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A Two-Story Waterfront Landmark at Seaport Village Becomes a Breezy All-Day Cafe

Los Angeles standout Malibu Farm is opening next month in San Diego

A cauliflower crust pizza and green juice.
Cauliflower crust pizza.
Erin Kunkel

A standout beachside restaurant in Los Angeles is making its way south to San Diego where it will unveil its prime bayfront perch by the end of August. Malibu Farm, which co-founders Helene Henderson, a Swedish-born chef, and her husband, actor-director John Stockwell, opened a decade ago on the Malibu pier, is replacing the 40-year-old Harbor House in a multi-million dollar renovation that’s part of the Port of San Diego’s ongoing transformation of Seaport Village.

With waterfront views and capacity for 400 guests, the 14,000-square-foot venue’s upper level will function as its main dining room while the lower level will mostly be used for events and private dining. The space will also include an ice cream shop and espresso bar and a retail shop selling curated home goods and pantry items.

A rendering of a two-story restaurant.
A rendering of the two-story restaurant.
Bells + Whistles

Designing it all are Bells + Whistles co-founders Barbara Rourke and Jason St. John, whose firm’s work is on display at standout local spots like Jeune et Jolie and Animae. The relaxed, SoCal style that is the Malibu Farm brand will be conveyed through “modern farmhouse influences and Scandinavian minimalism”, with its indoor and outdoor spaces done up in wood, tiles, and textiles and highlighted by natural light afforded by its position right on the Embarcadero.

A plate of chicken parmesan.
Malibu Farm’s chicken parmesan.
Erin Kunkel

Malibu Farm now operates a handful of restaurants in California and New York as well as Hawaii and Japan, but the Seaport Village branch’s all-day menu will hew most closely to its Newport Beach outpost, which offers daily brunch and dinner options ranging from bowls, salads, and sandwiches to mains like vegan coconut curry, fish tacos, lobster mac and cheese, a roasted chicken with whole-grain mustard sauce.

There will also be new San Diego-specific dishes utilizing ingredients from farmers and purveyors in the area, including seafood from the nearby Tuna Harbor Dockside Market. Henderson and Stockwell recently opened a modern pizzeria called Skål Pizza at Newport Beach’s Lido Marina, and the Seaport Village menu will also feature a selection of its thin-crust pies.

In addition to Malibu Farm’s opening, August will also usher in the Seaport Village debut of Crack Taco Shop with three more restaurants — Shorebird, Cork & Batter, and Gladstone’s, an LA-based seafood spot — arriving sometime next year.