Casual French Dining at Marguerite at The Beach

123 Washington Blvd, Marina del Rey, CA 90292

Marguerite is an all purpose French bistro close to the beach in Marina del Rey that offers very fair prices for a nice selection of authentic dishes. Owned and operated by chef Andre Ginekis and his wife Marguerite, the place is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Andre has had an interesting history, including a four-month stint early in his career at the Negresco Hotel (NiteDine '99 Review) in Nice. His first job in the USA came in New York at "La Cote Basque" where he worked as executive chef to design and adapt French cuisine to the American palate. He moved on from there to open a French bakery in Memphis, and later his own restaurant which he sold. Since then he has worked for Carnival Cruise Lines, and numerous hotels and restaurants before landing at Marina del Rey.

My contacts have told me that the breakfast business is very good; lunch is going fine, but that the dinner trade is extremely patchy, probably due to a variety of factors. This is an area where fast food and Mexican specialty restaurants reign supreme, and to make it as a French "fine dining" establishment is a bit of a struggle. A breakdown of the breakfast and lunch menu shows you just how versatile Andre can be with a generous selection of omelet's, soups, salads, crepes, pate, escargots, baguette sandwiches and an extensive selection of house specials such as the Chicken Dijonnaise, Coq au Vin and Beef Bourguignon.

It is the dinner menu that the chef gets to sparkle a bit, starting with the "Escargots a la Marsellaise" that are baked in a garlic butter and French liqueur "Pastis" for $6.95. My companion was a bit surprised that the escargot came out of the shell, but seemed to enjoy it anyway. The cheese plate featured about three or four French cheeses with fruit, less however than one is used to in France, and the smoked Norwegian salmon marinated in a lemon dill sauce and served with a chilled mango salsa was an excellent appetizer.

The Osso Bucco is a popular item and one of my companion's sweared that "the meat just falls off the bone, and is robust enough with the rice pilaf to give it a balanced texture." Since Andre originally hails from one of my absolute favorite places, Nice, the fact that a French restaurant would serve an outstanding Osso Bucco comes as no major surprise. He also loved the bone marrow. Another friend had the Vol au Vents aux Fruits de Mer-sauteed giant prawns, scallops, crab & mushroom in lobster sauce served in puff pastry. He loved the pastry in this dish, and appreciated that the food was served piping hot. I went for a Veal in apple sauce, perfectly acceptable, to round off a pretty good meal at a very reasonable price.

Andre insisted we try the Crème Brulee au "Grand Marnier" served with fresh strawberries to close out the meal. Pastry dishes are a bit of a specialty at Marguerite, and a lively counter trade tells me that maybe they should consider supplying some of them to other restaurants. Fresh and invigorating, the Crème Brulee was as good as many previously tried at fancier places, and at $7.95, a special treat.

Tel: 310-822-5379

Dress: Very Casual

Dinner for 2 people w/wine $80

Lunch for 2 people w/wine $40

Restaurant Hours:
Dinner365 days6:00 a.m. - 10:00 p.m.
Mike Hepworth, June 2002

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