Author: Leslie Westbrook

Get there before the crowds!

Pacific by NoRu394 E. Main St.Ventura805-205-9618www.pacificbynoru.com$4-$35 After noodling around on the website for this delightful new “coastally inspired” restaurant, which opened in late December, I was very much looking forward to a visit. Arugula salad with roasted beets and local goat cheese sprinkled with pistachios. Handsome bar at Pacific by NoRu Red curry ground lamb kebabs at NoRu Roasted garlic, arugula pesto and hot sourdough bread. Pacific by NoRu has a great back-story. Opened by two surfer friends — Ren Weigang, born and raised in Hawaii, mans the kitchen, and James Norton, busy working the front of the house...

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Luck be a lady tonight

Paradise Pantry222 E. Main St.Ventura805-641-9440$8-$38 I happened in early, 5:30 on a Wednesday night, for a light dinner and glass of vino at Paradise Pantry. As luck would have it, unbeknownst to me, there was a really cool winemaker event happening. A charming Italian winemaker from the Piedmonte region of northern Italy was pouring wines from the family winery named for his mother, Anna Maria Abbona. Added bonus: the $15 fee, for a flight of nine wines was a great deal. Even at the early hour, the restaurant side of Paradise Pantry was filling up with singles at the...

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Takin’ it easy at Duke’s

Duke’s Griddle ‘n Grill 1124 S. Seaward Ave. Ventura 805-667-8411 $2.05-$15.95 I heard about Duke’s from my old friend John, a former surfer and Hawaiiophile, who drives from Carpinteria to the Seaward Avenue spot just a block from the beach in Ventura every Friday for a salmon taco with mango salsa for lunch. He arrives at 11:30 a.m. to beat the crowds and avoids waiting in line to order at the counter. He’d been raving about his discovery and urged me on several occasions to come down and try one. So, on a recent Friday, I met John at...

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Welcomed addition to Ventura Harbor

Fratelli’s Pizza & Brew Ventura Harbor Village 1559 Spinnaker Drive, #100, Ventura 805-639-0866 fratellispizzaandbrew.com $4.25-$19 Some folks like their pizza crust super-thin, Sicilian style. That would be me — it’s in my blood since I’m half Sicilian. In days past, you had to go to Sicily or New York for this style pizza. Others prefer a thick crust or deep dish, Chicago style. That would be the person I had lunch with at the recently remodeled Fratelli’s Pizza & Brew in Ventura Harbor Village. Garlic pizza dough knotsFried artichokesFried Brussels sproutsSlice and salad combo, margherita pizza slice and Caeser...

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An institution of Ventura Harbor

Andria’s Seafood Restaurant and Market Ventura Harbor Village 1449 Spinnaker Drive, A, Ventura 805-654-0546 www.andriasseafood.com $4.50-$24 First visit: Sunday. Lunchtime. Elbow to elbow, packed to the gills, pun intended. Noisy, and did I say very crowded?   Friend orders the cod fish and chips at the counter (line is long but moves quickly) and her order is ready soon after. I order the special: “Lobster Sensation Stir-fry” ($18.99). I wait. And wait. And finally when I inquire about my order, despite my buzzer lighting up, I am told it takes 15 minutes or more to prepare. My friend, Maxine,...

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