It is the beach retreat of the rich and famous, but why? Here our West Coast girl-in-the-scene Lara Shriftman explores both the myth and reality of this fabled hot spot.

Legend has it, and you know it yourself: Malibu is super chic, yet it is also very laid-back and everyone who lives there leads a very active outdoor lifestyle, both in and out of the water. Perhaps it is that juxtaposition that I love most about this beachy enclave.

Malibu is a very close-knit community and many residents spend their time raising money for charities that help their community like Heal the Bay or the NRDC’s ocean initiative “Peace Paddle Out” in which local boarders and surfers formed a peace sign in the ocean off of Paradise Cove. Stretched over 27 miles along the Pacific Coast Highway, the municipality of Malibu is prime real estate for Hollywood’s biggest stars because of its beachfront properties like those on Carbon Beach.

Carbon Beach is also known as Billionaire’s Beach for its notable residents like Los Angeles Dodger Jamie McCourt, Peter Morton, producer Joel Silver and Karen Silver, Larry Ellison, David Geffen, and Eli Broad. Near it is the Malibu Colony section, a favorite of Hollywood notables. Residents in the Colony include Juicy Couture founder Pamela Skaist-Levy and her husband Jeff Levy, Pamela Anderson, and Rita Wilson, Sting, John McEnroe and his wife Patty, and Chrome Heart’s owner Richard Stark. Another pristine stretch of coastline properties is La Costa Beach. Some of the people who reside in La Costa Beach are actor Stephen Dorff, Ron Herman, owner of the Ron Herman boutique, Ryan Murphy, creator of Glee and The New Normal, and Les Moonves, president of CBS. Surrounded by mountains and residential areas with gorgeous ocean views, some people who live on Malibu Road are John Cusack, Adam and Jackie Sandler and Jeremy Piven. And, of course, there are all the residents on the Bluffs like Rande Gerber and Cindy Crawford, Mark Burnett, and Robert Downey Jr. Bold-faced residents are what Malibu is all about.

The Malibu Country Mart is a large outdoor lifestyle center located in the heart of Malibu at the Civic Center on Cross Creek Road. There is great shopping like the Ralph Lauren Women’s store, Ralph Lauren RLX, children’s boutique 98% Angel, Madison, Vince, and Planet Blue. Tucked away in the corner is the Chrome Hearts store where they sell their signature jewelry and leather jackets. Ron Herman is great for maxi dresses and t-shirts. Since James Perse moved to a house in Point Dume four years ago, he developed a newfound interest in the outdoors that inspired his Yosemite line, an active-wear offshoot of his eponymous line. His flagship store that has a ping pong table on the deck and they make James Perse mountain bikes, surfboards, and comfortable couches in his Lumberyard flagship.

The Country Mart also has great dining. Howdy’s Taqueria is a great casual place for breakfast and lunch in the Country Mart. You can walk up and get a breakfast burrito from the counter. There is also a great park to walk around or have a coffee from Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf. It has swing sets and a play area for kids.

Taverna Tony restaurant serves fresh Greek food in a super relaxed, festive environment and has a beautiful patio space. Taverna Tony is really fun on a Saturday night because there is live traditional Greek music and everyone dances on tables. It is also Malibu’s power lunch spot and they have a great patio space. What’s not to love about that?

Located next to the Country Mart is the Malibu Lumber Yard. It is also a great shopping and dining destination. There is also a J.Crew at the Beach, Tory Burch, and Intermix. Maxfield is located in an intimate stand-alone building and carries high-end designer pieces like its Beverly Hills Location is known for. Long-time Malibu Resident Rande Gerber’s Café Habana is great for lunch and is a great place to take friends and family locally. They serve delicious Cuban cuisine focused on locally-sourced ingredients. They have an infamous karaoke night on Wednesday that is really fun and has included some surprise celebrity performances. It is a favorite among celebrites like Sean Penn, Courteney Cox, and Kid Rock. They have a really fun bar and features cocktails like the Casamigos Delicioso from Rande and George Clooney’s new tequila, Casamigos and Caliche rum.

Mr. Chow is a must-see and be seen hot spot in Malibu, in the Malibu Country Mart on Cross Creek Road, in the old Nobu location. In a nod to its beach location, the atmosphere of Mr. Chow Malibu is much more relaxed. I love the open kitchen where you can watch the chefs at work on the wok or creating the hand-pulled noodles in the famous nightly show. This locale serves the signature dishes of the Beverly Hills original like their Chicken Satay, Mr. Chow Noodles and Beijing Duck, which is made in a one-of-a-kind oven that was made especially for the restaurant. New Malibu location dishes include lobster with noodles, water dumplings and green prawns. There is also the signature Mr. Chow champagne trolley and a dessert cart that includes chocolate fondant and Key Lime cheesecake. Since it opened, Mr. Chow’s Beverly Hills has always been an institution for Hollywood’s biggest stars like George Clooney, Gwyneth Paltrow, Elton John, Jay-Z and Beyoncé. Malibu’s location has the same celeb following, and like the entire beach’s state of mind, anything seem possible under the warmth of the Southern California sun.


If you want to stay in Malibu, there is the Malibu Inn on Carbon beach. It has the look and feel of a motel but chic and is next door to Surfrider Beach. That’s really the only place to stay unless you are renting a house.

Chris Cortazzo is the best real estate agent in Malibu and has more than $800 million in sales. 310.589.2472

Country Kitchen is great for a casual lunch of burgers or a breakfast burrito.

Nobu Malibu recently transitioned from the Malibu Country Mart (Mr Chow took over the location) to a new beachfront location on the Pacific Coast Highway. They serve Nobu classics like lobster and shitake salad, sashimi and ceviche.

Geoffrey’s is located on the Bluffs. It is great for lunch and dinner and has a stunning view. There is also a really famous orchid farm towards Zuma Beach on Bonsall


Zuma Canyon Orchids. They are family-owned and have been orchid suppliers since 1974. They make custom orchid arrangements and have orchids in many colors like yellow, red, gold and fuchsia-hybrids.

On the drive out to Malibu from the city is the Reel Inn seafood restaurant.

There is also a great surf school in Malibu called Aqua Surf School.

The Adamson House, Rhoda Rindge Adamson’s private home built in 1930, showcases original Malibu pottery, ceramics and tiles. It is a short walk from Surfrider Beach.