The 20 Best Restaurants in Laguna Beach, California

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The 20 Best Restaurants in Laguna Beach, California

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Laguna Beach may only be seven miles long, but packed into those seven miles are more than 100 restaurants. They range from fine-dining establishments to family-friendly hangouts, and the best part is, that they usually come with an unbeatable view.

So many of Laguna Beach’s restaurants feature stunning panoramas of the Pacific Ocean, which also happens to provide plenty of menu inspiration and ocean-to-table ingredients. Like in many other parts of California, you’ll find chefs in Laguna Beach routinely drawing on the local and sustainable, and for good reason.

With the food scene heating up around Orange County, it’s a great time to sample some of the cuisine this area has to offer. Here are 20 of the best Laguna restaurants to guide your culinary adventures.

Planning a Trip to Laguna Beach? Here Are My Top Picks for the Best Hotels in Laguna Beach:

  1. Montage Laguna Beach, for the best luxury hotel
  2. Hotel Joaquin, for the best interior design hotel
  3. Laguna Beach House, for the best design-for-dollar hotel

For more on how to make the most of your time in Laguna Beach, don’t miss my road trip guide to Laguna Beach and a roundup of the best things to do!

The 20 Best Restaurants in Laguna Beach, California

1. Rebel Omakase

The fish- and shellfish-heavy omakase menu at Rebel Omakase isn’t cheap, but it is worth it. The creation of one of Orange County’s top chefs, Jordan Nakasone, and his wife Debrah Cha, this intimate fine-dining experience is based on fish, rice, and other ingredients shipped from Japan and prepared using authentic Japanese techniques. The fish selection rotates seasonally and is prepared in front of diners.

Address: 361 Forest Ave #103, Laguna Beach, CA 92651

2. The Cliff Restaurant

The Cliff serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, with house specialties ranging from chicken and waffles to mahi mahi fish tacos. The restaurant also has live music at its bar and fire pits six nights a week, as well as 180-degree whitewater views from its multilevel patio.

Address: 577 S Coast Hwy, Laguna Beach, CA 92651

3. Nick’s Laguna Beach

One of several locations of Nick’s throughout Southern California, Nick’s Laguna Beach serves market salads, burgers, and entrees including baby back pork ribs, buttermilk fried chicken, and pean-seared Scottish salmon. All fish is filleted in-house daily.

Address: 440 S Coast Hwy, Laguna Beach, CA 92651

4. The Deck

You can’t get much closer to the ocean than The Deck, which is one of the few Laguna Beach restaurants that actually sits on the beach itself. Open daily for lunch, dinner, and drinks, The Deck specializes in fresh seafood and creative cocktails “served with a smile.”

Address: 627 Sleepy Hollow Ln, Laguna Beach, CA 92651

5. La Sirena Grill

La Sirena isn’t a typical Mexican food spot. Calling itself a “Mexico eatery,” it fosters a strong commitment to environmental ideals focused on preservation and sustainability—from the organic ingredients in its dishes right down to the reclaimed wood in its dining rooms. Tacos, burritos, quesadillas, and nachos all feature on the menu.

Address: 30862 Coast Hwy. Laguna Beach, CA 92651

6. Carmelita’s

You’ll find elevated Mexican fare at Carmelita’s. The menu’s entrée section plays the hits, like short rib enchiladas, slow-braised carnitas, and grilled steak fajitas, while a large selection of salads features substantial, dinner-worthy offerings. Of course, tacos and margaritas make an appearance, too, and on Taco Tuesday you’ll find specials on both.

Address: 217 Broadway St, Laguna Beach, CA 92651

7. Gu Ramen Taps and Tapas

For excellent ramen in Laguna Beach, head to Gu Ramen Taps and Tapas. Gu lets you choose your own spiciness level, customize your soup with additions from a lengthy list of toppings and even specify a noodle type between ramen, udon, and kale.

Address: 907 S Coast Hwy, Laguna Beach, CA 92651

8. AhbA

Set inside a beach cottage on the Pacific Coast Highway, AhbA serves brunch, dinner, craft beer, cocktails, and natural wine. Its chef and owner, originally from LA sought to recreate the experience of neighborhoods like Venice Beach. The dinner menu includes a long list of hearty mains and vegetable-forward shareables.

Address: 31732 Coast Hwy, Laguna Beach, CA 92651

9. Larsen at Hotel Laguna

Larsen is a sleek dining destination inside the Hotel Laguna offering breakfast, lunch, and dinner studded with local ingredients. Its food menus are filled with chef-driven creations and a diverse array of flavors, and its drink menus sport a selection of California wines and craft cocktails. Its 180-degree panoramic views make it a perfect sunset destination.

Address: 425 S Coast Hwy, Laguna Beach, CA 92651

10. Skyloft

For a fun and laid-back atmosphere, Skyloft is a destination for both tourists and locals. It offers full service on its rooftop and live music most nights of the week, making it a great place to spend time with friends or go on an upbeat dinner date. It serves a range of “down-home” smokehouse specialty items, with dishes such as brisket, steaks, and ribs smoked in-house daily.

Address: 422 S Coast Hwy, Laguna Beach, CA 92651

11. Oak

Oak, established in 2017, is more than just a restaurant—it’s also a bar, caterer, and events specialist serving the southern part of Orange County. Its calendar is studded with special events, such as themed wine-tasting dinners, “Brunch & Beats” meals each Sunday, and weekday happy hours. Wine Wednesday brings half-price discounts on bottled wines, too.

Address: 1100 S Coast Hwy # 202, Laguna Beach, CA 92651

12. Las Brisas

Las Brisas is California coastal cuisine through and through, but it’s rooted in traditional Mexican flavors. Since replacing the Victor Hugo Inn back in 1979, it’s welcomed diners to its picturesque location above the coastline with its scratch kitchen, authentic techniques, and house specialties, which include fresh tortillas, salsas, and seafood.

Address: 361 Cliff Dr, Laguna Beach, CA 92651

13. The Loft at the Montage

For an elevated dining experience, book a patio table at The Loft. With a French-focused menu with fresh local ingredients, the food here was really spectacular. Located at Montage Laguna Beach, the views over the Pacific were a stunning backdrop to the meal. Be sure to order the salmon tartar, my favorite dish on the menu.

Address: 1740 S Coast Hwy, Laguna Beach, CA 92651

14. Starfish Laguna Beach

Fresh Asian coastal cuisine is the centerpiece at Starfish’s flagship location. A lengthy and diverse menu of more than 70 shareable plates celebrates the cuisines of Thailand, Korea, Vietnam, China, and Japan. To accompany them, Starfish offers globally inspired wines, handcrafted cocktails, hot and cold sake, and both Asian and local beers.

Address: 30832 Coast Hwy, Laguna Beach, CA 92651

15. Splashes Restaurant at Surf & Sand Resort

Part of Surf & Sand Resort, the aptly named Splashes sits just 25 feet above the ocean. Its dishes are coastal Californian imbued with a Mediterranean flair—think octopus with white hummus or whole branzino—and fresh and local ingredients are always on hand. The sound of crashing waves is the icing on the cake.

Address: 1555 S Coast Hwy, Laguna Beach, CA 92651

16. Broadway by Amar Santana

Meant to pay homage to New York’s theater scene, Broadway sports an industrial interior with an open kitchen that steals the spotlight. Six seats at the chef’s table allow diners to watch the restaurant’s head chef bring a multi-course meal together and get a front-row seat to the activity in the kitchen.

Address: 328 Glenneyre St, Laguna Beach, CA 92651

17. Zinc

A local favorite for more than three decades, Zinc was inspired by the quality food movement led by Alice Waters of Berkeley’s Chez Panisse. Its breakfast menu is famous, with large selections of pastries, egg dishes, toasts, and more. Don’t miss Zinc’s marketplace, which sells specialty goods.

Address: 350 Ocean Ave, Laguna Beach, CA 92651

18. Seabutter Laguna Beach

Seabutter aims for a memorable dining experience with its combination of fresh fish, an innovative menu, and an inviting atmosphere. The vibe is elegant, casual, and contemporary, and plenty of appetizers, soup, salad, and tempura options accompany the sushi and sashimi selection.

Address: 1100 S Coast Hwy #303, Laguna Beach, CA 92651

19. Comedor

Comedor, Spanish for “dining room,” hopes to evoke the nostalgia and familiarity that a dining room gathering typically brings. The concept was inspired by the building Comedor inhabits, an iconic Spanish Revival property from the 1930s. The menu includes Spanish classics like paella along with plenty of seafood.

Address: 289 S Coast Hwy, Laguna Beach, CA 92651

20. Driftwood Kitchen

Driftwood Kitchen is a waterfront spot offering an ocean-to-table dining experience featuring fresh seafood, steaks, and more paired with a Pacific Ocean view. Menus draw inspiration from locations around the world and highlight the ocean’s diversity.

Address: 619 Sleepy Hollow Ln, Laguna Beach, CA 92651

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The 20 Best Restaurants in Laguna Beach, California

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