Food and Fresnel
This edition of Food and Fresnel covers the history of the Palos Verdes lighthouse, Point Vicente. Food and Fresnel is an online travel guide for lighthouse lovers, offering listings of restaurants and places to stay near your favorite harbor lights. Originally published by The Astute Recorder.
If you’re intrigued with the Palos Verdes lighthouse in Southern California, it is no wonder. The picture says it all.
Located in the glorious Palos Verdes Peninsula, the Point Vicente Lighthouse surroundings are well-manicured with plenty of picnic tables to sit, dine and enjoy views of the lighthouse and the spectacular Pacific Ocean. A lovely hiking trail heads north of the light.
Among the three Los Angeles lighthouses featured in this Food and Fresnel travel series, Point Vicente in Palos Verdes is the northernmost of all of them.
Point Vicente Lighthouse went into operation on May 1, 1926 to protect shipmasters traveling to and from the Los Angeles and Long Beach Harbors. The cylindrical tower stands at 67 feet tall. The light was manned until 1971. Today, while it is automated, the lighthouse has a trusty “lighthouse keeper” (quotation marks intentional) who is part of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary.
Gone are the days of the lighthouse keeper’s traditional responsibilities—literally keeping the flame alive from dusk to dawn and logging weather and ocean conditions. Modern-day “keepers”—in Point Vicente’s case, a member of the Coast Guard’s Aids to Navigation—have taken on the task of renovating and restoring Point Vicente and opening the site for monthly tours.
Point Vicente’s classic third-order Fresnel lens was built in 1910 in Paris, France by Barbier and Turenne, the oldest lens manufacturer in the world.
The lighthouse and grounds are owned and operated by the U.S. Coast Guard and are usually closed to the public. However, you can visit a small museum and tour the tower.
- Days and Hours: Second Saturday of each month. 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
- Admission: Free. Group tours book in advance.
- Phone: 310-541-0334
- Website: vicentelight.org
In March, the lighthouse offers tours on the first Saturday of the month to coincide with the city of Palos Verdes’ “Whale of a Day” festivities.
Directions to Palos Verdes Lighthouse
Palos Verdes Restaurants
Picnics / Take-out
- Subway. The closest one is across Palos Verdes Drive South, which lines the coast in Palos Verdes, in the Golden Cove Center. 31204 Palos Verdes Dr., Rancho Palos Verdes, CA 90275. 310-265-9800. $5 footlong sandwiches and other deals to sing along to. Accepts debit and credit cards. Hours: M – F, 7 a.m. – 10 p.m. Sat – Sun. 8 a.m. – 10 p.m.
- Ralphs. A short drive up Hawthorne Blvd., which crosses Palos Verdes Drive South and which you access across the highway from the Point Vicente Interpretive Center. Deli, bakery and an ample selection of wines. 30019 Hawthorne Blvd., Rancho Palos Verdes, CA 90275. 310-377-6941. Accepts debit and credit cards. Hours: 6 a.m. – midnight seven days a week.
- Pavilions. Located in the Peninsula Center along Hawthorne Blvd. and further east of Ralphs. Deli, sushi bar, Starbucks, bakery, olive bar and wines. 7 Peninsula Center. Rolling Hills Estates, CA 90274. 310-377-1994. Accepts debit and credit cards. Note: The Peninsula Center has the usual suspects of fast-food and fast-casuals: Domino’s, Burger King, Jack in the Box, Jamba Juice and La Salsa. Hours: 6 a.m. – 11 p.m. seven days a week.
- Kelly’s Korner. An understated and charming eatery offering homemade subs, burgers and salads. A longer drive from Point Vicente Lighthouse but worth it if you’re seeking a local flair. 26947 Rolling Hills Rd., Rolling Hills Estates, CA 90274. 310-541-2234 (Between Palos Verdes Dr. N and Lariat Ln.) Under $10. Mastercard, Visa and Amex. Hours: 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. seven days a week.
- Domino’s. A convenient location across the highway in the Golden Cove Center. 31240 Palos Verdes Drive. W, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA 90275. 310-265-4999. $. Accepts debit and credit cards. Hours: Sun. – Thu. 10 a.m. – 10 p.m., F – Sat. 10 a.m. 11 p.m.
Sit-down / Dining
- Saluzzi Ristorante d’ Italia. For an elegant dining experience, Saluzzi is a prime spot. Located Golden Cove Center, the restaurant headed by Executive Chef Michael Saluzzi and his brother Joseph, can prepare a scrumptious meal inspired by the recipes of the Saluzzis’ great grandmother with a touch of French. 31206 Palos Verdes Drive West, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA 90275. 310-377-7300. Upscale dining prices. $$$. Accepts American Express, Diners Club, Discover, Mastercard, Visa, JCB. Hours: T – Sat. 11:30 a.m. – 9 p.m. Open for private parties on Sundays. 4 p.m. – 9 p.m.
- Cafe Pacific at Trump National Golf Club. Fine-dining menus for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Up to $$$$. Accepts debit and credit cards. Reservations recommended and necessary for tea. Just south of Point Vicente. One Ocean Trails Drve, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA 90275. 310-303-3260. Hours: M – Sat. 1 a.m. – 11 a.m. (breakfast); 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. (lunch); Sun – Th. 5 p.m. – 9 p.m., F – Sat. 5 p.m. – 10 p.m. (dinner); M – Sat. 3 p.m. – 5 p.m., Sun 4 p.m. – 5 p.m. (bar menu); M – Sat. 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. (High Tea).
- Asaka Japanese Cuisine. Enjoy fresh sashimi and sushi rolls presented through decorative plating. Located across the main highway from Point Vicente in the Golden Cove Center. 3128 W. Palos Verdes Drive, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA 90275. $$. Accepts debit and credit cards. Full menu including appetizers, combos, noodles, rice bowls, entrées and desserts. Hours: 11:30 a.m. – 9:30 p.m. seven days a week.
- Trio Mediterranean Grill. Located in the Peninsula Center in Rolling Hills Estates—the same center as the Pavilions mentioned above—Trio offers a bistro environment and a gourmet fare fusing French, Greek, Italian and Spanish cuisines. From Point Vicente, a short and scenic drive up Hawthorne Blvd. 46-B Peninsula Center, Rolling Hills Estates, CA 90274. 310-265-5577. $$. Accepts debit and credit cards. Hours: M – F 8 a.m. – 9 p.m.; Sat. 8 a.m. – 10 p.m.; Sun. 8 a.m. – 9 p.m. (serving breakfast until 1 p.m. on weekends).
- The Admiral Risty.Priding themselves in an award-winning menu and a long-time establishment (since 1966),” The Admiral Risty makes perfect sense for a seafood, lamb or steak dinner that will top off a visit to a lighthouse. Located just a highway’s jump away in the Golden Cove Center. Extensive wine list. 31250 Palos Verdes Drive W, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA 90275. 310-377-0050. Up to $$$. Hours: M – Thu. 5 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.; F – Sat. 5 p.m. – 10 p.m.; Sun 10 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.
- Pina’s Grill Mexican Restaurant. Another eatery located in Golden Cove Center, and this one serves margaritas, chips and salsa. Enticing. 31218 Palos Verdes Drive., Rancho Palos Verdes, CA 90275. 310-377-8652. $. Accepts debit and credit cards. Hours: Call for hours.
Southern California Hotels
- Terrenea Resort. This is a luxury experience that comes complete with an ocean landscape, a spa and fitness center, a links golf course and fine dining and entertainment. Located in close proximity to Point Vicente Lighthouse and on the way to San Pedro where you can visit Point Fermin and see Angel’s Gate. 6610 Palos Verdes Drive South, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA 90275. 866-802-8000. $$$$+. Accepts debit and credit cards.
- Palos Verdes Inn. This hotel is located north, along the coast of the Pacific, in Redondo Beach. To stay here would mean a further stay away from the other two featured Los Angeles lighthouses but, it would put you closer to Los Angeles proper and other popular coastal communities such as Hermosa and Manhattan beaches. 1700 S. Pacific Coast Hwy., Redondo Beach, CA 90277. 800-421-9241. firstname.lastname@example.org. Rooms for less than $100/night. Accepts Visa, Mastercard, American Express and Discover.
- The Courtyard Torrance Palos Verdes. This Marriott hotel is convenient to the Los Angeles International Airport and major freeways that will take you north to LA and city attractions. It’s also relatively easy to access the other LA county lighthouses. 2633 Sepulveda Blvd., Torrance, CA 90505. 888-236-2477. Rooms for less than $100/night. Accepts debit and credit cards.
- Best Western Redondo Beach. Best Western has its loyal fans. If you are among them, you will be happy to know you can stay north of the LA county lighthouses in Redondo Beach. This is a full-service location. Free WiFi, cable, AAA 3 stars. 1850 South Pacific Coast Hwy., Redondo Beach, CA 90277. 310-540-3700. $79 – $179/night. Children 12 and under stay free.
Other Points of Interest
South Coast Botanic Garden. Nicknamed “The Jewel of the Peninsula.” The garden occupies 87 acres and features more than 2,500 different species of plants from all over the world. 26300 Crenshaw Blvd., Palos Verdes Peninsula, CA 90274. 310-544-1948.
(Stock photos pictured).