Ah, Malibu. The land of the sun, sand, and sea; it’s quieter than Los Angeles and is perfect for a day (or a week) spent hiking, beaching, and eating on repeat. Everywhere you go, you can find restaurants that are steps away from the ocean. It’s hard to tell which is better, the view or the food.
Here are the best of the best in Malibu — if you only have a short amount of time in this gorgeous city, these are your must-try eats.
1. Brunch at Malibu Farm
Healthy, fresh food doesn’t have to be boring. Malibu Farm has the most insta-worthy food in Malibu, including watermelon cocktails served in mason jars, grilled chocolate cake, and seasonal salads, but the absolute best thing to get is any of their brunch options.
2. Fish and Chips from Malibu Seafood Fresh Fish Market & Cafe
When the ocean is literally steps away, you have to try the seafood, notably the fish and chips.
3. Breakfast Burrito from Lily’s Cafe and Pastries
The best way to spend a day in Malibu: Hit Point Dume for an easy hike, swim or surf at Zuma Beach, and go to Lily’s for their famous breakfast burrito. You’ll find this little shop crowded with hungry surfers, so if you don’t want to wait, call and order ahead.
4. Açai Bowl from Sunlife Organics
Açai bowls are a Southern California must, and no one does it better than Sunlife. Not only do they have healthy smoothies and bomb açai bowls, almost all their options are vegan, vegetarian, paleo, or gluten-free friendly.
5. Scallops with Lobster Risotto from Geoffrey’s Malibu
If you’re looking to treat yo’self, Geoffrey’s is the place to go. Their scallops with lobster risotto dish is practically famous and most definitely worth your money.
6. Drinks from Moonshadows Malibu
There’s no better place to enjoy a glass (or two) of wine than Moonshadows.
7. Fish Tacos from Reel Inn
Fish tacos are a classic beach eat, so head to Reel Inn for a plate of tacos and fries, washed down with an ice-cold beer.
8. Fried Seafood from Neptune’s Net
Neptune’s Net is a popular local hangout — you’ll always find multiple motorcycles parked outside. And for good reason. You haven’t truly been to Malibu until you’ve stopped here for any of their fried seafood options.
9. Fire Roll from Zooma Sushi
California sushi > sushi from all other states, especially when it comes from Zooma. Try the fire roll if you dare.
10. Squid Ink Linguine from Plate
If you haven’t had Plate’s squid ink linguine, you’re missing out on life.
11. Fish Burger from Fish Grill
Another great seafood option in Malibu, Fish Grill has hearty fast-casual dishes and seafood classics — perfect for after a long day at the beach. After one of their fish burgers, you’ll never want to go back to regular hamburgers again.
12. Drunken Mac ‘n Cheese from Ollie’s Duck and Dive
Ollie’s is comfort food at its best, and you can feel even better about the food you’re eating because they only source seasonally from Malibu farmers and feature uncaged and free range proteins. Their drunken mac ‘n cheese includes fried pork belly and jalapeños, and is hands down the best mac and cheese you’ll find on the West Coast. Try out this recipe if you just can’t wait.
13. Bacon Avocado Cheeseburger from The Country Kitchen
Forget In-n-Out. This bacon avo cheeseburger is where it’s at — because you’re not in California if you don’t add avocado to everything.
14. Sandwich from John’s Garden Fresh Health Store
Don’t be fooled by the name — John’s Garden Fresh Health Store has something for vegans and carnivores alike. You can’t go wrong with any of their sandwiches, from the sprout-filled vegan delight to the seafood-heavy surfer princess.
15. Golden Bags from Cholada Thai Beach Cuisine
The authenticity of this as Thai food may be questionable, but its flavor is undeniable. Because no matter what, deep fried shrimp and pork wontons always taste good.
16. Tropical Drinks from Paradise Cove Beach Cafe
You can pretend you’re on an exotic island with pineapple mojitos, watermelon daiquiris, and ice cream cocoladas.
17. Butter Cake from Mastro’s Ocean Club
Mastro’s is a local favorite for uber fancy dinners, so if you have serious cash to spend, hit it up. Trust me, the warm, gooey butter cake at the end will be so worth it.