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“Great staff” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Darren's Restaurant & Bar

Darren's Restaurant & Bar
1141 Manhattan Ave, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266-5333
+1 310-802-1973
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Ranked #13 of 183 Restaurants in Manhattan Beach
Price range: $31 - $50
Cuisines: Bistro
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Restaurant details
Dining options: Reservations
Dining style: Fine Dining
Cross street: Manhattan Beach Blvd
Coos Bay, Oregon
Top Contributor
70 reviews 70 reviews
52 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 26 cities Reviews in 26 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
“Great staff”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 16, 2014 via mobile

Darrin's was almost empty when we ate there and every other Restrauant was packed...that should have told us something. Three of us ate dinner and both of my companions were disappointed in their food. I had the special, it was a 8 oz steak on a bed of mashed potatoes, and it was fine, but nothing special. The wait staff and the chef both were very concerned about the quality of the meals that my friends were unhappy with, and one of the meals was comped. Because of the service level and the care that the staff showed, I would give Darrin's another try.

Visited January 2014
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49 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    26
    17
    5
    1
    0
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Park City, Utah
Senior Contributor
37 reviews 37 reviews
36 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
“Eat and Drink”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 21, 2013

Went to Darren on whim, glad i did. Salmon dish on the menu was a big hit. Service was not up to par.

Visited November 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Santa Monica, California
Top Contributor
54 reviews 54 reviews
51 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
29 helpful votes 29 helpful votes
“Highly recommend”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 18, 2013

After hearing all the hype over Darren's we decided to check it out last night. We were able to make last minute reservations on OpenTable at 7, despite the restaurant filling up pretty quickly after we arrived.

They've got a great collection of Martini's and one of my personal faves: The Effen BC Vodkatini! Not too sweet and packs a punch. We also brought a bottle of wine and were delighted to find that Wednesday nights there is no corkage fee! And on Monday nights, if you order two or more entrees they take 50% off all bottles of wine that you order! They've got a great wine list and the mark-ups are very reasonable.

The food was excellent. We ordered the Beet Salad w/goat cheese and Roasted Quail to start and the quail was cooked perfectly. For the main course we had the daily special Barramundi w/Prosciutto and Chilean Sea Bass. The fish couldn't have been cooked any better. Although, the Sea Bass was a bit too sweet for my taste...almost like Miso Black Cod. Other than that everything was great here!

Highly recommend.

Visited June 2013
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LA
Top Contributor
120 reviews 120 reviews
52 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 56 cities Reviews in 56 cities
104 helpful votes 104 helpful votes
“Mediocre at best - expect better at these price”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed October 30, 2013

I've been here a few times and I'm consistenty unimpressed. At these prices (entrees $25 - $45) and apps ($15 - $20+) it must improve. There are too many alternatives popping (Fishing with Dynamite, Little Sister) up to keep this kitchen stagnant much longer... fix it or give up the space.

The stand out amoung appetizers was the rock shrimp ravioli - solid; the hamachi tatar was very disappointing - bland at best and the wedge salad was a wedge salad - hard to mess up.

I only ate half of my $40+ seabass => taste was somehow ruined by this combination of sweet and sour sauces; the pork chop was uninspired and the tortollini was probably the best of our entrees - the waitress was spot on (the cheese filling balance the sweetness of the sause nicely).

Wine choices were fine and service out on the patio was good. The space heaters keep you warm. Parking - easy enough if you park above highland or use one of the valets in the neighborhood.

Fonz's just down the street has similar options with better price points and more consistent food. Try MB Post if you want to be a little more relevant menu at a higher decibel level.

  • Visited October 2013
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Food
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Torrance, California
Senior Contributor
33 reviews 33 reviews
13 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 26 cities Reviews in 26 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
“Disappointing and lackluster”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed September 22, 2013

Am I being a bit generous with three stars? Not sure. My husband and I went to dinner at Darren's restaurant in Manhatten Beach yesterday and we were very disappointed with the experience. In spite of the best efforts of our two servers, Susy and Jessica who were exceptional, the restaurant was gloomy, the food was only adequate, lacked verve and character. The restarant itself has a partition down the middle that cuts the small restarant half off from the small bar other half. The ceiling is extremely high and one has the impression of eating in a corridor. The lighting was dim and there was zero atmosphere or ambience. My husband had spicy mussels which were the best thing of all, in a delicious sauce, although the mussels themselves were overcooked and rubbery. He then had the duck confit which was a bit slimy and overly salty. My spicy hummus was OK if a bit grainy. My quail was good but not outstanding. All the dishes lacked personality and also lacked freshness and originality. Darren's is not a cheap restaurant, the prices are high and we were looking forward to a gourmet evening. We were quite willing to enjoy ourselves but the quality of the food gradually overcame our enthusiasm and we left disappointed. Perhaps it was an off night but I wouldn't go there again.

  • Visited September 2013
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 2 of 5 stars Food
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