Redondo is my new favorite beach. The crowds are minimal, there’s a neighboring suburbia, and it’s just a really relaxing place to rent a bike and take a good summer stroll without the harsh glare of retail stores and the annoyance of a heavy tourist presence.
Headed here with Dan and Jackie for a nice day trip. We rented beach cruisers – $8 an hour, locks and baskets included – from Marina Bike Rentals (505 N Harbor Dr, Redondo Beach, CA 90277) and rode up and down the shore for an hour. It’s a fabulous route — modern beach houses on the right, and a open beach with tan bods and gorgeous people to the left. Not a lot of noise, save for the occasional guy on his patio stringing a guitar.
And of course, keeping true to my Asian food obsession, we did not leave without paying a visit to a local Asian eatery. This time: Izakaya Bincho per the rec of KungFoodPanda. From the bike rental shop, Izakaya is roughly a 10 minute walk.
It’s situated on the boardwalk and is this totally unassuming restaurant. We had the hardest time finding it and when we did, the place looked like it was under construction. A man (who we later learned was the chef) was just sitting in the back next to a pile of fans. The restaurant wasn’t going to be open until 7 pm. It was 6.
So our time was spent (and eventually a handful of quarters) at the nearby arcade for a good hour.
We eventually ran out of things to do…just because the place is a little ghetto and run-down.
When the clock hit 7, we were the first customers in the three-booth-eight-seats-at-the-bar restaurant (point: it was tiny).
The evening kicked off with a miniature sake tasting. After all, that’s what an izakaya is for.
And then came the food. I think we went a little bit overboard. It started off with complimentary edadame beans and then a delicious chicken wing plate.
Next were the agedashi plates and my favorites of the night: agedashi tofu, agedashi mochi, and agedashi eggplant. We had heard Izakaya is known for their agedashi tofu and figured why not order everything else that was agedashi — which means deep-fried with the dashi sauce.
My next favorites were the yakitori bowl (the most expensive at $9.00) and the meatballs.
Succulent meat and very tasty, saucey rice.
I loved the spicy mustard dipping sauce. They already come marinated in some sort of thick soy sauce.
Lastly we had a bunch of skewers, which were totally Dan’s idea. I’m personally not a big fan of skewers, let alone skewered offals. I did of course for the sake of research try the gizzards. The texture takes getting used to, but it’s sufficiently salty and according to Dan, was a great complement to his beer.
Although the wait was horrendous, it was definitely forgivable. The entire restaurant was managed by the chef and one waitress with broken English (who were both complete sweethearts). And we were personally in no rush to leave. It was a great hour and a half spent sipping on sake and the constant stream of plates kept on eternally entertained.
It came out to be a pricey $87 — but it really wasn’t anything unexpected. The meats were cooked to an astonishing perfection. Those chicken wings, skewers and yakitori were the epitome of the words juicy and succulent.
We finished off with vanilla, green tea, and red bean ice cream.
Izakaya is a great place to go if you’re not in a rush, feel like sipping on some beer or sake, have money to spend, and just want to slowly soak in the beach vibe. The food is worth the price you’re paying, and the comfy atmosphere of the entire place creates a really intimate atmosphere.
112 N International Boardwalk
Redondo Beach, CA 90277