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Laguna Beach

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I need a good place for dinner in Laguna...looking for a date type place with good food. I want really good food, but definately looking for a good atmosphere and hopefully a good wine list...price doesn't matter, thanks.

how's the restaurant at the montage btw?

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  1. If price doesn't matter, I was about to recommend Studio at Montage resort. Then I saw you ask about it! This was probably one of the best meals I have ever had. In fact, my husband proposed to me right outside this restaurant on the cliff overlooking the beach at sunset! Could not have made the more perfect proposal. He proposed, I said "YES!" and then we enjoyed an amazing meal at a window table at Studio.

    I think the menu changes there often and honestly, I don't remember exactly what I ate because I was staring at my new ring, the view, and my husband all night. I do remember the foie gras, which was outstanding. I ate a beef dish and my husband had fish. Both were amazing. The sommelier helped us pick our wine. He was very helpful and friendly. The wine list is EXTENSIVE - perhaps the largest I have ever seen.

    Overall - fabulous dinner, unbelievable views, romantic atmosphere, friendly staff, and extensive wine list. It is at a cost - our dinner was WELL over $500 total. But, well worth it. Be sure to check out the sunset right outside the restaurant before you eat!

    4 Replies
    1. re: erintoc

      wow, he must have been pretty confident you'd say yes, or else that meal would have been lousy no matter what the food tasted like !

      1. re: mikester

        haha! yeah, he was pretty confident! would have made for a bad meal for sure!

      2. re: erintoc

        Like others have mentioned, Studio would be the place; I think Gayot rated as one of the best restaurants in the country.

        If you want a restaurant that's not as shi shi, but has great food and is a lot of fun, try the Aegean. For sushi, Hapi sushi is pretty solid.

        1. re: erintoc

          I ate at Studio 2 years ago and thought it was mighty pretentious and wasn't overly impressed with the food. For $700 for 4 people I would rather got to Maestros Ocean Club in Newport Coast. We had the Fois as an appetizer, and I had the Lamb which was from Colorado (about half as good as New Zealand Lamb) and for $52 was not impressed. As a matter of fact, the only thing I remember from the meal was the dinner rolls that had curry powder in them.

        2. Studio is awesome, assuming you want a splurge. Stonhill Tavern is also supposedly very very good (haven't been there myself, yet). BTW, neither of these places is really "in" Laguna Beach. Studio is in South Laguna, which is a few miles down the road from the village of Laguna Beach, and Stonehill Tavern is a bit further, near Dana Point.

          For a more down-to-earth place but stil a nice date-type place, I'd recommend Mazambique, or Eva's (Eva's is also in South Laguna, actually). Eva's is small, intimate, and lots of fun ! Caribean-style food.

          1. Studio aside, I would recommend 230 Forest. Frankly wonder why I don't eat there more often as I've always had an excellent meal.


            1 Reply
            1. re: 1000steps

              I also love 230 Forest, but if they changed their menu more often, my wife and I would go more often. Damn good French Dip though.

            2. If it makes a difference, Studio and Stonehill Tavern are both located inside resorts, Stonehill is inside the St. Regis and Studio is (as mentioned earlier) at Montage with a walking path and a gorgeous view of the ocean from their lobby bar. I do recommend both, as we've frequented each a few times in the past year.

              1. We love Stonehill. Very nice for first or any date!

                1. Try the Belgian place --- Brussel Bistro --- (http://www.brusselsbistro.com/). It is not terribly fancy, but the food and atmosphere are rock solid.

                  1. I have read great things about Studio. I personally was very disappointed in Stonehill but have only been there once and may try again someday. The service was great but the food wasn't. I would recommend Mozambique. The staff cannot be any nice and the food is great. Call ahead and request the ceviche'. It's the best I have ever had but they only serve it in the summer. If you call ahead they may make it for you.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Sleigh30

                      Second or third Mozambique - they have romantic booth tables and you want to sit downstairs by a fireplace.
                      I love 230, but not for a romantic date - it's very loud!
                      If you love swordfish, Cafe Zoolu is small, intimate & awesome food. Not a huge wine list, but it works!
                      If you want the scenery and very gourmet fare, then definitely Studio. Stonehill is too far up from the water, so don't go there for the view.

                    2. I've been a couple of times to Sapphire in Laguna. I actually liked it more than Studio.

                      Sapphire Laguna
                      1200 South Coast Hwy, Laguna Beach, CA 92651

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: flewe100

                        i love both studio and sapphire but dont think they should be mentioned in the same breath as they are very different restaurants at very different price points.
                        sapphire definitely seems like the better date spot to me -- studio is wonderful but somewhat formal and very expensive. also though montage is beautiful it is a somewhat staid resort.
                        sapphire meanwhile has that wonderful upscale but laid-back laguna thing going on-- rustic design and a cool perch just south of the village on PCH. much more energy and buzz there than at montage.
                        food is interesting but soulful california cuisine, compared to montage's highly complex menu, and a compact nicely composed wine list that doesn't break the bank compared to montage's mammoth list (in terms of both options and prices).
                        so it really depends what you're looking for but for a date i vote sapphire.

                      2. ended up going to studio and got the wine pairing tasting menu...the food was excellent (although i wouldn't say anything was mind blowing, but every dish was very food...actually the kobe beef was on the verge of being mindblowing), service was great and the wine pairing was exceptional (they did a really great job)

                        the restaurant itself is really nice, great view of the ocean, high ceilings, great decor, music was nice and not too loud...always liked the montage and studio is no exception...one thing is that it is very expensive ($300 a person, probably more like $250 b/c we ordered a bunch of extra stuff like champagne...but i would say its worth it for the right occasion)

                        1. Highly recommend Mozambique. The food is incredible (especially any dish featuring their Peri-Peri spice or sauce), and they have two main dining areas: One that is more open and colorful, and one that is much more dark and intimate. Not a gigantic wine list, but plenty of choices available. They also have a killer upstairs lounge that has an enclosed patio area filled with comfortable furniture overlooking Laguna toward the ocean.

                          If you are looking for great food and THE best view of Laguna Beach, I strongly recommend K'ya. Excellent cuisine that can be ordered tapas style, good wine list, and a smart casual atmosphere. Word of caution, though: It tends to get more packed than Mozambique does (smaller space), and the Rooftop Bar (which really does have the best view of the city) was difficult to get into during the peak season, although that might be different now that it's winter.

                          1. EspeciaLLY IF YOU WANT TO GET OUT FROM HOTEL: Saphire Lounge is nice.