The Beachcomber Cafe – Malibu Pier, CA

It takes a lengthy, winding drive from The Valley to get to The Beachcomber in Malibu, but the trek is definitely worth it for me. It’s from the same owners as the nostalgic (but sorta cheesy) Ruby’s Diner chain—in fact there’s a branch at the opposite end of the Malibu Pier—but the food and atmosphere here is several notches better.

With the wooden interior, peaked ceiling and green and copper details back by the kitchen, the dining room has a similar old-school feel to its sister restaurant in Orange County, but on a much larger scale.

The Tonga Lei for two ($16) is the best cocktail I’ve tried on their menu so far. It’s apparently made with three kinds of rum, mango, orange and pineapple juices, but it’s the bit of bubbles from the champagne that makes it for me. This drink is normally served in a Tiki Farm-made bowl customized for these locations (you can spot them in my Bootlegger Bar photos).

The Beachcomber has a bit of a hedonistic history, which is underscored by the fun presentation of the lobster, tomato and mango martini ($14). I love the olive garnish! (And the kicky guacamole at the bottom of the glass.)

The wild mushroom and truffle macaroni and cheese ($17) and the baked blue cheese and tomato soup are my favorite things to order here. It’s a big bowlful of creamy, ‘shroomy goodness!

On one of our last visits we mixed it up and got the grilled chicken with “pineapple carpaccio” (fancy way of saying thinly sliced pineapple), yuzu sauce, rice and veggies ($18). Not bad but I’ll be sticking with my mac!

Mr. Hockey (I forgot that Mr. Baseball requested a name change after the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup) usually has the filet mignon ($29) with grilled veggies and potatoes.

The “Gimme S’mores”(Some more of what?…You’re killing me, Smalls!) dessert ($8) is yet another martini glass filled with vanilla ice cream, hot fudge, toasted marshmallow and graham crackers. But even better is the…

Donut hole bread pudding! It’s topped with vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce and it’s a study in decadence. If you’re one of those people that criticizes desserts for being too sweet then this is not for you. (All the more for me!)

Yep, the food is good and the view is great (especially from their swank outdoor patio), but the best (and truly tiki) part about The Beachcomber is The Tonga Lei room!

The Beachcomber at Malibu Pier
23000 Pacific Coast Highway
Malibu, CA 90265
310-456-9800

The Beachcomber Cafe on Urbanspoon

Editor’s Note: Unfortunately the Beachcomber Cafe in Malibu, and therefore the Tonga Lei Room, closed at the end of 2011. The Beachcomber Cafe in Crystal Cove (Orange County) remains open.

5 responses

  1. I knew the owners of the old Tong Lei Rest. The Vaughn’s lived in Malibu Canyon until 1967 or 8. Their son and I used to explore the Malibu Mountains above and around the canyon. He later went to the Brentwood Military Ac. I went to Samo Hi. I ate at the Tonga Lei many time. In fact. We set at the round table that is displayed lots of times. The Vaughn family moved to Santa Monica and I never saw my old friend again.

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