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Bento lunch at Kotohira in Gardena
Bento lunch at Kotohira in Gardena
Matthew Kang

The 19 Essential South Bay Restaurants

Torrance, Gardena, Redondo Beach, Carson, and Manhattan Beach have amazing places to eat

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Bento lunch at Kotohira in Gardena
| Matthew Kang

The South Bay is a massive area incorporating Torrance, Gardena, Carson, Redondo Beach, El Segundo, Hawthorne, Manhattan Beach, San Pedro, and Lomita, among other municipalities. The part of town south of LAX and north of Long Beach does feel like its own section of Los Angeles County, with a beachy, breezy vibe and plenty of cultural diversity. Formerly home of all three Japanese car companies, the area still hosts a bevy of excellent Japanese restaurants, though Korean, Brazilian, Hawaiian, and even Oaxacan fare are now highlights. Here now, the essential 19 restaurants to try in the South Bay.

Removed: Painter’s Tape, Island Flavor Cafe, Fishing with Dynamite, Little Sister, Red Rock, Tamaen, Miura, Il Romanista, Barans 2239, Uncle Bill’s Pancake House, Chitose, MB Post, Otafuku, I-Naba

Added: Madre, Yuk Dae Jang, Jame Enoteca, Mr. Fries Man, Panelas Brazil Cuisine, Standing Room, Sugarfish Manhattan Beach, Gardena Bowl Coffee Shop, Kotohira, Darrow’s New Orleans Grill, Colossus, Bites & Bashes

A number of LA restaurants have resumed on-site dining service. However, this map should not be taken as endorsement for dining in, as there are still safety concerns: for updated information on coronavirus cases in your area, please visit the Los Angeles Public Health website. Studies indicate that there is a lower exposure risk when outdoors, but the level of risk involved with patio dining is contingent on restaurants following strict social distancing and other safety guidelines.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Jame Enoteca

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241 Main St
El Segundo, CA 90245
(310) 648-8554
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Jackson Kalb trained at fancy places like Melisse and Factory Kitchen before opening this neighborhood Italian-American restaurant serving everything from heaping kale salads to excellent pasta. Kalb has expanded to a second restaurant in Venice called Ospi, which reaches even higher with pasta and pizza, but Jame is still the place El Segundo locals favor.

Kale salad at Jame Enoteca in El Segundo.
Kale salad at Jame Enoteca
[Official Photo]

2. Zam Zam Market

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13649 Inglewood Ave
Hawthorne, CA

Hawthorne’s Zam Zam Market continues to be one of the best places for South Asian food in LA, with a stripped down menu that focuses on flavor over anyting else. Call ahead to see what they’re serving, and be sure to get plenty of naan, too.

Biryani and chicken tandoori with naan at Zam Zam Market
Biryani and chicken tandoori with naan
Stan Lee

3. Mr Fries Man

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14800 S Western Ave suite 108
Gardena, CA 90249
(424) 292-3616
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Craig Batiste and his wife Dorothy started putting incredible, colorful ingredients on french fries in 2016, serving out of their home kitchen and now expanded to multiple locations across LA and even into Las Vegas. In less than a year, they have over 20 franchises sold, but it all started here in Gardena. Try the Beyond Meat loaded fries for a plant-based tray of comfort.

Loaded fries with Beyond Meat at Mr. Fries Man
Loaded fries with Beyond Meat at Mr. Fries Man
Mr. Fries Man [Official photo]

4. Yuk Dae Jang Gardena

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15420 S Western Ave ste b
Gardena, CA 90249
(310) 400-7743
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Korean restaurants are still very good in Gardena despite being located miles south of Koreatown. Yuk Dae Jang has a location up in LA, but this South Bay version still excels, with comforting bowls of spicy beef noodle soup and more.

Yuk Dae Jang’s yookgaejang kalguksu, a spicy beef noodle soup with knife cut noodles
Yuk Dae Jang’s yookgaejang kalguksu
Matthew Kang

5. Kotohira Restaurant

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1747 W Redondo Beach Blvd
Gardena, CA 90247
(310) 323-3966

Gardena and Torrance boast plenty of old school Japanese restaurants, from the breakfast trays at Fukagawa to the incredible noodles at Ichimiann and Otafuku. Kotohira still masters the bento, serving beer and sake in a room that looks like it was pulled out of Japan decades ago.

Bento lunch at Kotohira in Gardena
Bento lunch at Kotohira
Matthew Kang

6. Gardena Bowl Coffee Shop

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15707 S Vermont Ave
Gardena, CA 90247
(310) 532-0820
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The longtime Gardena Bowl coffee shop has been a neighborhood destination for breakfast foods and Hawaiian-inflected dishes like the Royal fried rice plate topped with roast pork, and wonton saimin. Currently only open for takeout.

7. Sugarfish

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304 12th St
Manhattan Beach, CA 90266
(424) 675-7644
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LA sushi restaurant Sugarfish, which has multiple key outlets across the city, has a tucked-away location in Manhattan Beach with the full slate of some of the best sushi in town served in various levels of omakase. Get the “Don’t Think, Just Eat” for the complete Nozawa experience of pristine fish over warm, seasoned rice.

Sushi at Sugarfish Marina del Rey
Sugarfish
Matthew Kang

8. Love & Salt

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317 Manhattan Beach Blvd
Manhattan Beach, CA
(310) 545-5252
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Now an established neighborhood classic, Love & Salt serves California-Italian fare from restaurateur Sylvie Gabriele in the former Cafe Pierre space (her father Guy’s restaurant). Chef Tracey Harada oversees the reliable, well-executed menu of pastas, pizzas, salads, and entrees in a bustling modern ambience.

Love & Salt
Wonho Frank Lee

9. The Arthur J

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903 Manhattan Ave
Manhattan Beach, CA
(310) 878-9620
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David LeFevre’s fancy steakhouse sports some serious retro vibes. The steaks here rank among the best in Los Angeles. Exceptional sides and a diverse wine list round out this ocean-side restaurant that is sure to withstand the test of time with its midcentury modern feel and charming old school service.

The Arthur J
Stan Lee

10. Panelas Brazil Cuisine

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2808 Phelan Ln
Redondo Beach, CA 90278
(310) 214-4143
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Brazilian cuisine in LA is still coming to its own, but places like Panelas are showing Angelenos how much of the food is meant to be enjoyed: with alcohol. This hidden Redondo Beach restaurant has homestyle Brazilian comfort fare that can be enjoyed with beer and wine-based vodka capirinhas (they’re still waiting for a full liquor license so folks can have full-strength cachaca).

Carne de panelas from Panela’s Brazilian Cuisine
Carne de panelas
Wonho Frank Lee

11. The Standing Room Restaurant

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144 N Catalina Ave
Redondo Beach, CA 90277
(310) 374-7545
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The original burger window, Standing Room serves enormous burgers with Asian ingredients in a liquor store kitchen. That should speak more than enough about how awesome this place is.

Napoleon Burger, The Standing Room
Napoleon Burger, The Standing Room
Crystal Coser

12. Madre! Oaxacan Restaurant and Mezcaleria

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1261 Cabrillo Ave #100
Torrance, CA 90501
(310) 974-8005
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Ivan Vasquez took his Palms restaurant and planted a massive flagship in Old Torrance, serving his mother’s favorite mole and other Oaxacan dishes with a huge list of mezcales. The locals have figured it out, turning Madre! into one of the most reliable Mexican restaurants in the city. Try the mole estofado and tlayuda for the full experience.

Entrance to Madre, a Oaxacan restaurant and bar in Torrance.
Madre! in Torrance
Wonho Frank Lee

13. Darrow's New Orleans Grill

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21720 S Avalon Blvd #102
Carson, CA 90745
(424) 570-0531
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Creole and New Orleans fare have a wonderful home at Carson’s Darrow’s New Orleans Grill, with favorites like red beans and rice, jambalaya, and shrimp po’boys alongside catfish suppers.

Darrow’s New Orleans Grill
Darrow’s New Orleans Grill, Carson
Farley Elliott

14. Izakaya Hachi

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1880 W Carson St
Torrance, CA 90501
(310) 618-8357
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Torrance has plenty of izakayas and drink-friendly Japanese restaurants, from Wadatsumi to Torihei. Hachi has an impressive menu of after-work Japanese drinking dishes, from pressed saba sushi to grilled chicken skewers.

15. Phanny's

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1021 S Pacific Coast Hwy
Redondo Beach, CA
(310) 540-5141
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Redondo Beach’s enduring breakfast burrito specialist has an updated coffee menu and fantastic burritos that continue to serve hefty meals that should provide enough caloric intake for long days at the beach.

Holding breakfast burritos, cut in half.
Holding breakfast burritos from Phanny’s
Wonho Frank Lee

16. Bites and Bashes

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25600 Narbonne Ave
Lomita, CA 90717
(310) 892-9801
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Lomita catering company Bites & Bashes, operated by mother-and-daughter duo Julie and Crystal Coser, serves healthy, delicious California fare at their daytime cafe that incorporates Korean flavors with amazing fresh produce, often from the family’s own farm in Palos Verdes. There’s something for everyone on menu, from breakfast burritos to vegan Korean glass noodles. (Note: Crystal Coser is a former associate editor of Eater LA, but was not involved with this South Bay restaurant guide)

Bibimbap from Bites & Bashes
Bibimbap from Bites & Bashes Cafe
Matthew Kang

17. The Whale & Ale

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327 West 7th Street
San Pedro, CA
(310) 832-0363
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Owner Andrew Siber opened The Whale & Ale down in San Pedro back in 1995, and the British pub has become a staple addition to the neighborhood ever since. It’s worth a drive to the South Bay for the pub’s standout fish and chips alone. Open for limited dine-in seating, patio seating, and takeout.

The Whale & Ale

18. The Chori-Man

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2309 S Alma St
San Pedro, CA 90731
(424) 287-2414
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With tacos, burritos, and more, San Pedro’s beloved Chori-Man is a neighborhood favorite with quick service, reasonable prices, and amazing house-made chorizo.

The ChoriMan
The ChoriMan
Yelp

19. Colossus

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2311 S Alma St
San Pedro, CA 90731
(213) 444-0077
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Chef Kristin Colazas Rodriguez’s tiny San Pedro bakery regularly sells out of croissants, cookies, and other delectable pastries well before its posted closing time, which speaks to the place’s incredible popularity. Colazas Rodriguez recently expanded Colossus to a new spot in Long Beach.

Colossus Bread exterior, with sidewalk.
Colossus in San Pedro
Farley Elliott

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1. Jame Enoteca

241 Main St, El Segundo, CA 90245
Kale salad at Jame Enoteca in El Segundo.
Kale salad at Jame Enoteca
[Official Photo]

Jackson Kalb trained at fancy places like Melisse and Factory Kitchen before opening this neighborhood Italian-American restaurant serving everything from heaping kale salads to excellent pasta. Kalb has expanded to a second restaurant in Venice called Ospi, which reaches even higher with pasta and pizza, but Jame is still the place El Segundo locals favor.

241 Main St
El Segundo, CA 90245

2. Zam Zam Market

13649 Inglewood Ave, Hawthorne, CA
Biryani and chicken tandoori with naan at Zam Zam Market
Biryani and chicken tandoori with naan
Stan Lee

Hawthorne’s Zam Zam Market continues to be one of the best places for South Asian food in LA, with a stripped down menu that focuses on flavor over anyting else. Call ahead to see what they’re serving, and be sure to get plenty of naan, too.

13649 Inglewood Ave
Hawthorne, CA

3. Mr Fries Man

14800 S Western Ave suite 108, Gardena, CA 90249
Loaded fries with Beyond Meat at Mr. Fries Man
Loaded fries with Beyond Meat at Mr. Fries Man
Mr. Fries Man [Official photo]

Craig Batiste and his wife Dorothy started putting incredible, colorful ingredients on french fries in 2016, serving out of their home kitchen and now expanded to multiple locations across LA and even into Las Vegas. In less than a year, they have over 20 franchises sold, but it all started here in Gardena. Try the Beyond Meat loaded fries for a plant-based tray of comfort.

14800 S Western Ave suite 108
Gardena, CA 90249

4. Yuk Dae Jang Gardena

15420 S Western Ave ste b, Gardena, CA 90249
Yuk Dae Jang’s yookgaejang kalguksu, a spicy beef noodle soup with knife cut noodles
Yuk Dae Jang’s yookgaejang kalguksu
Matthew Kang

Korean restaurants are still very good in Gardena despite being located miles south of Koreatown. Yuk Dae Jang has a location up in LA, but this South Bay version still excels, with comforting bowls of spicy beef noodle soup and more.

15420 S Western Ave ste b
Gardena, CA 90249

5. Kotohira Restaurant

1747 W Redondo Beach Blvd, Gardena, CA 90247
Bento lunch at Kotohira in Gardena
Bento lunch at Kotohira
Matthew Kang

Gardena and Torrance boast plenty of old school Japanese restaurants, from the breakfast trays at Fukagawa to the incredible noodles at Ichimiann and Otafuku. Kotohira still masters the bento, serving beer and sake in a room that looks like it was pulled out of Japan decades ago.

1747 W Redondo Beach Blvd
Gardena, CA 90247

6. Gardena Bowl Coffee Shop

15707 S Vermont Ave, Gardena, CA 90247

The longtime Gardena Bowl coffee shop has been a neighborhood destination for breakfast foods and Hawaiian-inflected dishes like the Royal fried rice plate topped with roast pork, and wonton saimin. Currently only open for takeout.

15707 S Vermont Ave
Gardena, CA 90247

7. Sugarfish

304 12th St, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266
Sushi at Sugarfish Marina del Rey
Sugarfish
Matthew Kang

LA sushi restaurant Sugarfish, which has multiple key outlets across the city, has a tucked-away location in Manhattan Beach with the full slate of some of the best sushi in town served in various levels of omakase. Get the “Don’t Think, Just Eat” for the complete Nozawa experience of pristine fish over warm, seasoned rice.

304 12th St
Manhattan Beach, CA 90266

8. Love & Salt

317 Manhattan Beach Blvd, Manhattan Beach, CA
Love & Salt
Wonho Frank Lee

Now an established neighborhood classic, Love & Salt serves California-Italian fare from restaurateur Sylvie Gabriele in the former Cafe Pierre space (her father Guy’s restaurant). Chef Tracey Harada oversees the reliable, well-executed menu of pastas, pizzas, salads, and entrees in a bustling modern ambience.

317 Manhattan Beach Blvd
Manhattan Beach, CA

9. The Arthur J

903 Manhattan Ave, Manhattan Beach, CA
The Arthur J
Stan Lee

David LeFevre’s fancy steakhouse sports some serious retro vibes. The steaks here rank among the best in Los Angeles. Exceptional sides and a diverse wine list round out this ocean-side restaurant that is sure to withstand the test of time with its midcentury modern feel and charming old school service.

903 Manhattan Ave
Manhattan Beach, CA

10. Panelas Brazil Cuisine

2808 Phelan Ln, Redondo Beach, CA 90278
Carne de panelas from Panela’s Brazilian Cuisine
Carne de panelas
Wonho Frank Lee

Brazilian cuisine in LA is still coming to its own, but places like Panelas are showing Angelenos how much of the food is meant to be enjoyed: with alcohol. This hidden Redondo Beach restaurant has homestyle Brazilian comfort fare that can be enjoyed with beer and wine-based vodka capirinhas (they’re still waiting for a full liquor license so folks can have full-strength cachaca).

2808 Phelan Ln
Redondo Beach, CA 90278

11. The Standing Room Restaurant

144 N Catalina Ave, Redondo Beach, CA 90277
Napoleon Burger, The Standing Room
Napoleon Burger, The Standing Room
Crystal Coser

The original burger window, Standing Room serves enormous burgers with Asian ingredients in a liquor store kitchen. That should speak more than enough about how awesome this place is.

144 N Catalina Ave
Redondo Beach, CA 90277

12. Madre! Oaxacan Restaurant and Mezcaleria

1261 Cabrillo Ave #100, Torrance, CA 90501
Entrance to Madre, a Oaxacan restaurant and bar in Torrance.
Madre! in Torrance
Wonho Frank Lee

Ivan Vasquez took his Palms restaurant and planted a massive flagship in Old Torrance, serving his mother’s favorite mole and other Oaxacan dishes with a huge list of mezcales. The locals have figured it out, turning Madre! into one of the most reliable Mexican restaurants in the city. Try the mole estofado and tlayuda for the full experience.

1261 Cabrillo Ave #100
Torrance, CA 90501

13. Darrow's New Orleans Grill

21720 S Avalon Blvd #102, Carson, CA 90745
Darrow’s New Orleans Grill
Darrow’s New Orleans Grill, Carson
Farley Elliott

Creole and New Orleans fare have a wonderful home at Carson’s Darrow’s New Orleans Grill, with favorites like red beans and rice, jambalaya, and shrimp po’boys alongside catfish suppers.

21720 S Avalon Blvd #102
Carson, CA 90745

14. Izakaya Hachi

1880 W Carson St, Torrance, CA 90501

Torrance has plenty of izakayas and drink-friendly Japanese restaurants, from Wadatsumi to Torihei. Hachi has an impressive menu of after-work Japanese drinking dishes, from pressed saba sushi to grilled chicken skewers.

1880 W Carson St
Torrance, CA 90501

15. Phanny's

1021 S Pacific Coast Hwy, Redondo Beach, CA
Holding breakfast burritos, cut in half.
Holding breakfast burritos from Phanny’s
Wonho Frank Lee

Redondo Beach’s enduring breakfast burrito specialist has an updated coffee menu and fantastic burritos that continue to serve hefty meals that should provide enough caloric intake for long days at the beach.

1021 S Pacific Coast Hwy
Redondo Beach, CA

Related Maps

16. Bites and Bashes

25600 Narbonne Ave, Lomita, CA 90717
Bibimbap from Bites & Bashes
Bibimbap from Bites & Bashes Cafe
Matthew Kang

Lomita catering company Bites & Bashes, operated by mother-and-daughter duo Julie and Crystal Coser, serves healthy, delicious California fare at their daytime cafe that incorporates Korean flavors with amazing fresh produce, often from the family’s own farm in Palos Verdes. There’s something for everyone on menu, from breakfast burritos to vegan Korean glass noodles. (Note: Crystal Coser is a former associate editor of Eater LA, but was not involved with this South Bay restaurant guide)

25600 Narbonne Ave
Lomita, CA 90717

17. The Whale & Ale

327 West 7th Street, San Pedro, CA
The Whale & Ale

Owner Andrew Siber opened The Whale & Ale down in San Pedro back in 1995, and the British pub has become a staple addition to the neighborhood ever since. It’s worth a drive to the South Bay for the pub’s standout fish and chips alone. Open for limited dine-in seating, patio seating, and takeout.

327 West 7th Street
San Pedro, CA

18. The Chori-Man

2309 S Alma St, San Pedro, CA 90731
The ChoriMan
The ChoriMan
Yelp

With tacos, burritos, and more, San Pedro’s beloved Chori-Man is a neighborhood favorite with quick service, reasonable prices, and amazing house-made chorizo.

2309 S Alma St
San Pedro, CA 90731

19. Colossus

2311 S Alma St, San Pedro, CA 90731
Colossus Bread exterior, with sidewalk.
Colossus in San Pedro
Farley Elliott

Chef Kristin Colazas Rodriguez’s tiny San Pedro bakery regularly sells out of croissants, cookies, and other delectable pastries well before its posted closing time, which speaks to the place’s incredible popularity. Colazas Rodriguez recently expanded Colossus to a new spot in Long Beach.

2311 S Alma St
San Pedro, CA 90731

Related Maps