New high-end Mexican seafood restaurant docks in Manhattan Beach
A Sonoran-inspired restaurant will be the new kid on a very popular dining block when it opens this week right in the heart of the busy and vibrant Manhattan Beach restaurant scene.
And the people behind the new place think they got the right stuff to fit right into the neighborhood.
“When we decided to do this in Manhattan Beach, we thought Manhattan Beach deserves a high-end Mexican place to go hang out,” said chef Raymond Alvarez, who created the menu for Esperanza Cocina de la Playa, a modern Mexican restaurant that’s set to open July 29 at 309 Manhattan Beach Blvd.
And even on this busy block it should stand out thanks to its modern decor that includes a white marble bar, leather upholstered dining chairs and bar stools and ceramic light fixtures imported from Mexico for its 2,000-square-foot dining room.
It also aims to be a nightspot because on Fridays and Saturdays it will stay open until 2 a.m. when it’s re-branded as the EZ After Dark cocktail bar.
But it’s primarily relying on its seafood-heavy menu to stand out from the crowd.
“It’s focusing on mariscos-style dishes — a lot of seafood, a lot of lobster tail, jumbo shrimp, scallop, a lot of ceviches,” Alvarez said of the menu, which was inspired by traditional food found in Mexican seaside locales such as Sonora, Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan and Ensenada.
Here are three must-try dishes at Manhattan Beach’s newest dining spot, according to Alvarez.
Playa Shrimp Taquitos
These taquitos are going to be a real eye-turning dish since the jumbo shrimp tails stick out of the end of the appetizers like a flag on a deliciously crispy edible ship.
The jumbo shrimp are rolled into the corn tortilla and are covered in jalapeño crema, Fresno chili aioli and queso fresco.
“When you see them coming down the dining room it will definitely catch eyes, they’re sticking out, they’re very big,” Alvarez said.
Pescado de la Dia
The fish of the day is one of the most customizable dishes on the menu, so get ready to get creative. First you’ll get a choice of whatever is the fresh catch of the day, which may include halibut, sea bass, salmon or whatever else swam too slow to escape that day.
That’s when the sauces come in. You can get it ranchera style, with tomato and chili; or with the Pacifico sauce, which is similar to scampi sauce but with Tabasco, garlic, tequila, white wine and lime juice; or Veracruzana style made with olives, capers, tomatoes and a white wine reduction.
“There are so many different options for just that one dish so anyone can be happy with whatever they choose,” he said.
Ceviche Pineapple Camarones
This is one of the chef’s favorite dishes. It starts with a mix of mango chamoy, Tajin, honey, chili flakes, lime juice and olive oil to make a broth that’s mixed in with jumbo shrimp, scallops, pineapple and cucumber.
“You take a bite and you’re met with spice, saltines, sweetness, like a Mexican sweet and sour sauce. Its deep flavors of spices and citrus and fruits,” he said.
Esperanza Cocina de la Playa
Where: 309 Manhattan Beach Blvd.
Hours: 4 p.m. midnight Sunday – Thursday, 4 p.m.-2 a.m. Friday and Saturday.
Information: 424-422-0057 or esperanzamb.com