Venice’s Ocean Front Walk has some very decent eateries sprinkled among the tacky food vendors along the strip. One of them is “On the Waterfront” at No. 205. It’s a pleasant place with an eclectic menu that includes --of all things—Swiss specialties. (By the way, in case you're a movie buff and were wondering, there’s no discernible connection between On the Waterfront and the Marlon Brando film with that title.) You can opt for outdoor seating, which is where I found a table for lunch. A parking lot separates Ocean Front Walk from the beach at that particular point, however, so the ocean view from the patio is not direct. With regard to parking, I discovered free on-street parking on Westminster Ave., between 5th and 7th Avenues, and walked to Venice Beach from there, avoiding the $5-$7 parking lot charges. There is also indoor seating, an interior courtyard, a pool table in the bar area, as well as an adjacent outdoor Biergarten. The menu has some standard pub food items, such as burgers and pasta, as well as the Swiss dishes. Average cost per plate, excluding beverage, is $10-$16. I ordered a salad and a potato pancake topped with diced potatoes creamed in a mild curry sauce and mixed with fresh fruit. It’s one of those unlikely but delicious combinations that the Swiss do so well. (I overheard the German couple at the next table ordering cheeseburgers. Exotic is in the mind of the beholder!) My salad was very fresh, and the beer was excellent. Among other brews they serve Erdinger Weissbier, Bitburger Pils, König Pils, and Kostritzer Schwarzbier on tap, which are not easy to find in the US. Service was friendly and competent, but slow. I had the feeling the waiters were doing their best but that the café is understaffed. It’s one of those places where you walk in and wonder if you’re supposed to take a seat or wait for someone to seat you, and there’s no one to ask. (Just take a seat.) If you need a quick lunch, this is probably not the best choice of places, but I happened to have time to kill, so I just kicked back with a beer and enjoyed the views while I waited for my food, which was worth the wait. It was a quiet place when I arrived, but circumstances on Venice Beach change unpredictably, and as I was finishing my meal a street singer plopped his soap box down next to the patio, plugged in an amplified guitar, and started belting out the blues. (As I was leaving, guests at the restaurant were shouting at each other to be heard over the music.) However, if I’m ever back on Venice Beach, I’ll stop in at On the Waterfront again.
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