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“OK for a mid-week lunch, when its not busy”
Review of The Reel Inn

The Reel Inn
Ranked #12 of 92 Restaurants in Malibu
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $1 - $20
Cuisines: American, Seafood
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Restaurant details
Good for: Large groups, Families with children
Dining options: Late Night, Breakfast, Outdoor Seating
Reviewed June 10, 2012

This place gets 3/5 because I love good fish and its hard to find. If it wasn't for that, I'd give it 2/5 for being a humble pub with good atmosphere.

Parking is going to be a problem. We got here right before closing and barely found a spot. The inside appears like a California style pub. They have fish on ice for those who I suppose want to bbq on the beach (which is across the street) or get it to go. It looked like good stuff. The other option is to select a fish and proceed with your spicing: plain (buttered), cajun, or some sort of sauce (I think they called it saute). For a first time visit here, I tried plain, to get an experience of the fish.

Halibut and red snapper. As soon as I had my red snapper, I was reminded of that news report which said that most red snappers (was it 94%?) at sushi places weren't even really red snapper. It wasn't bad but it wasn't what I remember red snapper being. Of course it was hard to say because both fishes were really glazed with the beef flavor from the grill. I suppose over a days worth of grilling a lot of burgers/steaks on the same grill as fish, a good layer of beef flavoring developed on the grill. I can't emphasize, as a fish lover, how strongly the beef flavor was coming through on both fishes.

The service was bad also. The guy who took our order was pretty pissy and the busboys were crude.

All in all, as fish lovers, we liked the place but not the service or the price. For both of us, including drinks, it was over $40 and for this atmosphere/service that was too much. The fish isn't much better at Gladstones but there you don't have parking problem, customer service is better, atmosphere is better, and the menu selection is much better.

I'm sure there's crowds and waits and this place wouldn't be worth a crowd or a wait. Too bad, it has potential, but then again, it doesn't seem to be struggling for business either.

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Thank DarkHeineken
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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271 - 275 of 355 reviews

Reviewed June 3, 2012

What can you say about the Reel Inn? It is a great stop for any seafood lover, it's fresh, tasty and located alongside some great Malibu scenery. The parking is a bit frustrating and you may have to valet in their very tiny lot. The service is also just ok, could use a bit more welcome.

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Thank Acquista-Mooring
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 28, 2012

This restaurant is close to the entrance in Malibu, coming from Los Angeles ; I would say at about a quarter of an hour from Santa Monica on Route 1, along the ocean. It is separated from the ocean by the road, but you can see it (the ocean) from the restaurant. There is a parking lot.
It is not a luxury restaurant (you have to seat on benches, inside or outside). It is specialized in fish (no other meat is available) : you select the type of fish you want (they are all displayed on a table close to the entrance and there is a lot of fishes), your cooking and the vegetables you want, in the line. And of course your drink (I do not remember - because I do not drink wine - if they sell wine). Then you pay, go and seat until your name is called from the cooker.
The cooking is very good and one meal is largely sufficent for the evening. On Saturday and Sunday evenings you may have to wait a little bit in the line, as the restaurant is well known.
I like this place because it is simple, good and located in a nice place. It was recommended to me by friends who live in Thousand Oaks.

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Thank Pierre F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 24, 2012

This place reminds me of the fish camps in Florida and Mississippi. Casual in every respect, picnic tables for the patrons and, of course, fish. I've been there several times and the food has always been pretty darned good, but yesterday they fell on their faces. We had one of their signature dishes -- Fish and Chips.

Both were greasy, overdone and, in the end, barely edible. The beautiful day -- did I mention that you can dine outside? -- made up for a lot, but a couple of hours later, it was more than apparent that we'd made the wrong decision.

I will go back and give it another try, but I think I'll see what's coming out of the kitchen before I order. As you stand in line for awhile, there's every opportunity for a pre inspection.

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Thank Dan R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 12, 2012

This is a restaurant for an experience rather than a regular seafood place. Very casual, communal dining, cafeteria style service. Lots of different fish on the menu but you get no flexibility, you can have it any of the 4 ways we cook it, thats all. And add whatever you like as long as its one of the 4 things we offer everyday, no change. Nothing off menu, no changes. You get what you see - very californian experience, good with casual guests. Not cheap despite it looking that way.

Thank Traveler2504
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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