A giant wall-to-wall mural inside Mariscos Noche Fresca takes customers to the restaurants main domain: under the sea. Through the windows of a painted submarine, guests can look onto an ocean floor filled with coral, fish, and even a curious octopus. It's hardly a surprise, then, that the menu serves up seafood?but there is a twist. Every ocean-dwelling dish features the citrusy and spicy flavors of Latin America, from shrimp soaked in a lime-chile sauce to shaved fresh oysters served in their shell. And the eatery doesn't just entertain guests' taste buds, either; it also hosts open mic nights to delight ears with the tunes and melodious mic-checks of local musicians.
Proudly bearing the name of the NFL's winningest coach in history, Shula's 347 Grill takes as much pride in its steaks as Don Shula took in being a legendary leader. Inside, dark wood reaches from corner to corner, creating a rich atmosphere awash in the aroma of cooked-to-order cuts. Settled in a booth or at the long bar, browse the menu to discover classic steak-house cuisine with flair, such as parmesan-dusted polenta fries, blackened sea scallops, and 8-ounce filet mignons cooked entirely by fireworks.
Jars of Korean kimchi and delicate spheres of salmon roe dot Dahn Sushi’s kitchen, adding artful flourishes to a menu of classic Japanese cuisine. Sushi, the restaurant’s specialty, ranges from dainty duos of eel nigiri to hand rolls packed with tuna, octopus, or red snapper. Diners can belly up to the sushi bar and take notes as they watch the chefs chop, slice, and roll their creations into vibrant spreads, some of which look like friendly caterpillars. In addition to serving small groups within the scarlet dining room, Dahn's staff delivers giant platters of sushi to parties, meetings, and mermaids’ swim meets.
Crispy-charred cuts of beef, pork, and chicken come out of Hot Lake City BBQ’s slow cooker ready to be slathered in their last saucy layers of barbecue sauce. The piles of barbecue glory are then layered atop grilled buns and surrounded by their suitably royal attendants of baked beans, fries, onion rings, potato salad, or coleslaw. Chefs lovingly prepare each barbecue dish from scratch, using fresh ingredients and homemade meat patties to fashion à la carte or combo meals that diners can dig into in the restaurant’s dining room or take to-go to serve as bait for lonely grills.
Hot Dog on a Stick Founder Dave Barham opened his first Hot Dog on a Stick in Santa Monica in 1946, and the company has since burgeoned into an employee-owned franchise that's more than 100 eateries strong and spans 11 states. Best known for a 100% turkey hot dog dunked in corn-bread batter made from Dave's mother's recipe and cooked in soy oil, Hot Dog on a Stick also pioneered the dipping and be-sticking of mild american and spicy jalapeño jack cheese. Smiling employees in red-, white-, and blue-striped uniforms with, as Dave put it, "a splash of lemonade," hand over cherry, lime, sugar-free, or original lemonade that they make fresh every two hours by squeezing Ventura County lemons until they cry.