Little Black Book

A Heathy and Wholesome Guide to Malibu

by Helene Henderson
Malibu Fresh, organic, and local fare at Malibu Farm Cafe. Photo by Daniel Schwartz.

Swedish-born chef and Californian resident Helene Henderson opened Malibu Farm Cafe and Malibu Farm Restaurant and Bar when the dinners she served on her two-acre farm outgrew their intimate setting. Her new project, Malibu Farm Cookbook: Recipes from the California Coast, explores the best of the west's terroir, terrain, and ingredients, which she also shows off in this tour of her town below.

MALIBU, California – I love the rural, small town atmosphere of Malibu, where summer is endless and world-class beaches, organic farms, and vineyards are easy to access. My husband is a surfer and had always wanted to live here, so we flipped houses and saved money until we could make the move a reality. We live in Point Dume, a neighborhood with two-acre lots of land. Many homes have horses, barns, and vineyards. One of the things I love most is that everyone has a backyard farm of some sort. Vegetable beds are the norm rather than the exception, and everyone has bees — or at least they want to get bees. We started Malibu Farm because the property we bought had a barn and corral, so we got farm animals to use it. Our hillside was perfect for grapes, so we planted a vineyard. Our lower hillside was covered in weeds, but when we cleared and cleaned it, we uncovered a fruit orchard which we restored. And, well — the rest is history.

Solstice Canyon Hike
Solstice Canyon Rd.
Malibu has several great hiking trails, but this one is the best and most popular. It's easy to access, super tranquil, passes a river, and terminates at a small waterfall. You can walk by the oldest standing stone structure in Malibu, as well as ruins of a burned-down mansion. Dogs are allowed as long as they're on a leash.

Malibu Country Mart
3835 Cross Creek Rd.
Always fun for shopping and people-watching. There's a great central playground for younger kids. John's Garden is one of my go-to spots for lunch. Although they have a sandwich named The Pier, I usually grab the fittingly-named The Farm, which is packed with veggies. Sunlife Organics makes a really good drink called The Million Dollar Smoothie — this is Malibu after all.

Five Point Yoga
23410 Civic Center Way, Suite E-3; +1-310-455-6681
Do as the locals do and book a class with Ted, the local yogi staple. His Iyengar and Ashtanga-style classes are the most popular ones in town.

Malibu Country Mart

Al fresco dining at Malibu Country Mart. Photo courtesy of Malibu Country Mart.

Malibu Farm Cafe

Malibu Farm Cafe. Photo by Martin Lof.

Malibu Farm Cafe and Malibu Farm Restaurant and Bar
2300 Pacific Coast Hgwy.; +1-310-456-1112
I have two restaurant on Malibu Pier — the cafe is situated at the end and the restaurant is located at the beginning. The cafe is best known for breakfast, burgers, and salads. We have a full bar and serve a mixture of sandwiches, steaks, and vegetarian favorites like vegetable crust pizzas and spaghetti squash lasagna. After you eat, take a walk along the pier where fishermen, locals, celebrities, and tourists all mingle together. It's a charming, rustic stop with unparalleled views of Surfrider Beach.

One Gun Ranch
23000 Pacific Coast Hgwy.; +1-310-457-8031
A gorgeous collection of home goods, custom pottery, and beach stuff located on Malibu Pier next to Malibu Farm Cafe.

Cure by Benya
Malibu 22741 Pacific Coast Hgwy.; +1-310-456-1458
My go-to spot for a little R&R with views of the Pacific. Treatments range from massages and facials to vitamin therapy and spray tans.  

Malibu Shaman
23410 Civic Center Way; +1-310-456-5617
When in doubt, find it out with the help of a tarot card reading. The metaphysical bookstore also carries a large selection of crystals, incense, and oils.

Nobu new style sashimi

Nobu's new-style sashimi. Photo courtesy of Nobu.

Little Beach House Malibu

Little Beach House Malibu is the town's newest opening. Photo courtesy of Soho House.

Pinnacle Malibu
28925 Pacific Coast Hgwy.; +1-310-457-5705
Head to the locally owned beach boutique for well-priced Malibu essentials like shorts, tanks, and bikinis from Billabong, Free People, and Indah.

Malibu Bluffs Park
24250 Pacific Coast Hgwy.; +1-310-317-1364
Local families love the six-acre community park for its playground, baseball field, hiking trails, and community center. Incredibly enough, it's also outfitted with free WiFi.

Nobu Malibu
22706 Pacific Coast Hgwy.; +1-310-456-2400
After 9 p.m., when the rest of Malibu is quiet and sleepy, this oceanfront Japanese restaurant always has a late-night crowd. But weekday lunches and rainy days are my favorite time to visit. I order field greens with grilled shiitake mushrooms, miso soup, and a plate of their paper-thin, new-style sashimi.

Little Beach House Malibu
22716 Pacific Coast Hgwy.; +1-310-456-2400
The latest addition to Malibu's dining scene is from the folks behind members-only club Soho House. They have a gorgeous ocean front patio where you can enjoy an afternoon snack and glass of house rosé. They do a beautiful cruditè platter with a really nice avocado dip and crunchy chia seed flatbread crackers.


Buy Malibu Farm Cookbook: Recipes from the California Coast, by Helene Henderson.


Malibu Farm Cafe and Malibu Farm Restaurant and Bar
23000 Malibu Pier
Malibu, CA 90265


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