Delightful California Cuisine
and Fabulous Seafood Restaurants with Ocean Views
Anyone taking a trip to Laguna Beach, California will want to spend a little time enjoying the fabulous California cuisine that is available along the coast or in the charming village. Laguna Beach may be famous for its beaches, but it also is home to some very popular restaurants. If you are planning a trip to the area, what are some of the restaurants that you will want to be sure to try? Listed below are some of my personal favorites.Credit: Photo by Deborah-Diane
Las Brisas Restaurant
Because of its location on the bluff overlooking Main Beach in the town of Laguna Beach, one of the best known restaurants in the area is Las Brisas. Even though it is well known and highly visible, don't think that this restaurant is just another tourist place. It is also popular with locals, who line up early on Saturday and Sunday mornings for their wonderful weekend brunches.
Las Brisas serves a nice selection of seafood and meat with a Mexican flair. While the food is delicious and plentiful, another feature that makes the restaurant so popular is that nearly every table has a spectacular ocean view. The sunsets are gorgeous. In addition to the indoor dining area, the restaurant also has a popular patio that is busy for both lunch and dinner.
After dinner, diners can walk off their meal by strolling down the sidewalks that wind along the bluff overlooking the beaches, ocean and tide pools. From February to June, it is even sometimes possible to catch a glimpse of dolphins in the surf below. The walkway is lit and beautifully landscaped, with a lovely rose garden behind the restaurant. It is a romantic way to spend the evening with someone you love.
Las Brisas is located at 361 Cliff Drive in Laguna Beach, just off the Pacific Coast Highway and next door to the Laguna Beach Art Museum. In fact, the valet parking for the restaurant is not on Cliff Drive. Instead, you will turn into the parking lot behind the Art Museum, from the Pacific Coast Highway. Their phone number is (949) 497-5434.
If you decide you want more information about Laguna Beach, there are a number of wonderful guide books written specifically for visitors to this charming beach town:
Splashes Restaurant and Bar
If you want a restaurant that gives you the feeling of being exceptionally close to the surf, then you may want to try Splashes Restaurant and Bar, which is located ocean-front inside the Surf & Sand Resort Hotel at 1555 South Coast Highway (the Pacific Coast Highway.) This is a very elegant restaurant that is an excellent choice if you are celebrating a special occasion. When the tide is high, you are unbelievably close to the water. Just outside the restaurant there are even stairs that lead directly to the beach. All of the tables have ocean views and spectacular sunsets. When dolphins swim by, the experience is quite thrilling! The phone number for Splashes is (949) 376-2779.
The Beach House Restaurant
Do you want to try a restaurant that is unknown to most casual tourists? Then you will want to give The Beach House Restaurant a try. Like the other restaurants mentioned so far, The Beach House is an ocean front restaurant with fabulous views. The difference, however, is that you will go into a quiet residential neighborhood to find this one. In fact, the Beach House Restaurant is actually the former home of Slim Summerville, an actor from the 1930's and 1940's. (He performed in "All's Quiet on the Western Front" as well as other movies.) The restaurant is surrounded by apartments and homes, and few people would stumble on it by accident. It has a wonderful Sunday brunch, a special early bird menu, and great seafood dishes. It's also well-located if you want to watch surfers! The address of The Beach House is 619 Sleepy Hollow Lane and their phone number is (949) 494-9707.
The Zinc Café
If you prefer vegetarian California cuisine, Laguna Beach has a wonderful little café that should please you. Although it is not right on the water, it is located on Ocean Avenue, just a few blocks from the famous life guard stand in Laguna Beach. In addition, they have a take out service which enables you to pick up some great vegetarian goodies for your beach picnic. Their seating is all outdoors, so it is not a good restaurant choice if it is raining. Their address is 350 Ocean Avenue, and their phone number is (949) 494-6302.
The Montage Restaurants
In South Laguna Beach, near Aliso Creek State Park, you will discover the gorgeous Montage Hotel. Their lobby is a wonderful place to meet friends for evening cocktails and to enjoy the spectacular views. In addition, they have several restaurants.
The Studio is in a free standing building on a bluff overlooking the ocean. It serves fabulous French cuisine; however, it is worth noting that it is one of the more expensive restaurants in Laguna Beach. We have found them to be very accommodating. When one of our daughters, who is a very picky eater, ordered a seafood dish, but requested that it be served with the vegetables that were listed with a different entrée, they quite willingly made the change for her.
The Loft is located inside the hotel. It has a lovely dining room, as well as a quiet balcony. Whether you eat indoors or outside, this restaurant offers wonderful food and great views.
In the summer, a great place to enjoy lunch is the poolside restaurant at the Montage. You do not need to be staying there in order to eat at the restaurant. It is casual, relaxing, and has fabulous views. They do not accept reservations poolside, so you may have to wait up to an hour to get a table. That is fine, however, since you can spend the time strolling through the beautiful gardens that overlook the beach behind the Montage.
Casual Dining in Laguna Beach
If you just want a fun, casual lunch or dinner in Laguna Beach, there are many restaurants to choose from. They line the Pacific Coast Highway, particularly in the village area around Main Beach. Among some of the popular ones are Johnny Rockets at 188 South Coast Highway, the Greeter's Corner at 329 South Coast Highway, or Mozambique Steakhouse and Coastal Lounge at 1740 South Coat Plaza.
These casual dining selections are all fun, inexpensive restaurants that are the perfect way to split up a day at the beach. Look around while you are there ... there are an abundance of other fun choices, too!
Wherever you plan to dine in Laguna Beach, I hope that you will really take the time to relish the experience. Between the ocean, the art galleries, and the restaurants, Laguna Beach is a place you will want to savor.
To read more about things to do in Laguna Beach, you may also be interested in these articles:
Here's One of My Favorite Laguna Beach Guide Books
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