Surfside in Venice Beach blends community, culture and comfort beach food
Written by Joclene Davey | Photography by Paul Jonason
Mere steps from sand and sea, Surfside Venice Beach rolls up its vintage garage windows and welcomes locals and travelers into a laid-back bistro that is serious about good food and having fun. Whether one has spent the day surfing at the breakwater or people-watching on the boardwalk, Surfside is the spot for savoring hearty pub food with a twist.
Previously the location of long-standing Danny’s Deli, a local meeting place in Venice Beach and part of the community for more than 100 years, Surfside is a new tradition. When neighboring global travel company Samesun learned of an opportunity to take over the property, they pounced. “We wanted to keep the location for the local community to nurture new and budding artists through our live music programs, and for the locals that have been coming here for years to have a place to congregate,” shares Hannah Woods, assistant general manager of Surfside.
A major renovation opened and brightened up the space, creating a canvas for cultivating a laid-back, SoCal surf vibe while keeping original exposed brick walls and integrating rustic and Danish Modern furniture into rooms with walls of smoky antiqued mirrors and oceanic murals. Overhead dangle dozens of wicker chandeliers illuminating a lively, come-together scene. “Through Surfside, we look to nurture local community while harmoniously blending Venice residents and global travelers through an artistic and friendly atmosphere,” explains Woods. Glimpse the delightfully mixed crowd, from vibrant youth to families and friends, and see Surfside is doing just that.
On the culinary side, the restaurant features comfort beach food, executed by chef Jesse Gutierrez, with seasonal specials from healthy Farro Bowls and Kale Salads to vegan and gluten-free menu items. Surfside is committed to using only locally sourced food and sustainable fish, as well as organic chicken and meat. And it’s done a nice job of giving classic pub food a gourmet spin. The Korean Fries, for example, is beautifully plated and tops perfectly cooked fries with caramelized kimchi, and Bulgogi short ribs with housemade Sriracha Mayo for that ideal kick. Meanwhile, the Butternut Squash Flatbread, a vegan favorite, is crowned with curry almond ricotta, Brussels sprouts, kale and a drizzle of balsamic.
Surfside is also known for awesome burgers like the Breakwater Burger, a half-pound of Angus beef topped with applewood bacon, and the surprisingly sweet Surfside Fish Tacos, made with a tropical marinade and habanero slaw, which is a refreshing slant on the grilled wahoo favorite. “We wanted to take a bit of a healthy approach to the typical pub food, and then add a unique touch,” shares Woods.
During brunch, served daily from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m, one can enjoy a healthy tofu scramble known as the Muscle Beach or indulge the diet-blowing Nutella Stuffed French Toast. Weekdays from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m is Happy Hour when the signature cocktails flow. Fans luxuriate over favorites like the Windward Avenue, a gin cocktail, or the best-selling Pink Bikini, made with vodka and strawberry puree. Surfside also serves a variety of local beers and has a decent-size wine list.
True to its mission, Surfside displays the works of local artists and photographers and on Thursday hosts live music. Every Wednesday, meanwhile, is Open-Mic Night and weekends are filled with DJ music and sports games shown on multiple screens throughout the establishment.
The message is clear: Everyone is welcome at Surfside, a spot for good food, good music, and good friends.
23 Windward Ave, Venice, CA 90291
424.256.7894 | surfsidevenice.com