Laguna Beach’s Culinary Delights

Doug Echelberger


Laguna Beach has a bustling culinary scene. There’s an old saying that goes a little bit like this: the way into one’s heart is through their stomach. Well, in Laguna Beach that can be the case for foodies of all kinds. Yes, of course, the main lure to this area is the shoreline. Which is completely understandable! The ocean comes in dozens of shades of blue and green; long walks on the beach fill the lungs with crisp Pacific air and the mellow vibes emanating from such a relaxing atmosphere is exactly what people from the world overcome to experience. However, we all have to eat, right? And Laguna does eating right!
It may surprise visitors that despite Laguna Beach’s relatively small size – it’s got just 23,000 people living there – an amazing array of eateries are laid out to take a taste of. Naturally, there are plenty of beach town joints to be found. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t fine dining options to be had for those who like to dress to the nines and step out on the town. And those who prefer to do their own cooking have access to plentiful high- quality ingredients.
Ready to take a bite out of Laguna? Let’s follow our noses to some of the coastal Laguna Beach culinary delights that the city has to offer.



We would be remiss not to launch into a culinary tour of Laguna Beach without first touching upon the wide selection of all things seafood. After all, the Pacific Ocean is right here! It’s no surprise that everything from shrimp to salmon to oysters makes quite a splash on many a menu. The vast majority of restaurants here will carry some sort of seafood among their choices. But there are plenty of places that dedicate the majority of their offerings to items like sole, lobster and gumbos. If it’s got gills, it’s probably on a plate somewhere in town!
More specialized seafood concoctions are also well-represented in Laguna Beach. For example, there are no fewer than half a dozen sushi restaurants in the city limits, with many more just beyond its borders. That means a lot of choices for yummy yellowtail! Fish tacos are also a favorite in the region. Don’t be surprised if you find these delectable treats in more than just Mexican restaurants. The popular dish materializes in its many variations in just about any setting you can imagine. As for dedicated seafood restaurants, the selection runs deep! There’s about a dozen right in town.


The Laguna Beach scene caters to all manner of taste in its cuisine choices. We’ve already touched upon two. Where there is sushi, for example, there must be Japanese restaurants. This means you can enjoy healthy heapings of soba and teriyaki dishes to your heart’s desire. As for Mexican choices, this is Southern California after all! Folks looking for fajitas, the aforementioned tacos, burritos and whatever other south-of-the-border meals they can imagine will not be disappointed. There are close to 20 Mexican eateries in town, and plenty of margaritas to wash it all down.
But those looking to cross other borders have nothing to worry about. Italian fare is well-represented, with a variety of ristorantes to choose from. Those pasta cravings should be taken care of. More into tandoori and nan bread, perhaps? Then rest assured – Indian eateries are also on Laguna’s menu. In fact, there are also Thai bistros, Chinese restaurants and Asian-fusion establishments to satisfy your palate. There are even South African delights to try!


As one might expect, there are plenty of casual dining experiences in Laguna Beach. Small sandwich shops and taco stands are all part of the bargain. There are myriad places to grab a quick a slice of pizza on the go. Bars and pubs abound with simple dishes, usually consisting of those mouth-watering, diet-busting comfort foods we all crave. Which brings us to the cafes and dessert stops all around town. From cappuccinos to ice cream, there are lots of hassle-free ways to chow down sweet treats.
There are times, however, that one looks for a more refined approach to a meal. Perhaps there is something to celebrate – a birthday, a graduation, a new baby – and a more formal dining setting is in order. Upscale establishments offer up everything from fine seafood to haute French cuisine to Old English supping, complete with tea service. With a serious porterhouse on your plate at one of the top-notch steakhouses, you’ll feel like a million bucks Indeed, elegance in dining is never elusive in Laguna Beach.


One of the nice things about Laguna Beach is just how many opportunities there are to match marvelous meals to some sublime settings. Being located on the water means there are quite a few waterfront dining opportunities. Naturally, the right food truck or hamburger stand can offer an ocean view when you’re just roaming around. But there are also many lovely restaurants that can set the mood, complete with lush sunsets over the Pacific Ocean, for an intimate romantic dinner. Truly an unforgettable experience for happy couples.
Want to dig a little deeper into the local food scene? Then move away from the restaurants and seek out the local farmers’ markets. Here, the very best of California’s prodigious agricultural output arrives as fresh as can be. Enjoy fruits that are sweet and ripe enough to make your taste buds dance. Buzz over to the selection of artisan honey. Local cheeses will satisfy your dairy kick. Once you’ve loaded up, go on the hunt for the many local wines and craft beers to accompany your produce. Such epicurean delights will only make your stay in Laguna all the more memorable!
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