Pacific Coast Grill

PCG sign

Review #42

Not knowing much about Pacific Coast Grill, Hubby and I grabbed the boys and headed over last Sunday.  We heard that the place gets crowded, so we opted for an off-time of 2:00 pm on a Sunday.  The hostess asked us what time our reservation was for.

“We don’t have one, how long will the wait be?” asked Hubby

The hostess tried to conceal her laughter and said with a straight face, “It will be at least an hour”.  We were all pretty hungry so decided to go somewhere else.  As we were leaving I thought I heard her and the other hostess making fun of the clueless family trying to come in without a reservation.

So we decided to wait a week and come for dinner without the kids but with a reservation.

About an hour before dinner time, Christine texts me this:

This isn’t a yoga pant kind of place and I want to wear my yoga pants!

Ummm, I thought as I glanced down at my ripped jeans and flip flops, rethinking my outfit.  Sure, I noticed the beautiful decor of PCG when we walked in briefly last week.  The gorgeous chandeliers, the rich wood floors and elegant bar, but it’s at the beach in Cardiff, so I assumed anything goes!  To make matters worse, we are still out of our home from the flood and all I have packed are work out clothes, ripped jeans and flip flops!  I needed to make a quick trip home to restock my wardrobe.

When we arrived at Pacific Coast Grill, the valet had a slight look of disgust as he took the keys to my very dirty minivan.  The minivan has warrior wounds proving our recent vagrancy with single socks, food wrappers, junk mail, towels, small animals and who-knows-what-else is in there after moving six times over the last eight weeks.  I was shocked when he did not park it proudly in front of the restaurant among the Ferraris and Teslas, but somewhere far, far away, where even he didn’t want to be seen driving it.

Sure is a bummer that they charge $5 to valet, gratuity not included, at a restaurant that has dinner entrees starting around $30/plate.

PCG Parking

We were seated right away and took note of just how beautiful this restaurant is.  I don’t know who you have to sleep with to get an outside table, but we certainly did it wrong ’cause we didn’t get one.  Although every table is set up to have an ocean view, the best tables are definitely outside, seaside. The outside seating that is downstairs allows dogs.  Which is cool, but also a little unusual for this scale of restaurant.  But then things got really weird when I saw people traipsing their dogs through the main dining room towards the door when they were leaving.  Bizarre.

PCG view

Our waitress offered to help us through the menu, but really, it’s not hard.  Everything sounds amazing.  We decided to start with Dungeness Crab Cakes to share.  When planning out this recipe the chef must have thought, “What can I do to make PCG’s crab cakes better than anyone else’s?  What could I add to send it over the top?”  That ingredient is scallops.  That’s right.  They top their already delicious crab cakes with the most scrumpious jewel of the sea, and it comes out amazing!
PCG crabcakes

We also shared an appetizer of Shrimp Dumplings.  We didn’t think they could rival these crab cakes, but they certainly did!  When you order them, they will likely be gobbled up quickly, but don’t let them clear the plate!  Take some of the thickly sliced, warm, rosemary sourdough bread at the table and soak up this port wine sauce.  Sooo good.

PCG dumplingsShrimp Dumplings

Hubby and I split the Pan Seared Seabass mashed potatoes, sautéed spinach, tomato, basil, and Seafood Pasta with lobster, shrimp, scallop & mahi with smoked tomato sauce, Thai basil & Parmesan for dinner.  The Seabass was beautiful and delicious.  I would have been quite happy with it had I not tried the Seafood Pasta.

PCG SeabassPan-seared Seabass

The Seafood Pasta was loaded with shellfish, thick ribbons of Parmesan cheese and a wonderful, yet nontraditional sauce.  It was a little bit spicy and I detected notes of smokiness in there.  (Did you just buy that whole ‘I detected notes of…’ line?  I sounded so pompous, I couldn’t go through with it!) After tasting the flavorful pasta, the Seabass tasted a little boring to me.

PCG pastaSeafood Pasta

Kelly ordered the Plum-Ginger Braised Short Ribs cheddar-jalapeño au gratin potatoes & shaved Brussel sprouts. After tasting the short ribs, the Seafood Pasta now tasted a little bit boring to me!  The ribs were caramelized into something like meat-candy, only much more delicious than that sounds.  This dish was the WINNER.

PCG short ribBraised Short ribs

As I was kicking off my uncomfortable heals under the table, I glanced at the family seated in the booth next to us and noticed three young, unruly kids climbing around, acting like…kids.  The mom was wearing a Garth Brooks concert t-shirt with ripped jeans.  Yoga pants Christine?  We’re in Cardiff.  No problem!

Bottom Line:

Many people bring their kids to PCG.  But since our boys are equally thrilled eating a Habit burger for under eight bucks, not bringing them was the right choice for us. Try to get an outside table either downstairs or upstairs, but My God Man no matter what time of day you come, you will need a reservation! Our server, Letania, couldn’t have been nicer, or more attentive.   Whoo wee these prices are steep!  We all loved our meals, but I will be saving my next trip to Pacific Coast Grill for a very special occasion.  Like maybe my next future husband’s marriage proposal.  (Sorry Hubby, but it really is such a romantic spot!)  Or when someone else is picking up the check.  (Dad, you will LOVE this place!)  I don’t expect to come back to PCG anytime soon, but I will hope the short ribs will still be on the menu waiting for me.

There won’t be a blog next week, but we will continue on Sunday, May 6th at 5:00 pm.  We have decided to skip all large chain restaurants, so instead of The Chart House, our next stop is

Las Olas

2655 South Coast Highway 101, Cardiff by-the-Sea

Come early and join us for our crossing the 101 parade!  That’s right, in just over one year we have completed our trip South along the 101 through Encinitas and will now be crossing over and heading back north!  We will meet across the street from Las Olas at 4:45 pm and make a big deal about crossing the street.


Author: foodkibbitzer

I love to cook, especially soup, and bake challah. I ride horses, enjoy sarcastic people and am a food snob. I'm busy being mom to my two boys and I play mahj jong.

6 thoughts on “Pacific Coast Grill”

  1. This was the first actual restaurant we went to when we moved here. Came for Dana’s birthday and I had the lobster bisque. Then I had another order. It was that good. Agree on the ribs and can think of nothing we haven’t liked on their menu. It’s our go-to occasion place and, yes, you DO need a reservation. Glad you liked it as much as we do!


  2. Ok- so that is hands down, one of my favorite places. The brunch there is the BOMB!! And, sitting on the beach is my absolute fav (I’ve taken friends and let the kids go play in the water while we chatted). Love the braised ribs, love the scallops. It’s just too bad it’s soooooo expensive!!

    Good idea to skip Chart House- not impressed and twice we had credit cards scammed there (no help from management even after making a police report x2).

    Have you gone to Ki’s yet?!? Love getting lunch there- and endless mimosas on Sunday.

    Love your blog, Kori!! Keep it up!!


  3. Did this restaurant used to be The Beach House years ago? I haven’t been to PCG but will plan on it for the next special occasion. Love reading these reviews…funny and informative ✌️


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