Utopia: Where Art Meets Food
2011-05-02 · By Chandra Clewley
I had walked past Utopia several times when in Downtown Long Beach, but had never stopped in. It was either that I had already eaten or just wasn’t ready to eat there. I had looked at their menu while passing by, and the prices seemed like perhaps I should reserve it for a more special occasion.
Finally, I had a friend in town and we decided to give it a taste. It was quiet the night we came in, and there was only one waiter. As it eventually became increasingly busy, I noticed that one other person, perhaps the manager, was helping out, but I felt sort of sorry for the waiter who was also tending bar too.
We both ordered a glass of wine, and settled in, looking forward to the upcoming meal. We started with the fried artichoke hearts which were not as spectacular as I had hoped. I ordered the Ginger Beef and my friend ordered a special that was off menu, a shrimp and risotto dish. We waited awhile for the bread, but it was tasty. When the meal came, our table was so small that it was overflowing and we had to eliminate the bread…tragic! The Ginger Beef was cooked well, and the Shrimp and Risotto was also tasty. The service was great, particularly for how busy the waiter was. For dessert, as I usually do, I ordered Creme Brulee because they had it. And it was awesome.
The most impressive part of our meal, besides the service, was the wine list which looks like it has had more consideration and does a nice job of offering the guests a wide range to choose from. I also really love the patio outside, I find it really romantic. The décor inside, while more muted, is lovely and quaint too. There is plenty of art to look at and Utopia seems to embrace its artistic community and surrounding galleries. I imagine on an evening where the galleries are open, the bar area can become quite busy here!
All in all, I would say that Utopia is good, with good service, good wine and solid food but be prepared to pay.
Utopia Café is located at 445 East 1st Street, Long Beach, CA. (562)432-6888
Front Page Utopia Photo by Photo by Tracy Allison Altman