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Seeking alternatives to Starbucks and chain restaurants while in Long Beach? Look no further...
Portfolio is one of my all-time favourite coffeehouses, and if you go, it will likely become one of yours as well. Long a popular hangout for locals, Portfolio offers coffee fans a large selection of espresso drinks, brewed coffee, teas, and cold beverages. There are also delicious pastries and made-to-order sandwiches that are just amazing. Need the 'net? Portfolio has free wifi access for laptop users, and there are several computer stations available for a small fee. Local artists display their work on the walls in a constantly rotating exhibit. There is also evening entertainment -- open mic, performance art, and local musicians. Portfolio is a treasure!
Family owned and operated since opening day, going to Chuck's is like going back in time. The decor dates to the 60s, the waitstaff is friendly and probably knows you by name if you've eaten there more than once. Chuck himself comes around to greet diners. The food is diner fare done right -- have a Weasel for breakfast or a big, tasty burger for lunch. I also recommend the bean and cheese quesadilla, which is all kinds of fattening but so worth the extra time on the elliptical. Weekend mornings are very busy. Expect a wait, but your experience will be well worth it.
This tiny taco stand that is attached to the Reno Room bar dishes up some crazy delicious Mexican food! Great enchiladas, salsa, guacamole, tacos, and sopes! Not a meat eater? No worries...you can get tofu instead of meat on just about any of the combinations. Yummy stuff!
Inconspicuously nestled in a small strip mall, Marri's is a great family Italian restaurant. The pizzas are very tasty, as is the chicken or eggplant parmigiana, the lasagna, and the pasta. If you get a salad, try the sour cream dressing -- it's addictive!
If you're craving Mediterranean cuisine, hotfoot it on over to Gypsy's. This tiny restaurant is often passed over by people en route to the Belmont Brewing Company, but people who stop in and discover what Gypsy's has to offer leave satisfied at having discovered a real gem. I've never had a bad meal there. The food is terrific, from the smooth hummus to the well-seasoned grilled meats to the melt-in-your-mouth baklava. On warm evenings, ask for a table on the patio for one of the best alfresco dining experiences in Long Beach.
If you want good coffee in Belmont Shore, pass right by that Starbucks and walk one more block to Polly's Gourmet Coffee. Polly's has been pleasing patrons since 1976 with its in-store roasted coffee and scrumptious baked goods. The array of coffees for sale is impressive, and the baked-daily pastries are wonderful. The pumpkin muffins get special mention here -- they are the best I've had. Polly's also has free wifi access, so if you need a place to hang out and drink coffee as you surf the 'net, this is a great place to do so. Polly's is wildly popular with locals, and on weekend mornings, the coffeehouse and its patio can be pretty packed. Don't let that deter you. Come on in and grab a cup!
Amazing Indian food in the heart of Belmont Shore! The chicken tikka masala is particularly worthy of mention, but everything I've had here is marvelous.