Where to Find the South Bay's Elusive Upscale Dining Options

The Greater Los Angeles area is filled with world-class restaurants of all shapes and sizes. And for areas like Downtown LA, Santa Monica, Hollywood, and Beverly Hills (among others), every corner seems to have an upscale dining establishment that people rave about.

But what about residents in the South Bay? The suburban vibe of this specific LA region doesn’t necessarily lend itself to as much fine dining. In fact, you’ll only find a few mentions of its restaurants on any Jonathan Gold-type list. However, there are options there for those looking for an upscale culinary experience just the same. 

Neighborhoods.com has compiled a list of where to go in the South Bay for exactly that, whether you’re by the Strand, in Inglewood, or down in Harbor City.

Courtesy of the Arthur J

The Arthur J - Manhattan Beach

Head a few blocks south of the Manhattan Beach Pier, and you’ll find The Arthur J, a modern steakhouse with a staggeringly long wine list. Manhattan Beach is chef/restaurateur David LeFevre’s playground, who came through the ranks of Chicago’s renowned Charlie Trotter’s restaurant.

Courtesy of Chef Melba's Bistro

Chef Melba’s Bistro - Hermosa

There’s an emphasis on local at Chef Melba Rodriguez’s Hermosa Beach restaurant. The fish and vegetables -- staples of Melba’s menu — largely come from nearby. Being just short of the water, she leans into the beach character around her for the crux of the menu.

Courtesy of Little Sister

Little Sister - Manhattan Beach

A few blocks up from the pier in Manhattan Beach is Little Sister, a Vietnamese fusion restaurant from Jed Sanford and Tin Vuong. Rather than compromise the Southeast Asian cuisine, Vuong embraces its rough edges. Little Sister is atypical of Manhattan Beach, highlighting food not typically featured in this “fine dining” format — at least not in South Bay.

Courtesy of Zane's

Zane’s - Hermosa

There are plenty of bars and beach shops right next to the pier in Hermosa. But across the street from that busy area is Zane’s steakhouse, which also mixes in a good deal of Italian influence, for good measure. Along with the great steaks and pasta dishes, Zane’s also has happy hour every day.

Courtesy of the Manhattan Beach Post

Manhattan Beach Post - Manhattan Beach

LeFevre’s MB Post is regularly regarded as the best restaurant in the South Bay and sits right across the street from Little Sister. Its cocktail menu stands tall above most others in the area, and the shared-plate food selections provide everything from cured meats like duck prosciutto to squid ink spaghetti, lamb belly, and numerous other unique selections.

Courtesy of Terranea / mar'sel

mar’sel - Rancho Palos Verdes

You don’t have to be a guest at the Terranea Resort in Rancho Palos Verdes to get a table at its seaside restaurant, mar’sel. The vegetables are grown right on the resort property. Much of the fish is local too, reinforcing the sustainability mantra the restaurant itself pushes forward.

Courtesy of Love & Salt

Love & Salt - Manhattan Beach

Love & Salt takes an off-beat approach to Italian fare, though also doesn’t compromise the essence of what Italian food truly is. Its unique interpretations of pasta (bone marrow) and pizza dishes (duck egg pie?). And while filling, the food’s not overly heavy.

Courtesy of Restoration Kitchen & Wine / Instagram

Restoration Kitchen & Wine - Torrance

Amid the quaint shops of Old Town Torrance is a strip of bars and restaurants falling all across the spectrum. One option, Restoration, sports approachable fine dining paired with (hyper-) local beer, as well as wine. If you’re off to (or coming from) one of the many local breweries nearby, some of its seafood or pasta dishes are sure to come in handy.

Courtesy of the Strand

The Strand House - Manhattan Beach

Right next to the Strand (Manhattan Beach) looms a modern, multi-story restaurant overlooking the water and the South Bay’s famed sunsets. That’s The Strand House, part-upscale and carefully prepared meat and seafood stop, part-buzzing cocktail bar. The reserve wine list is also available, for those wanting to up their pairing game.

Courtesy of Suburbia / Instagram

Suburbia - South Redondo Beach

The owners of Little Sister brought Suburbia to unassuming South Redondo Beach just a couple years ago, and it quickly became one of the neighborhood’s top dining option. The world-inspired menu merges  with the home-style cooking with creative ingredients. The small plates format allows for guests to take in a significant amount in a single sitting. 


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