The coastal land of Malibu is populated by celebrities attempting to avoid the real world and regular people who want to avoid the crowds of LA’s more local beaches. It’s also sparsely populated by restaurants that want nothing more than to serve a subpar meal while providing a breathtaking view. Or at least that’s how it usually goes – a great view = decent food. Hoping to avoid that trend, the Danto family brought back memories of high school and college by taking me, their son’s greatest friend of all time, to lunch. The Danto clan had chosen Paradise Cove and I was excited to find out what they had to offer.
Parking at Paradise Cove was the first hurdle we had to jump. At $3 for 4 hours with validation, this was quite literally the only parking available that didn’t risk ticketing. But as far as city parking goes, this was a small price to pay. The next hurdle was getting seated, and although we had a reservation, we still had to wait a good 20 minutes to be seated. This was a poor show, but at least there was a nice beach and pier to visit outside while we waited. Well, sort of. Let it be known that if you are going to Malibu to avoid the crowds of LA beaches, Paradise Cove is not for you. But, if you are not lazy, a 5-10 minute walk past the restaurant takes you some pretty empty patches of beach.
Enough about beach, let’s get back to the food, because after our wait we were finally seated and could check out the menu. Disappointingly, I found myself staring at a menu dominated by seafood. I endorse seafood as consumption of animal, but I really don’t care for the stuff. Fortunately, seafood places usually like to offer some basic chicken or beef dishes and Paradise Cove was no different. I located a BBQ Chicken Breast Sandwich and decided to make it my own. It came with lettuce, tomato, onion and mayonnaise, but I ordered mine plain. Similar to seafood, I support the existence of mayonnaise, but have little need for it (especially when I have BBQ sauce to keep my sandwich moist). It also came with a choice of cole slaw or “golden french fries” and I chose the fries.
When the sandwich arrived, I was appalled to find that a spear of a pickle had taken up residence upon my plate. I whisked it away while wondering what kind of a person would order a plain sandwich, but still want a pickle spear. Clearly a crazy person, and I am not one of those. I put the bun together and got to eating. What a found was a pretty good sandwich. The chicken was tender, moist and well-grilled, while the BBQ sauce had some nice sweet and tangy flavor to it. I was glad they hadn’t just busted out some KC Masterpiece and had opted for something a bit unique. The toasted bun went well with the sandwich, but one of my first bites was tainted with the vile concoction known as pickle juice. It was only one bite, but it was one to remember. So in the end I found it to be just a good sandwich at a place with a stellar view.
Those golden fries, however, were just as stellar as the view. With the girth of fast food fries, these suckers had been fried to the perfect degree of crispiness. And they managed to maintain a chewy center all the while. Pretty amazing.
And to wash it all down, Irwin spotted a chocolate cake he wanted us all to take part in. I usually have no need for chocolate cake or really any dessert, but I would not let the Danto family down on this one. When the massive slice of cake arrived, I happily munched on a couple of bites while letting the rest of the crew take down the lion’s share.
So would I recommend Paradise Cove for visitors to Malibu? Yes and no. Yes, it is a cool place to check out. The sandwich was not bad and the beach was pretty sweet. Plus, if you like seafood, the fish eaters at the table were both quite happy with their orders. One was the opah fish and the other was clam chowder with a sandwich quite literally dipped in it. I, though, probably wouldn’t return to Paradise Cove. I’m glad I got to try it, but there are plenty more restaurants with beaches in the sea of Malibu and I am eager to test them all out first.