The other night I had the biggest craving for Froggy's. I had been talking about it with a co-worker that just moved to town and it stuck in my head. I craved the escape, the beautiful winding journey through endless greenery, the fresh food, the mellow vibe, the owner that never forgets a face and some of their beer to sip while playing darts. The Escape: You take PCH toward Malibu which is always a beautiful ride, even when there's traffic because all you need to do is look across the ocean and take a deep breath. Then, you leave the ocean behind you as you take a right on Topanga Canyon Road. Suddenly, you feel as if you've been transported to Northern California with endless greenery surrounding you. The road winds up a mountain, only interrupted by views of cliffs and forests. As you pass through the little town area of Topanga which reminds me of small, Lake Tahoe towns full of hippies and people enjoying a much slower pace of life, you can feel your stress lifting. Just as it does, there's Froggy's on the left, waiting to welcome you.
The Fresh Food: The owner's brother owns Reel Inn Fresh Fish Market on PCH and his cousin owns The Lobster in Santa Monica. Froggy's has all the fresh seafood of those two restaurants without having to deal with dress codes and attitudes. The menu has everything you could want from grilled shrimp tacos (my fave!) to crab quesadillas to grilled mahi-mahi. Now, they serve sushi and have a happy hour menu that only charges you $3.50 for rolls. If you're not a fan of seafood, they have chicken options for the tacos and quesadillas and burgers. Side dishes range from home fries and cole slaw to black beans and rice to baked potatoes. Everything I've had here is DELICIOUS. My only suggestion is if you have black beans and rice for sides, add the homemade salsa to give it a little more kick. The Mellow Vibe: How could you be stressed surrounded by gorgeous forestry overlooking the Topanga creek, which you can't readily see but, can definitely hear? Topanga locals tend to live a slower pace of life and Froggy's is no exception. Like I wrote above, there isn't a sign of arrogant pretension, dress codes, or indifference here. The owner never forgets a face. I've been there maybe four or five times and each time, he's remembered me. He takes the time to ask how life is and is genuinely interested (I know! Even here in LA, it's possible!) in what's going on.
It also helps that they have sunken lounges by the fireplace with blankets to wrap yourself in and they encourage playing board games or chess by the fire. They have an outdoor library on their gorgeous patio that consists of couches and bookshelves full of books to enjoy on those couches. Their own beer: I always order a Snakebite (which is a blend of their cider and pale ale) and when my boyfriend ordered a Corona, I had to step in. I'm usually not that kind of girlfriend but, to order a Corona in a place with such an awesome choice of drafts is like going to Italy and ordering McDonald's. He decided to trust me, smart man that he is, and ordered their Hemp Ale. He loved it and said that he never would've ordered that. They have a wide variety, if you're not a beer drinker, they have a great cider. They also have a full wine list, with plenty of sake and soju choices. After dinner as you get a second round, break out the darts and play a few rounds. You can be sure that the owner will join in and if you don't know how to play, he'll show you the ropes.
Froggy's is definitely worth the trip, trust me, you'll feel like you just took the quickest trip to Big Sur.
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Froggy's Topanga Fish Market~ (310) 455-1728 1105 N Topanga Canyon Blvd, Topanga, CA 90290
Hours: 5p-12a, open every day Price: $5-$15 Happy Hour: 5p-7p Tues.-Thurs., $3.50 Sushi Menu Bar: Wine and Beer only, has wide selection of own brews. Parking: FREE, behind restaurant dirt parking lot, down a steep ramp or in front of restaurant along the road. Large patio area, indoor dining, sunken lounges near fireplace and a dart board.