LA: Ahoy Matey! The Anchor is a Great Place to Land (and See)

If you’re an east coaster living in L.A. missing the very specific summers on Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket or Cape Cod, Venice Beach‘s The Anchor restaurant is going to be right up your alley (or should we say galley?).

OK, The Anchor isn’t just for those missing home. In just under a year, it’s become a Westside institution, a place where locals gather in droves: solo and in groups, late night and very early, for dinner and brunch or just for drinks. It’s like a more upscale, hip version of Cheers—where everyone including owner Kristin Ciccolella—does.

Walking in, you’ll find that this eatery—located just on the cusp of Santa Monica—has, as can be expected given its name, a nautical theme. You’ll find a dimly lit establishment with plush leather booths, wooden high tops and an open kitchen just by an L-shaped bar, above which hang a plethora of dock ropes and anchor lines.

Settle yourself into one of the booths (the corner is prime for dates, the bar or outdoor seating great for making new friends) and order seafood-specific fare created by chef Otto Nguyen. 

For starters, you must order some oysters (because who can help themselves in such a specific seafood-style eatery?) followed by the delicious hamachi with nori-garlic puree and pickled stonefruit. For a healthy, Venice-style salad option, order up the market kale salad of quinoa, almonds, cranberries and tomatoes as well as the Brussels sprouts with pickled plum pearls, crispy sage and bacon.

We must insist you order the mussels—in a green curry sauce with Chinese sausage and lime—before you leave; something so decadent, fragrant and flavorful is a must in your mouth. The Anchor lobster roll is also another sweet and savory delight. The Venice version of this east coast favorite comes on Hawaiian sweetbread and is chock full of Maine lobster with truffle salt and shaved black truffles.

Given that The Anchor is always so packed on any given night, it isn’t just us that thinks this nautically themed eatery is a superb place place to land.

Roasted Eggplant with harissa yogurt, cucumber and vadouvan