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Nov 25, 2006 07:29 PM

Orange County Help!: Laguna Hills to San Clemente

Working in southern Orange County next week. Need recommendations for moderately-priced dinner spots, particularly in San Clemente or north a bit and convenient to the 5. My usual favorites are small, chef-owned; top area ethnic, california/italian or reliable seafood.


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  1. There's not a whole lot that fills the moderate part of that bill in the immediate area (a subject often lamented by local posters here) but I'll give you what I can. If you're good up to $20 entrees you're in better shape with much of this list.

    San Clemente:
    Mongkut Thai (Del Mar Ave)$
    White Horses (by the pier)$$
    Vine (El Camino Real) $$$
    Iva Lee's (El Camino Real)$$
    Sonny's Pizza & Pasta (El Camino Real)$

    Dana Point:
    Harbor Grill [best fish in the area](Harbor)$$
    Farantelli (Harbor)$$$
    Gemmel's (Harbor) $$
    Luciana's (Del Prado)$$+

    San Juan Capistrano:
    Ramos House Cafe $$ (may be bkfst/lunch only)

    There are a couple of very good local Mexican places, mostly quick-service, with a few tables. They are Las Golondrinas and Olamendi's. There's also one, extremely authentic Mexican place, in San Juan Capistrano, too. It's at the corner of Del Obispo & Camino Capistrano, but I can never remember the name. I think it's called El Molino de Oro. I'm finding a listing at 31886 Del Obispo St..


    1 Reply
    1. re: Midlife

      El Molino de Oro does some great burritos.
      Definitely a meal wrapped in a tortilla!

      Although it does have a few tables, it's extremely casual.

    2. We happened to drop in a place in downtown Laguna Beach called Romeo Cucina. We had the pizza--it wasn't necessarily traditional but had very thin crust like in Italy and lots of different combinations for about $12 each. (We each had our own and both were excellent.) The rest of their menu for entrees looked good, too. They have a good happy hour at the bar that ends at 7:00 as I remember.

      Romeo Cucina
      251 Broadway St , Laguna Beach 92651-1806