I have been to The Ivy on Robertson and that place is so overhyped & overpriced (not to mention the food sux), but this location across from the Santa Monica pier is fantastic! I've been here several times and each time I am surprised at how good it is (I had such low expectations at first based on my experience at Robertson). The last time I was here was for dinner (group of 4 w/o a reservation on a Friday nite) and were seated promptly and had friendly service. Yes, their famed gimlet is WAAAAYY too strong even though i asked for mine to be mild, but everything from the moist, flaky, flavorful halibut to the seafood broth entree to the crab cakes and grilled veggies, was yummy. (Although, yes, the taco salad was a bit blah.) The brown bread is not my favorite, but everyone else always loves it. In spite of my disdain for places that are super-hyped, I have to admit that Ivy @ the Shore is consistently impressive.
Pros: Great service, very flavorful seafood
Cons: Gimlets aren't as good as they say