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Seafood by the Seashore

Las Brisas serves a menu chock-full of seafood and some of the best views in town.- By Linda Domingo | Photos by Jody Tiongco

“The coastal cuisine of the Mexican riviera,” is how chef Abe van Beek describes Las Brisas. Since 1979, the restaurant has served Mexican-inspired cuisine and some of the best views in the city. Chef Abe started at the institution about five months ago, and says the staff is working hard on evolving the restaurant for 2013. With a background that includes Studio at Montage Laguna Beach and Aqua, formerly at The St. Regis Monarch Beach, Abe is excited for what’s to come, and helping more clearly define Las Brisas’ identity. One thing that won’t change, he mentions, is the view: “You just can’t beat that.”

Even if you’re a local, the colors and tastes of the margaritas will make you feel like you’re on vacation. For those wanting to taste the tropics, the Diver’s Cove is made with Blue Curacao, perfectly matching the ocean below, and the mango margarita tastes like it was just plucked from a tree. Meanwhile, margarita purists will be pleased with the salty and sweet Ultimate Margarita.

The popular guacamole is simply delicous, served with cilantro, serrano chile, red onion, Cotija cheese and lime juice, alongside chips. The fresh avocado and crispy chips make it a perfect plate to share.

Seafood is unavoidable on the menu, but Abe assures us vegetarians will have plenty to eat.  Although the kitchen can make a vegetarian version of any menu item, he prefers the diner speak to his or her server about what type of dish they’d like, so vegetarians don’t feel limited. However, omnivores at lunch should try the seafood salad, served with lobster medallions, shrimp, crab claws, ahi tuna and a sweet lime chile arbol sauce—filling, yet light enough to eat before going back to work or play. For dinner, the Frutas del Mar satisfies palates craving a variety of seafood with grilled Caribbean lobster, jumbo sea scallops, Pacific prawns, crab and fish with tomatoes, saffron, garlic and white wine. My favorite dish we tried was the grilled seafood skewers, which offers prawns, lobster and fish lined up with corn, bell peppers and onions, available at dinner.

For dessert, try a play on the traditional Mexican dish called the berry tostada. It’s a serving of ice cream topped with fresh berries, served in an almond Florentine shell, set on a small island of chocolate mousse. Paired with the ocean view, the sweet ending to your meal will help you savor your vacation—real or imagined—just a little bit longer. LBM

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