobbler. Also, there’s a smash cake.
Michael’s On Naples has unsurprisingly one of the fanciest lunch prix fixes on the lineup, with braised oxtail, handmade pasta with rabbit confit, and lemon torte. That’ll set you back $50 per person, though. Michael’s Pizzeria next door, however, has a menu half the price that includes wood-fired manila clams, mushroom-and-taleggio pizza, and tiramisu.
Make your reservations on Dine Out’s website, and plan your weeklong culinary indulgence one meal at a time—because another thing that makes an appearance every winter? Oversized sweat pants as totally acceptable outerwear. . . . That’s only at my house? Fine.
For more Dine Out Long Beach Restaurant Week 2.0 locations and information, visit www.dineoutlongbeach.com.