We think of Santa Monica Pier as a kitschy-fun place to take out-of-towners, but as a date-night destination? Yeah, not so much.
That is, until the relaunch of family-owned restaurant SM Pier Seafood as the new and fashionable The Albright.
It?s a great makeover story: The casual seafood joint run by Korean émigré Hae Ju Kim since 1977 gets a total renovation by its new owner, Kim?s daughter, Yunnie Kim Morena.
Morena got some solid design advice from her pal, the mastermind behind hipster clothier The Hundreds, and has transformed the spot into a loftlike modern space with white subway tiles, turquoise accents and big rough-hewn tables with benches.
Come at dusk on a Wednesday, when the crowds have waned, so you can commandeer a whole table. Start with a craft beer (we love San Diego?s Green Flash IPA), then share some grilled shrimp tacos ($17.25) and a cup of creamy clam chowder ($7.50). Finally, feast on whole fried tilapia ($21.75) served balanced on its bottom fins as though swimming through a plate of fries.
After dinner, we suggest hopping on the Ferris wheel for a smooch at the top--it?s okay, you can still do a touristy thing or two.
The Albright, Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica; 310-394-9683 or thealbright.com