Begin the BALEEN: Exquisite Dining with a Marina View
Nothing stimulates an appetite like a frolic near the ocean, and nothing ends a superb day of sun and fun like finding a new favorite dish at a romantic restaurant that you just discovered. Sound inviting?
Start at the Portofino Hotel and Yacht Club
In our last article (read *here*), we extolled the virtues of our favorite boutique hotel on the water in the charming coastal city of Redondo Beach, in southern California.
The Portofino Hotel and Yacht Club is a special place for those who enjoy the sights and sounds of harbor life along the great blue Pacific coast.
This time our focus shifts to the BALEEN restaurant
One reason we like the Portofino Hotel is its outstanding stand-alone marina view restaurant and bar, the BALEEN.
Admittedly, we took some liberties with the famous Cole Porter hit* in titling this article, but the play on words was irresistible, and the title has the added benefit of being right on point. As of this writing, the Portofino website hasn’t caught up to the new beginning of the eatery’s recent name change from “Baleen Los Angles” to just plain BALEEN. The shorter name eliminates confusion – after all the restaurant is in Redondo Beach.
Sumptuously different food
The bill of fare at this multi-level restaurant is American eclectic and seafood-centric. The kitchen serves locally sourced epicurean delights and decadent desserts. The unique menu is designed to reflect the seaside location and relaxed atmosphere at the Portofino.
The menu includes such tantalizing dishes as Roasted Sea Scallops & Braised Beef Short Ribs, Cane Sugar Seared Ahi Tuna with Coconut Rice, BALEEN Bouillabaisse, and “Sugar & Spice” Pork Chop with House-made Apple Sauce – all mouth-watering delicious! This food is all about impressive harmony.
Maybe it’s because Executive Chef Jesse Souza is a native New Englander, but there is something “different” about his blends and seasoning that is unique to his kitchen – and we mean “different” in a most excellent way.
Chef Souza’s 17-years of culinary experience really shines through with his highly creative presentations that are designed to excite and delight the most discriminating palate.
He is also something of a culinary risk-taker. Be sure to try the BLT Salad, Duck Carnitas, Ahi Tuna Tartare, and if available, try the Lobster Mac and Cheese – really!
The BALEEN also boasts a deep wine list for perfect pairing with an inspired meal.
The morning after
Breakfast is served in the lower level of the building just steps away from the undulating boats in the tranquil marina.
You can watch the orange Garibaldi fish poking at the barnacle-encrusted rocks along the seawall as you wait for your perfectly prepared Eggs Benedict or Huevos Rancheros to arrive.
Many mornings, the rising sun permits a comfortable meal at one of the restaurants outside tables. Eggs, salt sea air, and robust coffee – now that’s a breakfast.
We think the BALEEN is one of the best casually chic restaurants in America.
We visited and reviewed dozens of elegant Inns and Restaurants in 2011. We are pleased to designate Chef Souza’s BALEEN the “Best Restaurant for 2011” and award the Portofino Inn and Yacht Club our “Best Boutique Hotel for 2011.”
If you go
*Perfection in any art form is always appreciated. If you did not click on hit* above, do it here. It may well be the best 9 minutes you will spend on your computer today. See what once was and will never be again.
© Travels with Wayne and Judy Bayliff
Photos © Wayne and Judy Bayliff
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