LA (Long Beach), California – Parkers’ Lighthouse

Restaurant: Parkers’ Lighthouse
Cuisine: Seafood/Global/International/West Coast
Last visited: October 4, 2010
Location: Long Beach, California
Address: 435 Shoreline Village Drive
Price Range:

1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: Tres Excellent!!

Food: 2
Service: 3.5 (it was down time though)
Ambiance: 5
Overall: 2.5
Additional comments:

  • Great for tourists
  • Casual fine dining
  • Global menu
  • Popular for seafood
  • Local/Sustainable
  • Sushi/Sashimi bar
  • Bar/Lounge area
  • Happy Hour
  • Ocean view
  • Spacious
  • Good for groups
  • Cocktails/Wine
  • Daily Lunch/Dinner

**Recommendations: Garlic Cheese Bread, Steamers, and maybe the Clam Chowder

Parkers’ Lighthouse in Long Beach, California is a massive restaurant with 3 levels that overlooks the Long Beach harbour view. It totally reminds me of Bridges or Sandbar on Granville Island in Vancouver, BC. It’s clean and spacious, but due to the size it’s not really romantic or intimate like the website suggests. It’s located in a very touristy area so I would assume that it’s popular to more tourists than locals. However I was surprised to learn that it is Zagat Rated and voted Best of Southern California and LA in 2009. (Or does that just make it more touristy?)

They have a very small sushi bar by the entrance and they offer a Sushi Bar Happy Hour Menu Monday to Friday 3-7pm for the bar or lounge area.

We came for a late lunch at about 3pm, so it was down time and we were one of the few tables being served. Therefore I thought the food and service might even be a bit better considering the kitchen would have time to carefully prepare our order. This was not the case unfortunately, or if it was I couldn’t tell. I started off with hot water which tasted like coffee since it came from the same canister, and then it just continued to go downhill, but at least the service was friendly.

The food is simple and it focuses on seafood with a few globally inspired twists. For a casual fine dining seafood restaurant, I expected the food, or at least the seafood, to be top-notch, but unfortunately it was not. The prices are fairly high and I understand paying for the ambiance, but to some degree I’d like to feel as though I’m paying for a bit of the food as well. The food just seemed so “mass produced” in recipes and execution and it was all very mediocre, if even. Maybe it’s their way of keeping up with the high volume of diners they must have? I don’t know, but overall I found the ambiance trumped the food and I would only come back to enjoy their garlic cheese bread by a window seat.

On the table:

Complimentary Bread & Butter

  • The bread is fresh and good here. I’m pretty sure it’s made in house.
  • It’s served warm and it’s crusty on the outside and soft, fluffy and chewy on the inside.

**Garlic Cheese Bread6/6

    • $7
    • It’s one of the most popular items and it’s super addicting and delicious.
    • I get confused between focaccia and ciabatta bread, but I think this was an Italian ciabatta bread and it was nice and thin so you could taste all the toppings. It was perfectly baked and crunchy with and chewy soft centre.

  • There isn’t as much garlic but they layer it with a creamy Alfredo sauce before topping it off with Jack Cheese, Parmesan and maybe some White cheddar?
  • There’s a ton of cheese flavour without much cheese on it and the Alfredo sauce makes it extra delicious and keeps it moist without being too oily or greasy.
  • The cheese toast is really the only unforgettable thing from the whole meal.
  • I also love the cheese toast at Hy’s Steakhouse, but that it much greasier but perhaps even more delicious.

Clam Chowder – 3/6

  • New England style – tender Ocean clams and herb cracker Cup $5 Bowl $6
  • It was pretty standard and quite thick with a lot of potatoes, celery and some parsley. The clam pieces were a bit overcooked and a bit tough.
  • I mean it was good, but nothing that impressive for a seafood restaurant of this style.

Shrimp Gumbo – 1/6

  • Classic spicy gumbo with shrimp and okra Cup $5 Bowl $6
  • It was extremely salty more than spicy. It was made with what seemed like frozen baby shrimp, okra and tomatoes, but it tasted like warm spaghetti sauce or an anitpasto.

**Steamers – 3/6

  • Pacific Coast Manila clams, aromatic natural broth, drawn butter Half $12 Full $19
  • These were actually quite good and they were served with a tangy broth with a slight seafood taste. It was quite flavourful with good white wine and some butter to add a little richness. It wasn’t too oily and it really let the flavour of the clams shine.

Parkers’ Sampler – 2/6

  • Lobster taquitos, crabcake with chipotle aioli, crispy calamari and golden fried panko shrimp $19
  • The prawns were tender and crunchy with almost a fried chicken batter. They were good with the tangy creamy mustard mayo dipping sauce.
  • The calamari had a similar fried chicken batter but I think they were frozen. They were quite tiny ringlets, but at least they were not overcooked.
  • The crabcake was more like a shrimp cake with a bit too much filler, although it was crispy and it had a slightly spicy creamy mayo on top.

  • You can order the lobster taquito seperately as well.
  • The lobster taquitos didn’t have much lobster and there was a lot of filler. They were a bit doughy in texture rather than crispy and they also had some melted cheese inside them making it a creamy filling.
  • They were served with lime cream, a little bit of salsa verde and guacamole. I actually liked these sauces better than the actual taquitos.

Slider Trio – 2/6

  • Ahi tuna with sweet fried onions and chipotle mayo, salmon with sundried tomato mayo, and crabcake with remoulade. Served with field greens and Roma tomato or fruit salad. $15
  • I felt this was pretty overpriced for very mediocre seafood sliders. There was too much bread and it wasn’t crispy, or even very good bread.
  • The fruit salad had a a lot of cantaloupe and honeydew too… I was just expecting more from this entree.
  • The sliders were very well filled, but they just weren’t that good. It was pretty much $5 for one and totally not comparable, but I would have rather had an In-N-Out Burger.

  • Ahi Tuna Slider1.5/6
    • Ahi tuna with sweet fried onions and chipotle mayo.
    • It was my least favourite and it sounded the best to me on the menu. Yes, it’s piled high, but it wasn’t good.
    • It was almost like ahi tuna tartar and I thought it was going to be a slice of ahi tuna instead. It tasted like a lot of fillers and the tuna quality wasn’t great, and the onions weren’t that crispy nor were they sweet. It was a bit mushy and I couldn’t taste the chipotle mayo.
  • Salmon Slider – 2/6

    • Salmon with sundried tomato mayo
    • This was almost like a salmon patty and again there was a lot of filler, but it didn’t taste as obvious as the tuna, which actually didn’t taste like tuna.
    • I couldn’t taste the sundried tomato sauce so it was a bit bland and dry.
  • Crabcake Slider3/6
    • Crabcake with remoulade
    • It was the best of the 3, although the crabcake was more like a shrimp cake, just like it was in the appetizer too.
    • On the other hand it did have the best texture and flavour with a crispy crust and moist inside.
    • It was the only one where I could taste the sauce as well, which was a nice tangy tartar sauce or remoulade.

Grilled Sea Bass BLT – 1.5/6

  • On toasted sourdough with crispy bacon, lettuce, tomato, and wasabi aioli, with your choice of fresh fruit or fries.
  • This is part of the 2 course prix-fixe lunch special menu for $18. It also includes your choice of soup, House or Caesar salad and one of their specialties.
  • It was a very standard BLT except the halibut tasted frozen and it was really fishy in taste. I found that very strange because halibut isn’t supposed to be fishy in taste, it’s almost like chicken. The bread was also dry and not toasted and the whole sandwich seemed a bit old.
  • The fries were crispy and they were fried in fresh oil. They were quite good, but also just the regular Russet potato fries.

Shrimp Scampi Pasta 2.5/6

  • Large shrimp simmered in a garlic white wine butter sauce over linguine $18
  • This was quite basic, standard, and not bad. It’s nothing you couldn’t do at home though.
  • It was quite light, but well flavoured with the garlic and butter really shining through. It had a decent amount of tender shrimp, but they weren’t very large. The linguine was cooked to al dente which was great.
  • It came with a piece of garlic bread, but it looked like cheese toast, so it was quite upsetting when I discovered that it wasn’t.

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5 Comments

  • KimHo says:

    It’s located in a very touristy area so I would assume that it’s popular to more tourists than locals. However I was surprised to learn that it is Zagat Rated and voted Best of Southern California and LA in 2009. (Or does that just make it more touristy?)

    About Zagat Rated, voting and what not, I will draw an analogy with enRoute magazine: Bao Bei was listed as the second best new restaurant across Canada. What does that mean? 😉

    The prices are fairly high and I understand paying for the ambiance, but to some degree I’d like to feel as though I’m paying for a bit of the food as well.

    OK, this expession was extremely weird, you know! It sounds as if you are giving some places *cough*Glowbal*cough* a blanket pass for charging truckloads of money because it is well decorated without any considerations for food! In my case, screw ambiance, give me good food at a decent price and I am happy! 😛

  • Mijune says:

    @KimHo – I didn’t know about Bao Bei and enRoute magazine… however I can’t discredit these “voting mediums” completely because I have been to Zagat-rated restaurants that are fantastic.

    The second part… I knew you’d say that! That’s why you’re “I’m Only Here for the Food”… personally I appreciate ambiance so I am willing to pay for it… not ENTIRELY, but yes I will pay for it. I’ve been to nicely decorated places with great food too though…. they CAN go hand in hand. Eg: Les Faux Bourgeois, Cru etc.

  • Bow says:

    In the quest for a fast turnaround and doing big volume, this place seems more like a fast food joint…previously frozen prepped products, frozen fish(old frozen fish will smell and taste “fishy”) and lottsa filler…too much mayo, too much batter, too bread. Too bad, fresh prepped seafood is delicious and obviously the locals and tourists ignore that because they go there. Years ago, I heard about Ivor’s in Seattle, the Neptune in New Westminster, the floating restaurant at Lonsdale quay…none lived up to their billing; all bad !

  • Mijune says:

    @Bow – I heard the floating restaurant was awful… too bad too! Where do you like to go for seafood? Thanks for commenting Bow, I always love reading what you have to say.

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