Savoring every spoonful of creamy clam chowder, I sit and stay awhile to enjoy the sights from Boathouse on the Bay — an upscale waterfront restaurant that capitalizes on its proximity to Alamitos Bay Marina.
Lunch patrons perched on umbrella-covered wooden deck chairs enjoy a seascape of steadily flowing sailboats on their weekday lunch hour. In the summer months, it’s a good place to watch sunbathers on the beach; in the winter, Long Beach’s iconic Trees on the Bay light up the night.
“Location, location, location,” Boathouse general manager John Morris emphasizes as a defining characteristic and one of the keys to the nautically-themed establishment’s success.
He and restaurateurs Eric Johnson and David Copley, along with a few other partners, opened Boathouse on the Bay in 2014 as part of Naples Restaurant Group. The restaurant replaced McKenna’s, which had been in business for more than a decade and also was managed by Morris.
“Business has doubled here since this became Boathouse on the Bay,” Morris and Johnson say, crediting the good food, service and entertainment — in addition to a more diverse mix of businesses in Alamitos Bay Landing.
Still, they are always looking for ways to improve the experience, and plans are underway to enlarge the patio with a cantilever deck, then relocate the cocktail bar so that it’s closer to the water. The renovation also calls for more kitchen space and an expanded sushi bar.
Meet The Chef
Captaining the ship and looking forward to that bigger kitchen is Boathouse on the Bay Chef Katsuo Nagasawa, or simply Chef Naga, the man personally responsible for my lunchtime soup and finely crafted turkey sandwich.
He smiles and looks on with pride as guests sink their teeth into the high-quality sushi, seafood and steak specialties on his menu.
The Japanese man, with a degree from the renowned Hattori Nutrition College, studied Japanese, French and Italian cuisine and has lived in the United States for more than three decades, working in Long Beach for much of that time.
An expert when it comes to seafood, Chef Naga’s favorite thing on the menu is the Miso Glazed Chilean Sea Bass ($39), served with garlic mashed potatoes, mixed bean succotash and crab tomato broth, garnished with a crab leg.
“If I could order just one item, it is the sea bass — it’s our most popular,” the chef says, noting that he loves any kind of fish.
The Fish N’ Chips ($20), for example, with housemade tartar sauce, slaw and fries, also is a customer favorite.
“Chef Naga knows fish,” Johnson says simply, noting that the sushi has been catching on in popularity as people realize just how good it is at Boathouse on the Bay. The extensive sushi menu includes rolls and sashimi in the range of $13 to $23 per order.
Don’t miss the Sunday Special on Steamed King Crab Legs ($49.95, regularly $70) — the deal is good from 5 p.m. to close every Sunday.
More than seafood though, Boathouse on the Bay has something for everyone, with a mouth-watering selection of soups, salads, sandwiches, pastas and steaks, plus a sweet dessert selection.
Visit for lunch and dinner service daily, or for the popular breakfast service on weekends.
There’s a full bar at Boathouse on the Bay, and happy hour is from 2 to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday. For happy hour, beers are $5, wine is $7 and margaritas are $8; plus, all starters are $10.
There’s entertainment lined up seven days a week at Boathouse on the Bay.
A talented selection of local artists are there to serenade guests every night on the deck starting about 5 p.m., and Steel Drums are placed outdoors on the weekends.
There’s a performance schedule on the restaurant’s website, and Morris says people are often surprised by the high quality of music played. He notes that two of the regular artists have been featured on mainstream television singing shows.
And, Johnson notes the view from Boathouse on the Bay is itself entertainment: “We have perfect sunsets here almost every day.”
Important To Know
Boathouse on the Bay is at 190 N. Marina Dr. in Alamitos Bay Landing, with easy public transit access via bus or water taxi. Parking is free.
For details, call (562) 493-1100 or visit BoathouseOnTheBay.com.
Ashleigh Ruhl is a contributor for The Grunion. Reach her at email@example.com.