Dine Time – Torrance

21 Square Bar & Kitchen

3635 Fashion Way
Torrance, California 90503
Cuisine: Modern American
Jackie says: 21 Square offers handcrafted, coastal, comfort cuisine and a hyper-local design concept. The menu items may seem familiar (tacos, fish & chips, flatbreads), but the executive chef and his team have created inspired versions of these popular dishes. The menu also features local craft brews and a Private Label beer appropriately named ‘21 & Over’ from Absolution Brewing. There are several seating options – guests can dine in the Great Room or on the patio, or enjoy a drink around the fire pit on the veranda.

El Torito Grill

21321 Hawthorne Boulevard
Torrance, CA 90503
(310) 543-­1896
Cuisine: Mexican
Jackie says: I always order the specials because they sound so good and I haven’t been disappointed yet. Full disclosure: I’m a sucker for the warm tortillas with orange butter.

Hey 19

4525 Calle Mayor
Torrance, CA 90505
(310) 378-8119
Cuisine: American Comfort
Jackie says: Hey 19 opened just a few months ago (summer 2014) and it’s already become one of my favorite places to eat and just hang out. The decor and food are retro Americana and infused with nostalgia. The menu comes in a Pee Chee folder, an iconic Farah Fawcett poster hangs behind the bar, no two chairs are alike and the name is taken from a classic Steely Dan song. The menu is packed with comfort foods – think, fried chicken & waffle, grilled cheese, pork chop, mac & cheese, burgers, meatloaf – and it’s even better than mom used to make. They already have a live entertainment permit and I predict Hey 19 will become the hottest dance spot in the South Bay. BTW, when you visit, bring a photo of yourself when you were 19 and they’ll put it on the board!

Local Kitchen, The American Tavern

1321 Sartori Avenue
Torrance, CA 90501
(424) 337-1321
Cuisine: Gastropub
Jackie says: Local Kitchen is located in Old Torrance, a classic ‘downtown’ offering every service and shop imaginable, and one of my favorite South Bay neighborhoods. The menu offers a bit of everything, including items ranging from appetizers, salads, soup, burgers, sandwiches, pastas, tacos, steaks, fish and more. It’s a comfortable, casual space where you can sit a spell and relax. The bar features a fantastic selection of craft beers, specialty cocktails and sippin’ stuff (Bourbon! Whiskey! Tequila!). The dishes are generous – try as I might, I can only get through two of the three shrimp tacos!

Lucille’s Smokehouse & Bar-B-Que

Del Amo Fashion Center
21540 Hawthorne Boulevard, #401B
Torrance, CA 90503
Cuisine: Southern American, BBQ
Jackie says: You can’t go wrong ordering anything off this menu. This is my go-to spot for BBQ and old-fashioned Southern cooking. I limit myself to eating here only once each month otherwise I would weigh 400 pounds. It’s that good.

Primo Italia

24590 Hawthorne Boulevard
Torrance, Ca 90505 (Hillside Village)
Cuisine: Heritage-based Italian
Jackie says: Primo Italia offers fine dining with an intimate, supper club-like ambiance. It’s stylish yet comfortable and proprietors Lou and Grace Giovannetti treat guests like family with a touch of old world hospitality. It’s a terrific spot for a romantic dinner – particularly if Lou pics up the mic and treats the crowd to a few tunes from the Great American Songbook. The bar has a convivial air and is the perfect spot for catching up with old friends and making new ones. Lou is a Bronx boy but he’s got the whole California good vibration thing happening!

Red Car Brewery

1266 Sartori Avenue
Torrance, CA 90501
Cuisine: American
Jackie says: I like everything about this casual eaterie: the building, the concept – and the menu has something for everyone. Oh, yeah, don’t let me forget the beer!

Restoration Kitchen & Wine

1437 Marcelina Avenue
Torrance, CA 90501
(310) 328-8100
Cuisine: American/Californian with Asian and French influences
Jackie says: Restoration Kitchen & Wine is located in the heart of historic, highly walkable, Downtown Torrance and has quickly become a neighborhood favorite. The chef, Camden Hershberger, hails from Bouchon in Beverly Hills and his provenance is apparent with a quick peek at the menu. The dishes are as sophisticated as you would expect, offering an array of unique taste profiles, but the ambiance is classic, South Bay casual. I particularly appreciate the portion size – I’m able to enjoy an appetizer, entree and dessert without feeling that I overindulged. They make the most of the intimate space with a couple of communal tables to complement the 2 and 4 tops. I highly recommend making a reservation as the place fills up fast and early. It’s already a hit with locals and with easy access from the 405 and 110, will surely draw patrons from all over Southern Cal.

Rock & Brews PCH

6300 Pacific Coast Highway
Redondo Beach, CA, 90277
Cuisine: Casual American
Jackie says: This is my go-to spot for beer and a burger…..but sometimes it’s a glass of wine and artichoke appetizer. The extensive menu features American comfort food as well as regional favorites like fish tacos and Santa Maria Tri Tip so there’s something for everyone – including Fido. Yep, they have a special menu for our four legged friends and, wait for it…..Bowser Beer! It’s the perfect spot to grab a beer, kick back and watch a game (or games) on multiple screens while the kids entertain themselves on the patio jungle gym. Oh, did I mention they offer over 100 craft brews?

Tender Greens

Village Del Amo
21247 Hawthorne Boulevard
Torrance, CA 90503
(424) 488-0639
Jackie says: Tender Greens just opened their new location in Torrance but they already had a huge local fan base that would travel to the Culver City or Santa Monica locations for their fix. Named one of the “10 Best Chain Restaurants in the World” by Conde Nast Traveler, the food is truly addictive. The Torrance location features a veg-friendly menu with new protein options and plant-based sides, in addition to the mouth-watering Backyard Steak, Thai Shrimp, Tuna Nicoise and other favorites. I’m already hooked on the Lifestyle Drinks – veg and fruit blends that are unlike any ‘green’ drink I’ve ever tasted. Tender Greens is a fantastic addition to the neighborhood and conveniently located across the street from the brand new Del Amo Fashion Center.

The Depot

1250 Cabrillo Avenue
Torrance, CA 90501
Cuisine: Euro/Asian Fusion & Continental
Jackie says: The Depot is located in the restored historical Southern Pacific Railway Depot of Torrance – such a cool space! Long considered the best fine dining establishment in the city – the Zagat review describes it as “imaginative, exceptional, eclectic cuisine” – Chef Shafer and his team never fail to impress. This is adventurous, fine dining at its best!