Dine Like a Local at Malibu’s Sunset Restaurant

In a land that has become a haven for the Nobu’s and Mastro’s of the world, it’s sometimes nice to find a place that epitomizes the laid-back surfer beach vibe that made Malibu famous in the first place.

Located across from Zuma Beach and away from the traffic of the PCH, Sunset Restaurant is a breath of fresh air if you’re in the mood for no fuss and no pretention. Don’t get me wrong – I’m a serious fan of Nobu’s delicious sushi and gorgeous seaside views, but there’s still something about a friendly place where you can roll up after a day at the beach and just be comfortable in your natural state.

On a Tuesday night, I took my parents, who were visiting from the East Coast, on the scenic drive up the 101 to check this place out. The lone structure across from the quiet beach (which is not so quiet on the weekends), Sunset Restaurant looks like a private beach house. We sat in their main dining room with windows open, where we were told was the perfect place to watch a fantastic sunset, but alas, June gloom was in full force. But in my head, I could almost hear the music of the Beach Boys …

The cuisine is a mixture of classic seafood and Italian fare with items like Crab Cakes, Calamari, Linguine with Clams, Fish Tacos and Filet. And it’s not a shared plate concept – you actually get your own food! (A pet peeve of mine lately.)

The Seafood Bar is equally classic and fresh from Ahi Tuna Tartare to Hamachi Crudo to Fresh Lobster and Oysters on the Half Shell — a perfect light bite after a day in your bikini.

If you’re just in the mood for a cocktail or glass of wine, Happy Hour in the bar is from 3-9. I’ve always wondered why happiness has to stop at 7pm. Here, at Sunset Restaurant, it doesn’t.