Marina del Rey’s Waterfront Dining Destination CAFE del REY: Non-Traditional Seafood for Summer

Marina del Rey’s Waterfront Dining Destination CAFE del REY: Non-Traditional Seafood for SummerLocated directly on the harbor in the picturesque seaside neighborhood of Marina del Rey, CA, CAFE del REY offers seasonal California-Mediterranean cuisine, inspired by the French and Italian Rivieras and executed by Executive Chef Chuck Abair. With unparalleled views of the marina, CAFE del REY provides diners with a sophisticated yet approachable dining experience, representative of the best of what Southern California has to offer in both cuisine and ambiance. Located just 15 minutes away from Los Angeles International Airport, CAFE del REY is easily accessible to locals, as well as visitors who desire a casual gourmet dining experience in one of Los Angeles’s most iconic locales.

With a Mediterranean-influenced menu and dining room views of sailboats bobbing in the water, CAFE del REY provides guests with the feeling of being whisked away to a coastal European town without having to board a plane. An updated lounge and cocktail area exudes the vibrant energy of patrons enjoying a glass of wine or one of CAFE del REY’s signature market fresh cocktails, which is located adjacent to the dining room and near the restaurant entrance.

Abair’s refined cuisine highlights seasonal ingredients—as well as an array of housemade items—in the creation of all dishes, from savory appetizers for the lounge and small bites for a private event, to hearty meat and seafood entrées served in the main dining room. “CAFE del REY provides a level of escapism,” General Manager Adam Spicer says. “It only takes a moment to sail out of the Marina del Rey harbor and be transported to another world, and it’s really no different when you enter our doors.”

Marina del Rey’s Waterfront Dining Destination CAFE del REY: Non-Traditional Seafood for SummerChuck Abair brings his seafood-driven background to CAFE del REY, crafting seasonal menus that focus on the flavors of the French and Italian Riviera with accents from throughout the Mediterranean region. With his focus on creative presentations of the area’s best seafood, such as his house-cured salmon, along with a focus on making pantry staples such as pasta and bread from scratch, his menu sets the mood for sophisticated yet relaxed marina dining. “I strongly believe strongly in the interplay of local ingredients and sustainable seafood” the chef says. “For me, it’s about exceeding guests’ expectations, making as much in-house as possible, and providing a dining experience that suits the spectacular location.”

A Southern California native, Abair first learned to cook in his grandmother’s kitchen. With the encouragement from his family, he set out to become a chef by earning a degree from the California School of Culinary Arts, Le Cordon Bleu, Los Angeles, California.

After graduating from culinary school, Abair worked in a number of restaurants throughout Los Angeles including the Viceroy Hotel, Anisette, and Westside Tavern. He also worked alongside Chef Michael Cimarusti at Water Grill and followed him to Providence to take on the role of sous chef. There, Abair not only helped the restaurant earn a Michelin star, but he also developed his love for creatively showcasing seafood.

The lunch menu features an array of fresh seafood appetizers, including a Dungeness Crab Cake with baby heirloom tomatoes, lollipop kale, ruby red grapefruit and a basil aïoli, as well as Poached Salmon Salad with butter lettuce, spring beans, herbs, watermelon radish and tarragon dressing. Entrees include Grilled Tiger Shrimp with a curry cilantro marinade, faro, cucumber, edamame, haricot vert and harissa vinaigrette, as well as savory sandwiches served on house-baked bread, like the hearty Gyro Lamb Burger and Harissa Spiced Fries. The lunch menu is further highlighted by the Cinque Terre special—a unique offering inspired by the five villages of Italy’s Cinque Terre region, which features a tasting of five Mediterranean small plates handpicked daily by Abair and available for just $25.

Marina del Rey’s Waterfront Dining Destination CAFE del REY: Non-Traditional Seafood for SummerStandouts on CAFE del REY’s dinner menu include a variety of fresh seafood options, such as a selection of Oysters, Chilled Prawns, and house-cured Salmon. Starters on the dinner menu feature a variety of salads, along with the signature Truffle Pizza topped with truffle cream, caramelized onions, truffle peeling, fresh thyme and parmesan; Steamed Mussels with red wine, garlic, shallots and tomatoes served with a grilled baguette; and Beef Tartare with capers, cornichons, shallot, chives, whole grain mustard, quail egg, and potato gaufrette.

Fine ingredients and artful presentation punctuate CAFE del REY’s delectable main courses, which are highlighted by dishes such as the hearty Duck Confit served with quinoa, broccolini, carrots, cauliflower, saffron, and curry sauce; Seafood Fettucine with opah, salmon, bay scallops, tomato, and broccolini; and the Chateau Filet with spring onions, mushrooms, fingerling potatoes, bone marrow butter, andred wine jus.

Complementing the savory options, CAFE del REY features seasonally inspired desserts, such as the Chocolate Panna Cotta with vanilla coconut pastry cream, toffee sauce, honeydew, pomegranate seeds, and chocolate streusel; the Maple Berry Pie with spiced streusel topping, and brown sugar ice cream; and Housemade Sorbet and Ice Creams with seasonal flavors.

In addition to lunch and dinner service, CAFE del Rey offers daily Happy Hours in the newly revamped lounge from 2:30-6:30 p.m. and 9-10 p.m., featuring specials on Abair’s seasonal small plates, including Frito Misto with calamari, shrimp, fennel, and a lemon whole grain mustard aïoli, and Truffle Fries with truffle peelings, ground parmigiano reggiano, chopped truffle, and parsley. Brunch is served every Saturday and Sunday and offers diners a chance to soak up the sun and salt air while enjoying the Brunch del Rey, a three-course, prix fixe menu that includes Champagne, Mimosa, Sparkling Cider, and Bloody Marys for $38.

Marina del Rey’s Waterfront Dining Destination CAFE del REY: Non-Traditional Seafood for SummerCAFE del REY offers a variety of wines and cocktails designed to complement Abair’s cuisine, as well as make any visit to its lounge memorable. The restaurant’s signature Market Fresh Cocktails are made from the finest ingredients available and top-shelf spirits. Among the highlights of the cocktail offerings are the Sangria, a refreshing concoction of red or white wine and fresh seasonal fruit; the Black Garden a refreshing blend of el jimador blanco tequila, st. germaine, black berries, lemon and basil; and the seasonal Bourbon Lemonade with citrus infused woodford reserve bourbon, orange liqueur, fresh lemon, lime, and ginger.

CAFE del REY’s Wine Spectator award-winning wine list features an extensive selection from wineries around the world, with a particular focus on France varietals (Perrier-Jouët) and California (Estancia 2001 Pinot Grigio; J Vineyards 2009 Chardonnay; Argyle 2009 Pinot Noir), as well as selections from Italy, Argentina, and emerging wine regions.

Located in Marina del Rey, just minutes from Los Angeles International Airport, CAFE del REY transports diners to a beautiful, romantic Mediterranean-esque locale with its seaside views and crisp, recently refreshed interior décor. Perched on the water’s edge, the restaurant’s ambiance is enhanced by its unique setting. Local artist Nicole Blackburn painted the restaurant’s walls with vibrant blue tones, intended as visual reflections of the nearby ocean and to contrast the dining room’s warm palette, which is enhanced with wooden, barrel-back chairs and tables color-stained with rich jewel tones. Olive trees placed throughout the restaurant add to the Mediterranean influence of the design, as do a collection of original, Italian-inspired paintings by artist Renata Castilho, displayed in the dining room. Each piece is inspired by a satellite map image of a select Italian town that is then reimagined on canvas in abstract form. A key element of the CAFE del REY experience is the breathtaking scenery, with expansive windows surrounding the dining room and lounge, which afford diners a view of the water from every seat in the restaurant.

Marina del Rey’s Waterfront Dining Destination CAFE del REY: Non-Traditional Seafood for SummerThe lounge at CAFE del REY sits adjacent to the main dining room and exudes a playful and sexy vibe thanks to its oversized leather couches, wrought-iron candle sconces, and a warm, cozy fireplace. The amber-hued bar comes alive with sounds of cocktails that are shaken, stirred, and served to patrons who find it an ideal meeting place for happy hour, catching a game on one of the two flat-screens, socializing with friends, or for a romantic date. This area is also available for private parties and events, and can be transformed into a dance area with the addition of a removable wood floor.

CAFE del REY offers a variety of enticing options for larger groups, as well as private dining functions, both in the expansive main dining room and the adjacent lounge. In addition, groups can take in spectacular views of the marina or dine under the stars in the Regatta Room, a gorgeous, citrus tree-lined patio overlooking the water. For private functions, the Regatta Room can be reserved to accommodate up to 55 guests. The main dining room can accommodate up to 135 seated or 225 for a reception (including lounge), while the lounge provides a charming, semi-private space for get-togethers of up to 75 standing or 50 seated. For additional information on private dining at the restaurant, please visit the CAFE del REY website or call the restaurant directly at 310.823.6395. Fo