Taste of the Town

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Your Local Dine Guide

Welcome to the Season at Surf & Sand Resort

To carry the spirit of summer into fall, Surf & Sand Resort welcomes guests and visitors for special nightly offers.

Monday nights at Splashes is the Paella Party, featuring the Valencian dish made with fresh seafood. Tuesday is Flights & Bites night at Splashes, at which time guests can sample a selection of wines, enjoy accompanying nibbles and choose from a three-course menu, with or without wine pairings. Friday’s “Let’s Get Social,” held at the resort’s 15FiftyFive cocktail lounge, offers deals on drinks and appetizers from 4 to 6 p.m. announced on the Surf & Sand Resort Facebook page. Saturday presents Local Libations at 15FiftyFive, a night and menu devoted to local craft spirits, wine and beer, with live music playing from 5 to 8 p.m. And in honor of Sunday football, 15FiftyFive offers a nice haunt for fans to enjoy food and drink specials and cheer on their teams.

The resort is also offering up a coastal twist on Thanksgiving on Thursday, Nov. 22 at Splashes Bar, where a three-course meal will be served from 12 to 8 p.m. at $65 per person. (949-497-4477; surfandsandresort.com) —F.N. 

Tastes of Tabu

This fall, Tabu Grill will test your palate’s penchant for “sinfully delicious” flavors with a series of pre-selected tasting menus. Every Sunday to Wednesday, chefs Moriah Robison and Rayne Frey will serve a different menu that challenges their culinary prowess in its range of influences, ingredients and methods of preparation. For $25 per person, plus an additional $10 each for optional wine pairings, guests can enjoy four well-balanced courses with inspiring fusions drawn from local and exotic cuisines. (949-494-7743; tabugrill.com) —F.N. 

New on Broadway

The sign is up and the doors are finally open at Carmelita’s, the new Mexican restaurant on Broadway that officially opened on Sept. 14 after a soft opening on Sept. 10. The eatery takes over the site of Crab Zone, which shuttered two years ago. Manager Lucas Ivan says the reception has been great so far. The menu includes appetizers like ceviche and queso fundido; Mexican favorites like enchiladas, flautas and fajitas; seafood options including bacon-wrapped scallops and lobster chile rellenos; and signature dishes such as pollo Serrano and Costilla’s a la Diabla, a serving of baby back ribs with chile ancho glaze, corn, onions and beans. The restaurant features a full bar with an extensive tequila list, tequila flights, wine, beer and a healthy amount of pure and handcrafted margaritas. Carmelita’s is open for lunch at 11 a.m. and stays open for dinner, usually until 10 p.m. (949-715-7829) —L.D.

Golden Foodie Award Winners

The first ever Golden Foodie Awards celebration took place Sept. 30 at the Fairmont Newport Beach. Orange County restaurants, chefs, bloggers and mixologists were honored in 30 categories. Hosted by comedian Frances Dilorinzo, the lively awards show featured many celebrity presenters, and several of the Real Housewives of Orange County were present, complete with film crew. The statuette presented to each winner is made of solid pewter, covered in 14-karat gold and created by the manufacturers of the Golden Globe awards. The winners, as chosen by patrons and local foodies, included Best Indian Food in Orange County: Tamarind of London; Best French Food in Orange County: French 75 (which also took home Best Mixologist); Best Tacos in Orange County: SOL Cocina; and Best Happy Hour in Orange County: Brasserie Pascal, among many others. K’ya Bistro, House of Big Fish and Ice Cold Beer, Stonehill Tavern, Cucina Alessa and Sundried Tomato Cafe were also finalists, though they didn’t bring home the win this year. For a complete list of winners, visit goldenfoodieawards.com. —M.M. 

Fall Festivities on the Hill

Celebrate the olive harvest and The Resort at Pelican Hill’s Italian roots with restaurant specials and a festival that takes fresh Italian cuisine to the next level.

Both the Pelican Grill and the Coliseum Pool & Grill are offering seasonal a la carte specials with ingredients from nearby Irvine Ranch. Throughout October and November, the resort’s upscale restaurant, Andrea, will offer exclusive white truffle a la carte dishes, as well as a number of selections enhanced by the resort’s homegrown olive oil.

To commemorate the resort’s third annual olive oil pressing, it will host a celebration Nov. 2 – 4, where locals and visitors are invited to the Italian Street Festival on Saturday for a day of eating that includes a live olive pressing demonstration, Italian cooking exhibits, an espresso and gelato lounge, as well as wine, cheese and olive oil tastings. Attendees can also partake in bocce ball games and an automobile exhibition, or enjoy the talents of traditional street-painting artists, plein air painters and Italian musical performers. If you want to make a weekend out of it, the resort will offer four packages with guest-only events included. (949-467-6800; pelicanhill.com) —C.H.

Fresh Express

Olamendi’s Express offers salads with same-day produce from Alegría Farm.

Farm-to-table meals are a standard of freshness in the culinary world, and now Alegría Farm and Olamendi’s Express are taking it to the next level. Alegría Farm, a new commercial hydroponic vertical farm located in Laguna Beach, and Olamendi’s Express in Mission Viejo have teamed up to offer same-day harvested salad greens at Olamendi’s Express. The restaurant will be the first to feature the locally grown produce from Alegría Farm, which uses more than 170 hydroponic towers growing 10,000 plants in less than one-fourth of an acre without the use of pesticides. The farm utilizes the Verti-Gro system, which uses no soil and 90 percent less water, 70 percent less land and 50 percent less fertilizer than traditional organic farming.

“When we discovered Alegría Farm, we knew immediately this is a great opportunity to set a new standard in our traditional recipes by using these locally-grown, clean and natural ingredients,” says Carlos Olamendi, co-owner of Olamendi’s. (Olamendi’s Express, Mission Viejo: 949-768-8991; Alegría Farm: alegriafresh.com) —L.D.

Bon Appetite

Long beloved among locals for its exquisite cuisine, romantic ambience and Champagne cocktail happy hours, French 75 Bistro and Champagne Bar—cozily tucked back from Coast Highway in Laguna’s village neighborhood—is earning accolades as a favorite throughout Southern California, as recently expressed through its win as Best OC French Restaurant by the Los Angeles Times Readers’ Choice awards. —A.B. 



BJ’s Pizza and Grill
280 S. Coast Hwy.; 949-494-3802;


The Deck on Laguna Beach
627 Sleepy Hollow Ln.; 949-494-670; deckonlaguna.com

328 Glenneyre St.; 949-715-8234;

The Cliff Restaurant
577 S. Coast Hwy.; 949-494-1956;


The Cottage Restaurant
308 N. Coast Hwy.; 949-494-3023;


Hennessey’s Tavern

213 Ocean Ave.; 949-494-2743

384 Forest Ave.; 949-715-3900;

Ruby’s Diner
30622 Coast Hwy.; 949-497-7829; rubys.com

Splashes Restaurant and Bar 

1555 S. Coast Hwy. at Surf & Sand Resort;
949-497-4477; surfandsandresort.com

Stonehill tavern
One Monarch Beach Resort;

949-234-3405; stregismb.com

Tommy Bahama Bar & Grill 

400 S. Coast Hwy.; 949-376-6886;


Tivoli Terrace
650 Laguna Canyon Rd.; 949-494-9650;

Tivoli Too!
650 Laguna Canyon Rd.; 949-494-6044;




Brussels Bistro
222 Forest Ave.; 949-376-7955; brusselsbistro.com


California Contemporary

230 Forest Avenue
230 Forest Ave.; 949-494-2545;

Café Anastasia
460 Ocean Ave.; 949-497-8903

Blue Laguna
696 S. Coast Hwy.; 949-376-2583;


Cafe Zoolu
860 Glenneyre St.; 949-494-6825;


K’ya Bistro Bar & The Rooftop Lounge
1287 S. Coast Hwy. at Hotel La Casa del Camino; 949-376-9718; kyabistro.com;


The Loft
30801 S. Coast Hwy.
at Montage Laguna Beach; 949-715-6420;


Madison Square & Garden Cafe 

320 N. Coast Hwy.; 949-494-0137;


Mosaic Bar and Grille at 

Montage Laguna Beach
30801 S. Coast Hwy.; 949-715-6420;


Nirvana Grille
303-101 Broadway; 949-497-0027;

Sundried Tomato
361 Forest Ave.; 949-494-3312;


Tabu Grill 

2892 S. Coast Hwy.; 949-494-7743; tabugrill.com

The Terrace

425 S. Coast Hwy. at the Hotel Laguna;
949-494-1151; hotellaguna.com

The White House Restaurant & Nightclub

340 S. Coast Hwy.; 949-494-8088;


Watermarc Restaurant

448 S. Coast Hwy.; 949-376-6272;




Eva’s Caribbean Kitchen 

31732 S. Coast Hwy.; 949-499-6311;




Mandarin King 

1223 N. Coast Hwy.; 949-494-8992



Dizz’s As Is 

2794 S. Coast Hwy.; 949-494-5250;




C’est La Vie 

373 S. Coast Hwy.; 949-497-5100;


French 75 

1464 S. Coast Hwy.; 949-494-8444;


Studio at Montage Laguna Beach 

30801 S. Coast Hwy.; 949-715-6420;



Global Cuisine


1 Ritz-Carlton Dr.; 949-240-2000; ritzcarlton.com

Sapphire Laguna Restaurant & Pantry 

1200 S. Coast Hwy.; 949-715-9888;



Italian & Pizza

Cucina Alessa

234 Forest Ave.; 949-497-8222

Gina’s Pizza 

610 N. Coast Hwy.; 949-497-4421;
1100 S. Coast Hwy.; 949-494-4342;

Pizza Lounge

397 S. Coast Hwy.; 949-497-2277;


Polina’s Salerno Italian Restaurant
220 Beach St.; 949-497-2600

Ristorante Rumari  

1826 S. Coast Hwy.; 949-494-0400;


Romeo Cucina  

249 Broadway; 949-497-6627;


Ti Amo Ristorante 

31727 S. Coast Hwy.; 949-499-5350;


Z Pizza  

30902 Coast Hwy.; 949-499-4949;



GG’s Café-Bistro 

540-108 S. Coast Hwy.; 949-494-9306;


Zeytoon Cafe 

412 N. Coast Hwy.; 949-715-9230;





480 S. Coast Hwy.; 949-715-5533;

Avila’s El Ranchito 

1305 S. Coast Hwy.; 949-376-7040;


Coyote Grill 

31621 Coast Hwy.; 949-499-4033;

Laguna Feast 

801 Glenneyre St.; 949-494-0642

La Sirena Grill

347 Mermaid St.; 949-497-8226;
30862 S. Coast Hwy.; 949-499-2301;

Las Brisas 

361 Cliff Dr.; 949-497-5434;



1100 S. Coast Hwy.; 949-497-4148;


papa’s Taco 

31622 Coast Hwy.; 949-499-9822;


Taco Loco 

640-1B S. Coast Hwy.; 949-497-1635;




The Beach House 

619 Sleepy Hollow Lane; 949-494-9707;


Claes ovation

425 S. Coast Hwy. at Hotel Laguna;
949-376-9283; claesrestaurant.com

House of Big Fish & Ice Cold Beer 

540-200 S. Coast Hwy.; 949-715-4500;





One Ritz-Carlton Dr., Dana Point; 949-240-2000; ritzcarlton.com

maro wood grill

1915 S. Coast Hwy.; 949-793-4044;


Mozambique Steakhouse & Coastal Lounge 

1740 S. Coast Hwy.; 949-715-7100;

Rock’n Fish

422 S. Coast Hwy.; 949-497-3113;



30832 S. Coast Hwy.; 949-715-9200;




Laguna Culinary Arts 

845 Laguna Canyon Rd.; 949-494-4006;




242 Café Fusion Sushi 

242 N. Coast Hwy.; 949-494-2444;



858 S. Coast Hwy.; 949-793-4030;

O fine japanese cuisine

30872 S. Coast Hwy.; 949-715-5551;


San Shi Go 

1100-303 S. Coast Hwy. (upper level);



Laguna Thai by the Sea 

31715 Coast Hwy.; 949-415-0924;

Royal Thai Cuisine 

1750 S. Coast Hwy.; 949-494-8424;


Thai Bros.

238 Laguna Ave.; 949-376-9979;



Zinc Cafe 

350 Ocean Ave.; 949-494-6302;

zinccafe.com LBM


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