I LOVE this place!!
The deceptively humble taco is in my opinion a Laguna Beach / SoCal specialty.
This is an excellent local joint.
- They serve beer, have a heated terrace, and prepare an awesome and wide array of delicious tacos from around 11am until late in the evening, ~ midnight.
Until 2am weekends - which is what is so cool about it. You can grab a fresh taco and walk across the street down to the beach after 1 am. Heaven.
Favorite Dish: Not on the menu but the Lobster taco they served up was incredibly delicious and addictive. Highly recommended. Everyone raves about the calmari tacos as well. Lots of veg stuff also. Check out the MENU on the website.
Here is my favorite place to eat a dinner that is near-perfectly timed
The Beach House has a comfortable but small deck that sits out right over the beach so you can take in the gorgeous Laguna Beach sunsets.
Food is good (recommend any seafood dish)
Beach House menu
but the main reason to eat here is to catch sunset while
outside (hint) on the raised open deck over the beach.
Problem is, there are only about half a dozen tables (the deck is narrow) that are actually outside in the open air above the beach, and everybody wants one.
My lame / unsubtle method:
not really a trick at all. You know the drill.
Check out a
- time your reservation for about 1 hour before sunset begins, arrive early, sneak the hostess a $20 and wait / drink in the bar until one of the 6-7 tables on the deck opens up.
If you walk in and expect to automatically get an outside table on your good looks, you may be disappointed.
Favorite Dish: Just last week had FRESH COCONUT MAHI MAHI with mango-orange coulis, ginger mashed potatoes and fried plantains.
It is still very tasty and is usually what I get or else the halibut.
Lots of people like the "sand dabs" so ask about them as well (didn't see them on the menu).
Again, the food is good, and with the sunset from the deck it is even better.
We had lunch at The Cottage before we visited the beach. The staff there was very friendly and polite. We ate out doors on a sunny day. We tried the herbed grilled salmon. It was wonderful. It came with rice and lots of steamed vegetables which were flavored nicely. We also had their corned beef and cabbage. We were advised the beef was not real tender but we got it anyway. It was very good! It came with steamed carrots and red skinned potatoes.
All of this was seasoned perfectly.
The Cottage does not overlook the beach but it is only a very short walk away. I definitely would recommend having lunch here when you are visiting Laguna Beach.
The Cottage has quite a bit of history associated with it. There is a good photo gallery in the foyer. Some of the furniture has been acquired from other places of reknown in the area.
Favorite Dish: We really enjoyed the corned beef and cabbage. Because we each ordered a meal we were able to sample two of their dishes.
Both were excellent; the corned beef and the herbed grilled salmon.
Right next to Eiler's Inn and right above the Cleo street steps down to the beach, this is where you can stop for caffeine buzz, rolls, and some amazing shakes.
Run by locals who are fun to talk to.
Favorite Dish: Killer rolls and smoothies in the morning, and the Date Shakes or any of the milkshakes for afternoon beach strolls north along the beach from the Cleo steps are magically delicious.
Pick up a date shake and then take a left outside and enjoy it as you walk down the Cleo stairs to the beach.
Decent little bistro / restaurant with delicious desserts, pastries, also with a rear terrace facing the main beach right in the middle of downtown.
This is a highly recommended place for when you have a taste for french, breakfast (until 4:30pm!) but also excellent dinner or cafe and dessert.
Try the dark chocolate espresso cake with some strong coffee on the terrace at night after dinner. It was excellent.
Favorite Dish: They serve (among other things) - Escargot, Bouillabaisse, Veal Osso buco, Duck Confit.
I thought this was a find and I went back.
Check out the website:
C'est La Vie Laguna Beach
Here is the picture of the sunset from the Beach House deck
I took this before dinner at my table with a cr@ppy low-rez digital camer on the Beach House restaurant deck as the sun burned its way through Catalina Island before setting in the Pacific at 16:50 the evening of Wed. 12_08_04.
Almost seven years ago, and again someday soon with a better camera, if I have anything to say about it.
Favorite Dish: Coconut mahi mahi with an appetizer of iced raw oysters, mussels and shrimp.
Bring your camera and make a reservation for sunset:
Beach House Sunset Times
A less expensive alternative to the expensive dinners at Claes in the Hotel Laguna is to eat somewhere else, then adjourn to the terrace on the beach of Hotel Laguna (right next to Claes) for an after-dinner armagnac.
You can sit there and enjoy the nightime, high-tide waves crashing in at your feet and happily sip away.
Favorite Dish: In the picture.
(Pronounced "Clay's") - Upscale with an excellent view of the beach through "knee-to-ceiling" level large windows.
This is another place to catch sunset with dinner. You can also (though not officially part of Claes) sit outside on the Hotel Laguna terrace for drinks and a more limited menu from the terrace bar.
All menus and amenities can be checked out in detail at the website listed below.
Winelist covers the gamut from Cristal to Staggs Leap.
Claes is quiet, upscale and formal, certainly not cheap.
Favorite Dish: Steamed Manilla clams, black tea smoked duck breast, seared ahi tuna.
I also enjoyed an armagnac on the terrace for dessert.
Here is the menu:
Here is the winelist:
( a 2Mb PDF download)
Delicious California / Mexican food in an incredible location.
Las Brisas has its terrace on the cliff right next to Heisler park.
Everything you want to know about and how to find it is at this link:
Las Brisas website
Favorite Dish: Catch of the day with seafood enchilada.
Even if Mexican food is not your thing, at least sit on the terrace at "magic hour" / sunset with a margarita.
The view is incredible, and Heisler park right across Cliff rd. is one of the most beautiful walks in Laguna Beach.
2013 - Closed - horrible. Laguna Beach's loss.
Royal Hawaiian Closes
Royal Hawaiian ... right on the PCH has been around for quite a while. Good food & drinks for locals and visitors.
Favorite Dish: Everybody recommends
(me too) the ribs & shrimp combo chased with beer, or better yet, your favorite big rum drink.
For a ghost story from someone who lived there, check out bluefelt's tip:
Not everyone in Laguna Beach can afford Claes in the Hotel Laguna.
My first time we were broke, and this is one of the 2 or 3 places we could afford to eat.
It is still there in the same spot, mostly the same food
(though "bell burgers" are now a thing of the past).
Favorite Dish: the $ ~90-cent (today) beef softshell with hot sauce.
Had a tasty sushi/sashimi dinner at the bar.
Mosun downstairs has good sushi and Pacific Rim cuisine. My B&B owner (Chaz) recommended it and he was right.
Chef (Ai) did a good job and was fun to talk with as well.
The club upstairs (Club M) is a place for music / dancing. Check the web site:
Favorite Dish: Edamame, miso soup, sake, maguro, unagi, spicy tuna roll, and a small sake with large Kirin Ichiban.
Not imaginative, but delicious.
When we went in they asked if we wanted to sit inside for a more formal dinner or outside and eat off the lunch menu. We wanted to eat outside, if they had heaters on the patio. Of course, they did. First we wanted to order a margarita, after we made up our mind what flavor we would like to try. They had several to chose from so my son had a regular one, my daughter tried pineapple, and I just had a glass of wine.
I had not eaten Mexican food in years but I remembered that I did at one time love Nachos.
Everyone enjoyed their meal, the location, and the service was very good.
We would recommend this restaurant to everyone.
Favorite Dish: I had nachos. They were delicious. They have margaritas in several different flavos that are great also.
Some well noted restaurants: Tuscano Grille, 5'2' Chinese, B.J.'s pizza for deep dish and greasy pizza, the White House restaurant, the Cottage, Las Brisas - with a great view of the ocean, Hotel Laguna, Taco Loco on PCH, and my absolute favorite: The Royal Hawaiian. Royal's been there since the 40's or so and has an incredibly haunted women's bathroom. I dare anyone to go alone. It's quite a trip.
It is the first place I ever tried Sushi when I was 15 and it is still at the top of my list. They have amazing rolls like the Daikon Roll, Baked Halibut, Salmon Lemon, Backflip. It is all super fresh and sooo good. All the locals eat at San Shi Go.