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.
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.
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.
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.