The Reel Inn is a Fresh, Malibu Surprise [RESTAURANT REVIEW]


The Reel Inn is a roadside restaurant with upscale cuisine and a relaxed ambience.  This prime spot is along luxurious Pacific Coast Highway, neighbored by million dollar mansions and uber fancy eateries; and just a few feet from the Pacific Ocean.  Is it a beautiful setting?   Beyond.

When you first enter, you notice two things.  The ambience is extremely casual and the chalkboard menu depicts friendly pricing.  Including clams, calamari, lobster, and piles of other delicacies, most of the items are affordably near $10, with just a few at $20.  A steal for what is offered.

Our lunch consisted of oysters on the half shell, a bowl of mussels, shrimp cocktail, crab cakes and a cocktail each.   With a bill well under $100, this seems too good to be true.  The taste was so fresh, it seemed deceptive.  Your mind tells you that seafood should have a salty taste.  But true, fresh seafood isn’t occupied by a salty finish.  Just a clean, fresh taste as though the items were lifted out of the ocean moments ago — and judging from the location, it is possible.

The plating was poor, but it matched the Inn’s style.  Considering we’re enjoying food that is normally attributed to expensive restaurants, receiving our items through a fast food-style take out window and carrying our plates (platters served over ice) to our table seemed inappropriate.  But again, that’s the style of the Reel Inn.  You either love it or hate it.  A suggestion for food snobs, when you dine at Reel Inn, close your eyes.  Focus on the taste, not the service or ambience.

The restaurant isn’t poorly operated.  It was a clear decision to keep things casual.  And no one seemed to mind, considering nearly every table, inside and out, was full.  A Sony executive passed by, a well-known actor was there with his family.  And another dozen groups were all eating happily.

The Reel Inn presents a friendly and affordable Malibu option for those who don’t need white-tie service.  Will I be back again?  Absolutely.