California’s Zuma Beach is arguably one of the most beautiful in the state, making it a popular destination in the Summer months. As you drive along the beach access road, you will eventually meet a landmark, The Sunset Restaurant. Appropriately titled for it’s breathtaking view of the Zuma sunset. This bungalow-style building with large glass windows offers diners a memorable experience — they can savor California-meets-Mediterranean inspired dishes throughout the bar and dining room while gazing out to the crash and hum of the ocean and the painted sky and cliffs framing it. The restaurant is open for lunch, dinner and brunch on weekends, but, I will warn you, if you go other than the sunset hour, you are cheating yourself.
Executive Chef, Enrico Glaudo, has returned to the Sunset kitchen after a 3-year stint in Houston, Texas. Clearly you can leave Malibu, but it will never leave you. He takes a two-hour motorcycle ride along the coast almost daily from Redondo beach to work in this kitchen — something that he says keeps him grateful.
Chef Glaudo’s ultimate goal for all of his diners, is that they leave satisfied with a warm, happy feeling. Good thing there is something for everyone on the menu — especially the seafood connoisseur. The restaurant has a beautiful raw bar for fresh oysters and clams in addition to lobster, jumbo shrimp, ahi tuna tartare, hamachi crudo, clam chowder, fish tacos, grilled octopus and more. For those who prefer the turf over surf — there are Korean style ribs, meatballs, new york steak, Mary’s rotisserie chicken and of course a burger. In addition to all of this there are salads, pastas and sides.
The most popular item is the Mediterranean Grilled Octopus; served with cherry tomatoes, cannellini beans, Tuscan style potatoes and herb oil. It is absolutely the most important thing you must taste. It is lightly boiled in water with carrots and onions to soften but not enough to lose it’s purple radiance, then gently placed on the grill with a coat of olive oil to crisp. This truly delicious octopus could win over the most timid of diners — you know, the one who thinks that all seafood is slimy and fishy. They’s probably say it was the best chicken they ever had and order seconds. Personally, my very favorite bite is the crispy pointed end of the tentacle.
Also worth trying for taste and the beautiful presentation is the Ahi Tuna Tartare. It is so light and refreshing on a hot summer day. The cool tuna layered with citrus hinted avocado sings classic California Cuisine at it’s best.
The burger is made with grass-fed beef and served with caramelized onions, lettuce, tomato, and roasted garlic aioli. Cheese and/or bacon can be added for an extra fee. Oh and it comes with fries!
Surprisingly enough, the chef’s very own Carrot Cake on the dessert menu is just as mind-blowing as the octopus. His unique recipe will leave your plate utterly crumb-less. The secret is that he mixes lemon zest into the cream cheese frosting and it adds an incredible brightness through the usually heavy cream cheese. Not something you often get in a carrot cake bite, but maybe you should.
Although Chef Glaudo hasn’t made any menu makeovers yet — he says that perhaps with the changing of the seasons and cooler weather to come, we can expect some specials paying homage to his Torino roots such as Ossobuco. A classic Northern Italian dish on a chilly Malibu evening with red wine and a sunset? I’m sold.
The Sunset Restaurant
6800 Westward Beach Rd, Malibu, CA 90265