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Best Restaurants In Laguna Beach

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(Credit: Tiffany Bell Photography)

Known for its sweeping coastal views, impressive number of art galleries and some of the best dining in Orange County, Laguna Beach is a favorite among both locals and tourists. These elements are often combined to produce seaside gourmet restaurants filled with paintings, sculptures or well-crafted architecture. Whether you're looking for fresh seafood, innovative Mexican menus or classy steakhouse dishes, Laguna has so much to offer foodies from all walks of life. Sit back, relax and savor some of OC's best flavors at these Laguna Beach restaurants.

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(Credit: Sarah King Photography)

328 Glenneyre Street
Laguna Beach, CA 92651
(949) 715-8234

Created by famed chef Amar Santana, Broadway has quickly grown into one of the hottest restaurants in Laguna Beach. The Dominican chef is known for his beautiful plating techniques and the influence of various global cuisines, giving Broadway an instant edge up on its competition. The menu is split up into first and second courses plus dessert, highlighting dishes like the Burgundy Escargot, the Free Range Organic Egg Yolk Ravioli and the Louisiana Crab Meat Salad in the first course. These are followed by other innovative cuisines, like the Chicken Fried Quail, the Grilled Marinated Prime Skirt Steak and the Vegetable Pot Pie. Finish the meal off with tiramisu, bourbon vanilla bean panacotta or lemon ricotta fritters. In addition, Santana offers a $95 tasting menu so guests can sample a selection of dishes as well as a prix fixe menu on Mondays. Don't forget to try some cocktails while you're dining. The refreshing Sea Spray features rum, watermelon and lime while the Hold the Door is a spicy gin, pineapple and cinnamon blend. Plus they offer whiskey flights on Wednesdays!

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(Credit: Selanne Steak Tavern)

Selanne Steak Tavern
1464 South Coast Highway
Laguna Beach, CA 92651
(949) 715-9881

Housed in a historic house that dates back to the 1930s, Selanne Steak Tavern is the perfect fusion of old and new. Not only has the home been restored to include seamless, modern designs and bright interiors, but the dishes also reflect the blend of old and new, showcasing classic American cuisine with a contemporary flare. The marble on the fireplace might be new, but the chandelier has been whimsically recycled—something you'll also find (metaphorically, of course) on the menu. The dinner selections include English Pea Soup, Pacific Diver Scallops, Caesar Salad, Filet Mignon and Rib Eyes, but pair the main dishes with champagne beurre fondue, point reyes blue cheese gratin or even cognac peppercorn. The tavern menu also blends the old with the new, including truffle popcorn, an artisanal cheese plate and Castelvetrano olives. Make sure to visit during happy hour for discounts on wine, cocktails and the tavern menu.

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(Credit: Driftwood Kitchen

Driftwood Kitchen
619 Sleepy Hollow Lane
Laguna Beach, CA 92651
(949) 715-7700

With an open, airy dining room set over the Pacific Ocean, Driftwood Kitchen is the best spot for breezy relaxation in Laguna - and you can't beat the food either. Their dining room is decorated in whites and beiges with subtle sea foam-colored accents, strands of yellow lights and a combination of starfish, netting and seashells on the tables so you'll feel that ocean vibe. The ocean décor is complemented by the chef's dinner menu, filled with gems like the Crispy Thai Calamari Steak, the Grilled Spanish Octopus, the Whole Fried Branzino and the Venus Clams and Meatballs. Have a sweet treat for dessert like a plum tart or the Braeburn Apple Brioche. Driftwood Kitchen also has an adjacent bar known as the Stateroom. The rich wood and nautical décor furthers the ocean theme, but they also have a spectacular set of cocktails. The Dark and Stormy Seas features Kraken rum and ginger beer while the Black and Blue is a blend of blackberries, blueberries and sparkling wine.

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(Credit: Splashes/Surf and Sand Resort)

1555 South Coast Highway
Laguna Beach, CA 92651
(877) 741-5908

Located within Laguna's Surf and Sand Resort, Splashes is an upscale place to grab a bite to eat right next to the ocean. The contemporary dining room has floor-to-ceiling doors that open up, providing guests with breathtaking views of the beach and the Pacific. The décor features unique overhead fixtures, shimmering accents on a fireplace and aqua accent plates to add to the luxurious beachy atmosphere. Splashes is a great brunch spot, with a menu offering everything from a smoked salmon bagel or steak and eggs to strawberry cheesecake French toast or red velvet pancakes. For lunch, munch on one of the restaurant's flatbreads or try their seared scallops or hanger steak. The dinner menu is rather extensive as well, featuring lobster bisque and red endive and arugula salad as appetizers before showcasing entrees like Alaskan Halibut, Grilled Swordfish and Roasted Duck Breast. Splashes also offers an innovative cocktail menu with the Superfruit Martini, a cucumber mint gimlet, the Surf & Sand Sangria and many more.

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(Credit Patricia Molteni)

Maro Wood Grill
1915 South Coast Highway
Laguna Beach, CA 92651
(949) 793-4044

With a mesquite wood grill and Argentinian influence, Maro Wood Grill offers a unique selection of flavorful meat cuts as well as plenty of veggies, desserts and cocktails. Cooked over a fire in an open kitchen layout, the restaurant offers a variety of unique dishes and sides. Empanadas—spicy chicken, mushroom, beef or spinach—are served with garlic aioli made on site. They also serve wood grilled edamame and okra in addition to Argentinian short ribs, baseball steak, racks of lamb and grass-fed rib eye. Follow up your meal with one of two desserts. First up, the banana bread pudding is crafted with organic eggs and cream, bananas, Dulce de Leche and a vanilla bourbon sauce. The alternative is a berry cobbler, filled with blueberries, blackberries and rolled oats and topped with whipped cream.

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(Credit: Dave Tosti)

448 South Coast Highway
Laguna Beach, CA 92651
(949) 376-6272

Classic is mixed with contemporary at this food-and-drink driven restaurant. Executive Chef Marc Cohen is responsible for 230 Forest Avenue, another local favorite, but aims to take dining to new heights with Watermarc by considering drinks just as important as the food being served. The drink menu includes hundreds of wines, chosen to pair specifically with different types of cuisine, as well as cocktails organized by "Up", "Rocks", "Muddled" and "Sparkling". The dinner menu starts with Grazing Plates like oysters, lamb chops, garlic shrimp and fried goat cheese before moving on to soups, salads and main dishes, including Cedar Planked Scottish Salmon and Braised Short Rib. They also offer a selection of paellas, sides of various vegetables, starches and desserts. Watermarc also offers breakfast and lunch as well. The patio on the main level sits adjacent to PCH, but they also have an upstairs terrace that sits above Peppertree Lane.

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(Credit: Tiffany Bell Photography)

The Cliff Restaurant
577 South Coast Highway
Laguna Beach, CA 92651
(949) 494-1956

Sitting high on a cliff — as the name implies — The Cliff Restaurant is one place that offers uninterrupted views of Laguna's coastline, making it the ideal place for a casual lunch or romantic dinner. The multi-level patio makes it easy to sit outside and enjoy the restaurant's location while sipping a glass of wine or a summery cocktail. A menu of seasonal cuisine that has a strong California influence offers items like breakfast burritos, various eggs benedicts, fruit-accented French toast and California omelets in the morning. The seafood starts to creep in on the lunch menu, with ahi poke, calamari steak, ceviche, coconut shrimp, oysters and crab cakes all listed as starters. Also for lunch, they offer a variety of salads, hamburgers, sandwiches, wraps and seafood entrees. The dinner menu is pretty similar to the lunch menu, but includes various pastas and specialties like Macadamia Chicken and Filet Mignon as well.

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(Credit: Three Seventy Common)

Three Seventy Common
370 Glenneyre Street
Laguna Beach, CA 92651
(949) 494-8686

As the name implies, Three Seventy Common offers a communal design, aimed to bring everyone together over one common interest: food. Chef Ryan Adams grew up learning to cook and has transformed that hobby into a career, cooking in kitchens all over the world before opening his own. The menu at Three Seventy Common is always evolving, depending on both the season and what's in stock at the local farmer's market, where Adams himself often goes to get fresh produce for the restaurant. Some items they serve include bites like Short Rib Grilled Cheese and chicken wings as well as small plates like kale and avocado salads and soup of the day. Medium and large plates consist of dishes like calamari, poutine, pork loin, trout, bacon-wrapped meatloaf and wild mushroom potato soufflé. They also pride themselves on their cocktails, including the vodka and passion fruit Passion Cooler and the spicy White Flag crafted with ghost chile tequila, citrus and agave.

la sirena grill
(credit: Dana K./yelp)

La Sirena Grill
347 Mermaid Street
Laguna Beach, CA 92651
(949) 497-8226

They call themselves the "Mexico eatery", a nod to their sustainable practices that make them so unique— but so Laguna. Filled with Mexican classics like quesadillas, nachos, tortas, taquitos, tacos, burritos, enchiladas, chicken tortilla soup, Avocado Lime and Blackened Wild Salmon salads and more, you're in store for some pretty great Mexican food. But, their classic dishes have a modern touch, incorporating ingredients like cucumbers, avocado, papaya, bell peppers and cabbage in their dishes. They also have a variety of main ingredients in their cuisine. Choose from wild salmon (or other daily fishes), carne asada, chicken, carnitas and calamari plus vegetarian options like beans or grilled vegetables. La Sirena has a short breakfast menu as well; it includes the Picadillo Burrito, the Green Chile Burrito, the Veggie Breakfast Burrito, the Chicken Machaca Burrito, a breakfast torta and Huevos Rancheros. Both menus have options for kids as well.

Ashley Ryan is an Orange County native that loves traveling, live music and photography. She blogs at Pure Wander and freelances for a variety of publications including Newport Beach Magazine and Laguna Beach Magazine.
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