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'Catch' The Ocean Views at Casa Del Mar and Maybe Even Pull in a Celeb Sighting

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  Site Where: 1910 Ocean Way [map], Santa Monica, CA, United States, 90405
July 31, 2009 at 5:16 PM | by | ()

We often forget about Casa Del Mar, located on the beach in Santa Monica. That's probably because we're too busy focusing on the celebrity sightings at the valet at Shutters on the Beach or the tequila tasting that goes on at the party-centric Viceroy Hotel.

However last Saturday, we remembered just how much we loved the views from Casa Del Mar's lobby bar which has full-frontal views of the Pacific Ocean. And since we hadn't tried dinner at the hotel's restaurant, Catch, we thought that would be the best way to enjoy a low-key Saturday night with friends.

We picked a good day too as the waves in Southern California were hitting record heights, giving us a little more action with our ocean view. The restaurant, just to the left of the lobby bar, is actually quite small and most of the tables are situated near the windows, of course.

We were seated in a small booth which had comfy, neutral-colored cushions with cute little back pillows. We actually sank into the booth which we much prefer over of one of those hard wood booths or one with squeaky leather seating (ladies who wear short dresses you know what we mean.) However, we probably sank a little too low as we felt like a small child sitting at the grown-ups table. Want more rigid seating? Ask for a table directly next to the window.

The menu (created by Executive Chef Michael Reardon) has a mix of light land and sea dishes and we don't mean light as in small. Everything just tastes light and simple in a carefree, fresh yet organic sort of way with just a touch of fancy (yeah, we know. We're not food writers.)

We started off with the watermelon salad with goat cheese, avocado and arugula ($14) before moving onto the Maine Lobster ($29) which is already taken apart for you (darnit, we wanted to wear a bib!) and served with asparagus and a light version of mashed potatoes.

The menu also offers a prixe fixe setting for $49 which has either orata or a steak for your main entree as well as a choice of an appetizer and dessert. Rounding out the dinner options is a sushi menu with some sashimi and specialty rolls.

Dessert is where things really shine. Our table devoured a pina colada sherbet which tasted exactly like a pina colada drink--and thus conjured up memories of suntan lotion--and a raspberry tart which was perfectly sweet and soft.

Looking around at the rest of the diners, they skewed a little older--50s/60s and most looked like locals. We also saw Marg Helgenberger from CSI who was with her teenaged son and another couple. She was fab-looking and very well-preserved, but a little sad too. Or maybe that's just the side effects of Botox?

All in all, the dinner was a little bit more expensive that we or our dining partners had realized. Wine and drinks are ridiculously marked up, even the non-alcoholic ones--$5.25 for a coke, anyone? But the food was spot-on. So come for the views, try the food but be careful about your drink choices.

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