Special Contributor

Best Blue Zone (health) menu: The Spot

The Blue Zones – places where people live the longest and stay in the best health – have been studied for years, and menus that incorporate these healthy concepts are springing up in our neighborhood thanks to BCHD’s Vitality City initiative. These ideas may be new elsewhere but at The Spot they’ve been refined since […]

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Best American Contemporary Restaurant: Zane’s

Best American Contemporary Restaurant: Zane’s

American Contemporary looks a lot like American Classic at Zane’s, a restaurant serving old style martinis and steaks with just enough modern ideas to remind you that you really are in the modern world. It’s recognizably a contemporary restaurant in both environment and menu rather than a retro feast, but one with roots and a […]

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Best Bakery: Becker’s

Becker’s Bakery has another big birthday this year – the place was founded in 1942, and is still looking quite spry for a 70-year-old. They’re still baking old fashioned goodness while keeping up with the times – want your photograph on a cake, a retro hippie daisy on a cookie, or a mixed box of […]

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Best Brunch over $15: Shade

It can’t come as much of a surprise that the South Bay’s most stylish hotel serves a brunch to reckon with. The Zinc Lounge has all the standard items made with the highest quality ingredients – organic eggs, Nova Scotia salmon, Nueske’s bacon, and heirloom tomatoes from the farmers market. What might surprise you is […]

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Best Fast Food Burger: In-N-Out

The cult of In-N-Out is alive and well in the South Bay, complete with the secret language known only to initiates. Which nowadays is just about anybody who likes a juicy, oniony burger, since the codes for the off-menu items are an open secret. Those items aside, In and Out stubbornly bucks the trend of […]

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Best Regional American: Rockn’Fish

Much of Rockn’Fish’s menu does emphasize regional American food – the cuisine of more than one region, in fact. The ambiance is reminiscent of a Chicago steakhouse, while the cuisine has at least a touch of Louisiana. That is a real shrimp and sausage gumbo, the remoulade sauce is freshly made, and the crab po-boy […]

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Best Breakfast omelet: Martha’s

The competition for the best omelet in the South Bay is always fierce, and Martha’s almost always wins. It’s more than the picturesque beach view patio (though that’s quite a draw) or the generally cheerful, efficient service (the smiles are almost as much of a wake-up as the coffee). Martha’s does interesting things with eggs […]

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Best Brunch under $15: Gum Tree

Weekend brunch is the most relaxed meal of anyone’s week, perhaps the only one where time means little and you allow yourself to relax completely and enjoy your environment. It makes sense that our winner this year boasts a sunny outdoor patio, serene atmosphere, and an endearingly eccentric menu. Gum Tree serves the same menu […]

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Best Clam Chowder: Fishbar

It’s so rich and buttery and creamy that it almost qualifies as a dessert, but the clam chowder at Fishbar is usually served at the beginning of a meal rather than the end. It’s mild rather than peppery, tasting of clams rather than bacon or the other condiments that are often present in chowder, and […]

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Bar food: Sharkeez

As any evening goes on, Sharkeez is jumping – both the location in Manhattan and the Pier Plaza version in Hermosa are full of people enjoying Mexican-styled appetizer platters, grilled chicken, salads, burgers, and other delights. The mesquite grill gets a workout grilling steaks, chicken, and fish for tacos, plus tri-tip that make appearances in […]

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Best Ethnic BBQ: Silvio’s

Brazilian barbecue is less complicated than traditional Southern barbecue; instead of the flavor layers of rub, sauce, and smoke, it’s all about the natural flavors of quality meat, seasoned with salt and the most moderate dash of herbs. Silvio’s is different from most Brazilian barbecues in Los Angeles, which offer unlimited food at a high […]

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Best Coffee house (chain): Starbucks

There’s a certain irony that fans of Peet’s and Starbucks get so worked up about the merits of their favorite chain – when Starbucks was founded in 1971, they bought their coffee beans from Alfred Peet, who had taught them the business. Our readers say that the student has surpassed the master, as Starbucks has […]

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Best Gourmet Burger: Simmzy’s

When you order a burger at Simmzy’s, they serve it with three napkins. If the Queen of England were to dine here, she would use at least two – this burger is that juicy and delicious. The standard version is a big char-broiled patty with plenty of grill flavor, topped with lettuce, smoked onions, garlic […]

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Best Vegetarian Restaurant: The Spot

The people at The Spot are proud of the fact that their vegetarian restaurant has lots of customers who aren’t vegetarians – they are meat-eaters who just happen to like the food.The flavors are as rich as any other dining experience in the South Bay, but it’s better for you – you can enjoy a […]

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Best Waiter: Beau Dieda, Palmilla Cocina y Tequila

Pretty sure you’ll always find this guy smiling! It’s like he just can’t help it. He has a contagious smile and a spirit that oozes joy. “I feel good inside knowing people had a great experience and that I was a part of it.” Somehow, Beau’s tattoos just make you want to hug him even […]