Review: CAFE del REY Offers Best Brunch Experience in LA

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New Executive Chef Chuck Abair of CAFE del REY preps Saturday/Sunday brunch to perfection.

New Executive Chef Chuck Abair of CAFE del REY preps Saturday/Sunday brunch to perfection.

From the moment I walked through the door, I knew that I was going to enjoy my brunch experience at CAFE del REY with my sister in-law. The dining room was bright and vibrant, the atmosphere was warm and inviting, and the view was simply breathtaking.

The Marina del Rey-based CAFE del REY, which is a Mediterranean eatery, overlooks the Marina, and that’s one big plus when having brunch on a Saturday or Sunday.

CAFE del REY’s brunch menu offers a great deal of choices. The Three Course Prix Fixe Brunch comes complete with bottomless mimosas, which arrived promptly after being seated. There is no better way to begin a fabulous meal, than with bubbles dancing atop a champagne flute and the blue water of the Marina in the background. download

Everything on the menu looked divine, so we decided on the Frito Misto and the restaurant’s signature Dungeness Crab Cakes as our starters. While we waited for our dishes to arrive, the serving staff was so friendly, and attentive, and made sure my mimosa flute was never empty.

The Frito Misto was a clean and crisp presentation of lightly fried calamari and bay scallops, complete with harissa aioli. The crust had a perfectly flaky crunch, the calamari and bay scallops were tender, and the harissa aioli surprised me with the spicy and full bodied bite.

The Crab Cake was equally delicious, so it is no wonder that it is one of the most raved about dishes at CAFE del Rey. The crab cake was elegantly and colorfully coupled with a kale and grapefruit salad with basil aioli. Grapefruit is not the first pairing that comes to mind when I think of crab, but the two could not have been more perfect. Flavors were balanced, and bright, and each bite left me wanting more.

For our entrées, we chose the Brioche French Toast, and the Lamb Burger. When the restaurant’s Executive Chef, Chuck Abair, greeted us at our table, and made sure we were enjoying everything, he was excited to discover that we had selected the Lamb Burger.

“That really is an excellent choice. The Lamb Burger is one of the most popular dishes here – one of our staples, and it will never come off of the menu,” he said.

Once my plate arrived, I could definitely see why. The oversized burger sat between a golden brown, toasted bun, and the sheep’s milk cheese was perfectly melted into the patty itself. The marinated cucumbers were an exciting twist on the everyday pickle, and the butter lettuce leaf added a softness to the dish. House made fries were served alongside the burger, along with more delectable harissa aioli. The fries were equally as appetizing, cut thick, seasoned to perfection, and served piping

As if challenged, the Brioche French Toast, was determined not to disappoint. The French toast was topped with blueberry compote (fresh blueberries, in a sweet blueberry sauce), and was served with thick cut, and crunchy bacon – not the least bit greasy. Each bite was fluffy and flavorful, not even calling for syrup. No sir, this French toast is perfect on its own. The house made whipped cream added a creaminess and made for an exquisite presentation.

Because everything else had been so divine, it made choosing a dessert quite a task. We ended up sampling them all, but my favorite by far, was the Pain Perdu. It was a heavenly combination of hazelnut, raspberry, chocolate, and creamy custardy bread. The pairing of raspberries and chocolate is one of my all time favorites, but the hazelnuts put this dessert dish over the top.

I loved every bit of the brunch experience at CAFE del REY; it’s the best in town, bar none! The staff was friendly, knowledgeable, and attentive, and the food was inventive, beautifully presented, and, most of all, absolutely delicious.


Saturday: 11:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Sunday: 10:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

4451 Admiralty Way
Marina del Rey, CA 90292
(310) 823-6395

Nichole Jones is a Staff Reporter for Living Out Loud - LA, covering lifestyle, entertainment and sports. Follow her on Twitter: @Cinnam0nBun
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