Discover the Seal Beach Restaurant That Started a Beloved Family of Eateries
Anyone who has driven along PCH through Orange County knows that the highway has no shortage of beloved eateries to stop at for a bite. Huntington Beach has Ola Mexican Kitchen, Sunset Beach has Harbor House and Seal Beach, marked by the landmark mahi mahi sign next to 14th Street, has the famous Mahé.
Boasting a menu full of fresh seafood, succulent steaks and refreshing cocktails, Mahé offered a new and exciting dining experience that was well-received by locals, even after replacing an establishment that had been there since the 1930s. And in a small town like Seal Beach, that’s a huge deal.
After taking the place of the iconic Glider Inn in 2000, Mahé had some big shoes to fill. But over the last 23 years, the restaurant has become a tradition in its own right, and that’s thanks to owners and founders Toby Reece and Tony Andrews.
“We were young and trying to figure out what we were going to do. At that point in our life, we were surfing a lot and working in restaurants, and I always thought it would be a dream to open one of my own,” Reece shares.
“Through some crazy coincidences and circumstances, the two of us along with another friend of ours were able to come together and buy the Glider Inn, which was a historic restaurant in Seal Beach that had been there since the ‘30s, and we were able to create Mahé.”
Inspired by their joint passion for surf culture and experience behind the bar, Reece and Andrews wanted to keep the essence of the PCH mainstay with fresh fish and the local appeal, but at the same time, the lifelong friends knew they needed to revive the space and bring in something fresh and creative.
“When we started talking about Mahé, we knew we wanted the menu to feature fresh fish with some steaks. At that time, California-style sushi had started to really take effect, and some of our favorite restaurants were the ones making all the fun rolls,” Reece explains. “We wanted to be able to have a restaurant where if you wanted sushi, you could get sushi and a roll. If you wanted a chophouse-style steak, you could get that too. So, we fused the concepts together.”
Because of the restaurant’s layout, Reece and Andrews were able to build a sushi bar with an open kitchen and full grill as well as room for live entertainment—ultimately creating a space with multiple visual interests—whether you were there for a sushi roll, a grilled steak, a shaken martini or some live tunes. It’s a stimulating space that’s a treat for all the senses, especially the taste buds.
With so many enticing options on the menu, it can be difficult to choose just one item to enjoy. Thankfully, Reece has an easy solution for that.
“My favorite thing to do at Mahé is to share,” Reece says. “When I go in with the family, usually what we do is we share ’cause we each want a couple pieces of our favorite rolls. We’ll share a steak, and we’ll get a big salad.”
“The New England clam chowder recipe has been around for 60 years. We use the same recipe that the Glider Inn used—they let us keep it. It’s a very authentic New England-style clam chowder with way too many clams,” Reece says with a grin. “And the blackened swordfish is a recipe that we’ve used since we opened, and we just can’t change it. It’s my favorite way to do swordfish.”
Another house special that has earned local acclaim holds a permanent residence on the cocktail menu. The Mahé Tini starts with vodka that’s been infused with fresh golden pineapples then shaken into a martini with a fresh pineapple squeeze. “I think almost everybody that’s come to Mahé has tried a Mahé Tini at some point. It became so popular that we had to start making extra batches of it,” says Reece.
Seal Beach locals love Mahé, and the restaurant makes sure that love is a two-way street. Since becoming a neighborhood hotspot over two decades ago, Mahé has supported local schools and sports programs and has hired local kids who grew up going to the restaurant with their families.
Beyond creating a fantastic experience for guests, Reece and Andrews have prioritized employee well-being and aim to foster a positive work environment for the teams at all of the restaurants they have a hand in, including The Brant Kitchen & Bar at Pacific City and Ola Mexican Kitchen locations in Huntington Beach and Long Beach.
“We really try to create a family atmosphere for our staff where everybody works together. We foster a lot of camaraderie with the staff,” Reece says. “That’s one of the biggest compliments that I get from guests that come in. They’ll say things like, ‘It’s so refreshing. Your staff seems like they’re enjoying their jobs so much.’ I love that.”11/12
For classic California-style sushi, creative rolls and delicious surf and turf in Seal Beach, look no further than Mahé. It’s the perfect place to share some plates with friends and family.
Warm wood, Hawaiian-inspired accents and an open-concept grill and sushi bar create a comfortable yet elevated experience that guests have been enjoying for generations. The vibe is relaxed yet dynamic, and the space inspires togetherness and lively conversation.
Mahé’s price point offers an accessible range, making it a fantastic spot for a nightcap with some light bites, an indulgent surf and turf feast and everything in between. Specialty sushi rolls tend to be about $17, appetizers and smaller dishes come in at about $13 and larger entrees range between $18–$69, depending on the fish or meat.
Mahé has become a long-standing favorite in Seal Beach among locals and PCH travelers alike—and it’s easy to see why. With an impressive menu that marries classic and creative recipes, stellar service and an exciting ambiance, Mahé is where fine food meets laid-back coastal vibes.
1400 Pacific Coast Hwy
Seal Beach, CA 90740