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LAGUNA Beach: Where do the locals EAT? Casual, tasty eateries? Ethnic foods? Nature walks? Tantalizing tips?!

LAGUNA Beach: Where do the locals EAT? Casual, tasty eateries? Ethnic foods? Nature walks? Tantalizing tips?!

Jan 27th, 2009, 11:42 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 3,254
LAGUNA Beach: Where do the locals EAT? Casual, tasty eateries? Ethnic foods? Nature walks? Tantalizing tips?!

Hello fodorites, my husband and I are driving to Laguna Beach soon for a belated 27th anniversary weekend. We're staying at the Surf and Sand Resort.

We're interested in nature walks, scenery, intriguing shops (NOT tourist junk); book stores; casual, tasty eateries, especially ethnic foods; art; music; and just generally soaking up the best of what Laguna Beach area has to offer.

Crystal Cove State Park is definitely on our list of places to check out. We are curious about Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, which is only 19 acres? Worth checking out? (Husband is a biologist.)

Our package includes a couple meals at Splashes at our hotel. We would also like to discover tasty, casual local eateries, especially any which are owned & run by local families. We try to avoid chain restaurants. Love ethnic foods, spicy foods, and any foods which are home-made with fresh ingredients and delicious.

Thanks for any tips you wish to pass on!

Melissa5 is offline  
Jan 28th, 2009, 08:03 AM
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 4,640
Hi, Laguna Beach has many great places to dine. Some of our favorites: The Studio & The Loft at the Montage Resort, The Cliffs, Sapphire, Claes @ the Hotel Laguna, Las Brisas (gorgeous views here) hush, Ristorante Rumari (Italian) and Splashes. The Studio is the formal venue at the Montage, very nice.

Go to the beach in back of the Montage and check out the tidepools, if you like art there are many wonderful galleries to stroll through and the Laguna Art Museum is right by Las Brisas @ Heisler Park. Have fun! ***kim***
kimamom is offline  
Jan 28th, 2009, 08:30 AM
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Date milkshake at The Shake Shack which is almost on top of the south part of Crystal Cove. It used to be The Date Shack <<sigh>>.

Placename is offline  
Jan 28th, 2009, 09:39 AM
Join Date: May 2005
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I will second Claes at the Hotel Laguna and also love Javiers for Mexican. Ti Amo for Italian. Went to Mozambique last May and that was very interesting. Only had drinks there but the atmosphere was great.
annikany is offline  
Jan 28th, 2009, 10:00 AM
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You must go to Wahoo's for fish tacos!!!!

Castleblanca is offline  
Jan 28th, 2009, 03:12 PM
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Hi Melissa -

For nature, maybe drive over to Newport Beach and check out the Upper Newport Bay:

For an easy hike with panoramic views of the ocean, I would suggest Top of the World (via Alta Laguna Park), which is part of the Laguna Wilderness Park:

As for restaurants, Las Brisas will be filled with more tourists than locals, IMO, but the view is to die for. Mozambique is good, but a bit pricey and could be fancier than what you're looking for.

Zinc Cafe is a small vegetarian place that uses fresh, tasty ingredients:

Aegean Cafe serves Greek food and is pretty authentic. Note, though, that it can get loud and crazy on Fridays and weekends with the music and dancing:

Eva's Caribbean Kitchen has spicy dishes:

Have fun and happy belated anniversary!
globetrotterxyz is offline  
Jan 28th, 2009, 03:14 PM
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kim, what is your favorite room category at The Montage?
iamq is offline  
Jan 28th, 2009, 10:59 PM
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Thanks everyone for all these great suggestions! The Shake Shake sounds like a tasty stop by the Crystal Cove. I'm printing this all out to take with us. We have a Wahoo's in San Diego too (La Jolla), and we enjoy it.

globetrotterxyz, thanks for the links for nature, I'm going to check that out too.
Melissa5 is offline  
Jan 29th, 2009, 12:55 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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I, too, like Zinc and the Aegean. Five Feet used to be good, I haven't been there lately and the same with Royal Thai, check them out.

The other day we had a pleasant lunch at Avilas El Ranchito on the old site of The Little Shrimp and had drinks and snacks at Greeters Corner which is a beautiful setting at sunset.

You will not see many locals at Las Brisas but the views are nice, pretty slow and rude service at times too.

French 75 is nice.

Laguna is small, you can see the shops and art as you stroll along, no need for recs.

SeaUrchin is offline  
Jan 29th, 2009, 03:53 AM
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 1,837
I forgot about the Aegean. Great place! Also The White House serves really great food and it's right by Peppertree Lane right in main beach.
Heisler Park is absolutely beautiful and a must see. It can be experienced at the water level (my favorite) or from the street level. It's a sidewalk ( as opposed to a board walk) that follows the park along the ocean. Bring your camera.
Also take note when in Laguna that all the benches are a work of art. Literally- they are all a piece of art no two are alike. I love Laguna Beach!
annikany is offline  
Jan 29th, 2009, 10:29 PM
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 106
We have a wonderful, local owned bookstore in Laguna called: Laguna Beach Books, on Pacific Coast Hwy. Definitely check it out.

For casual eateries many locals eat at the Zinc Cafe. Great for breakfast, lunch, snacks, coffee and people watching. Sundried Tomato restaurant is a casual, yummy local spot, good for lunch and dinner. Lunch: Wahoo's, a true local mexican casual eatery. Check out: Tutto Amore Gelato shop on Ocean Ave for authentic italian out of this world gelato. They give all the samples you want before deciding which flavor you want a scoop of.

Javiers is not longer in Laguna Beach. It has relocated in the Crystal Cove shopping area. Yum!
seremarcus is offline  
Jan 29th, 2009, 11:14 PM
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You are all great! I'll definitely check out the bookstore, Zinc Cafe, and the Tutto Amore Gelato shop...haven't had good gelato since Italy in 2004! I'm also very interested in Aegean... Gosh, we may need more than one weekend in Laguna Beach to try out all these delicious places, and just to hang out, people watch, enjoy some art, explore the walks and beaches...

Many thanks.
Melissa5 is offline  
Jan 30th, 2009, 06:32 AM
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Another vote for Sapphire Laguna.
bon_voyage is online now  
Jan 30th, 2009, 05:28 PM
Join Date: Aug 2006
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The owner of Tutto Amore Gelato shop is Italian, and he brought his own italian gelato recipe with him from Italy, so it is the real deal - enjoy!

seremarcus is offline  
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