Bienvenue to The Unofficial Guide to Long Beach where you can find the best places to wine, dine, and have fun in this laidback, culturally-diverse coastal town. The monsieur and I have done a lot of exploring since we moved here a few years ago and this is the crème de la crème of what Long Beach has to offer (at least in our humble opinions).
BEST RESTAURANTS IN LONG BEACH
While I love cooking in our petite maison, it’s nice to get out of the kitchen every once in a while and go out for dinner. We seek what I call the Diner’s Trifecta (i.e. good food, good service, and good design), which means I’m probably every restaurateur’s biggest nightmare. Most of these places are in the mid-to-high price range, but you can spend less if you forego drinks.
Social List | 2105 E 4th Street, Long Beach CA, 90814
Located in the heart of the Art District, this small gastro pub offers up modern European tapas. The menu rotates but croquetas, mama’s meatballs, and the butternut squash toast are all solid favorites. Wine and beer list is all about quality over quantity so it’s hard to go wrong with a choice from their selection.
Padre | 525 E Broadway, Long Beach, CA 90802
With Chef Frank DeLoach at the helm, this place is churning out creative Latin-American inspired dishes like a modern take on lomo saltado, fried chicken tacos with watermelon salsa, and street corn in a bowl. The food is just as delicious as the artisanal cocktails made with fresh-squeezed juice.
Nick’s on 2nd | 4901 E 2nd Street, Long Beach, CA 90803
Reinvented classic American fare, like steaks, fried devil eggs, and prime rib dip, never tasted so good. Genuinely good hospitality and the cozy-yet-modern atmosphere are just icing on the cake. This restaurant is high on everyone’s list so make reservations or prepare for a 45-60 minute wait.
Saint & Second | 4828 E 2nd Street, Long Beach, CA 90803
Just across the street Nick’s, this beautifully designed, two-story restaurant is giving them a run for their money. Choose from one of the many whiskeys lining the floor-to-ceiling wall behind the bar or order a traditional cocktail to go with your duck meatball appetizer. After that, any main dish will blow your mind. Plus, the service is just as great as the food.
Restauration | 2708 E 4th Street, Long Beach, CA 90814
Chef-driven American bistro with a creative menu that changes along with the seasons (as it should, non?). Be a rebel and choose at random from the menu because it’s all seriously good. Whatever you order, be sure to enjoy your meal in the modern farm-house atmosphere of the outside area in the back.
Pizzanista | 1837 E 7th Street, Long Beach, CA 90813
Housed in a humongous mid-century home painted midnight black, this place serves up pizza with a side of punk rock. Grab a canned craft beer from the refrigerated case, order a slice of thin-crust pizza topped with macaroni and cheese (or a margherita for the purists), and head to the back patio to devour.
Number Nine | 2118 E 4th Street, Long Beach, CA 90814
A modern take on Vietnamese food served in a friendly and casual atmosphere. The pho is made with fresh ingredients and the banh mi is stuffed with free-range meat and quick-pickled carrots. Food and service are great, but I have to admit, the white walls, succulents, and modern décor help push this place to the top of my list.
Beachwood Brewing & BBQ | 210 E 3rd Street, Long Beach, CA 90802
Prepare yourself for a food coma because the vittles here are addictively delicious. If you’re extra hungry, the pulled pork is a solid choice, but you’ll be just as happy with a few appetizers (like the fried pickles, deviled eggs, and tater tot casserole). Wash it all down with one of the house-brewed beers, I promise you won’t be disappointed.
La Parolaccia Osteria | 2945 E Broadway, Long Beach, CA 90803
A rustic Italian place where the food is pretty darn authentic for lack of a better word. The pizza? Wood-fired thin crust with the freshest toppings. The pasta? Perfectly al dente with a homemade sauce just like nonna used to make.
The Attic | 3441 E Broadway, Long Beach, CA 90803
Housed in the cutest craftsman bungalow, this restaurant serves up Southern-inspired food with a twist. Start your brunch with the bloody mary and then spring for the eggs benedict or French toast. Non-breakfast folks will love their famous mac ‘n’ cheese topped with Hot Cheetos. It’s highly suggested that you share plates as as portions are enormous.
Congregation Ale House | 201 E Broadway, Long Beach, CA 90802
Sometimes getting a burger feels like a religious experience in the holy setting of this bar slash restaurant. The stained glass and waitresses in Catholic schoolgirl outfits are the perfect back drop to all the beers on tap that you’d ever want to drink with the perfect burger and sweet potato fries.
BEST WINE BARS IN LONG BEACH
District Wine | 144 Linden Avenue, Long Beach, CA 90802
Retreat from the bustle of downtown Long Beach into this cozy, cave-like wine bar. Delight yourself in glasses of small production wine and beer while sampling tasty bites from the tapas menu. Although it’s fairly affordable, happy hour is the deal of the century (weekdays from 4-7 pm and Saturday from 12-7 pm).
The Wine Country | 2301 Redondo Avenue, Signal Hill, CA 90755
Did you die and go to wine heaven? Nope, you’re just in the largest and most randomly-located wine shop ever (aka a warehouse in an industrial area across the street from the central post office). Aspiring sommeliers will brave the aisles on their own, but you can also get help from the super-knowledgeable staff. Also, be sure to look for wine tasting events on their calendar every Thursday and Saturday.
Art du Vin | 2027 E 4th Street, Long Beach, CA 90814
Next door to the Art Theatre, this postage stamp-sized wine bar is the best place to enjoy a glass right before (or after) a film. Venture out to the small patio for people watching or enjoy your glass inside while taking in the rotating art selection and listening to the sounds emanating from the record player.
4th Street Vine | 2142 E 4th Street, Long Beach, CA 90814
Nestled amongst the vintage shops of Retro Row, this neighborhood favorite is great spot for wine and live music (bands and DJs play five nights a week). Vibe is cozy thanks to the laidback nature of the owners and warmth of the brick walls and decor. Pro tip: Walk out the back door and enjoy your glass of wine in the patio area.
Willmore Wine Bar
Nobody’s knows wine better than Ernie, the introverted sommelier and owner of this locals-only wine bar. Choose at random from the rotating wine list and it’s guaranteed to become your new favorite. Warning: The retiree crowd can get pretty rowdy in the evenings so it’s best to go for a pre-dinner drink.
Trader Joe’s | Various Locations
Anyone who reads this blog knows that I almost exclusively drink wine from this glorious grocery store and, luckily, there are three Trader Joe’s locations in Long beach. It’s a great place to pick up a bottle for an impromptu picnic or to drink later on at your AirBNB. Take a ten dollar bill or a twenty if you’re feelin’ fancy, and get one of the bottles I’ve reviewed here.
Corked | 4100 Atlantic Avenue, Long Beach, CA 90807
Just like BevMo’s little hipster sister, you can find wine, beer, and all types of liquor organized neatly in this bright and modern space. Service is hit or miss, you either tend to get the cream of the crop who help you find the perfect bottle or the one dude who ruined it for a few customers on Yelp (although I’m pretty sure he doesn’t work there anymore).
James Republic | 500 E First Street, Long Beach, CA 90802
Is it sunny outside? If so, then treat yourself to a glass a wine on the modern patio of this restaurant while taking in those sunny So Cal rays. Cocktails are also pretty solid if you need a break from wine, but I suggest passing on the food. It’s not necessarily bad but the farm-to-table fare is surprisingly un-inspired and on the expensive side.
This guide was originally published on November 15, 2016 and updated on February 5th, 2017.