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Laguna Beach lunch

Heading to the Laguna Art Museum in Laguna Beach to see the (perhaps last ever while living) Wayne Thiebaud art show. Will need a tasty lunch for the time we are in the area. Anything good and all cuisines will be considered. Thanks.

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  1. My vote would be for Sapphire. It is relatively new and has already garnered some excellent reviews from fellow Chowhounds, myself included. I have had four or five great meals there.

    It has a ocean view as well!

    http://www.sapphirellc.com/

    1. Tom-We live in Jersey, but are in Laguna frequently as my mother-in-law has a house there. Here are some restaurants I would recommend:

      Cafe Zoolu, La Sirena Grill (Cheap & Cheerful Tex-Mex), The Cliff Restaurant, The Beach House, San Shi Go (Sushi) and my mainstay-Wahoo's Fish Tacos (beyond casual and perhaps better coming off the beach or as a late night snack).

      Also, if you do a search on the CH site you will have several threads come up on LB.

      If you have time, let me know where you ate and how it was. Thanks

      1. I also like the Sundried Tomato Cafe Downtown Laguna...great outdoor patio. Also, try the Brussell's Bistro on Forest. If you are up for trying swordfish tacos, try the Coyote Grill on PCH. They are great.

        1. Last time I was there, I ate at Javier's. I enjoyed it. Many of my friends in that area also like this place a lot. Basically, it's standard Mexican food. You can park in the public parking lots for Laguna.

          http://www.javiers-cantina.com/

          If you are willing to drive, I love Taco Rosa in Newport Beach. I like this place better than Javier's, but the location is more difficult to get to. I recommend the fresh raspberry margaritas. They are my favorite!

          http://www.tacorosa.com/

          5 Replies
          1. re: katkoupai

            Hmm, personally I'd rank Javier's a lot higher than standard Mexican. Their queso fundido and any of the seafood enchilada's are outstanding.

            Also, I thought someone mentioned they might have closed down this location and opened up one in Crystal Cove.

            1. re: Jase

              I agree that Javiers is much tastier that Taco Rosa. I like Taco Mesa better than Taco Rosa actually.

              FYI. Javiers is still in Laguna. They are still under construction on the Crystal Cove location.

              1. re: cdmedici

                I'm glad that others like Javier's, too. I like Taco Rosa better because the drinks at Taco Rosa are made with fresh fruit and from scratch. At Javier's, I remember the margaritas seemed to be made from margarita mix, although they were huge and came in lovely goblets that were the size of a human head. Javier's reminds me of El Torito, but the location is much nicer and the food is probably a step up. Taco Rosa could also be compared to El Torito, but it holds a special place in my heart, as it's a sister restaurant to Taco Mesa, which was a staple for me in college. I also really like the salsas, the homemade pickles (carrots, jalapenos, onions and cauliflower), and complimentary appetizers that are served at Taco Rosa. I think they call them bocadillos, and they are very good. I've only been to Javier's once or twice, but Taco Rosa is a regular meeting place for my friends in OC. I really love it there, although I know that there are many opinions about the place. The location of Javier's is nicer, as it's right by the beach in Laguna. The original Taco Rosa is in an out-of-the-way mini-mall, in a very quiet part of Newport Beach, next to Pavillion's supermarket.

                1. re: katkoupai

                  I've never been to Taco Rosa but it's certainly something I want to try. I've been to the Javier's in Irvine and I was so incredibly disappointed. Is it completely inferior to the Laguna one or something? Javier's was so expensive for what you get and the food quality was really just subpar- I really wanted to like it but it just wasn't good, which makes me so sad.

                  As for recommendations, I always enjoy going to Zinc Cafe while I'm in Laguna. It's not something to go out to way for but it's in a really nice area and you dine outside and it's just really peaceful. Maybe the ambiance is a bit nicer than the food which is a vegetarian sandwich place with some hot meals though I really only like their vegetable garden sandwich. It's a really relaxed and really casual place though.

                2. re: cdmedici

                  I was just at Javiers a couple of days ago. They are closing the downtown Laguna location after 12/31 and opening the Crystal Cove location around the 2nd week of January. The downtown Laguna location will be another mexican restaurant - a chain from San Diego but I didn't catch the name.

            2. We ate at the Beach House. Passed on Mexican (we're from central CA and Mexican is a mainstay), and some others as our crowd of about 8 people were reluctant to go with some of the more "daring" options.

              The Beach House was fairly priced, had valet parking and was priced well for the area. Salads and sandwiches including burgers were pretty good to very good. Service was provided by the obligate stoner surfer dude and was "laid back" which was OK given the day, the view and the company, but might not suit everyone. A good tip. Thanks.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Tom Hall

                Always hesitant to suggest an out of town restaurant, since we are only in Laguna sporadically, but glad you were not blindsided.

                1. re: kolachman

                  I prefer guidance from someone who takes the time and care to work a board like this over, say my wife's usual option of asking someone passing by, who could be anyone. And I would never blame the messenger for the message- dining out is always a crapshoot at some level, IMO...

              2. On a nice day you can't beat Splashes at the Surf and Sand Hotel. I wouldn't say the food is extraordinary, but it's good, and you can't beat eating with the waves crashing night next to you. http://www.surfandsandresort.com/rest...