Beach House

$50 - $75

Is this a movie set or restaurant? While dining at The Beach House in Cardiff, the shore is just inches from you. Dine on abundant seafood, steak or chops. The wine list is extensive, cocktails priced reasonably, and happy hour is every day. Diners of all ages fill this restaurant because the menu offers new twists on classics, contemporary flavors and fresh ingredients. Dine on dishes like Herb Roasted Half Chicken, Lobster Tail & Filet Mignon, Pacific Mahi Mahi, or Baby Back Ribs. They also feature small plates, a children's menu, home made desserts, and a weekend champagne brunch. But don’t forget the view: bring your camera and prepare for memorable beach-side dining. The attentive staff ensures this.

Feast On Ocean Views and Classic Food

Between Tower 14 and 15 in Cardiff-by-the-Sea, the award-winning restaurant The Beach House has offered contemporary seafood and grilled specialties with panoramic ocean views for twenty years. Driving through a quiet, laid-back, residential neighborhood to get there, I almost expected to find a house. What I found was a two-level establishment, right on the water, with a wide range in clientele and an atmosphere that invites guests to stay long as they like. Many patrons look as if they come here every night; however, the restaurant is appropriate for dates, meetings, or large parties.

I dined inside with my husband, seated next to a wall of windows that allowed for maximum viewing while preventing glare from the setting sun. The restaurant interior is appropriately painted the color of sand, with tall plants around the tables adding privacy. The space is not deep, but wide, with booths in the back where diners will feel more secluded than the tables alongside the windows overlooking the outside patio. The outside patio holds approximately 100 people. When I say it’s right on the beach, I mean this: pebbles and rocks are the only barriers between you and the sand and stream that lead to the open ocean. You’re so close to the water that you hear people calling their dogs or children giggling in waves that lap at the shoreline or crash very close to you, depending on the time of day. When the sun sets, the pace slows down, people toast their glasses, take pictures, and discuss the Green Flash. After sunset, the breakwater illuminated in the restaurant’s lights is delightful. You feel at home while on vacation, exactly what the owners, the Pikes, intend.

Although The Beach House has been in the area for decades, the original restaurant opened in Laguna Beach in 1968. I’ve been to that location and experienced the same on-the-water, friendly service experience. The food is every bit as showcased as the fortunate ocean view. There is also a newer location on Dana Island.

The menu offers new twists on classics, but the staples—seafood and steaks—are surprisingly affordable. A 12-oz. King Lobster tail is $42; Lobster Thermidor, $26. My husband ordered the 10-oz. Filet Mignon for $28.

The menu is divided into Starters, Salads, “etc.,” From the Grill, Fresh Fish, and Lobster and Shellfish. The oyster options available were inviting (including my favorite, Rockefeller), and 11 out of 12 starters are seafood options (Fire Grilled Artichoke being the non-seafood item). The entrée menu has broad appeal, and the Beach House also offers a children’s menu.

We decided on the Hawaiian Ahi & Snow Crab Stack, layered with mango and avocado, with wasabi beurre blanc. The beurre blanc was a creamy accompaniment to the meaty, proportionate crab and pink, buttery ahi. A soy sauce was served on the side, but we preferred eating bites of seafood with the beurre blanc, fresh avocado, and thick slice of mango crowing the tower. It was a highly colorful dish, and our senses were pleased by the mellowness of the wasabi and simultaneous brightness of flavor.

Despite years of dining locally, I haven’t enjoyed vinaigrette like I did at The Beach House. I ordered the Poached Pear & Goat Cheese Salad, with pecans and walnuts over mixed greens tossed with cinnamon vinaigrette. The pears, sliced and circling the plate, were scarlet. I asked if the color was due to the poaching liquid, but was told the red hue of the fruit is the naturally occurring color. The cinnamon vinaigrette was earthy as well as slightly sweet, which brought together the tanginess of the goat cheese and the sugary texture of the pears. Every bite provided a crunch of pecan or walnut. It’s been a long time since I’ve had a salad with two nut varieties. This salad proved that delicious needn’t be complicated.

The Caprese Salad had both red and yellow tomatoes stacked with mozzarella, red onion, fresh basil, capers, and roasted pine nuts with balsamic vinaigrette. The tomatoes resembled the sunset and the fresh mozzarella absorbed the vinaigrette and flavor of the globe-like capers. The starter servings were generous. We were full as dinner arrived—immediately after our starter plates were cleared.

The dining room was full but the service was very attentive. Kristin, our server, had checked on us several times by the end of our starter course. I drink excessive water at dinner, and I can’t remember my water glass being empty long. The cues of the hungry, thirsty diners are well noticed by servers, if not intercepted by any restaurant employee happening to be nearby a diner in need. I saw many restaurant employees standing in as photographers.

We ordered wines by the glass. The wine list is long and reasonable; I almost had my husband talked into Far Niente Chardonnay at $85 a bottle. It is divided into nine sections: Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Other Whites, Half Bottles, Champagne and Sparklers, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Other Reds, and Specialty Cocktails. You may bring in your own wine and incur a corkage fee of $15 per bottle.

The Horseradish Root Sea Bass was served with avocado-cilantro butter, fried leeks, and macadamia-wasabi mashed potatoes. Eating the fried leeks was like enjoying a greener onion ring—same indulgent flavor, smart accompaniment to perfectly done fish. The crust on the fish was delicate, lending an appealing aesthetic while delivering the promised flavor of horseradish. The macadamia crunch in the creamy potatoes brought an exotic touch home to this dish. The wasabi wasn’t overwhelming—I could have taken more! The avocado-cilantro butter hid under the leeks, but the flavor of the fish—meaty, mild, and fresh—almost didn’t require it. The green beans, asparagus and baby carrot served with the sea bass had a pleasant crunch, nowhere near being overdone.

We asked for the 10-oz. Filet Mignon to be prepared medium, and that’s exactly how it was served. The fingerling potatoes were roasted just right, caramelized on the skin, the potato itself, creamy and flavorful. We particularly enjoyed the gorgonzola cream sauce, which was sharp but velvety, and mentioned this fondness to Kristin. Within two minutes, she had brought additional gorgonzola cream.

I didn’t want to stop eating. We informed Kristin that it was a school night and we’d like coffee and cappuccino before leaving. While sipping speedily, I overheard Kristin telling other diners that she planned to study in the hospitality program in the California State University schools; she seemed to know about wine already. The Angeline Pinot Noir we ordered (Russian River) is, she mentioned, her favorite, and after tasting it—smooth, cherry and smoky—we understood why.

By this point in our meal, we had glanced at the dessert menu and signed our check, but people were still being seated inside and out. It made me smile to see Cherries Jubilee and Bananas Foster on the dessert menu. The Beach House definitely has a clientele that warms to such sentimental favorites, but contemporary desserts are available as well, such as crème brûlée with berries and ice cream.

As we left, I took one last glance around this restaurant that, although built on sand, has deep roots in this tranquil community. In twenty more years, my guess is the Beach House will still be here, and that is part of its charm. Cuisine that is classic but savvy, generous but healthy is inviting and not disappointing to new clientele, like me. The restaurant’s cool colors, warm sunsets, and dutiful staff keep people coming back. Places like The Beach House never go out of style.

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  Restaurant Info

  • 2530 S. Coast Highway 101
    Cardiff-by-the-Sea CA 92007
  • Address: 2530 S. Coast Highway 101, Cardiff-by-the-Sea CA 92007
  • Cross Street: Chesterfield Drive
  • Location: North County Coastal | Cardiff by the Sea
  • Cuisine: Seafood | Sunday Brunch |
  • Cost: $$$ | Moderate | $50 - $75
  • Category: Fine Dining
  • Star Rating:
  • Reservations: Recommended
  • Dress Code: Business Casual
  • Meals Served: Brunch | Lunch | Dinner |
  • Parking: Street | Public Lot | Valet Parking |
  • Payment Options: VISA | Amex | Mastercard |
  • Corkage Fee: N/A
  • Staff: Chris Buetow | General Manager
    Luis Lopez | Executive Chef
  • Phone: (760) 753-1321

  Business Hours

Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
Friday
Saturday
Sunday

Features

Occasion

 


  F.A.Q. - Frequently Asked Questions

An exhibition seafood grill and oyster bar with live entertainment, located on the second story of the restaurant.
The restaurant is located on the beach.
Entertainment information is available by contacting the restaurant directly at (760) 753-1321

 Menus

Dinner Menu

STARTERS

SALADS & SOUPS

FROM THE GRILL

FRESH FISH

LOBSTER & SHELLFISH


 User Reviews

Awesome Restaurant  

In the last two months, we have dined at the Beach House 3 times. It is my favorite restaurant in North County! It offers a unique and varied menu and the food has always been great, as was the service and the setting is fantastic! We always sit on the patio "on the rocks"!

Excellent dining experience  

I came here looking for a review of this restaurant. We had eaten there about 5 years ago, but wanted to see what people were saying about it now. It's a good thing we ignored the negative reviews. This was one of our best dining experiences ever. We ate early (about 5:00) because that's when the sunset was, which was outstanding from the heated outdoor patio area. I had the Mahi Mahi with scallops for $21 and my wife had the Halibut with scallops for $23. They were both excellent. Preparation was superb, both melted in our mouths, except for the Mahi, which should have some texture to it and did. The waiter was young and maybe a little too casual for this type of restaurant, but he did a great job. We will definitely eat here again. Total bill was about $50 for food, plus wine.

All Time Favorite  

Don't forget to ask for a patio table at sunset. This is a romantic San Diego setting with great seafood. The Cajun Halibit is not on the menu but a great item to request.

Fantastic View!  

I always eat here whenever I'm in San Diego. Actually, I always eat here at least twice. Yes, the food is average, the service is average, but THE VIEW! This is easily my favorite ocean view restaurant in the country. Go for lunch, or for sunset, and be sure and wait to sit on the 2nd floor patio. I always order the lobster tail with fettucine, and a split of champagne. Overall, this is always a very relaxing experience.

The Perfect Beach Dinner  

I can't say enough about the beach house. It's a great place to enjoy a drink/snack to watch the sunset, then enjoy a wonderful dinner. I take all of my out of town guests here. The setting is perfect, service is great, and you can always depend on the quality of food. Very romantic, but also fun for "just friends."

Great Place  

This is such a great spot. Right on the beach. Very romantic but expensive. Its worth it. The food is excellent adnthe service couldnt be better.

Great View  

Make sure and request the patio! It was a great location and decent food. The service was pretty attentive too! We had no problems with our reservations, which I made on this site.

hit or miss  

I've eaten at Beach House quite a few times and from what I've found it's hit or miss.. Sometimes the food can be really good other times I rather look out onto the beach and drink. The decor is very very out dated the inside definitely needs a makeover.. Bathrooms are tiny.. Can be a little tough for wheelchair users..Valet is always very fast.. I would go for happy hour have a few cocktails and apps(my choice would be the tuna & crab stack) and enjoy the great view!

Great View, Good Food, Okay Service  

The only thing that was great about this restaurant was the view. I wasn't impressed with the food, and our waitress was very slow. The bartender was great and so was valet.

Great view, average food  

I've visited the restaurant twice. Each time, the ambiance and view was spectacular, but the food was average. If you're looking for a quiet romantic evening, this is the spot. Ask for a table with a view of the ocean at sunset...it totally makes up for the average food.

Awful service  

We were a party of 4. All four dinners came at different times and my dinner arrived 20 minutes (!!!!) later than the others. No explanation or apology was offered. This is unacceptable. The view and atmosphere is great which is why I gave it a 2 and not a one. The food is reasonably palatable but plates came cold. Overall a not a pleasant experience.

view  

I thought it was pretty good. The decor is cheesy, but I sat outside and had the amazing view. Our waitress was friendly and sincere. the food was fine.

totally overrated!!  

How did it earn "excellent" in food? The ONLY thing going for it is the ocan view. Service is s-l-o-w and food totally mediocre...we go for happy hour sometimes just for the view.

Overrated  

The only decent thing about this place was its location on the beach. After making reservations, we ended up waiting 30 minutes for our table while we drank watered down martinis. My wife ordered the fresh sauteed ono, which had an odd taste, while I ordered the rare ahi. Mine was passable, but not memorable. The service was terrible, and we felt as if they had forgotten about us several times.

Worst service!  

I have been to the Beach House restaurant a few times. I hate myself for going everytime. The view is wonderful, but the service and food suck. Waiter was rude and slow, and the food was mediocre. Nobody comes around to check on you. We went there for my mother's birthday. They do not offer a desert nor do they even bring you a candle. I will not ever go back there! I suppose the management does not care because all the reviews are the same and things have never changed!

Beach House - Terrible  

Took 40 minutes for our lobster bisque which looked like chedar cheese. Then our main dishes came out cold, not even luke warm, but cold. I actually asked the waiter if the rice and vegetables were supposed to be cold! I sent back my dish to get heated and they microwaved my food which included just barely seared Ahi which then came back cooked. Was not impressed. Place needs serious painting done to exterior and servers need to be a little lighter on their feet as it took 1.5 hrs to have a bad lunch.

this place sucks!!!  

View is great. Service,food, management,valets..it all sucks. Save your money!