10 Essential Huntington Beach Restaurants

10 Essential Huntington Beach Restaurants
Mary Pastrana

Huntington Beach: If there's a city in our fair county that people not from around here think of when they think of California surf culture, this is what they see in their heads. Well, at least the beachy parts. The Beach Blvd. part? Not so much.

Point is that there's more to HB than Main Street and the pier.

This is a list of your humble food scribe's essential Huntington Beach restaurants. Some are old standbys even the tourists know about. Some are newer. All make HB one of the best eating towns we got.

As usual, the list is alphabetical. What's missing? Tell us in the comments.

25 Degrees
10 Essential Huntington Beach Restaurants
Jonathan Ho

Liza and Tim Goodell's self-described "bordello meets burger and wine bar" is overtly sexualized and slutty in its theme. The wallpaper pattern looks like it was picked out from the lacy unmentionables section of a Frederick's of Hollywood catalog. But its meals ply the manliest of appetites with hefty portions of the manliest of meals: burgers with patties as thick as a DC comic-book superhero's biceps, cooked bloody.

Black Trumpet Bistro
10 Essential Huntington Beach Restaurants
Jossue Rivas

If you had to describe Black Trumpet Bistro to friends, you'd tell them about the paintings of Miles Davis, Satchmo and Johnny Coltrane on the walls. The space is small, the appropriate size for a restaurant calling itself a bistro. It has velvet-lined benches, an open kitchen and shelves of vino near the back. But because the Black Trumpet cherry-picks its dishes from Italy, France, Spain, Greece and Morocco, you're better off just telling them it cooks everything. It's entirely possible to construct a meal here in which every course hails from a place nowhere near the last. Start with pita bread and a complimentary house dip concocted by mixing feta cheese, olives, pepper flakes and olive oil into a chunky slurry. A falafel can be had as an appetizer followed by an Italian caprese salad. After that, a fuming crock pot of French onion might be your soup. And your main course could be Spanish paella studded with shellfish and squid.

Cucina Alessa
10 Essential Huntington Beach Restaurants
Edwin Goei

You've been to the other Alessa's, now make your pilgrimage to the original. The butternut-squash-stuffed ravioli swims in a lick-your-plate-clean brown-butter sauce and is sprinkled with crispy fried sage leaves. The caprese smacks of garden freshness and has puffy, light-as-helium cheesy breadsticks with which you wipe the plate clean. And the carpaccio of cured filet mignon--thin tissue-like sheets of prime beef, drizzled with olive oil and spritz of acid--would normally cost five times as much at Italian joints of this caliber. The pizza is also worthy and so is the crispy calamari, which is as greaseless as they come.

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