Laguna Beach Restaurants
Broadway by Amar Santana
328 Glenneyre St., Laguna Beach
Chef Amar Santana has rapidly gained a following in the OC culinary world since the 2011 opening of his namesake restaurant. A Dominican Republic native and longtime New Yorker, he infuses a mix of the two worlds in both his menu and space: the food is worldly and inventive, from potato pierogi to grilled quail, and the space is a nod to industrial New York with dark wood and rustic concrete. And the team is pretty serious about their wine. It's fun to score a seat at the chef's table to get a look into what's happening in the kitchen.
Driftwood Kitchen & Stateroom Bar
619 Sleepy Hollow Lane, Laguna Beach
Always packed and with patio seating overlooking the ocean, Driftwood Kitchen is a staple for Sunday brunch. Look for a pretty consistently solid menu featuring Crab Benedict, blueberry pancakes, and the Beach Burger—heartily topped with bacon, chipotle, cheddar, and tomatoes.
Ruby’s Crystal Cove Shake Shack
7703 e California 1, Crystal Cove
An OC classic, Ruby's has been serving up the best burgers, to-die-for milkshakes, and killer clam chowder since the early 1980's when Doug Cavanaugh and Ralph Kosmides opened their first location on Balboa Pier. Several southern California locations followed, including this Crystal Cove shake shack location, which is a local favorite for grabbing a burger and fries after a day at the beach.
Selanne Steak Tavern
1464 South Coast Hwy, Laguna Beach
The fact that we're not big red meat eaters doesn't deter us from a night out here. Chef Joshua Severson delivers classic American dishes, including an excellent Jidori chicken, plenty of fresh veggie sides, and pretty delicious mac 'n cheese. The adjacent gourmet shoppe next door offers a good mix of made-to-order favorites from the chef.
The Stand Natural Foods
238 Thalia St, Laguna Beach
Since the mid-70s, this health-centric restaurant has been amassing a huge following for its small-but-mighty 100 percent vegan menu. The tortilla soup is legendary in the goop offices—and the NY Times called their avocado toast the best in the country. The house-made raw organic nut milks, tamales, and sprouted salads are also worth trying. (Tip: Get here early on a weekend—the line can get long.)
448 S Coast Hwy, Laguna Beach
A quintessentially southern Californian restaurant with its open windows and ocean views, Watermarc serves up a menu of New American dishes–appetizers like charred octopus, fried goat cheese, and mains like diver scallops and Chilean sea bass are among the standouts. For date night, request a table upstairs on the patio.
Zinc Café and Market
350 Ocean Avenue, Laguna Beach,
We've been fans of Zinc since it first got its start Orange County before expanding to other locations (there are similar outposts in Corona del Mar and DTLA). Like its sister locations, the Laguna Beach space is bright and airy making it a great spot for a low-key breakfast or lunch meeting—it's also perfect for carry-out. Go for the salads (tri-colore and avocado), baked goods (scones, croissants, and gluten-free muffins), and wood-fired pizzas (margherita, funghi, pesto).
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