Welcome to EAT THIS CITY, your tour of the best restaurants in one of our favorite cities, as chosen by a world-class chef, celebrity, or local hero.
This week, we’re headed to Long Beach, CA, the home of tourist attractions like Knott’s Berry Farm, The Queen Mary, and Aquarium of the Pacific. It’s tempting to think only of the city’s opportunities for play, but no one should sleep on the local food scene. Long Beach residents are serving up some of the tastiest eats in SoCal, and no one knows that better than Chef Arthur Gonzalez of Roe Seafood and Panxa Cocina.
Gonzalez is all about sustainability, using the fresh bounty of the Pacific ocean at Roe Seafood and amazing produce and proteins to capture the flavors of New Mexico at Panxa Cocina. He calls his approach to seafood “dock to dish,” and lives out that commitment with a serious emphasis on sourcing fish. His entrance to the culinary world is pretty interesting, too, as he fell in love with cooking while working as a firefighter. Preparing meals in the firehouse peaked his interest in all things culinary and he set out on that path, finding a mentor in James Beard Award-winning chef Eric DiStefano of Geronimo in Santa Fe.
People around the country are recognizing that Gonzalez has skills. “Best of” consistently include Gonzalez’ properties — like OC Weekly’s “Best Seafood Restaurant in Orange County,” CBS-LA’s “Best Long Beach Restaurants,” and Thrillist’s “Best Restaurants in Long Beach.” One look at what he’s cooking up makes it clear that the accolades are deserved.
Ready to grub? Let’s check out Chef Gonzalez’ fave food experiences in Long Beach!
For the best pizza in Long Beach, I’d have to give a shout out to Michael’s Pizzeria. They do a traditional but artisanal Napoli-style pizza in the Naples neighborhood of Long Beach as well as their location Downtown. The crust is paper thin, and all of the toppings are of the highest quality available, using the best tomatoes, house-made cheeses, super fresh basil, etc. Michael’s Pizzeria has been around since 2010, and they are very well established here. I like my pizza simple and straightforward—made with attention to detail and great ingredients.
My favorite pizza at Michael’s is the Salsiccia E Funghi, with house-made mozzarella, taleggio cheese, sausage, and forest mushrooms. You can see them pour the good olive oil on the pizza afterwards. The guy making them is straight from Italy as well, so that’s always a good sign!