Seafood With a View

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At Splashes, cuisine is savored by way of seaside and sunset.

By Alli Tong | Photos by Jody Tiongco

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For those looking to dine on the waterfront, there are countless options here in Laguna Beach. But one restaurant tucked inside a sun-washed, Mediterranean-style resort on the beach stands above the rest—Splashes at Surf & Sand Resort. Here, guests literally feel as if they’re dining midair, perched above the pristine sand and glistening Pacific Ocean.

Yet, Splashes offers more than just an ocean view—the cuisine not only is artfully presented but also perfectly executed, thanks to Executive Chef David Fuñe, who joined the resort in April. David’s innovative yet polished fare stems from his extensive culinary background, which includes stints at San Diego’s Hotel del Coronado and Pechanga Resort & Casino in Temecula, Calif., as well as owning his own gourmet food truck in LA.

David, who has appeared on the Food Network’s “Chopped,” is up for any challenge, so he was excited when he got the chance to take his signature California coastal cuisine to Surf & Sand, a venue that epitomizes the Southern California lifestyle. “I like to eat healthy … it should be here on the beach,” David says. “My style is raw and fresh, and it fits in with the theme here.”

For appetizers, David’s ahi tuna tartare doesn’t disappoint. The fresh tuna is mixed with capers, avocado, citrus oil and a little Sriracha sauce for an added kick. Drizzled over the dish is a garlic creme fraiche, which adds a bit of sweetness. Another palatable dish is the crispy artichokes and Brussels sprouts. Here, pieces of artichoke and Brussels sprouts are lightly fried and served with an heirloom tomato-red pepper vinaigrette and Meyer lemon-saffron curd.

Ahi tuna tartare made with capers, avocado and Sriracha.
Ahi tuna tartare made with capers, avocado and Sriracha.

For entrees, the diver sea scallops, seared to perfection with a little red wine and paired with a creamy asparagus risotto, mascarpone cheese and peas, is the perfect fall dish to savor next to the sound of crashing waves. To wash it all down, sip one of Splashes’ signature cocktails, such as the Splashes Lemonade—a staple at the restaurant for years. The sweet-and-sour drink is made with Absolut Citron vodka and triple sec, and is served in a glass with a sugar-frosted rim.

A finale to the evening wouldn’t be complete without something sweet to top off the palate. For banana lovers, try the “101 bananas” dessert, which features a smorgasbord of mini sweets, including cheesecake, banana walnut bread and ice cream.

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Splashes’ outdoor dining patio offers seaside views.

Whether feasting inside or outside, diners can bask by the ocean with Splashes’ indoor-outdoor feel. Snag a spot on the patio just before sunset, and celebrate the day’s end in style. LBM

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