We’re finally getting around to writing some more about our recent trip to Southern California for our latest pet sitting assignment in the city of San Pedro. Although neither of us had heard of San Pedro before, we quickly fell for the place. This quiet, scenic community is located roughly 30-40 minutes south of Los Angeles, just to the west of Long Beach. We stayed in a beautiful home with expansive views of the ocean and Catalina Island from almost every room.
The Pacific Ocean was the perfect backdrop for our daily walks with the two dogs we were sitting. But we did wonder if the food scene could hold up to some of the buzzier areas of Southern California. The good news is that you can definitely eat great without braving the infamous Los Angeles traffic.
Here is a breakdown of where to eat in San Pedro, with a list some of the great restaurants, cafes, and breweries we found in and around San Pedro.
Food in San Pedro
The Corner Store
We were only a short five minute walk from local favorite The Corner Store. This cafe and market opened in 1947 and it seems like very little has changed since then, which was perfect. They have a cafe counter inside along with a small market and a robust selection of craft old-school styled sodas.
The menu includes a full selection of coffee drinks, breakfast items, sandwiches, wraps and more. We went a couple of times for coffee in the morning and the breakfast burrito was the stand out.
One of our first mornings in San Pedro, we took a beautiful walk along the coast line down to the south side of town. Our destination was Pacific Diner, a classic, old-school diner located just a few blocks from the ocean.
The large menu is full of countless options for eggs, omelettes, pancakes, waffles, and every other breakfast item you can think of. Our waitress told us that the omelettes were their specialty, especially the Mexican-styled ones, so we each ordered one to see what they were all about. My beef enchiladas omelette was massive and equally as delicious. Let’s just say I was glad we had a solid walk back to the house after this meal.
La Buvette Bistro
For most of our lunches and dinners we took a short drive into the downtown area of San Pedro. We had heard that a new French place had recently opened and most definitely needed to check it out.
La Buvette Bistro is bright and charming on the inside, with subtle touches of French design. The menu is small but full of hand-picked wines and delicious options for dinner. The halibut tartare is a must-order (pictured above). It consisted of local, wild-caught halibut, avocado mousse, cucumber, local herbs and micro-greens. The plating is beautiful and the flavor was right there to back it up.
For our entrees we had the beef Bourguignon and mussels frites. The beef was so tender and flavorful we practically licked the bowl clean. The mussels were perfectly cooked in a deliciously light sauce and came with some seriously addicting fries. Our entire experience was a hit at La Buvette Bistro and we think this place has already established themselves as a dining staple in San Pedro.
Conrad’s Mexican Grill
You can’t go to southern California and not eat Mexican food, right? Conrad’s Mexican Grill had us covered. Also located in the downtown area of San Pedro, this Mexican eatery draws from culinary techniques old and new.
We stopped in for a hearty lunch of plantain sopecitos, a carnitas burrito bowl, and the enseñada fish tacos. The sopecitos made a perfect appetizer and included two corn dough cakes that were topped with beans, plantains, sour cream and queso fresco.
The burrito bowl was a big portion and is what every order at Chipotle aspires to be. The enseñada fish tacos came with pickled cabbage and an avocado tomatillo sauce that I need to find the recipe for.
Omelette and Waffle Shop
During our trip we kept driving past this one main street that had a breakfast spot on the corner. When I saw that it was called Omelette and Waffle Shop, I knew that this had to make it’s way into our plans. So before our trip ended we made our way back to this spot to see what it was all about.
First off, the menu has 80 (!!!) different types of omelettes to choose from and 15 waffle flavors. When they say Omelette and Waffle Shop, they are not messing around. Kacy went with the jalapeño popper omelette and I had the open-faced breakfast enchiladas. Both were massive plates of food and very good but we had our hearts set on saving room for one of their famous waffles.
We went with the coconut pineapple waffle and it was everything that we wanted it to be. To our surprise, the shaved coconut and pineapple were not on top of the waffle but actually had been cooked inside the waffle itself. This helped to keep some of the crispiness of the exterior of the waffle while offering an explosion of sweet and citrusy flavor in each bite. If you are a waffle lover like me, then this is a must visit.
Food in Long Beach
San Pedro is a short 15 minute drive to Long Beach, California. While there were plenty of San Pedro restaurants to keep us occupied, we enjoyed the change in scenery every now and then.
One of these Long Beach meals was at a cozy little Italian eatery named Ellie’s.
We started with the Spring Roots appetizer of carrots, beets, pepitas, goat cheese, avocado puree and a lemon vinaigrette. It was a great start to the meal and offered a lot of roasted and sweet flavors from the vegetables. It was a welcomed break from all of the tacos and hearty breakfasts we’d been consuming so far on the trip.
For our entrees we both couldn’t resist the pastas. Kacy went with the Chittara Pomodoro and I had the Tagliatelle.
The pastas were hand made in house and the pomodoro came topped with a melty burrata that elevated a simple Italian classic to another level. The tagliatelle dish was loaded with different flavors from the shrimp, n’djua, serrano chile, and creme fraiche topping. Both dishes were outstanding and further solidified my life-long love for fresh made pasta.
We found ourselves at another dinner in Long Beach when we came across a place that was offering a modern take on Latin and New Mexican cuisine. Panxa Cocina is a sleek and trendy spot located in the heart of Long Beach.
We ordered a couple drinks off of their creative cocktail menu that included a lavender old fashioned and a margapeño with cucumber and jalapeño infused reposado tequila.
The food menu is full of modern takes on tradition Latin dishes. After much deliberation we eventually chose the goat cheese enchiladas and albondigas con spazzle with sides of caramelized street corn and poblano rice.
The goat cheese enchiladas were the only let down of the meal as they were a bit ordinary. The albondigas con spatzle on the other hand was interesting, unique, savory and all kinds of delicious. The spatzle was melt-in-your-mouth tender and the albondigas (meatballs) were juicy and full of rich flavor. We also loved both of the side dishes.
The San Pedro area also has a great selection of craft breweries in the area that you can’t miss. One of our favorites was Brouwerij West. This brewery has a huge space with an awesome patio and beer garden out front.
We posted up here one afternoon and went through a variety of different beers ranging from Belgian-style ales to pilsners to IPAs. There were also a couple of food trucks that made this the perfect place to spend a sunny day.
Another brewery that we decided to stop at was Burnin’ Daylight. This place was a little bit further north in the Lomita area, but still a pretty easy drive.
It was raining out, so sat inside and each tried out a flight of different beers. I enjoyed the vast selection of IPAs while Kacy opted for their Mexican lager, pilsner and Lomita light. We didn’t order any food during our visit here but the table next to us did and it all look quite good.
The final brewery we hit up was Smog City. This brewery is located in Torrance, but there’s also has a smaller taproom in Long Beach. We sat inside at this brewery as well and admired the art work that been painted to the side of many of their aging barrels.
They had a solid selection of sours, IPAs, and seasonal beers that we each worked our way through in some flights. The Wow Pop crushable IPA fully lived up to its name and one of my favorite beers of the trip.
Overall, we had an excellent and relaxing – not to mention delicious – time in San Pedro. This trip proved that Southern California is bursting with delicious food options. But of course, we hope to head back to Southern California many times in the future to fully explore it culinary offerings.
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