Begin The Baleen: Exquisite Dining with a Marina View
Nothing stimulates an appetite like a frolic near the ocean, and nothing ends a superb day of sun and fun like the discovery of a new favorite dish at an out of the way romantic restaurant. Sound inviting?
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Back at the Portofino Hotel and Yacht Club
In our last article (read here), we extolled the virtues of our favorite boutique hotel on the water in the charming coastal city of Redondo Beach, in southern California.
The Portofino Hotel and Yacht Club is a special place for those who enjoy the sights and sounds of harbor life and the great blue Pacific.
This time our focus shifts to the BALEEN restaurant
One reason we like the Portofino Hotel is its outstanding stand-alone marina view restaurant and bar, the BALEEN. As of this writing, their website hasn’t caught up to the recent name change from Baleen Los Angles to just plain BALEEN. The shorter name eliminates some confusion – after all the restaurant is in Redondo Beach.
Sumptuously different food
The bill of fare at this multi-level restaurant is American eclectic and seafood-centric. The kitchen serves locally sourced epicurean delights and decadent desserts. The unique menu is designed to reflect the seaside location and relaxed atmosphere at the Portofino.
The menu includes such tantalizing dishes as Roasted Sea Scallops & Braised Beef Short Ribs, Cane Sugar Seared Ahi Tuna with Coconut Rice, BALEEN Bouillabaisse, and “Sugar & Spice” Pork Chop with House-made Apple Sauce – all mouth-watering delicious! This food is all about impressive harmony.
Maybe it’s because Executive Chef Jesse Souza is a native New Englander, but there is something “different” about his blends and seasoning that is unique to his kitchen – and we mean “different” in a most excellent way.
Chef Souza’s 17-years of culinary experience really shines through with his highly creative presentations that are designed to excite and delight the most discriminating palates.
He is also something of a culinary risk-taker. Be sure to try the BLT salad, Duck Carnitas, Ahi Tuna Tartare, and if available, try the Lobster Mac and Cheese – really!
The BALEEN also boasts a deep wine list for perfect pairing with an inspired meal.
The morning after
Breakfast is served in the lower level of the building just steps away from the undulating boats in the tranquil marina.
You can watch the orange Garibaldi fish poking at the barnacle-encrusted rocks along the seawall as you wait for your perfectly prepared Eggs Benedict or Huevos Rancheros to arrive.
Many mornings, the rising sun permits a comfortable meal at one of the restaurants outside tables. Eggs, salt sea air, and robust coffee – now that’s a breakfast.
We think the BALEEN is one of the best casually chic restaurants in America.
We visited and reviewed dozens of elegant Inns and Restaurants in 2011. We are pleased to designate Chef Souza’s BALEEN the “Best Restaurant for 2011” and award the Portofino Inn and Yacht Club our “Best Boutique Hotel for 2011.”
If you go
Click here to see our entire photo gallery of the Portofino Hotel and Yacht Club and Redondo Beach.
© Travels with Wayne and Judy Bayliff
Photos © Wayne and Judy Bayliff
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