2011 Best of A to Z
To celebrate the finest our community has to offer, Southbay magazine asked our readers and followers to select their favorites from more than 40 categories and nearly 200 nominees in all. After a staggering 17,000 votes, we've tallied the results.
A is for Adventure
BEST OUTDOOR ACTIVITY
Hiking in Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy
Since 1988, the PVPLC has successfully preserved and/or restored 1,600 acres of open space on the Peninsula, much of which is accessible to the public via guided nature walks by volunteers, naturalists and geologists. Put on some comfortable shoes and SPF and see firsthand the birds, wildlife and plants that inhabit this stretch of our beautiful South Bay.
For a current schedule, visit pvplc.org.
•Cowboy Boot Camp
•Hang Gliding with Windsports off Dockweiler
•Paddle Boarding with South Bay Paddlesurf
•Whale Watching with Voyager Excursions
B is for Booze
BEST BEER SELECTION
The Simmzy brothers, as they say, “go way back, so they know each other well,” and the number one passion they share is drinking and eating (in that order). Chris, or Big Simmzy, has the difficult task of personally sampling all the craft beers that make the coveted chalkboard. With 24 rotating taps, many hard-to-find and a few “off the handle” specials, the only empty mugs are behind the bar.
229 Manhattan Beach Boulevard in Manhattan Beach | 310-546-1201 | simmzys.com
•Manhattan Beach Brewing Co.
BEST WINE LIST
The recently opened eatery by Chef David LeFevre scores out the gate with this early win for the corked stuff. Kudos to general manager and wine director Jerry Arbus for curating a list that includes such fine offering as Saxon-Brown sémillon and Parusso nebbiolo, available by the 3-ounce or 6-ounce portion. Not bad for the new kid on the block.
1142 Manhattan Avenue in Manhattan Beach | 310-545-5405 | eatmbpost.com
•The Bottle Inn
•Friends of the Vine
BEST HAPPY HOUR
Mucho Ultima Mexicana
At 5 p.m. the bar and lounge of this popular Mexican restaurant overflows with the post-work crowd. Must be Cinco de Mucho and that $6 happy hour menu. Translation? Hot corn taquitos, yucca fries, carnitas sliders, hand-hacked guacamole and signature blood orange margaritas. Salud!
903 Manhattan Avenue in Manhattan Beach | 310-374-4422 | muchomb.com
•Hennessy’s Tavern, Hermosa Beach
•Kincaid’s Fish Chop and Steakhouse
•Mangiamo Ristorante & Bar
•Nelson’s at Terranea
BEST CLASSIC COCKTAIL
The Navy Grog at Rock‘N Fish
Gold rum and fresh tropical juices topped with a layer of sweet Hawaiian dark rum. Summer in a glass.
120 Manhattan Beach Boulevard in Manhattan Beach | 310-379-9900 | rocknfishmb.com
•Cadillac Margarita at Riviera Mexican Grill
•Fire Chief at Old Tony’s
•Q-cumber & Tonic at Shade Hotel
BEST DIVE BAR
A pool table, better-than-good bar food, a great local crowd and drinks that keep flowing and flowing … what else could you ask for in a dive bar? Thanks for keeping it real, Ercoles.
1101 Manhattan Avenue in Manhattan Beach | 310-372-1997
•The Bull Pen
•North End Bar & Grill
C is for Cuts
BEST HAIR SALON
Hush Hush Hair Salon
Ready to rock a new look? Add this Manhattan Beach beauty stop to your iPhone favorites. Chic, city and contemporary, with a roster of comely stylists to match, every day is a good hair day.
1020 Manhattan Avenue in Manhattan Beach | 310-372-2600 | hushhushhairsalon.com
•Bob Roy Salon
•Lush Sculpting Lounge
D is for Dance
BEST DANCE STUDIO
Beach Cities Dance
Two left feet? No problem. Owner and instructor Anna Rubin created a “process-based over product-oriented” space for beginner to advanced dancers to find passion in performance and movement. From ballet to ballroom, a talented faculty welcomes toddlers, adults and all ages in between to join their family. Get inspired.
2010 N. Sepulveda Boulevard in Manhattan Beach | 310-796-0706 | beachcitiesdancemb.com
•Center Stage Dance Academy
•Redondo Beach School of Music and Dance
•You Can Dance Studio
E is for Eats
BEST NEIGHBORHOOD SUSHI BAR
Simple, fresh sushi at its traditional best. Purists love the albacore and sweet shrimp; the more adventurous love the lobster and papaya fusion of Lobster Dynamite. Number one seller? Crispy Spicy Tuna, deeply fried rice topped with avocado and sliced jalapeno pepper. Perfect washed down with a cold Asahi beer.
302 Rosecrans Avenue in Manhattan Beach | 310-546-3761 | katsu-sushi.com
•Sashi Sushi + Sake Lounge
•Sun & Moon Café
BEST BURRITO JOINT
The unassuming storefront just south of the pier in Hermosa draws a loyal customer base for everything from breakfast bowls to quesadillas. But the build-your-own burritos are the true stars at this family-owned business. Chances are you’ll see our founder and chairman Todd Klawin sitting at the counter. He’s a regular.
24 11th Street in Hermosa Beach | 310-372-0707 | brothersburritos.com
BEST BIRTHDAY CAKE
Sure, the red velvet cupcake is awesome, but we can’t get over the super moist and delicious multi-layered vanilla cake covered in the signature Susie Blue buttercream frosting. Add some colored sprinkles, a scripted message and a few candles and call it a party on a plate.
3500 N. Sepulveda Boulevard in Manhattan Beach | 310-303-3780 | susiecakesbakery.com
•Beckers Bakery & Deli
BEST ROMANTIC RENDEZVOUS
Terranea Resort’s fine dining venue already has a lot going for it: a spacious, moonlit patio, breathtaking ocean views, intoxicating wines and cocktails. Add to the mix Chef Michael Fiorelli’s impeccable “California with a twist” cuisine, and how could you not fall madly in love?
100 Terranea Way in Rancho Palos Verdes | 310-265-2836 | terranea.com/marsel
•Café Pacific at Trump
“Best Beer” meets “Best Burger” for the ultimate happy meal. Chef partner Anne Conness serves up the original— Omaha natural angus beef, Simmzy’s smoked onions, melted cheddar, garlic aioli, lettuce and tomato. Add Hill’s applewood bacon, avocado and balsamic roasted shiitakes, or substitute grilled chicken breast or tofu. Remember, happy.
229 Manhattan Beach Boulevard in Manhattan Beach | 310-546-1201 | simmzys.com
•The Counter El Segundo
•Union Cattle Company
BEST FOR BREAKFAST
Uncle Bill’s Pancake House
A South Bay tradition for 50 years, Uncle Bill McElroy first started serving breakfast in the converted 1908 house back in 1961. The Van Amburgh family took the reigns nearly 40 years ago and continues to please the morning crowd with omelettes, waffles and 10 varieties of pancakes.
1305 Highland Avenue in Manhattan Beach | 310-545-5177 | unclebills.net
•Eat at Joe’s
•Martha’s 22nd Street Grill
•Polly’s on the Pier
F is for Fur
BEST PET SUPPLY
Pet Foods Market
With 12 years experience in the industry, this purveyor of pet products enjoyed so much success, they opened a second outlet in Palos Verdes. You’ll find all your pet’s nutrition needs, including healthy raw food and dehydrated diets. Be sure to say hello to Pasha, the store’s resident feline.
1816 N. Sepulveda Boulevard in Manhattan Beach and 716 Yarmouth Road in Palos Verdes Estates| 310-546-8090 | petfoodsmarket.com
•Centinela Feed & Pet
•Shi Shi Pet Boutique
BEST PET GROOMER
Paws A While
You’ll be “blown away” by trimming, primping and drying skills at this cleverly named salon for the four-legged set. Owner Connie Killen’s love for dogs and cats shows in her staff’s care and attention to your furry friend’s grooming needs. Two paws up.
1145 N. Sepulveda Boulevard in Manhattan Beach | 310-318-3996
•Bubbles Pet Spa
•Dunkin Doggies Day Spa
BEST DOG PARK
Redondo Dog Park on 190th Street and Flagler Lane
Located at the north end of Dominguez Park, the turfed, fenced-in, three-acre zone is more than a dog run … it’s a daily event. Off leash and off the hook, there’s plenty of room to roam and socialize while owners kick back and observe. This spot is so beloved, there’s even a “friends of” non-profit supported by generous donors. That’s something to bark about.
•Live Oak Park Dog Run
•Ocean Trails Dog Beach
G is for Guests
BEST ACCOMMODATIONS FOR OUT-OF-TOWNERS
A short walk to The Strand, this stylish and modern luxury escape not only offers great digs, but also a breezy rooftop pool and a happening lobby bar scene. Stay tuned for Shade 2.0 in Kings Harbor Redondo Beach.
1221 N. Valley Drive in Manhattan Beach | 310-546-4995 | shadehotel.com
•Beach House Hotel
•Portofino Hotel & Yacht Club
•The Sea View Inn
H is for Hem
Door To Door Valet Cleaners
Owned and operated by the Veera Family for more than 20 years, the certified environmental cleaners also scores high in the alterations department. With six locations throughout the South Bay, getting that suit or dress fitted to perfection should be a snap.
519 Pier Avenue in Hermosa Beach | 310-376-8383 | doortodoorcleaners.com
I is for Ink
BEST INDEPENDENT BOOKSTORE
Pages: A Bookstore
With mega retailers like Borders and Barnes & Noble downsizing in the era of the Kindle, it’s refreshing to see a charming bookseller like Pages holding their own. Created by three local “bibliophiles,” the store packs the shelves with smart fiction, riveting non-fiction and an extensive children’s collection. The end.
904 Manhattan Avenue in Manhattan Beach | 310-318-0900 | pagesabookstore.com
•Dave’s Olde Book Shop
J is for Java
BEST CUP OF JOE
The oldest coffee house in Hermosa, this Pier Avenue hot spot has no problem helping locals with their daily caffeine fix. The ‘20s bungalow makes for a cozy venue ideal for slow sips. The Java Man’s motto: “Our coffee’s so good we drink it ourselves.”
157 Pier Avenue in Hermosa Beach | 310-379-7209 |javamancoffeehouse.com
K is for Knowledge
BEST PLACE TO BE A STUDENT
Simple Gourmet Cooking Class
Even if grilled cheese tops your list of “can-do” recipes, the culinary masters at Simple Gourmet hope to make the art of preparing food a fun, collaborative and rewarding task. Maybe that’s why businesses all over LA hire chefs Melanie Barsuk and Taji Marie and crew to lead their employees in group exercises designed around cooking. When has team-building ever been so delicious?
443 S. Pacific Coast Hwy #A in Redondo Beach | 310-318-3464 | simple-gourmet.com
•Mark Fitchett’s Guitar School
•Tequila University at Ortega 120
L is for Laquer
BEST NAIL SALON
Mani Pedi Cutie
If Sally Bowles preferred her nail polish green, the visionaries behind this Pier Avenue gem saw “green” in the bigger picture. Envisioned by former model Ally Conley, MPC hosts clients in a natural, environmentally-conscious setting and uses only non-toxic beauty supplies. In the customer satisfaction department, they always nail it.
501 Pier Avenue in Hermosa Beach | 310-376-9988 | manipedicutie.com
•Angel Nail & Hair Design
M is for Muscle
BEST PERSONAL TRAINING
RockIt Body [Pilates]
Mix Pilates, cardio and strength training, and you have one of the most successful fitness studios to hit the South Bay. But it’s the people behind the equipment who drive results. Judie Aronson’s team of SPX-certified trainers helps clients get the most out of their sessions time and again. Got to work off that SusieCake somehow.
1834 N. Sepulveda Boulevard in Manhattan Beach and 1718 S. Catalina Avenue in Redondo Beach | 310-744-1004 | rockitbodypilates.com
•Bar Method Palos Verdes
•The Pilates Institute
Let’s start with the facilities—a staggering 105,000 square feet in all. Add two pools, two full court gymnasiums for basketball and volleyball, a kids’ club, café, free WiFi and full-service spa and it’s hard to beat Spectrum for both quality and quantity of amenities. Already a fan? Join the club.
2250 Park Place in El Segundo | 310-643-6878 | spectrumclubs.com
BEST WORKOUT TREND
Get addicted to the latest fitness craze to hit the South Bay … and one that really works! The Pilates-based circuit training classes are a unique twist on traditional Pilates and can achieve muscle definition much faster than Pilates or weight training alone. Check it out at Best Personal Training winner RockIt Body in Redondo and Manhattan.
•Beach Boot Camp
N is for Nest
BEST HOME DECOR
Recently departing her Manhattan Beach digs for a new storefront on renovated Pier Avenue, Carrie Quinn and her crew bring their brand of beach chic to a fresh clientele. Not that any of the store’s loyal customers will go elsewhere for their stylish sofas, plush patterned pillows or coral accents. They need only explore Hermosa’s sparkling new block to find all their interior inspirations.
138 Pier Avenue in Hermosa Beach | 310-546-5552 | maisonluxehome.com
•Dennee’s Distinctive Furniture
•Fowler & Moore Interiors
O is for Off the Farm
BEST FRESH PRODUCE
Grow Manhattan Beach
“Comparing our produce to supermarket produce is like comparing apples to oranges,” says Grow owners Barry and Kathy Fisher. The couple grew up in farm country and proudly bring a knowledge and love for wholesome products to the South Bay. Straight from the farm to your grocery bag, try the Buck navel oranges. You won’t be disappointed.
1830 N. Sepulveda Boulevard in Manhattan Beach | 310-545-2904 | growtps.com
•Manhattan Beach Farmers Market
•Riviera Village Farmers Market
•Sprouts Farmers Market
P is for Petals
Sister act Lisa Hoven Gallien and Lee Hoven Bakos bring two decades experience to their much-frequented, much-loved flower shop in downtown Manhattan Beach. Fresh and fragrant, their delightful designs pop up everywhere from the dining room centerpiece to the bridal bouquet. Stop by around the holidays when they transform the store into a floral winter wonderland.
1201 Highland Avenue in Manhattan Beach | 310-545-4432 | growingwild.net
•Lily Pad Floral Design
•Rolling Hills Flower Market
•The Yellow Vase
Q is for Quiet
THE BEST PLACE TO GET AWAY FROM IT ALL
The Spa at Terranea
Location. Location. Location. Situated at the edge of the property with the ocean a massage stone’s throw away, this tranquil sanctuary feels so peaceful and removed, even the seagulls keep the noise at bay. Before or after treatment, surrender to the outdoor whirlpool in the private patio or curl up with tea and a magazine in the treatment room. iPhone and Blackberry reception rather weak … what a shame.
100 Terranea Way in Rancho Palos Verdes | 310-265-2740 | terranea.com
•Del Cerro Park
•Palos Verdes Cove
•Palos Verdes Land Conservancy
R is for Retail
BEST PLACE TO BUY A GIFT FOR A GUY
Totally dude. Well, they have stuff for the ladies too, but South Bay guys dig the selection of choice merchandise. Paddleboards, surfboards (Hermosa Beach-made for more than 25 years), skateboards, wetsuits, casual apparel and accessories—how could you go wrong? You could buy him another boring necktie.
301 Pier Avenue in Hermosa Beach | 310-372-6419 | beckersurf.com
•Medawar Fine Jewelers
Oo la la. European undergarments abound at this seductive boutique nestled in downtown Manhattan Beach. Don’t be fooled by the unassuming storefront … inside you’ll find enough silk and lace unmentionables to start a South Bay heat wave. Your boudoir never looked so good.
•Wink Room at Rolling Hills Flower Mart
BEST SHOE SELECTION
Specializing in one-of-a-kind consignment and resale, Andrea Plsek opened this design dream boutique for haute couture-starved South Bay fashionistas. The shoes take the cake, with such names in supply as Jimmy Choo and Donald Pliner. Grab the perfect pair before someone else does!
3216 Manhattan Avenue in Hermosa Beach | 310-796-9034 |idoubletake.com
•Papillon Redondo Beach
BEST FOR BABY
Bella Beach Kids
Even if the buyer gets way more joy than the infant ever will wearing the onesie, we still can’t stop grabbing up pint-sized fashions for the little ones in our lives. Everything’s too darn cute to resist! Luckily owner Kris D’Errico packs the store with it all, from boy and girl apparel and accessories to strollers, furniture and toys. Why must they grow up so fast?
227 Manhattan Beach Boulevard in Manhattan Beach | 310-529-5645 | bellabeachkids.com
•Lollipop, A Children’s Boutique
S is for Surf
BEST SURFING GEAR
Local professional surfer Dennis Jarvis opened his first surf shop on PCH in 1983 and continues to thrive off a friendly atmosphere brought by the enthusiastic workers and surfer-friendly environment. Some of the best riders in the world compete or surf on a Spyder board. They don’t just sell the lifestyle; they live it.
2461 Pacific Coast Highway in Hermosa Beach | 310-374-8276 | spydersurf.com
•Dive N’ Surf
T is for Tunes
BEST LIVE MUSIC VENUE
An intimate setting, a mix of new talent and big-name acts, and one kick-ass bar scene–this South Bay hub hums seven nights a week. The roster changes nightly, so check out their interactive website for up-to-date calendar info. Can’t make it out tonight? Log in and view streaming live video in high-def. Sweet.
142 Pacific Coast Highway in Hermosa Beach | 310-372-0035 | saintrocke.com
•Brixton South Bay
U is for Unattached
BEST PLACE TO MIX AND MINGLE IF SINGLE
The downtown hot spot racks up another win as the place to see and be seen with other South Bay singles. The bar gets lively from happy hour on, where on any given night the crowd spills out to the patio or two stories up to the moonlit pool deck, where many a seven-digit sequence has been exchanged over cocktails. Score!
1221 N. Valley Drive in Manhattan Beach | 310-546-4995 | shadehotel.com
•Mucho Ultima Mexicana
•Twelve & Highland
V is for View
BEST VISTA IN THE SOUTH BAY
Nelson’s at Terranea
Imagine you’re cuddled up by one of the resort’s many fire pits, wine glass in hand, watching the sun set on the Pacific. To your right, Point Vicente Lighthouse. To your left, Portuguese Bend. Straight ahead, Catalina Island. Not too bad! Aren’t we lucky all that’s right in our backyard? Head to Nelson’s and experience for yourself.
100 Terranea Way in Rancho Palos Verdes | 310-265-2836 | terranea.com
•Del Cerro Park
•La Venta Inn
W is for Wave
BEST SPOT TO SURF
Great in winter when the four-to-six-foot swells come in from the northwest. If you can find a zone with “holes,” or breaks in the constant closeouts up and down the beach, you’re in for a good ride. With parking a breeze, El Porto’s also the most crowded. Longboarders take over in summer when the waves are less challenging.
X is for X-Cursion
BEST WEEKEND GETAWAY
Since the ’20, this oasis has drawn celebrities, a Rat Pack and plenty of vacationers for a desert holiday. On an upswing in recent years, new fans drive out for the mid-century architecture and design, outlet shopping and classy resorts like The Parker. Just avoid the summer months, when the temperature often tops a toasty 120.
Y is for Yoga
BEST YOGA STUDIO
The Green Yogi
This Manhattan Beach studio has a simple mission: to put the soul back in yoga. Held in an eco-chic environment, power yoga classes follow vinyasa flow practice but with music and high energy. Owner Mary Strong leads a team of some of the best instructors in town. Strike a pose!
3504 Highland Avenue in Manhattan Beach | 310-546-YOGI | thegreenyogi.com
•Bikram Yoga Hermosa
•LYFE Yoga Center
Z is for Zen
BEST DAY SPA
Indulge yourself. A fixture at Metlox Center for several years now, this heavenly haven allows you to slip away from your hectic schedule and enjoy some needed R&R. Choose from a tempting menu of treatments that includes the Ginger Body Butter Rainbar and Noni Seaweed Detox Wrap Thermal Cocoon. Men, don’t be robe-shy. The Manhandler facial zaps ingrown hairs, softens skin, unclogs pores and reduces shaving sensitivity. It’s a beautiful thing.
451 Manhattan Beach Boulevard in Manhattan Beach | 310-760-0044 | trilogyspa.com
•Abbracci Medical Spa & Boutique
•Aesthetic Edge Medical Spa
•Elegance Boutique Spa
•Murad Medical Spa