Love & Salt – Los Angeles

Big cities provide big opportunities for a great dining experience and Love & Salt in Manhattan Beach did not disappoint!  Located just blocks from the pier, it’s a small, warm and comfortable place for an easy dinner with friends or solo, as I was this week.  The atmosphere is California-cool with ample seating at tables, the bar and the kitchen bar.  I was early for dinner at 6:30, but the place was completely full an hour later.

The menu is a beautiful collection of Italian-inspired dishes with a California twist.  Choices include small plates, salads, meats, pasta and seafood.  It’s really well put together with just enough choices to appeal to a wide audience.  Of course I started with a cocktail and the dirty martini was nearly perfect, but for the absence of blue cheese-stuffed olives.

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Fresh ingredients are abundant on the menu.  I sampled the Fava Bean Toast made with whipped ricotta, preserved lemon and pecorino.  It’s beautiful, fresh and the perfect size starter for the evening.

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While the pizzas, meats and pastas all looked and sounded wonderful, I went to the lighter side with my entree and chose the Grilled Octopus.  Another work of art on the plate, it was slightly spicy and grilled to a perfect light char.  The dish also includes crispy potatoes, chorizo, salsa verde and a bit more preserved lemon.  I can’t tell you enough how good this was!  I am definitely going to have to try my hand at making my own preserved lemons.

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The prices were reasonable and the service was friendly and timely.  Chef Michael Fiorelli has a deft hand with local ingredients, flavor combinations and an interesting menu.  I would absolutely recommend this place for your next trip near LA/Manhattan Beach.  You can find out more on their website loveandsaltla.com.

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