Food with a View

Laid-back din­ing on the Pa­cific Coast in Mal­ibu

Qantas - - Contents - writes Donna Walker-Mitchell.

AH, MAL­IBU. It’s less than an hour’s drive from Los An­ge­les but its re­laxed beach-chic vibe makes you feel like you’re in an­other world the minute you ar­rive. In fact, The ’Bu, as lo­cals af­fec­tion­ately call it, might as well be its own is­land. As you drive west along Cal­i­for­nia’s Pa­cific Coast High­way from Santa Mon­ica, Mal­ibu is marked by 43 kilo­me­tres of beau­ti­ful beaches and mul­ti­mil­lion-dol­lar homes sit­u­ated im­pos­si­bly close to the ocean. For all its beauty, it can be a cul­ture shock for first-time vis­i­tors. It’s rus­tic and ex­tremely ca­sual, which sur­prises many. Un­like Bev­erly Hills, it’s not glam­orous and glitzy; nor does it have the hip­ster vibe of LA’s Sil­ver Lake or Los Feliz. While Mal­ibu com­mands some of the high­est house prices in the United States, lo­cals don’t re­ally flaunt their wealth. Once they leave the long drive­ways of their gated coastal re­treats with un­usu­ally high walls, you can spot them in ripped jeans or track­suit pants. Dress­ing down is akin to a re­li­gion here.

With a pop­u­la­tion just shy of 13,000, Mal­ibu is like a small town with quaint, some­times ram­shackle mom-and-pop stores on one side of the high­way. On the other side are sexy, world-renowned restau­rants such as Nobu. Long-time res­i­dents have mixed feel­ings about com­mer­cial de­vel­op­ments in their town. Sure, they love not hav­ing to travel to Bev­erly Hills or Brent­wood for a spe­cial meal but they’re also des­per­ate for Mal­ibu not to lose its breezy, al­most hip­pie aes­thetic. But the times they are a-changin’, al­beit slowly, in this place that epit­o­mises the South­ern Cal­i­for­nian dream.

NOBU

22706 Pa­cific Coast High­way, Mal­ibu nobu­restau­rants.com Make no mis­take, get­ting a table on the deck here is the hottest ticket in town. As you come up Nobu’s stone-paved drive­way, you may think you’ve ac­ci­den­tally driven into a lux­ury car deal­er­ship, with Bent­leys, Fer­raris and As­ton Martins lined up out­side. Pa­parazzi perch along the low brick wall, eye­ing the valet area like hun­gry seag­ulls, wait­ing to see who ex­its the ve­hi­cles. Ex­pect to queue, no mat­ter what time of day you ar­rive.

Sit­u­ated on Car­bon Beach, oth­er­wise known as Bil­lion­aire’s Beach, Nobu has views from al­most ev­ery van­tage and the food is well above par. Must-try dishes in­clude the black cod with miso and the yel­low­tail sashimi with jalapeño. Or just go omakase (let the chefs de­cide) while you re­lax with a Sun­set Spritzer and take in that view – ei­ther of the glis­ten­ing Pa­cific Ocean or the crowd, both of which are fab­u­lous.

CBC

22878 Pa­cific Coast High­way, Mal­ibu mal­ibubeachinn.com With ex­ec­u­tive chef Cody Dickey at the helm and an out­look that takes in Mal­ibu Pier, CBC (for­merly Car­bon Beach Club) at Mal­ibu Beach Inn is an idyl­lic spot for lunch or din­ner. Start with the grilled oc­to­pus served with ca­pers, olive oil and lemon zest or the In­sta­gram-wor­thy ahi tuna tartare. As you set­tle in for the even­ing and the beach be­low is flooded with light, en­joy the lus­cious

Pad­dock-to-pier din­ing at Mal­ibu Farm Cafe (op­po­site)

Nobu’s Peru­vian­in­spired white fish tira­dito (left) and per­fectly po­si­tioned deck with the most cov­eted ta­bles in town

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