Dining Review

Excellent food, first-rate service and great views at The Sunset

By Laura Tate / Editor

If you’ve got great food, along with a nice atmosphere, including a view of the beach and ocean, and first-rate service, then it all comes together as a fantastic evening out.

The Sunset Restaurant on Westward Road provides all that and more.

Recently remodeled upstairs and downstairs, one can dine in a casual setting (downstairs), or a more private venue with an exclusive tasting menu featuring three “Acts” with 15 courses (upstairs).

Executive Chef Jake Rojas, who was formerly the executive chef at the Inn of the Seventh Ray in Topanga and had worked his talents at a couple of high-end Las Vegas restaurants, has created a mouth-watering menu for both up- and downstairs.


The Sunset Bistro menu (downstairs) features something for everyone-from burgers to artichoke ricotta ravioli.

The organic beets in the roasted beets salad come straight from the farmers’ market and the combination with endive, walnut and goat cheese in an orange honey vinaigrette is delightful. For those who love meat, the hanger steak, served with matchstick potatoes, beef jus and roasted garlic aioli, is tender and tasty.

The downstairs special menu features rotating items such as the Lobster Salad-a huge ball of lobster served with tomato confit, chives, avocado and mixed greens-and the smoked salmon flatbread-a thin crisp flatbread layered with lemon cream cheese, dill, mixed greens and topped with thin slices of salmon.

For beverages, a great offering, especially during these economic times, is the Quartino of Wine, which is essentially a third of a bottle of wine, a red or white, chosen by manager Raymond Byrne for only $5. Bryne said the restaurant strives to make the downstairs menu affordable, with no entrée more than $20.

The upstairs tasting menu, which rotates weekly, can feature such fare as Sonoma Valley Foie Gras, served on a brioche, with blueberry rosemary jam and toasted hazelnuts, traditionally prepared Oyster Rockefeller, and Crispy Squid smoked with paprika aioli in Act I, several salad offerings (including the roasted beet and the lobster salad) and clam chowder in Act II. Act III offers meat dishes such as Filet of Beef served with creamed spinach, roasted pee wee potatoes and spring vegetables, or Roasted Jidori Chicken, which is prepared with cous cous, tomato confit, olives, marcona almonds and spinach, as well as fish dishes (scallops with English pea risotto) or the artichoke ricotta ravioli.

Byrne said the idea is that diners can taste all 15 dishes on the menu, however, if someone wanted to order á la carte, they could choose from the items they wanted as well.

The décor upstairs with its white leather booths, black lacquer tables and chairs, sisal carpets and low-key lighting is like an elegant living room, while downstairs the boisterous and friendly atmosphere is a great place to have dinner with the family or a bunch of friends.

After dinner, you can stay for live music Tuesday through Friday night, one of the few venues in Malibu that offer it.

(One “sweet ending” that cannot be missed, either up or downstairs, is the chocolate cake. Made without flour, it is the creamiest, most chocolaty, melt-in-your-mouth delicious cake to be had anywhere.)

The Sunset’s summer hours offer dinner both up- and downstairs Tues. through Sun. beginning at 5 p.m.; lunch downstairs Thurs. through Fri.; and brunch downstairs on Sat. and Sun. at 11 a.m. Beginning July 1, a special winemakers tasting will take place Wed. in the lounge, 5 p.m. – 7 p.m. 6800 Westward Beach Rd.; 310.589.2027

The Malibu Times is the first newspaper in Malibu, serving the community since 1946.

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