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15th of December 2018


BALEENKitchen Review | Global Traveler

There are many upmarket waterfront restaurants dotting Los Angeles’ South Bay communities that feel like they have been around forever. That’s not a bad thing if the kitchen turns out solid surf-and-turf classics flanked with great views of the Pacific.

When chefs Vasili Tavernakis and Paul Dinulescu were tasked with reinvigorating the concept, they were intent on making waves by adding travel-inspired dishes crafted with local produce to the menu. The interior follows suit with an airy and open space breaking from “yacht club” traditions.

An excellent hamburger joins lobster mac-and-cheese on offer, but the chefs truly excel in lighter dishes, applying just the right amount of Pan-Asian or European flair. Appetizers like the ahi tuna taco, Asian lettuce wraps and yellowtail snapper hamachi deliver a splash of spice without the addition of heavy mayos or sauces. Signature mains are a bit richer, taking cues from the Mediterranean, Germany, Italy, Japan and the American South. The Simply Grilled items, in contrast, are classically Californian with the addition of a salad or vegetable side. The sense of globetrotting adventure meeting L.A. beach city breeziness flows onto the cocktail list.

Several tables upstairs can accommodate larger groups, and the outdoor patio with fire pits is ideal for cocktail hour get-togethers. However, corporate planners and execs may want to take note of the Chef’s Table at BALEENkitchen. The up-close-and-personal private dinner for parties up to 10 allows participants to interact with Tavernakis and Dinulescu as the bespoke feast comes together.


Portofino Hotel & Marina245 Portofino WayRedondo Beach, CA 90277tel 310 372 1202

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