Twenty-two Long Beach restaurants were honored with special awards from the prestigious Southern California Restaurant Writers Association. Three restaurants earned double gold, winning the coveted Golden Sceptre–5 star and Golden Bacchus Wine awards. Additionally, Elise Benavidez of Elise’s Tea Room was recognized as Pastry Chef of the Year. Long Beach had the honor of hosting the dinner at the Aquarium of the Pacific.
L’Opera, The Madison and Sir Winston’s won the Golden Sceptre–5 star award, the association’s highest honor. Chosen by a special vote of the association membership, a restaurant must receive an accumulative 95 points or above to be considered. The Madison, L’Opera and Sir Winston’s also received the Golden Bacchus Wine award.
The association’s 36th annual awards dinner took place March 14 in the Great Hall of the Aquarium of the Pacific where 200 restaurant writers and restaurateurs attended, marking the first time in several years that the dinner was in Long Beach.
Members of the Southern California Restaurant Writers Association review more than 600 restaurants and hotel eateries from Santa Barbara to the Mexican border. The awards are presented annually based on scores for food, service, ambiance and beverages.
The association was formed in 1975 as a California nonprofit corporation that seeks to improve the quality of the restaurant industry in this region. To further this objective, the organization bestows awards upon restaurants and individuals whose standards of quality and service have been found to be of special merit.
The Southern California Restaurant Writers Association also awarded four stars–gold, three stars–sterling silver, and two stars–silver awards, as well as recommendations, to restaurants in a variety of categories. Other Long Beach restaurants that received awards in their respective categories include:
Awarded to restaurants that scored an average of 90 or more points
• Elise’s Tea Room—Before Five
• Chelsea aboard The Queen Mary—Seafood
• Parker’s Lighthouse—Seafood
• Phil Trani’s—Italian
Awarded to restaurants scoring between 85 and 89 points
• Alegria Cucina Latino—Ethnic (Spanish)
• Viva Café at MoLAA—Ethnic (Spanish)
• Café Sevilla—Sunday Brunch
• Michael’s On Naples—Promising New
• Lotus Café—Ethic (Vietnamese)
• La Palapa—Mexican
• Jimmy’s Fish & Grill—Seafood
Awarded to restaurants with scores between 80 and 84 points
• Café Piccolo—Italian
• Café Ambrosia—Contemporary
• Baba Ghanouj—Ethnic (Middle Eastern)
• George’s Greek Café