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Restaurants & Bars 5

bora bora, manhattan beach

wow i'm a dog | Feb 12, 200312:52 PM

Went to Bora Bora in Manhattan Beach for the first time since it opened two years ago. It's got a great "grown-up" ambiance (for Manhattan Beach) and surprisingly good food. They have leather booths, blowfish light fixtures and a very conservative (think *clothed* Tahitians) tribute to Gauguin. There are only a handful of tables, which lends to the intimate feel of the restaurant.

Bora Bora is marketed as having Polynesian cuisine (my understanding is that would consist of lots of fruit, seafood - raw fish in particular - and pork), and while the menu does have some of these items it also has some down-home stuff, too (think steak, baked potato, scalloped potatoes). I found the fish to be sort of pricey (~$21 for most dishes) and they only bring it in on Tuesday and Friday, so I don't think I'd get the fish on any other days. The main fish event is the standard ahi stuff, which didn't attract me and appeared to be a tiresome treatment of the same 'ol thing.

That all said, the salad I had was fantastic - fresh field greens with pineapple, gorgonzola and macadamia nuts (~$8). The dressing was perfect - and I'm pretty picky about dressings. It was a great, light, flavorful vinaigrette. My baked potato (~$4) was presented with a variety of flavored salts, peppers, spices and coarse sea salt. They also brought sour cream, chives and butter along. My Better Half had a steak (~$24), which he found fantastic - and even said it would beat out a "traditional" name steakhouse any day.

Style-wise, I think they are trying to find their way with their food. I feel that they think they can't be too creative/authentic considering a lot of the crowd, but they have a new chef and a new menu, so I think they are trying.

The service was attentive, considering the server had to deal with two drunk guys hitting on her. Very friendly and accommodating.

They serve beer and wine (pretty good list) and are closed on Mondays. I'd suggest giving it a try with a couple of friends. It's a nice, low-key place to relax and enjoy some great-tasting food.

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