Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Los Angeles Area >
Mar 4, 2014 10:07 PM

Lunch in Laguna

A few quick questions, if you don't mind...

1) What are the oldest dining & drinking establishments in Laguna; ie. Old Laguna restaurant fixtures, cocktail bars, etc?

2) Are there any great hamburger stands, lunch counters, diners, canteens, etc? Any mid-century greasyspoons or Googie coffee shops?

3) Are there any great taquerias; especially for Baja style fish tacos?

4) Best $25 (or under) lunch in the area?

5) Best dining room for scenic beach and sea views?

Thanks so much!!!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. 4) Alessa, Brussels Bistro

    5) Las Brisas or nearby on the beach is Beachcomber.

    2 Replies
    1. re: JAB

      Alessa looks good, thanks!

      Does the food at Las Brisas match the view? Going from photos on Yelp, it looks less than inspired. Same question for Beachcomber.


      1. re: OliverB

        In a word, no although I've had a pretty good meal at Las Brisas by ordering carefully.

    2. Best dining for beach views is Splashes at the beloved
      Surf and Sand resort in Laguna..

      2 Replies
      1. re: Beach Chick

        Splashes looks lovely but it also looks to be a higher price point. My in-lawns are on a tight budget and I don't want to make them uncomfortable. Can you eat a solid lunch for under $30?

        1. re: OliverB

          Menu is online, it is one of my favorites when someone wants a view-

      2. If you are interested in the historical aspects of Laguna (which your post indicates), Hotel Laguna is one of the oldest buildings in town and worth a walk-though, right on Main Beach.

        Las Brisas (as mentioned below) is great for a drink and the view. Assuming you don't mind parking and a little walking, I would do something like a drink at LB and then lunch at Alessa.

        If any of your group are movie buffs, one of the scenes in "Now, Voyager" with Bette Davis uses the gardens outside Las Brisas and the pergola to the right as you are facing the front as a stand in for one of the Brazilian scenes in the movie. Bette had a house in town for years.

        Splashes is further south.

        1 Reply
        1. re: BubblyOne

          Thank you so much, that's really terrific!

        2. Nearby, just a few miles south - Olamendi's Mexican Restarant in Capistrano Beach.

          5 Replies
          1. re: Gypsy Jan

            Olamendi's looks great!

            My friend told me about another place in San Juan Capistrano called El Aldobe:

            I've also discovered what looks like a great 'Old Laguna' redsauce spot, Polina's Salerno:

            Is Watson Drug & Soda Fountain in Orange any good / worth a visit over the weekend? My in-laws are in OC and we'll be spending the weekend.

            Thanks for all the great tips!

            1. re: OliverB

              El Adobe can be very good for their seafood especially, the lobster fajitas. Their other more standard fare isn't really worthwhile.

              I had a horribly disappointing experience at Watson's but, do really like Haven right around the corner.

              1. re: OliverB

                Check some of your choices on Trip Advisor- I find it a bit better than Yelp.

                El Adobe- wedding central.

                1. re: OliverB

                  El Adobe Restaurant in San Juan Capistrano is a historical site.

                  It was former President Richard Nixon's favorite place to eat when he was in residence in his Western White House in San Clemente.


                  In my college days (yes, I am old) I traveled down on a bus to protest the Vietnam War outside the El Adobe restaurant because the Secret Service wouldn't let us anywhere near the Western White House in San Clemente.

                  1. re: Gypsy Jan

                    Sounds like a place to visit!

                    Thanks very much!