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Oct 5, 2006 11:36 PM

Beachcomber Cafe in Crystal Cove, Laguna

Has anyone checked this out. The restaurant is one of the refurbished cottages that are for rent. Look like a great location on the beach, wondering what food was like. Thanks.

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  1. Had lunch there last week. Unable to be seated on patio since all had reservations but the inside seating was wonderful also. Great views of the beach. Service exceptional and food great. Grandaughter and I split a Burger (comes with fries). PLENTY for two! The burger is a 1 pounder and, althougth I have never cared for fries,I could not get enough they were so good!!Prices are higher than Ruby's-owned by same people- but the quality and ambience make it well worth it. Would advise calling for reservations (even for lunch) and most surely for dinner. Tram from parking lot down to resturant.Interesting menu.

    3 Replies
    1. re: marti

      Do you have to pay the one day $10 parking?

      1. re: 1000steps

        There is no parking fee in the area where the shuttle picks up. I noticed one poster refers to a shuttle fee. The server will validate to provide free parking and shuttle. This shuttle also serves those wishing to go down to beach and not the restaurant-they would pay a fee. I have a handicap tag, so was able to park in walking distance to the restaurant. there are about 5 handicap spaces there.

        1. re: marti

          Actually here is how it works down there:

          Parking is normally $10, paid on the way out. Sometimes the State Park does not staff the parking station but there is no way to know when/if that will happen so count on getting validation to avoid having to pay. If you spend over $10 on food ask the Beachcomber server for validation and they will give you a slip that lets you out for free :-)

          There is NO validation for the shuttle, it always costs $1 each way per person. The shuttle runs every few minutes so it is easy to catch. Alternately, you can walk down for free in a tunnel painted with a sea life mural that goes undeneath the highway and comes out the other side right behind the restaurant. Kind of fun to do, all down hill on the way.

          There are 4 disbaled spaces behind the restaurant for free that are first come, and rarely available, but the shuttle drops you off in the same spot as disabled parking if none are open. Aside from that there is no parking on the beach side, but the 1/4 mile walk back to the car is good for burning a few extra calories to justify dessert :-)

    2. Went for breakfast last Sunday morning. Got there around 8am and had no problem getting a table on the patio; great view of the surf. We parked across the street, no charge, and took the shuttle bus ($1 each way per person). I had their cornbeef hash which they say is made fresh daily, and it was excellent. Overall, the food was great and most egg dishes were in the $6 to $9 range. We will go back!

      1. Been there a couple of times. Some good / some bad, but setting is fabulous. Avoid the Crab Louie. Ahi tacos & salad are good, there's a dessert with bananas & caramel sauce that's pretty exciting. Best meal is breakfast & wait on weekedays usually isn't as long. Those people on the patio didn't have reservations - they just waited longer - they don't take resvs at all.

        1. I have been there several times as it is a great place to take visitors who come to town and really the only place "right on the beach" and an incredible view. As far as I know, the restaurant does not take reservations and it is a first come, first serve basis to get a table there. There is also a small patio bar in the back. One thing to remember when you walk down to the restaurant you must go to the front beach side of the restaurant where you will find a hostess stand for you to get a table at. Many people often walk through the back and into the middle of the deck before they realize this as their are no signs. The weekends are exceptionally busy and lines longer if you plan to eat there during meal times. Meals are served from 7am to 11pm

          The breakfasts have been very good. The omlette which features bacon, cheese and avocado was exceptionally light and the layers almost crepe-like. The fruit salad was excellent and fresh. The Beignets were bite-size fried dough/french toast served nicely with warm syrup and a strawberry. I heard no complaints about the simply done bloody mary served in a plastic cup. THe only complaint I have heard a few times is that the hashbrown potato's had so much cayenne pepper and spice that even spicy food lovers found it overloaded and unedible.

          As for the lunch and dinner menus-- I would have to say that what I have tried was a great disappointment ---especially the appetizers. There is a "nacho" dish which is nothing but a huge pile of grease-soaked thick fried pita chips (very very soaked-- they should have been baked), loaded with kalamata olives and feta cheese served with 2 dipping sauces. This is a horrible menu item and normal nachos are much healthier and taste better-- gourmet compared to this dish. Honestly, not one person at the table enjoyed it and 3 complained of feeling sick from the greasiness.

          The calamari was served with 2 sauces- one which was tarter sauce-- however it was pale almost white in color and chewy with a soft coating and no taste-- a visual and pallette disappointment.

          The cesar salad dressing was overloaded with anchovy taste. The hamburger although good size was not as good as one at a Ruby's Dinner as you would expect.

          The wait/bus staff is extremely friendly and hardworking. The only experience with the manager was when someone at our table had a termite on their plate of food-- when brought to the attention of the nice waitress, she returned to tell us that the meal had been removed from the check. The manager never came out to speak to us even though it was late in the afternoon and not busy, and our companion didnt get another meal.

          Honestly, the menu is poorly designed and all over the map in terms of cultural attempts at variety--- almost as though someone was trying to be over creative but forgot to taste most of it. Most of the food is far from what you would expect for a beach front casual restaurant with few fish/seafood dishes and diner-style sauces and execution. Fish sandwiches, chicken sandwiches would be nice to see on the menu. More healthy choices for appetizers and meals would be nice too-- especially if focused on an ocean themed menu.

          A nice touch is that when its cold there are blankets set out on every chair. The restrooms are located close to the shuttle drop off in a separate building which is convenient enough-- although could be cleaner.

          This could be an exceptional beach type family restaurant but this menu needs to be revamped soon or people will be slow to recommend eating there-- more likely to suggest people bring their own picnic lunches/dinners(like sandwiches from Pavillions or prepared food from Trader Joes and Pacific Whey just up the road) and utilize the free picnic tables or set out a beach blanket on the expansive sand.

          So, if you are planning on eating there for now-- stick to breakfast meals....they are with a few exceptions from our take-- the best choice.

          Rumor has it that the Shake Shack will be serving burgers and fries like Rubys diner along with those fig shakes in Spring '07.

          1. The Shake Shack is already Ruby's & it's date shaked they're famous for - not on the menu, but you can still order. Boardwalk is not associated with Ruby's, but their hamburgers & fries are still decent.

            Totally agree that breakfast is the best meal. I've said it before, but avoid the crab Louis at all costs. there's an Asian ahi salad that's pretty good. For dessert, their vanilla ice cream with bananas & homemade caramel sauce is pretty tasty! Yes, they do need to focus their menu - it's all over the place & not very successful.