Finbars in Seal Beach, a "New York style" Italian restaurant, serves up heaping bowls of pasta and thin-crust pizzas that stretch over the edge of the plate. The atmosphere is more homey than sophisticated, but it works for this neighborhood favorite, especially among those from the nearby Leisure World.
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The desserts at Finbars range from the standard tiramisu and cannoli to the less conventional, like spumoni as an ice cream cake.
This creation has layers of strawberry, pistachio, sweet rum and chocolate gelato with slices of maraschino cherries and slivers of pistachio nuts. Finbars takes a step away from tradition by holding these layers together with a cookie crumb crust and an outer layer of whipped cream. The pistachio gelato is not as distinctive as the other flavors, but the rich chocolate and sweet rum surpass expectations. The crust that turns the spumoni into a slice of cake is thick and not too crumbly, making it like biting into a cookie once you make it through the multiple layers of gelato.
The chairs in the dining room may have wheels on them and the decor may not be the fanciest, but the service is impeccable--empty plates disappear, empty beverage glasses fill up as if by magic--and the food brings a piece of Italy and New York to the West Coast.
620 Pacific Coast Hwy.