After moving to the United States in 1968, Mark Lewis sorely missed the fresh fish he had found so readily available across the Atlantic Ocean. He was born in Marseille, France, and grew up in Casablanca, Morocco, where he spent leisurely days fishing the rivers with his friends. Lewis decided to create Dry Dock Fish Company to give Americans a taste of his beloved homeland. For more than 25 years now, Lewis and his family have been listening to customers' fish stories with a smile and working tirelessly to give people a deeper appreciation of the fruits of the sea.
According to his bio, Lewis's favorite selections are the Santa Barbara shrimp, local halibut, and mahi-mahi. But renowned chef and restaurateur Giacomino Drago was drawn to the whole branzino; as part of the Farm to Table video series, he prepared one for dinner after a culinary excursion to the Beverly Hills Farmers' Market. You can find the branzino—along with sashimi-grade tuna or salmon smoked in-house—at the main storefront, in gourmet restaurants from Los Angeles to San Diego, and at more than 20 farmers' markets in Southern California. The shop also stocks delicacies, such as jars of preserved lemons and limes from Morocco and jars of preserved jelly bracelets from 1986.
A small flight of stairs leads guests down into a rustically decorated room, which evokes the ambiance of a subterranean wine cellar with its earthen arches, barrel-lined walls, and soft chandelier lighting. Designed by the artisans who created Disneyland's Pirates of the Caribbean, the dining room appeals to a similarly nostalgic whimsy. However, the cooks slightly modernize the menu's historic European roots by introducing unexpected ingredients.
The chefs elevate simple grilled-cheese sandwiches by slipping in braised short ribs, caramelized shallots, and horseradish cream alongside the gruyere and monterey jack cheeses, and a splash of cognac adds even more richness to the silken lobster bisque. Thai barbecue-glazed tofu and basmati rice also help to distinguish the menu by lending it a distinctly international flare.
Staying true to its name, The Cellar proudly features a 1,400-bottle wine list, which, according to the staff, helped to garner the restaurant Wine Spectator's exclusive Grand Award. The selection includes familiar staples, boutique producers, and rare vintages from virtually every major wine-producing region except the Marianas Trench.
From founder Bill Larson’s first quaint pizza parlor, which he opened in 1959, Round Table has grown to more than 500 stores, which sprinkle across seven states like pepperonis across a sizzling pie. Self-proclaimed purveyors of “the last honest pizza,” Round Table cooks make dough from wheat grown on family farms in Idaho. That dough is rolled from scratch every day, in every restaurant, to pair with premium meats and fresh-cut veggie toppings.
Wood-paneled walls give the Fullerton location an old-school feel, which contrasts with modern amenities such as flat-screen TVs and robot chefs to replace the outdated steam-powered ones. The dining room’s ceiling fans whirl the steam from oven-baked pizzas in sizes from single-person smalls to 16-slice extra-larges that feed up to five. Besides create-your-own options, Round Table dishes up specialty pies named for medieval court characters such as King Arthur, Guinevere, and Frank, the little-known castle custodian.
Juicy tidbits of chocolate-dunked fruit arrive on the doorsteps of family and friends, done up in colorful bouquets and candy boxes by the skilled fruit arrangers at Edible Arrangements' more than 1,100 franchises worldwide. The company's in-house chocolatiers drizzle albion strawberries and daisy pineapples in a trio of chocolate flavors. Once properly chocolated, the workers organize the preservative-free sweets into lush arrangements that resemble flowers in bloom. Customers can choose to plop their bouquets in a variety of vessels, including vases, mugs, and sports- or holiday-themed containers that add a personal touch to the edible gifts. Alternatively, customers can opt to adorn gifts with the cheery, red lids of candy boxes, nestling 12 chocolate-dipped morsels inside to build anticipation and determine if loved ones have x-ray vision as they guess whether fruit will come dusted in shredded coconut or drizzled in white chocolate.
Make lunch or dinner into a fun foodmersible with submarine-shaped appetizer rolls such as the seared ahi tuna variation with mango, mint, avocado, and wasabi-ginger soy sauce ($7), or yam-tempura-coated fish sticks ($7). Meat goes best with meat, which explains why bold dishes like the rau ram salad with chicken, cabbage, green mango, and apple ($11) and the braised anise shortrib ($22) stand out so well. Quietly confident plates such as the tofu with eggplant, mushrooms, and Thai basil ($12) or the lemongrass jalapeno wok (tofu, $13) are equally delicious, but are more susceptible to noogies.
Emulating a true-to-life New York deli, the interior at Gandolfo’s conjures the bustling streets of the Big Apple without the clamor of subways or the rush of the city. Inside each franchise—Gandolfo's locations, like New York City's five boroughs, are spread across 15 states—New York memorabilia dons the walls, overlooking helpings of more than 70 New York–themed sandwiches. From the Long Island chicken salad to the pastrami-stuffed King of Queens, each variety comes piled high atop a freshly baked hero or kaiser roll or sourdough, wheat, or rye bread. The deli also sates Manhattan–size appetites with chili-soaked Nathan’s hot dogs and relieves morning cravings with bagels buried beneath turkey and roast beef.