Photographed By: Katie Nguyen
Photographed By: Katie Nguyen

Our 8 Favorite Restaurants for a Dinner Date in Laguna Beach

Ocean Views Meet Award-Winning Cuisine at These Laguna Beach Restaurants

Famous for it’s beautiful beaches, beautiful people and artsy vibe, Laguna Beach is as good as it gets when it comes to Southern California living. This small city stretches along Orange County’s iconic Pacific Coast Hwy and boasts an assortment of boutique hotels, groovy shops and alluring art galleries—not to mention majestic canyons and coves for hiking, biking and snorkeling. But in addition to the abundance of outdoor activities, the city’s eclectic dining scene simply can’t be beat. From rooftop hangouts to oceanfront establishments, here’s eight spots to cure your cravings in Laguna Beach! Best Laguna Beach Restaurants

 

Skyloft

Photographed By: Katie Nguyen

Ocean views and smoky American fare steal the show at this breezy rooftop restaurant. This Laguna hotspot is a stellar spot for brunch, lunch, dinner or happy hour cocktails with friends. Head upstairs to the shaded rooftop, which hovers above downtown, and enjoy a meal al fresco under the beige umbrellas! Skyloft’s menu boasts an assortment of American BBQ cuisine, including plates like the tempura-battered stuffed avocado (back by popular demand!), the cherry-glazed salmon served with citrus white rice and seasonal veggies and the oh-so-savory smoked brisket! And if these decadent delights aren’t enough to draw you in, Skyloft’s impressive cocktail list sure will. Set your watch to island time and sip on a blueberry-coconut mojito made with RumHaven coconut rum, lime juice, mint, blueberries and raw sugar, or you can opt for the refreshing cucumber jalapeño margarita! Whatever your cravings, Skyloft’s kitchen will not disappoint (and neither will their ocean view).

Local Insight: Skyloft’s smoker was custom-made in Texas and had to be lifted into place by crane because it was too heavy for the elevator!

@skyloftoc

 

Harley Laguna Beach

A neighborhood favorite, Harley Laguna Beach is a casual-dining destination that feels like home away from home. Do as the locals do and sit at the chef’s counter, sit with your crew at a table or head upstairs and take advantage of the cozy nook. Now, let’s talk food: order the buttermilk biscuits to start and then try to decide between the fried chicken or pork chop as your main dish (or get both—we’re not judging). Sip on a flavorful Tropic Thunder (pineapple with a kick!) and cheers to good company! Harley Laguna Beach is just steps from Main Beach, so plan your dinner accordingly, this way you can walk down to the beach and catch an epic sunset. 

@harleylagunabeach

 

Mozambique

Just south of Skyloft sits sister restaurant Mozambique—a three-story South African-inspired concept featuring an elegant dining room, speakeasy lounge and open-air rooftop! This exotic yet comforting Laguna Beach establishment was inspired by the flavorful spices and bold spirit of South Africa’s colorful seaside restaurants, offering guests a truly one-of-a-kind dining experience. Snag a seat upstairs at sunset and enjoy decadent dishes like the hearty red and gold beet salad, wok-charred ahi tuna and a stellar selection of wood-fired steaks. For your main course, we recommend the 14-ounce prime New York strip with Mozambique’s signature peri-peri prawns! This tender cut comes with au gratin potatoes, asparagus and a cipolloni demi glace on the side. Be sure to pair your pick with one of their colorful cocktails, such as the purple-hued Laguna Sky, which is crafted with Empress 1908 gin, fresh lemon juice, agave nectar, champagne and tonic.

@mozambiqueoc

Best Laguna Beach Restaurants

Splashes Restaurant

When it comes to seaside dining, Splashes Restaurant at the beautiful Surf & Sand Resort is about as close as it gets. With waves that crash against the restaurant’s windows (and have even at times come over the wall), you’ll quickly realize why this fine-dining spot is certainly one to write home about. To get the full “Splashes” experience, reserve a table on the patio at sunset and watch the waves roll in. To eat? We love the crisp Brussels sprouts, citrus-cured kampachi and seared scallops!

@surfandsandlaguna

EXP 11/11

 

Seabutter

Photography Provided By: Seabutter

A newcomer to the city’s culinary scene, Seabutter recently took over the old San Shi Go location, bringing a fresh and contemporary sushi experience to Laguna Beach. The restaurant’s original roots lie in the star-studded city of Beverly Hills, but the concept has already received a warm welcome from Laguna locals after its soft opening. As for the menu, Seabutter boasts a delectable selection of sushi and sashimi dishes that showcase the freshest fish. Start with a few orders of sashimi and an appetizer, such as the oysters or snow crab miso, then move onto mains like the salmon truffle or Sunset Roll made with spicy tuna, asparagus and avocado, topped with yellowtail sashimi, cilantro and sweet yuzu sauce.

@seabutteroc

Best Laguna Beach Restaurants

Comedor

New to the Laguna Beach ‘hood, Comedor offers traditional Spanish tapas with a California twist. Located in La Casa del Camino, it’s as if you’re eating in a familiar dining room with a European vibe that is encompassed through the hotel’s Spanish-revival charm. Must-order tapas include pan con tomate, Spanish flatbread and charred Spanish octopus, while the main dishes also shine (like paella, Spanish chicken and mushroom risotto). Join this new hot spot for happy hour Monday through Thursday from 5 to 7 p.m. for half-off tapas, house margaritas and sangria. 

@comedorlaguna 

Best Laguna Beach Restaurants

Driftwood Kitchen

The premier waterfront restaurant in Laguna Beach, Driftwood Kitchen is exactly what visitors (and let’s be honest, locals too) want when dining in a charming beach town. Featuring breathtaking ocean views, an ocean-to-table dining experience and refreshing cocktails, Driftwood Kitchen does not disappoint. Try to dine here during sunset for epic views. Order a Salty Rim Martini, seared diver scallops and ora king salmon. Whether you’re celebrating a birthday, anniversary or simply life itself, this is the perfect place.

@driftwoodkitchn

 

Best Laguna Beach Restaurants

Broadway by Amar Santana

No other city does coastal dining quite like Laguna, but if you’re looking to change things up, we know just the place. Broadway by Amar Santana is a New York-themed restaurant with industrial decor and a seasonal New American menu of small plates. Take a break from your beachfront favorites and experience a city-chic dinner at this chef-driven “Big Apple” restaurant! Award-winning Chef Amar Santana and restaurateur Ahmed Labbate have created an unbeatable atmosphere and a menu that reflects the season’s freshest local ingredients. Pro tip: don’t leave without trying the braised rabbit pappardelle pasta—you won’t regret it!

@broadwaybyamarsantana

About the author

Taylor is a graduate from the University of Southern California with a degree in journalism. She is our Los Angeles and Orange County editor. You can find her dining at a new restaurant, in the ocean or planning her next adventure. Say hello!

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