This unique restaurant in Century City is yet another product of the colorful imagination of director Steven Spielberg. First he gave us "Jaws," "E.T.," and "Jurassic Park," and now he has given us a restaurant shaped like a submarine.
Spielberg's fascination with underwater adventures began when read "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" as a child. His recent TV show, "SeaQuest DSV." centered around a futuristic submarine, so it's no surprise that Dive! is made to resemble a giant sub. Not just any sub, mind you, but a quirky, neon-yellow submarine that looks as if it just escaped from a Beatles' cartoon. The side entrance to the USS Dive is a giant, open hatch. The round porthole windows are filled with water and trails of bubbles. And there's even a mammoth olive on top of the conning tower.
Inside, the decor resembles something you might find at a Disneyland theme restaurant: a maze of metal catwalks, exposed conduits, pressure gauges, throttles, control panels, sonar screens, and artfully-placed video screens filled with images of fish and blue underwater scenes. (That isn't too surprising, since another partner in the restaurant is former-Disney wunderkind & current Dreamworks ally, Jeffrey Katzenberg.)
Four working periscopes allow guests to zoom and pan in on the action outside in the shopping center (or spy on their fellow diners). The seats at the bar resemble torpedoes topped with round targets. Upstairs, a fleet of model ships and subs circle the ceiling.
They also like puns here: the menu headings include "Sub-Sides," "Sub-stantial Salads," and "Sub-Lime Desserts."
Portions are large: most of the submarine sandwiches can easily be shared by two, and the desserts are humongous. Be warned that although the prices seem low at first glance, the bill can add up quickly if you're not careful, since almost all appetizers, desserts and side dishes are $5.00. Alas, the food itself doesn't quite measure up to all the hype - it's fairly predictable stuff, for the most part.
(Recently, the restaurant
departed from its submarine sandwich-heavy menu (due to a decline in repeat
business) and added a wider range of food items, including pizza, pasta
and seafood. Subs now make up just 20% of the menu.)
The 300-seat restaurant
opened in May of 1994, in the Marketplace food court of the Century
City Shopping Center - right next door to the Stage Deli, and across
from the AMC Century 14 multiplex
theatres, so you might be able to watch a Spielberg
movie before dining at a Spielberg restaurant!
This is expected to be the first of many such Dives! around the U.S. (they
have already opened a new Dive restaurant in Las Vegas.)
Getting there: From Rodeo Drive, take Santa Monica Boulevard southwest (about a mile and a quarter) to the Century City Shopping Center. Look for the bright yellow submarine on the left (south) side of the street.
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