I've been to Los Angeles three times in January. Each of these three times I've visited the same restaurant in Santa Monica. The restaurant is the Lobster and is found just off the pier in Santa Monica. This place was originally recommended to me by a colleague who had visited a couple years ago. He had been drinking a good amount before his visit, but he really loved the place.
I decided to give it a try. Each time I have visited, I've had the same thing and really love it. I start with the shrimp cocktail. The cocktail sauce has a nice bit of heat added by mixing horseradish with traditional cocktail sauce. While the sauce is quite tasty, the real winner here is the shrimp. The texture of the shrimp was amazing - firm and an amazingly fresh taste. I do love shrimp cocktail any time anywhere, but I don't think I've had a better cocktail than I get at the Lobster.
For my entree, I get the lobster roll. This is a simple lobster salad (lobster meat and mayo) served on a bibb lettuce "liner" on a toasted roll. I've never been a big fan of a lobster meat in general, but this sweet and flavorful sandwich is truly wonderful. The sandwich is served with pretty unimpressive pickles (on the side) and some great shoestring fries. Usually, shoestring fries are too crispy for my taste, but not these, they are crispy but also a little soft (just how I like my fries) served with a bit of herbs on top. No need for ketchup on these fries.
I usually pair my appetizer and lobster roll with a nice glass of Pinot Gris from the King Estate in Oregon. This crisp wine pairs so nicely with the seafood. I am unfamiliar with King Estate - so if you know anything about this winery, I'd love to hear your impressions.
If you are in the greater Los Angeles area and have some free time you must stop by this place. I highly recommend making reservations as soon as possible. The restaurant has amazing views and great outdoor seating. If you want to eat here you will need to plan ahead.
This is a great place even if you have a long layover at LAX. We stopped by on our return from Palm Springs this weekend and had plenty of time to get from the airport to the restaurant and back -- and even included a 20-25 minute walk along the walkway above the beach. I would say you can do the Lobster for lunch if you have 3.5 hours at LAX -- as long as you have a reservation that is.
Have you been to the Lobster? Do you have a favorite place in LA that you visit during a long layover? What about other quick places to visit on a longer layover in a new city? Do you love lobster - what about shrimp cocktail?