South Bay meant overstuffed hamburgers (including the oddly named, yet totally iconic "chili size" burger), along with a surf 'n' turf option that almost always consisted of a (formerly frozen) lobster tail and a (long-cooked) filet mignon. You went to the beach cities to sit in the sand - not to eat the sandwiches. But in recent days, there's been a true sea change - with the South Bay turning into one of the edgiest dining destinations in Southern California.
The latest entry is Abigaile (1301 Manhattan Ave., Hermosa Beach, 310-999-3508), part of the seemingly endless line of gastropubs to open in the South Bay - a big room with a high-ceiling just two blocks from the beach, offering dozens of freshly poured brews, along with the requisite eclectic menu that runs from truffled pork rillette to a Bad Ass Burger packed with bacon-infused beef. The half-timbered walls make the sprawling space look like a log cabin that's taken a wrong turn, with the letter "A" written largely on many a surface - the Scarlet Letter by the shore.
And what other hot spots have turned the South Bay into an ale-fueled small-dish mecca? Click through the slideshow below to find out.