Often the closer you get to the ocean, the less likely you are to find a great place to eat. So the graceful sea bass crudo with puffed rice and Espelette pepperserved smack on the Malibu Pier had us flabbergasted. Chef Jason Fullilove (Patina Restaurant Group) does the tricky job of catering to finicky tourists without compromising ambition. Fresh watercress forms a base for raw Chioggia beets, locally grown tangerines, and Humboldt Fog cheese. Any lobster roll, like this one on brioche, tastes better when eaten near the water. The glass of vermentino refreshes, regardless of its proximity to the sea. » 23000 Pacific Coast Hwy., 310-456-8820.