While our latest trip to the Los Angeles area in October primarily focused on the Beverly Hills area, we had a couple of meetings near Marina Del Rey, which gave us an opportunity to dine at Cafe Del Rey.
When we were given the nod to review Cafe Del Rey, my first thought was: views, views, views. Although there’s no doubt, we’re serious foodies over here, when you have fine dining combined with fabulous views, it doesn’t get much better.
Cafe Del Rey weaves romance and New American fare together with lovely harbor and marina views.
The Food @ Cafe Del Rey
Executive Chef at Cafe Del Rey is David Vilchez who was classically trained in French cuisine at the culinary school at Le Cordon Bleu. He was former executive sous chef at one of Los Angeles’ top steakhouses, BOA Steakhouse in West Hollywood and Cafe del Rey sister restaurant Napa Valley Grille.
They started us off with their Cheese and Charcuterie plate, which included pecan raisin bread, candied nuts, compote and pickled veggies. It’s a perfect option if there’s a group of you to share.
I had to try their Market Ceviche because it sounded so fresh and….it was. Imagine bell peppers, red onions, red tobiko, pineapple and cilantro combined. If healthy and light is what you’re after, this appetizer is a great choice.
A meal isn’t a meal without a salad, at least for me. They make a lovely Caesar Salad as well as a healthy chopped kale salad with romaine, raisins, heirloom tomatoes, chickpeas, nuts, Parmesan, pickled onions, all of which is tossed in a delicious curry dressing.
There’s tons of seafood on the menu which makes sense given that they’re right on the pier. From cast iron seared wild monkfish (one of my favorites) and wild California bass to Wild Albacore Tuna, Grilled Spanish octopus, seafood pasta and scallops, there are plenty of choices.
Their Japanese Hokkaido Scallops had us at hello. They serve this dish with tri-colored heirloom baby carrots, romanesco, carrot-ginger puree and a passion fruit dressing. It was divine!
The Grilled Spanish octopus was also amazing, which they served with stone-ground grits, sweet corn and grilled heart of palm slaw, tossed in a lemon vinaigrette and chili oil.
The seared wild Albacore Tuna was also out of this world, which they prepare with a sesame crust, peewee potato, baby heirloom tomatoes, kale and a olive vinaigrette. I paired this with a 2014 Sonoma Cutrer Chardonnay from Russian River.
Both the wine and beer menu was diverse with plenty of options. Their beer selections included options from Maine, the Netherlands, Mexico, Belgium, Fort Bragg (love that old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout), Venice, Germany and others.
They also had a delicious array of fun cocktails, including one that jumped out at me the moment I sat down – their cucumber Del Rey, which is served with white cranberry, cucumber lime and Hendrick’s Gin. Perfect for a warm fall evening.
We stuck with wine since we ordered so much seafood. Sustainable folks will be happy to know that Cafe Del Rey supports healthy abundant oceans and partners with Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch Program. Each piece of seafood is environmentally sourced – bravo!
Meat lovers will love their Roast Duck Breast from Hudson Valley (prepared with beet yoghurt – wow, right?), Lamb Chops with a parmesan-saffron risotto cake and a Dry-Aged New York Strip steak.
Desserts were equally out of this world and the service was top notch; both the server and manager had a wealth of stories to share.
We shared a few items, but a special call out goes to the Laura Chenel Goat Cheese Cake, my favorite. It was made with a pistachio crust (yum!), bing cherry compote, caramel sauce and a Chantilly cream.
Others on the menu include a Dark Chocolate sponge cake with vanilla cream, chocolate ganache, coffee creme anglaise, chocolate shards and fresh berries. There’s a whole lotta decadent chocolate in this one that all chocolate lovers will want to order.
We also tried the Strawberry Chiffon Cake which they make with strawberry mousse, gelee and creme anglaise. It was all so delish!
They also offer a lovely array of after dinner drinks, including a Nutella on Bourbon Street and something they refer to as Perk Up, which is Espresso, Tito’s Handmade Vodka and Jameson Caskmates. Divine, right?
Two thumbs up for Cafe Del Rey on Admiralty Way. We love this Marina Del Rey eatery and would definitely return!
Be sure to read our Beverly Hills Food Guide for our top picks of Beverly Hills restaurants (and a few beyond). Also check out our Restaurants section as well as our Los Angeles section for fun things to do in LA.