Long Beach is like that cousin we only get to see at family gatherings. We like them, but don’t make enough of an effort to get to know them. With the annual restaurant week known as Dine LBC happening August 3 through 11, we’re taking the time to get to know our bordering city. If you’re not real sure where to spend your bucks, you’ve come to the right place.
Navy Proof is inside the recently renovated Westin. Less “hotel restaurant”, more “restaurant within a hotel”, Chef Chris Garasic is giving us a reason to visit, with cauliflower hummus that eats like a salad and halibut ceviche that tipped us off on his upscale dining background. Their worldly menu is definitely a step in the right direction. Don’t forget an order of Parkerhouse rolls served with a trio of compound butters. 333 Ocean Blvd., (562) 436-5000; www.navyprooflb.com.
Next Door by Agaves is formerly known as Agaves Kitchen and Tequila. Fast forward to a couple of months ago, and there’s both a new interior and new menu, thanks to Chef Veronica Lopez. A modern Mexican cantina with a very full bar, you come for the social vibe and nighttime eats. Found along the main street downtown that is Pine Avenue, we suggest it as your meeting place for a group outing. 200 Pine Ave., Ste. B, (562) 435-7700; www.nextdoorlongbeach.com.
Tried and True
Michael’s on Naples is a destination that only gets better over time, first acquiring Chef Eric Samaniego, then renovating their upstairs dining to include additional lounge seating and dedicated bar. We’ve always had a lovely experience, no matter where we were seated. If their Dine LBC menu is anything like the Dine LA selection that just wrapped, you’re in for a treat. Head upstairs for casual dining, or score a cozy table downstairs for a special occasion. 5620 E. 2nd St., (562) 439-7080; www.michaelsonnaples.com.
The Kroft located inside The Hangar at LBX Exchange serves up delightful, deep fried goodness in the form of chicken sandwiches and specialty poutine. Quite the cheat day (or any day) meal, you can’t go wrong with their prime ribeye dip with some cheese curds either. Wash it down with a tart lemonade or cool beer on tap. 4250 McGowan St., (562) 420-5097; www.thekroft.com.
Romeo Chocolates recently celebrated their two year anniversary. They are ideal for both the chocolate novice as well as the chocoholic. Offering interactive chocolate truffle making classes and thoughtful tastings, Chef Romeo Garcia specializes in something nearly everyone can relate to: dessert! Perfect wine pairings are also an option, if you’ve got additional time to indulge. 460 Pine Ave., (562) 432-7999; www.romeochocolates.com.
Berlin Bistro by Portfolio Coffeehouse falls under this category for one special reason– they’re dog-friendly. Offering a puppy menu alongside the hoo-man one, take your furry friend for a drive and watch them enjoy their own meal while you chew too. Offering a pescatarian meal of grilled salmon steak and even their own pupp-a-chino, it makes us bit envious that we don’t own a doggie. 420 E. 4th St., (562) 435-0600; www.berlinbistro.com.
A contributing writer for OC Weekly, Anne Marie freelances for multiple online and print publications, and guest judges for culinary competitions. A Bay Area transplant, she graduated with a degree in Hospitality Management from Cal Poly Pomona. Find her on Instagram as brekkiefan.