Since its days at the Malibu Country Mart, Nobu Malibu has been one of L.A.’s most quintessential seen-and-be-seen restaurants. Whether you’re looking to gawk at celebrities or just want to celebrate a special occasion, the current location on PCH offers stunning views of the water during the day—and a moody, somehow even better atmosphere at night. The pricey fusion-style Japanese cuisine may no longer be cutting-edge, but in our experience it’s still quite delicious and extremely consistent, from signatures like the yellowtail jalapeño sashimi and miso black cod to newer seasonal dishes. Beyond food and ambience, top-notch service and plenty of well-lit nooks and crannies for snagging the perfect selfie make the hassle of booking a table here worth it. Tip: While the restaurant’s technically on OpenTable, the best time slots are only available over the phone—310-317-9140—up to 30 days in advance.
“Malibu tends to astonish and disappoint those who have never before seen it,” Joan Didion once wrote in The White Album, “and yet its very name remains, in the imagination of people all over the world, a kind of shorthand for the easy life.” The water may not be as turquoise blue as Newport Beach, nor the sand as pristine as Carmel by the Sea up north, but the built-up, carefree surfers’ mythos around Malibu continues to make the coastal city a playground for bikers, surfers, Jonah Hill and people who just want to go to the beach.
When it comes to restaurants, Malibu offers some of the freshest seafood—surprise, surprise—but there’s so much more than yellowtail jalapeno sashimi at Nobu Malibu and fish ’n’ chips. Along the Pacific Coast Highway, you’ll find some of L.A.’s most iconic coastal dives and patios by the water and cozy spots for Thai takeout and breakfast burritos, plus a few beloved old-school joints closer to the Santa Monica Mountains. Here’s our guide to eating through Malibu like a local—we hope you brought your appetite, and maybe some sunscreen.
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