Laguna Beach, one of Southern California’s most popular beach communities, is enchanting. And the Laguna Beach restaurants are just as spectacular!
It is ideal for a weekend escape since it is located halfway between Los Angeles and San Diego. This is particularly true if you’re seeking for terrific places to dine in Laguna Beach.
Laguna has it all: 42 miles of gorgeous sandy beaches, quiet coves, coastal cliffs, tidal pools filled with marine life, and a dynamic art scene.
This includes its delicious, fresh, and inventive food. Laguna Beach restaurants are a foodie’s paradise, with glorious weather, sunlight, fresh fruit, and a treasure trove of marine treasures.
It has been a great experience no matter where we have eaten. But, Laguna Beach has some excellent eateries that we would highly suggest. These are our five favorite Laguna Beach eateries that never fail to please.
Not in the mood to dine out tonight? Click here to have Grubhub deliver right to your door from the greatest restaurants in town.
Visiting other places in California? Check out our gastronomy guides to the cities listed below:
- Where to eat in Tustin, CA
- The 8 Best Restaurants in Ft. Bragg
- Must-Try Restaurants in Oceanside, CA
- The 21 Best Restaurants in Costa Mesa
- 7 Must-Try Restaurants in Cambria, CA
- Where to Eat in Dana Point, CA
- 11 Must-Try Vallejo Restaurants
- 20 Awesome Things To Do In Laguna Beach
When in Laguna Beach, don’t miss out on the following activities that will let you immerse yourself in the city (get them while they’re hot!):
- Newport Beach: 2-Hour Whale Watching Tour
- Laguna Beach: Scavenger Hunt Adventure
- 1 The Top 10 Restaurants in Laguna Beach
- 2 Which of these Laguna Beach restaurants do you want to try the most? Please share your thoughts in the comments box below!
The Top 10 Restaurants in Laguna Beach
Laguna Beach Nicks
+1 (949) 376-8595440 South Coast Expressway
It’s no surprise that this local favorite has gotten so many #1 rankings. We found eating here to be an incredible experience, with traditional American comfort cuisine and stylish drinks with extremely imaginative twists.
From check-in to check-out, the ambiance is relaxed, with high levels of hospitality. Their legendary Bacon Deviled Eggs are a must-order starter. This tasty appetizer is delicately fried and topped with applewood bacon. It’s a Nicks original, and it’s fantastic.
I got the Tuna Tartare from the appetizer menu, which was fairly filling. This was a great light lunch option, with sashimi-grade tuna, spicy soy, tiny wasabi, and crunchy wontons.
Another famous house speciality is the Original Ribeye Melt, which combines sliced ribeye, Swiss cheese, red wine onions, and mustard bacon sauce between toasted parmesan bread.
Get the Kale and Quinoa Salad with red grapes, cashews, almonds, sunflower seeds, red peppers, parmesan, and champagne vinaigrette instead of the fries. It’s both nutritious and delicious.
Nicks is an excellent pick among Laguna Beach restaurants for great seafood.
Driftwood Dining Room
+1 (949) 715-7700619 Sleepy Hollow Road
You’ve got to love a Laguna Beach eatery with a catchphrase. You’d have to swim if you got any closer.
This renowned waterfront destination, open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, offers an ocean-to-table dining experience with the best and freshest seafood and steaks, as well as stunning Pacific Ocean views.
We went for a shared salad and small dishes, starting with a Roasted Beet and Arugula Salad with avocado, grilled sweet corn, heirloom tomatoes, and feta cheese, topped with lime vinaigrette.
After that, a variety of east and west coast oysters with a traditional mignonette was delicious.
The DWK Crab Cake, served with an endive and Asian pear salad and dill elbni, is also wonderful. We couldn’t have been happier with a couple glasses of Pinot Grigio to go with it.
If you’re searching for a Laguna Beach restaurant on the ocean, Driftwood stands out among the Laguna Beach eateries.
Alessa, created by Chef Pirozzi
Forest Avenue + 1 (949) 497-8222234
This lively pizza only feet from the shore is one of our favorites. For starters, Chef Alessandro Pirozzi, who was born in Naples, Italy, presents classic cuisine from his family’s Italian kitchen.
Since spaghetti and pizza are the staples, pizza is exclusively served at supper in the typical Neapolitan fashion. It was alright with us since we had lived in Naples and were familiar with the custom.
So it was pizza for supper, in a nice candlelight outside setting. The delectable pizza we shared, accompanied by a bottle of Chianti, was a Crispy Prosciutto pie covered with San Marzano sauce, tomato, goat cheese, house-made spicy oil, mozzarella, and crispy prosciutto. Indeed, it tasted just like Naples!
We both felt that a repeat visit is in order with such a vast menu and finely made Italian cuisine. Alessa is the place to go in Laguna Beach for real Neapolitan pizza.
+ 1 (949) 715-9888
This colorful, lovely café offers daily breakfast, lunch, and supper in the historic Old Pottery Barn building on Laguna Beach’s main street. The dishes here are so fresh, innovative, and polished that we were tempted to return again on one of our weekend trips.
It’s no wonder that it’s one of the most popular locations to eat in this coastal beach town, with outstanding service, quality, and value.
Steamed Manilla Clams, Mexican White Prawns, and P.E.I. Mussels are among our favorites. You’ll need additional bread to sop up the exquisite sauce, which is served over saffron pearl couscous with Spanish chorizo, melted garlic, and scorched tomato broth.
Another hit is the American Wagyu Beef Burger, which comes on a challah bun and is topped with Spanish cheddar cheese, shredded onion, and a secret sauce. You’ll be begging for to-go boxes if you don’t share.
When you consider the artisan drinks and beers, you’ve discovered one of the best locations to dine among all the Laguna Beach restaurants.
Splashes is a restaurant.
+1 (877) 741-59081555 South Coast Expressway
Splashes Restaurant, located in the famed Surf & Sand Resort, with stunning seaside views. The restaurant’s name derives from the roaring Ocean waves below the dining deck, which is open for breakfast, lunch, and supper.
We picked a range of appetizers that were perfect for an early lunch. Brussels Sprouts are paired with honey goat cheese, roasted quince, and puffed sorghum, all accompanied by a yuzu balsamic reduction. We’d never had this combo before, but it was fantastic.
We should have ordered two Crispy Octopus with Daikon Pepper, Sunchoke Cream, Rhubarb, Cured Olives, Poblano, and Crisp Sea Beans.
Instead, we split a dessert, the Lavender and Earl Grey Crème Brlelight, which was delicious with elderflower and fruit topping. The excellent way to cap off a delicious meal. At Laguna Beach, this is beachfront dining at its finest.
Cliff Drive, +1 (949) 497-5434361
Las Brisas is a Southern California icon with its stunning position overlooking a Pacific Ocean promenade cliff and has been voted the greatest waterfront dining in Orange County.
This romantic restaurant, which was previously the lovely, historic Victor Hugo Hotel, specializes on Coastal California cuisine blended with Baja, Mexico characteristics.
While breakfast, lunch, and supper are available, our favorite time to dine here is during the sunset, since the vistas are just breathtaking.
Seafood, unsurprisingly, reigns supreme, but landlubbers have plenty of other options.
The Seared Sea Scallops with cauliflower puree, tomatillo, green olives, and sparkling wine beurre blanc are our absolute favorites. The combination has a magical effect on the palate.
Whole Branzino is cooked on the plancha (iron grill) and served with roasted potatoes and assorted veggies. Absolutely wonderful, and completely Baja-inspired.
Las Brisas in Laguna has a Mexican flare and delicious seafood.
+1 (949) 715-15501740 South Coast Expressway
Mozambique is a fascinating and adventurous destination to come for a truly unusual twist and an outstanding eating experience. Its setting and very tasty meals are both influenced by the South African coastline.
The restaurant is separated into themed eating sections, one of which is an open-air rooftop lounge with a 360-degree view of the ocean. The Durban Room, Mozambique’s most recent refurbishment, is a piano lounge with live music that resembles a classic 1920s speakeasy.
The Sampler Plate, which includes prawns, chicken poppers, farmers sausage, and beef samoosas topped with Mozambique’s own handcrafted powerful Peri-Peri sauce, is an excellent way to sample the greatest South African foods.
Another winner is Durban Curry with delicate braised lamb.
Make place for the Portuguese Hot Butter Pudding, a cooked spongy cake caramelized with butter, brown sugar, and brandy and served with whipped cream.
If you want to see Africa without leaving town, consider this Laguna Beach eatery.
The Laguna Beach Deck
+1 (949) 494-6700627 Sleepy Hollow Road
This laid-back cafe at Pacific Edge Hotel provides the perfect beach eating experience. It’s a calm, laid-back, breezy spot for light snacks and beverages, as well as heartier seafood options.
We adore their deck and drink menus, which include oysters, shellfish, a seafood tower, smaller share plates, soups, salads, and sandwiches in addition to the major dishes.
If you like seafood Louies, the Dungeoness Crab Louis Salad is incredibly fresh, packed with crabs, and one of the nicest Ive eaten in years.
The Grilled Mahi-Mahi Sandwich, served with a Cajun remoulade on rustic ciabatta bread, is also a hit.
This area emanates Southern California chill, thanks to the fresh coastal breezes! Laguna Beach is the place to go for alfresco eating.
Forest Avenue, 230
+1 (949) 494-2545
Relaxed, cheerful, and sensual, this is a must-try. That’s how a buddy characterized this diner in the village’s core.
This highly rated restaurant, which serves unique California cuisine, was named Best Seafood, Best Happy Hour, and Best Desserts by Laguna Beach Magazine. These honors are well-deserved.
This amazing café, which was formerly an in-town open-air market, still boasts the original wooden accordion doors at its entry.
In this sophisticated California-modern dining place, award-winning chef Marc Cohen has prepared a selection of scrumptious meals that are served both indoors and outside.
Besties here are Toasted Garlic Fish with black Thai rice, jardinire veggies, and red curry coconut butter (open everyday for lunch and evening).
The Maple Brined Porkchop is served with apple, raisins, pine nuts, and a calvados demi-glac over soft polenta.
These dinners are bursting with flavor. The presentation is quite remarkable, as is the service.
The devilishly delicious Chocolate Croissant Bread Pudding with seasonal berries, vanilla bean ice cream, and anglaise. You’d want to lick the plate if it were right!
This is a fantastic restaurant that deserves to be on our list of the finest Laguna Beach restaurants.
Kitchen + Drink Reunion
(949) 226-8393610 North Coast Highway, Suite 102
Locals love urban stylish Reunion Kitchen and Drink, and we can see why.
Happy Hours are very popular owing to its amazing little meals such as Bacon-Wrapped Jalapenos.
Crispy Asparagus Spears, Avocado Wontons, and Short Rib Sliders are some of the dishes on the menu.
Reunions are all included at a reduced price, along with drinks and other libations, rather than a selection of appetizers like many restaurants provide for happy hour.
Laguna Beach’s historic beach town past is honored with old surfing images and iconic early to mid-century photos that decorate the cafe walls. It’s a great location to eat with a distinct West Coast vibe. Just the picture that Laguna Beach eateries should project.