Sometimes you know that the food is not the main attraction. Perhaps it's a bit of history or the view that pulls you in. Perhaps it's the need to go because you are here and when you return home you don't want people saying what a great place you missed. You know you'll overpay, but you really don't care.
That, in a nutshell, is The Lobster.
Just to be clear, the food is very good. However, with the possible exception of the Grilled American Lobster, see the attached picture, the food is not extraordinary. The grilled octopus appetizer was fine, but nothing special. You can get much better at a good Greek restaurant. This is the same for almost all of the food we ordered, the New England Clam Chowder, the Burrata Cheese, the Pan Seared Crab Cakes etc. Everything more than acceptable, nothing extraordinary.
The premium price you are paying is for the privilege of being in a wonderfully historic restaurant with amazing views of Santa Monica Pier and beach. When we were there as the sun set the sky turned an unbelievable mix of reds and pinks and purples. Honestly, the view is worth the price of admission alone, at least at sunset.
I read the other reviews about the wait time, even with reservations. It's all true. We had 7:45 reservations for a party of 8 and were seated about 45 minutes late. We really didn't mind that much because it was just a great place to be (and normally I am not laid back about this). It's just that people don't want to leave and as a result the timing of the turn of the table can be precarious. So you need to be prepared for this. If you are one of those people who absolutely can not relax and enjoy with a drink the time spent waiting for a table, other restaurants may be better for you.
The one food item that I believe may well be worth the price (and the price is expensive) is the Grilled American Lobster. It's huge and since you pay by the pound it's correspondingly expensive. But if, like me, you will be here only once, go for it.
The service, by the way, was outstanding. Our waitress was patient (we were drinking a bit too much and patience on her part was a great asset), funny and informative. The service was a great enhancement of the experience.
So, go understanding exactly what you are getting. Be relaxed, expect a wait, have a drink or two or three, enjoy the food and the view and the plain, simple fun of just being here.
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