- Reporters Desk
By Gretchen Williams, Travel and Cuisine Writer
A generation of San Pedro has passed through the romantic arch at the entry of Neil’s Pasta and Seafood Grill since its 1998 inception. Fine seafood, authentic Italian fare and a happening bar have made Neil’s the place to meet and enjoy the charming dining room. Frescos grace the walls, bringing the ambiance of the Old Country to 5th Street. Now, after two decades of serving San Pedro diners, Neil has hung up his toque and is enjoying a well-earned retirement. The iconic restaurant served its last plate of pasta and seafood June 29.
A new restaurant, Kalavaras Mexican Cuisine and Bar, is already set to make the 5th and Nelson location its home. Kalavaras is known for its splashy margaritas and delicious antojitos, along with a full menu of Mexican specialties. Although it’s not yet known when Kalavaras plans to open, expect this restaurant to add an upscale element to Mexican dining in the Harbor Area — and a new party place. Once it opens, this will be that restaurant’s third location. The others are in Bellflower and Montebello.
Quick Summertime Eats
Summertime should be easy. Make your life easy and have dishes on hand to build simple meals around. Local restaurants have the answer and their specialties can help when the weather begs for relaxed dining.
Every small town in Italy has a pasta shop supplying fresh and dried pasta to take home. Fatto a Mano is Redondo Beach’s splendid little piece of Italy, offering authentic handmade pasta, from spaghetti and linguine to ravioli and lasagna. This quality of pasta is unusual and fabulous with different offerings every day.
Fatto a Mano — that’s “made by hand” — also has limited seating to sample the wonderful dishes. Salads, focaccia and Roman style pizza are very good, especially the un-Italian spinach with cranberries and nuts. When in Rome, do as the Romans do. Eating like the Romans seems like a great idea.
Fatto a Mano — The Pasta Shop
610 Torrance Blvd., Redondo Beach
One of the pleasures of summer is outdoor dining and the Harbor Area is blessed with gentle evenings, perfect for al fresco dinner. Nazalie’s on Pacific Avenue and 19th Street is the resource for the best tabouli salad in the area.
Cool and refreshing, the tomato, parsley and bulgar wheat salad is state of the art. As a bright accompaniment to kabobs or falafel, it also compliments the swordfish steaks on the patio grill. Try it on sandwiches in lieu of greens or sprouts for a new twist. Don’t miss Nazalie’s phenomenal garlic sauce. Her baklava is exceptional too.
Nazalie’s Lebanese Café
1919 S. Pacific Ave., San Pedro
The Chori Man is San Pedro’s worst kept secret, and has quickly become a destination for hipsters and foodies from all over Los Angeles but don’t let that hold you back. The hand made chorizo is absolutely fabulous, offered in red and green chile and available to take out. A whole chorizo in your freezer is like money in the bank for entertaining. Chori Man is turning out some really cutting edge burritos as well, in a town well known for good burritos. All veg soyrizo graces any model burrito — the chile relleno burrito with soyrizo is awesome.
The Chori Man
2309 S. Alma St., San Pedro
San Pedro’s beloved Whale & Ale Pub on 7th Street is well known for its prize winning fish and chips, shepherd’s pie and other pub grub, but the pub’s secret weapon is its salad dressing. Available to take home if ordered in advance, the tangy, creamy dressing is lovely on The Whale & Ale signature salad of fresh greens crowned with sliced mushrooms and chopped walnuts. At home, crudite holds new appeal with this dressing as dip and is a clever way to persuade children to enjoy veggies. Used as a spread on sandwiches, The Whale & Ale specialty makes tuna on toasted rye a treat and compliments thinly sliced turkey on whole wheat beautifully. The Whale & Ale pub spuds are a good excuse to stop in for a pint. Take home a jar of their marvelous dressing and make big points on the home front.
Whale & Ale Pub
327 W. 7th St., San Pedro