I lived in Los Angeles for decades before someone who worked and lived in Malibu showed me Paradise Cove Beach Cafe; I would never have found it or even explored it if it hadn't been a local. Many people all over the world have seen the beach and pier on numerous television shows and movies; it is the go to location for beach shots because it is secluded and a beautiful natural background. My friends from France said this was truly Heaven; a California beach as they had always imagined it would be from the films. Entry to the parking lot is $25 for the day (or any portion thereof), but it's only $3 for 3 hours if you order at least $20 at the cafe and get your ticket validated. Prices at the cafe are so reasonable that you may have to order two appetizers or two entrees to reach the $20 threshold.
In 1996 one of the the original family family members who owned the land in the 1950's bought it back in 1996 and now Bob Morris is raising his family the way he was raised. Apparently he was raised with a fun atmosphere, fresh seafood, and very copious portions. Old photographs show how the place has changed and grown from a dirt road path to the beach to a paved road with a light! It would be a punishment if the portion sizes he serves were what his parents told him to eat before going to bed; two of my friends and I shared three appetizers and we ended up eating the leftovers for a second meal.
We had the shrimp cocktail with a mix of big and small shrimp on top of a bed of shredded iceberg.
The fried calamari on top of a bed of french fries in a HUGE glass.
And their famous BBQ Shrimp Quesadilla.
The plates were so big that at a booth for four, the three of us had trouble managing to put all the appetizers in the center of the table! Big is not always good, but the seafood was fresh in all three versions of appetizers, and there was enough flavor that we wanted to eat it all without needing the cocktail or tarter sauces served on the side.
There is usually at least an hour wait for an outdoor table, but even the indoor spots have a nice view in several directions, thanks to the big picture windows. If you don't want to eat inside and don't want to wait for hours, pick up some food to go and take it to the outdoor seating areas that are adjacent to the restaurant where there are no servers, but where you can have a picnic at the beach with restaurant food. The daybeds are great for friends and or families to hang out, but bring your own towels to drape over them to keep you clothes from the bird or food debris that may be on them.
So come by for lunch, hang out at the beach and maybe you can picture what life was like about 50 years ago...or maybe you're one of the lucky locals who remembers!