Will be in Dana Point for 6 days....[Moved from California board]
We will be at The St Regis Monarch Beach for 6 days in a few weeks...
Should we eat at the new restaurant in the hotel - Stone Tavern I think is the name of it (?) Where else in the surrounding area should we eat? We dont mind driving to Laguna or San Clemente, etc.
We like Mexican, Italian, the newest in town, etc.
Bag Las Brisas. The view is great, but not so great that you'd be missing something special if you weren't there. The margaritas could hardly be reason enough. Harbor Grill is a great bet. Make sure you have reservations. And the real treasure is in the same village center; it's Gemmell's. Byron Gemmell is one of the great chefs of OC. He's had lousy luck with locations in the past but his cooking is superb. This location seems to be working for him.
I'd definitely do Stonehill Tavern and be sure to enjoy its terrace, either for a cocktail and/or dinner out there to watch the sun set over the ocean in the distance. We enjoyed it very much and a friend has since recommended the lobster carpaccio, which I would love to try. The LA Times food page just ran the chef's recipe for raspberry tart with hazelnut crust and lemon verbena ice cream that also has my mouth watering--it might still be available. If you're staying at the St. Regis, the food prices should not be too much of a surprise.
Agree on the recs for Studio (comes with ocean view), Mozambique(without), Vine and Ramos House Cafe. According to Ramos' new cookbook, the cafe's located in the oldest remaining residential neighborhood in California, dating back to 1794! The maitre d' cat General Sherman is no longer with them, but he made the front page of the book, which is charming--you can browse a copy there. The Bloody Mary w/ crab claw doesn't have much kick, since they have to use Soju instead of Vodka, but it's packed with marinated veggies and is tasty and refreshing. Enjoy the area! --Lauren J.
A couple of reccomendations:
A great neighborhood cafe... my best friend lives very close, we had a lovely lunch there. Plus you have Jacques Savoie, the handsome hockey playing chef!
Address: 31161 Niguel Rd # B, Laguna Niguel, CA 92677
Phone: (949) 240-6613
I also love Ramos House cafe for breakfast, I've driven the 70+ miles from LA to meet friends for breakfast!
The Ramos House Café
31752 Los Rios Street
San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675
I would reccomend Stonehill Tavern - the reviews have been very good, but haven't made the investment myself.
In Dana Point - hit Gemmell's in the harbor and have the Sea Bass or the veal chops. fav. of mine in OC.
Laguna you have a ton of great choices.
Taco Loco - very casual
Las Brisas - only for the margaritas and view.
San Clemente - Would highly reccomend Vine restaurant. Excellent Wine Country.California cuisine.
El Campion, Del Obispo and Camino Capistrano in San Juan Capistrano, has GREAT Mexican food in a VERY casual atmosphere. While you are there, hit Ramos house for breakfast or lunch (he doesn't work evenings) and if really bored, take in that old thing sitting on the corner. I think they call it a mission.