Darren’s Restaurant & Bar

Manhattan Beach

Fish takes center stage at this cozy coastal spot housed in what used to be Avenue, just a block from the beach. In a room distinguished by exposed-wood trusses, chef Darren Weiss offers Thai peanut-crusted salmon and a fully loaded paella with lobster, shrimp, mussels, and Italian sausage. Elegant game courses—venison tenderloin and braised lamb shank with Moroccan couscous—round out the menu, but they’re just no match for the seafood. Start with the coconut-heavy sweet-and-spicy lobster chowder, and don’t forget the rock shrimp ravioli: soft, spongy, and filled with goat cheese. » 1141 Manhattan Ave., Manhattan Beach (310-802-1973 or darrensrestaurant.com). D Tue.-Sat. Full bar. American           $$$