las brisas laguna beach
I know this is an old post - but I figured that it would be the best place to post my review rather than opening up a new thread. For picture, please visit my blog at http://inomthings.blogspot.com.
My boyfriend and I celebrated our anniversary here last night and I must say that I had a wonderful dinner! I don't really see what everyone is complaining about...
Now I know that everyone and their mother here HATES Las Brisas- Stay for the view, not for the food, touristy, go to Javier, blah blah blah blah. But come on! We're both young (I'm only 23!) and we can't afford to drop 200-300 bucks on the places that were recommended by other hounds. Besides, my sister highly reccomended this place, so I figured... why not?
And it was a good!!!
For appetizers, we ordered the Ceviche de Pescado (10.95). Cooked sea bass, mangoes, cilantro, onions, chiles and lime juice (no tomatoes due to the whole salmonella shpeel), chilled, and served with colorful tortilla chips. The flavor combo reminded me of Vietnamese food more than Mexican, sweet and tangy, and complemented the salty tortilla chips very well. This cold dish was a perfect starter for the night, especially because the temperature hit the high 90s that day.
It comes with two salsa sauces: one a hot, red kind with an onion punch, and the other was a milder roasted tomato salsa.
I ordered the Mero con Tomatillo (27.95) - sole with tomatillo sauce- and it was awesome! The tomatillo sauce was absolutely phenomenal, and my only quip is that I wish I had more! Very spicy, and it becomes more complex when consumed with the avocado - and it goes very well with the delicate flesh of the sole. Which, by the way, was not overcooked like everyone said it will be! It also comes topped with two big chunks of king crab meat, which I didn't care so much for.
The spanish rice and the veggie sides were good too, not too mushy, but then again, they're just veggies. Comes with spicy jalapeno corn bread and some weird blueberry muffin thing.
The boy ordered the special of the day - swordfish with pesto sauce and red bell pepper tapenade, plus horseradish potatoes (which he had switched with garlic potatoes cause he hates the sting). He was impressed because most places cook swordfish until it's dry and leathery, but they did a fine and dandy job.
They give generous portions too... I couldn't finish mine.
For dessert, I ordered the Strawberry Tostada (7.50). Strawberries and Vanilla ice cream in an almond brittle shell and dots of strawberry liquor! The idea and presentation was amusing at first, but after the first couple bites I really needed some black coffee. It was good... But I guess I wasn't in the mood to chew and chew and chew.
The boy had some NY cheesecake with thin-mint crust. Good idea, but not executed well in my opinion. However, my cheesecake-addict date loved it and polished it off of his plate in a matter of minutes.
Hopefully this post will snap people out of the anti-Las Brisas sentiment... If not, well, you guys are missing out. And the view- oh the view... Absolutely breath-taking! I would highly recommend this place to anyone who's looking for a nice beach-meal.
I've just read all the posts below, and can't believe I'm the only one who actually likes Las Brisas. I've enjoyed the lobster salad at lunch, halibut and salmon, and more traditional Mexican dishes for dinner. Yes, there is usually a wait, but I've never felt disappointed at having waited for the food and the view. Service has always been courteous and efficient. Las Brisas isn't the best restaurant in that part of OC, nor is it the worst - but IMHO, it doesn't deserve the disparaging remarks other hounds have given it.
re: ton casmo
No one wants to be negative about any establishment. Hounds more than anyone appreciate the difficulty restaurants have competing for customers among a fickle public.
So after chowing at LB from time to time over the years & hoping for the best, I for one would be genuinely pickled tink to find out the chow has taken a turn for the better. Most of us are pulling for superior restaurants to succeed and the unworthy to fade away.
In any case, we all wish you the luck of the draw & please provide a detailed report afterward.
Even if all they served was cold food from an ihop down the street, you should still go. The view isn't a compensation, it is the reason for going.
And there's nothing wrong with that. Think of it as a great viewspot where someone has decided to serve food so that people could stay and enjoy the view a bit longer.
I don't have any specific recommendations for you, but just wanted to say that I think the comments here so far have been a little extreme. I've been to Las Brisas four or five times over the years and always enjoyed it. Maybe it's not culinary innovation, but what I've had has always been good and in no way as avoidable as these other posts would indicate. I do remember a very good cioppino one time and good halibut with garlic mashed another time.
Thank you for saying that. Not every place can be culinary nirvana, but Las Brisas is far from poor quality.
As a metter of fact I generally give the opposite advise: Go eat, where it's less manic than the patio. Most seats in the dining area are pretty good unless they stick you in the back and on the dark platform. At least if you eat you can find someone to get you a drink.
The food is fine and the view more than makes up for any short-comings. And if one more person tells me to go to Claes for seafood in the Hotel Laguna I'm gonna be sick.
I've been there a couple of times and it was fine. The final time I will ever go there is when I made reservations for a special evening a month in advance. I asked for a window seat. I was told that they do not reserve window seats but if I got there early they could probably accomodate me. I called about a week later to talk to someone else to see if I could get a window seat and was told they do not reserve window seats. I pressed my luck and thought I could call the day of my reservation and charm them into giving me a window seat. No luck.
I got there early, lots of open tables. Asked for a window seat, was told they were reserved! But that they would hold them only for 15 minutes and then I could have one. I figured why not? I'm early (and I'm curious who's got the pull to get a window seat). They seat every table within a half hour. There is one window seat left, I ask for it. They say it's reserved. I give them a bunch of attitude and they seat us there. The people it was reserved for came in about a 1/2 hour later. They would have held that table for a hour. It ruined the whole experience and will not patronize them again.
I want to tell you also, I'm not and embarrassment to look at. My husband thinks I'm kind of cute. My dining companions are pretty sharp too, drive a fancy car. What's the deal with that attitude? If it was Vegas I'd slip them $20 bucks and take a seat. But in Laguna Beach? Their food ain't that great.
As you may have gathered, Las Brisas is not held highly in the chow field. It is part of the El Torito chain and has gathered the "touristy" quality that is consistently mediocre.
Order a fresh shrimp appetizer. Their guac is okay. Their menu selections sound good, but the final result is not up to par of other places in the area. Their seafood gets kind of tough when they cook it, but the sole and spinach dish is okay.
I've mostly been there for large group meetings and am put off by having to pay $25 for a restricted menu and sub-par lunch. Service also suffers, yet a 18% tip is mandatory. Individual dining is a little better.
Saturday and Sunday are busy days for the patio and full of singles there to party to the view. If it's sunny like it has been, you won't be able to step out there five feet without squishing past someone.
There are a few window tables inside, but it will get pretty warm if you're right on the window.
Service is often "touristy" minded.
Las Brisas is definitely a place to enjoy your dining companions and not expect to be wowed by anything but the view.