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Laguna Beach Help Please - Restaurants & Mexican

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My family and I are in Laguna Beach for a few weeks (we come here every year) and we need some input. Can anyone help with recommendations for good spots in/around Laguna Beach. We had a magnificent meal at the Montage last year but need more recommendations. Also, what are the best Mexican places in the area? It can be a taco stand or more. We love Taco Loco but the value proposition seems a bit off. Any and all help is most appreciated. We are from Chicago but lived in the LA basin for about eight years (west side mostly). Our kids are 4 and 6 (no, they did not come to the Montage with us). Thanks.

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  1. If you like Taco Loco, you should also try La Sirena Grill. It is also a tiny place with even less seats. Everything is made to order and very fresh. I really like the salmon tacos.
    347 Mermaid St.

    No matter what the concierge at your hotel says, expect only a great view at Las Brisas.

    1. I like Sapphire Laguna, Brussels Bistro and Splashes at the Surf and Sand. No idea on mexican as I think Javier's moved.

      1. Consider having breakfast or lunch at the Coyote Grill on South PCH in Laguna. Great ocean views and good Mexican food.

        For your family...including the kids...definitely consider breakfast or lunch at the Beachcomber Cafe at Crystal Cove in Newport. This place is right on the beach (the kids will love that!), and it obviously has great views and also very good food...and a full bar too! Only caveat...they do not take reservations, so go during an off hour, or be prepared to wait...and avoid weekends!

        If you want something fancier...respond with what kind of food you like (sushi? steak? etc.) and if you will be dining alone or with the kids.

        1. Javier's moved up the coast to Crystal Cove. Quite the happening place. I liked the original better. Also in CC shopping center, Bluefin for incredible sushi/Japanese, Sage on the Coast - I always enjoy lunches there, ditch the kids & have a drink at Rooftop, K'ya is up and down, but fun, 230 Forest very good, Sun Dried Tomato vg, Splashes for lunch & views or sunset cocktails - not so big on dinner there, Mozambique is awesome, another 'ditch the kids' experience is the Eno Bar at the Ritz Carlton - would be more fun with another couple if you are 'sharers,' but we went with 5 of us & loved it. You first choose your flights of wine - anything from champagne to Sav Blanc, Chards, Roses, Pinot Noirs to Cab & more - 3 fairly generous tastings for each person. Then choose your cheese flights (my 'On the Silky Smooth' - was the best, the Italian flight 2nd), get a plate of chartcuterie (awesome duck proscuitto - I asked when then are going to add Iberico ;-), then do a small chocolate flight for dessert. The Jin Patisserie sea salt caramels are to die for - both taste and price-wise. Really an enjoyable evening. We were passing the wines back & forth, then passed our cheese plates around and just had a great time.

          1 Reply
          1. re: torta basilica

            Torta knows his/her stuff. Agree with everything.

            I would definitely avoid Javier's in Crystal Cove. It is strictly a scene with noise, crowds, indifferent service and mediocre food. Don't subject yourselves to this! On the other hand, in the same center Bluefin does indeed have incredible sushi, probably the best you will ever have. It is expensive however, but at least in my opinion, worth every penny. Sage in the same center is also very good, but for my money, I would drive the extra ten minutes and go to the original Sage in Eastbluff (Newport Beach)...it is much friendlier, less of a scene, and has a wonderful garden in which to enjoy their terrific food in a much less hectic environment.

            Also agree with the recs for Sun Dried Tomato and Mozambique in Laguna. Also, in addition to my recs in my earlier posting, Zinc Cafe right in town is great for breakfast and/or lunch.

          2. For Mexican, I like Olamendi's (in Laguna; there are several around Orange County, each is operated by a different sibling, and each is a pretty different restaurant). Anyway, I would not call the food spectacular, but it's fairly inexpensive (my wife and I generally get out for around $25), and they make some interesting dishes with potatoes and pumpkins; if you sit in the right place, there's an ocean view. Kid friendly; there's a single mariachi most nights if you're into that sort of thing.

            1 Reply
            1. re: sunnyand72

              I have friends in the area, we always end up at Olamendi's for margaritas and decent to good food, good service and kid friendly.