Chef Thomas Ortega’s Playa Amor casual modern Mexican restaurant Playa Amor is almost ready for its arrival in Long Beach, with plans to potentially open by the end of the month. The Mexican eatery near the Marina Pacifica complex will offer nightly dinner service in a relaxed environment, with seating for up to 100 people across the inside dining room and outside patio.
Ortega has long had plans to eschew the Los Angeles core for great neighborhood options that play at the fringe of the city, from his initial Ortega 120 in Redondo Beach to the popular Amor y Tacos in the chef’s hometown of Cerritos. There, Ortega does hyper-relaxed dinner and weekend drinking food, including his now-famous mole tots, but will plan for something slightly more upscaled with Playa Amor.
The menu is an eclectic mix of tacos —tuna tartare in one perhaps, or chicken al pastor in another — and larger plates, including salmon roasts, enchiladas, and large format carnitas. There isn’t much of anything over the $20 threshold, and yes there will be those tots, despite Ortega saying otherwise when announcing the restaurant back in August. Turns out, they're just too popular.
Playa Amor’s strip mall location should be ready to roll by the end of January or early February at latest, and will keep afternoon and evening hours only for now, though lunch is expected in the future.
6527 E. Pacific Coast Hwy
Long Beach, CA