Laguna Beach area
heading to this area next week- 1st timer- looking for some good lunch spots and a few nice bars for sunsets .. one nice restaurant a few less $$ ones too.... like most food but nothing too strange!!
read about rooftop lounge and kya's...
For lunch, I like The Cliff restaurant. They have incredible views from almost every table and the bulk of the restaurant is outdoors. Reasonably priced for the area, the food is good but not great. I would recommend the lobster bisque, the tuna salad sandwich and most of their entrée salads.
We had a nice dinner at Watermarc not too long ago. The food was quite good but beware because the bill added up quickly. The service was on the slow side but we were not in a hurry so it was fine.
Down in the Dana Point Harbor is Mahe. They don't open until 4 IIRC. I haven't been eaten at that location but have been many times to the Seal Beach location. Great steaks and sushi. The one in Seal has a fun bar with live music and good bar food.
Parking in Laguna is a big pain. The Cliff has a small lot that I believe is valet and I think they charge something $3 an hour if the restaurant stamps your ticket.
I really like Watermarc (small plates, interesting drinks, quite the scene, right on PCH in the heart of the village), Broadway by Amar Santana is also excellent, it's the hot one right now along with 370 Common.
Brussels Bistro is also consistently good for something a bit different from "what's hot now" (i.e, small plates).
I think Eva's Caribean, in South Laguna, is still going strong (it's been there for years now but still seems fresh, to me). Also an old stalwart is Diz's As Is, if you want something that is "authentic" to the Laguna Beach / south coast vibe of yesteryear (kind of rustic and rootsy, before the dot-com revolution), this is probably as close as you can get. It's in an old converted house and they serve the food on mismatched china - it's quirky, but good quirky IMO. The food is classic in style, not cutting edge, but it's good.
For something totally different from the above, check out NEApolitan Pizzeria and Birrieria:
Wood-fired pizzas and craft beers, what could be bad ?
Have fun !