Step up your Cinco de Mayo plans at Carmelita’s Kitchen de Mexico 

Story and photos by ELIZABETH NUTT

 When it comes to choosing good Mexican food in Laguna Beach, the options are seemingly endless. But when it comes to choosing an upscale, gourmet Mexican restaurant just steps from the beach, there’s only one possibility: Laguna’s Carmelita’s Kitchen de Mexico. 

Carmelita’s offers an unparalleled Mexican food and restaurant experience. From its cozy interior and ocean views, to its made-from-scratch margaritas and incredibly fresh seafood options, this is a restaurant that’s meant to be savored. And perhaps that’s because authentic Mexican recipes—with culinary roots in Puebla and Guadalajara—passed down from generations to Carmelita’s owner inspired the menu. 

The restaurant was established in 1962, and opened in Laguna Beach in 2012. Its head chef, Javier Perez, is known for sourcing local ingredients—such as those found at the Laguna Beach farmers’ market—which contributes to the eatery’s unparalleled freshness. 

Whether you’re looking to celebrate Cinco de Mayo in style, or simply enjoy some of the tastiest seafood in town, check out this fantastic restaurant’s south-of-the-border offerings. 

Get Started With a Margarita—and More

To really get the Carmelita’s experience right, you’ve got to try one of the restaurant’s famed handcrafted margaritas. There are several different versions of the classic beverage on the menu, but they all share two similar ingredients: fresh-squeezed limes and home cooked agave. 

The Pineapple Jalapeno margarita, made with blanco tequila and grilled pineapple, comes with a chile rim and is the perfect blend of spicy and sweet. Or, for something a little more refreshing, try the Cilantro Cucumber margarita, which is made with blanco tequila and muddled, fresh cilantro and cucumber. 

The bar also offers an impressive selection of tequila if you’re looking to simplify your order—everything from Don Julio to Carmelita’s Tequila—as well as four Mexican beers: Corona, Corona Light, Modelo Especial, and Bohemia.

While you’re waiting, complimentary chips, salsa, and Carmelita’s delicious homemade black bean dip will arrive at your table—the perfect complement to any beverage. 

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Carmelita’s Made-to-Order Guacamole 

Be sure to try the guacamole, too—it’s made to order, and tastes so fresh. Carmelita’s takes a slightly different spin here, too, adding chipotle, fresh cucumber, and a bit of cojita cheese to its guacamole recipe. 

The Mexico City Corn is a mouthwatering must-try starter as well; it comes with a fresh, juicy ear of corn on the cob, which is fire roasted and covered in cilantro and queso fresco. And the citrus-cooked shrimp ceviche is unbelievably fresh and delicious, too. 

Seafood Specialties

What I love about Carmelita’s is that there’s something for everyone. From the tostada salad and spinach enchiladas to the blackened chicken burrito and crispy chimichangas, the menu will satiate every appetite. Everything is made fresh using traditional cocina techniques—from the salsa to the tortillas, so you really can’t go wrong with any order. 

But the seafood at Carmelita’s truly shines, and there are many enticing, fresh, and tasty options—so many, that the menu’s entrees and specialties sections can sometimes be overwhelming. Which is why my favorite—and arguably the best dish on the menu—is the Marisco Trio. 

Here, you get a little bit of everything: a lobster enchilada, a crab-and-shrimp stuffed chili relleno, and a shrimp taco, and it comes with a made-from-scratch sauce, and served over a heaping portion of beans and rice. 

Everything on this dish is savory, flavorful, and so good you’ll want to order it twice. 

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The Marisco Trio 

If you’re looking for a more classic Mexican dish, opt for the unbelievably good fish tacos. They’re made with wild halibut, wine roasted, and they come with house-made lemon tartar sauce. This dish is anything but your basic taco entrée. 

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Grilled Halibut Fish Tacos

Oftentimes, the restaurant will boast a mouthwatering Chilean sea bass special. If it’s on the menu, order it—it’s not to be missed. 

To top it all off, you can have your choice of two traditional Mexican desserts: flan or churros. The flan is prepared with vanilla, grand marnier and whipped cream, and the churros are caramel infused and come with a chocolate martini—the perfect way to end the perfect meal. 

Carmelita’s is located at 217 Broadway Street. The restaurant is open Monday-Friday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Saturday from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Breakfast is served on the weekends. For more information, visit www.carmelitaskdm.com.


There is nothing like hot pizza and cold beer—and Wine Gallery nails the classic combo every time

Story and photos by ELIZABETH NUTT

Ice-cold beer and piping hot pizza—it’s a classic, ubiquitous combination that many restaurants offer, perhaps because it’s so hard to get wrong. But when it’s done right, its flavors rival that of any fine wine and gourmet food pairing.

It may surprise you when I declare that Laguna’s Wine Gallery has mastered the art of the elevated pizza and beer combo. Of course, the restaurant does indeed have an extensive wine list curated specifically to bring out all of the flavors of its diverse menu. But its pizzas and beers should not be overlooked—and in fact they offer just as many options when it comes to selecting complementary flavors that have the power to transform your dining experience.  

“There’s something about baked bread and cheese that lends itself so well to the refreshing, carbonated elements of beer,” says Wine Gallery’s owner, Chris Olsen.

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Chris Olsen, Wine Gallery’s Owner, Pours a Brew

But, after sitting down with Chris and tasting through the menu, I realized it’s not so simple. Wine Gallery takes its pizza making and beer selecting to a different level, ensuring that you’ll never have a more perfect pairing. 

Pizza Perfection

Chris opened the Wine Gallery’s Laguna Beach location in Sept 2012. Three years prior, he had opened the Wine Gallery’s Corona del Mar location—a large retail wine store with a slightly smaller kitchen and menu. As such, one of the first things he did with his Laguna restaurant was take advantage of the available space and purchase a wood-fired brick oven. According to Chris, he was one of the first Laguna-area restaurant owners to install a real, true wood-fired brick oven, which makes a huge difference when it comes to cooking quality pizza. 

“To me, it’s similar to tasting wine, and detecting the oak, for example,” explains Chris. “I can taste the difference between a gas-fired oven, and a real wood-fired brick oven. With a wood-fired brick oven, you can taste the char and some of those delicious, wood-imparted flavors,” he adds.

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Wine Gallery’s Wood-Fired Brick Oven

Wine Gallery’s brick oven uses almond wood, which is grown here in California. A dense wood, it maintains its temperature—between 700 and 800 degrees—well. And you can tell the difference. Wine Gallery’s thin pizza crust has that authentic, homemade flavor and texture, and it’s cooked perfectly and evenly. 

Chris also told me that the chefs make their own mozzarella and pizza dough daily, which undoubtedly lends itself to the creation of some of the best pies in town. The menu includes roughly eight different pizzas, and there’s a unique ‘pizza of the day’ option daily.

‘Tapping’ Into the Best Combos 

Once I understood what sets the pizza apart at Wine Gallery, it was time to talk about Chris’s beer selection. For a restaurant whose walls are decorated with wine bottles—and whose menu includes nine white wines by the glass and over a dozen reds by the glass—I had to ask, why beer? 

“Well, with the craft beer industry taking off, at the end of the day it was about offering more to the customer,” says Chris. “And, Laguna Beach being a laid-back beach town, I wanted to feature some good local craft beers, too,” he adds. 

Wine Gallery offers six beers on tap, and it has plans to add four more tap handles in the near future. Chris rotates the beer regularly, but he always stocks the restaurant with tasty options primarily from local craft breweries, including Laguna Beach’s own Laguna Beach Beer Company. Typically, the taps will include 2-3 IPA-style beers, a pilsner, and red, blonde and brown ale.

“Many brewers use a similar approach as winemakers when it comes to small-production… and a lot of brewers appreciate good wine. There was a saying I loved in wine country, ‘It takes a lot of beer to make wine,’” Chris says with a laugh.

And, believe it or not, there’s a similar science when it comes to wine and food pairings and beer and food pairings. 

Following Chris’s advice, I tried his favorite beer first. Artifex Brewing Company, based in San Clemente, makes an unbelievably light and refreshing beer called Show Me Your Roots Blonde Ale—perfect with lighter, vegetarian pizzas. I paired it with a few slices of the margarita pizza, which is my favorite, and a Wine Gallery staple. 

 Next, I tried the Oscar Blues Brewing Company’s (not local, but another one of Chris’s favorites) pilsner with a couple slices of the pizza of the day, which was made with pesto, mozzarella, chicken, heirloom tomatoes and Parmesan cheese. It was amazing to me how the pilsner actually did enhance the flavors of the pesto and cheeses. 

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Margarita Pizza and the ‘Pizza of the Day’

Next, I tried some of Wine Gallery’s heartier pizza offerings—and a few other samplings of beer. 

“Fuller-bodied beer demands fuller-bodied food,” explains Chris, who poured for me Laguna Beach Beer Company’s Canyon Road Red Ale, which paired perfectly with the fungus pizza—made with house made mozzarella, goat cheese, truffle oil, mushrooms, garlic, parsley and shallot. According to Chris, the caramel notes of the red ale pair perfectly with the savory truffle oil flavor. 

And, finally, I combined Smog City Brewing Company’s full-bodied and flavorful Hoptonic IPA with the spicier calabrese pizza, made with tomato sauce, house made mozzarella, parmesan, oregano and calabrese salami. The hoppy IPA complemented—and even cut a little bit of—the spiciness of the calabrese. 

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More Mouthwatering Wine Gallery Pizza

It didn’t surprise me that, over the course of my menu tasting, the restaurant became increasingly packed. As locals dropped in, Chris greeted them by name and helped them pick out their beer and wine (he is also a certified sommelier and he makes his own wine, which is available at Wine Gallery). 

With minimalistic décor, an easy, comfortable vibe, friendly staff and an extensive menu that also includes items like short rib tacos and steak frites, it’s easy to understand why this is a constantly buzzing locals’ spot. And it’s a spot that is now officially on the map as Laguna’s best pizza-and-beer destination. 

Wine Gallery, located at 1833 South Coast Highway, is open Tuesday-Sunday from 5-11 p.m., with live music on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and the last Sunday of each month. The restaurant also offers dog-friendly and family-friendly outdoor patio seating, and a Happy Hour Tuesday-Friday from 5-6 p.m. 

For more information, visit http://www.winegallerylaguna.com


The Cliff Restaurant has rolled out a new menu - and it’s just for dogs! 

Story and photos by ELIZABETH NUTT

The Cliff Restaurant is well known for offering sweeping views of the ocean—and incredible sunsets—as well as regular live music and delicious, seasonally inspired California cuisine. 

But, as of this week, the family-owned Laguna Beach staple will become well known for an entirely different reason: its ‘Precious’s Puppy Plates’ dog menu. 

On April 4, The Cliff rolled out a brand-new, innovative, and surprisingly healthy menu for its canine customers, moving the eatery to the very top of my list of favorite dog-friendly establishments. 

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Barbie Waits for Lunch at The Cliff Restaurant

Of course, The Cliff has always been dog friendly; dogs are an integral part of its ambiance, and they partake in everything from the outdoor fire pit and live music scenes, to the weddings that occur regularly at the beachfront restaurant. 

Some may recall my write-up on Laguna Beach’s best dog-friendly restaurants and wonder why The Cliff wasn’t included. My answer? It deserves its own story to go along with its new menu and for being the ‘top dog’ in town when it comes to friendliness, views and food. 

Taking Dog-Friendly to a New Level

“We have always been dog-friendly—we’re family-owned, and everyone in our family has dogs. We have special areas throughout the restaurant for our locals to dine with their dogs,” explains Sharon Haron, who co-owns the restaurant with her sister, Kathy Gibson. 

And almost all of The Cliff’s customers love dogs, too. So much so that, according to Sharon, patrons would regularly order menu items—The Cliff’s hamburger, for example—for their four-legged friends. 

Noticing this trend, Sharon started to bring in to the restaurant a supply of Grrr8 Dog Treats—homemade, healthy and organic treats that are made by a friend of Sharon’s veterinarian. The treats are baked fresh and contain only natural ingredients.

Precious, Sharon’s 15-year-old dog, loves them, and so does every other dog that’s been fortunate enough to get their paws on one of Grrr8’s many treat flavors, which include Calamari, Apple Oat, Carrot Molasses and Peanut Butter Crunch. 

“We thought, ‘Why don’t we put these treats on the menu?’” says Sharon. “And then we decided that if we were going to do that, we might as well put some other options on the menu, too.” 

Previously, when customers ordered menu items for their dogs, the staff would be concerned about ensuring that the kitchen removed spices and any other ingredients that may be harmful or toxic for dogs.

“Now, we have a special, separate menu, so when guests order off of that for their dogs, they know that all of the dishes are safe and healthy,” adds Sharon. 

The menu includes items such as Chicken Breast, Oatmeal, Beef Patty, and Prime Rib—in addition to an impressive selection of Grrr8 Dog Treats, which arrive in a 4 oz. cup that your dog is sure to devour in seconds. 

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The Cliff’s New Dog-Friendly Menu

According to Sharon, the restaurant plans to serve all the dog dishes—which come with complimentary bowls of ice water—on Frisbees. 

A Dog-Friendly 10th Anniversary Party 

The Cliff Restaurant will celebrate its ten-year anniversary this spring and, of course, the fete both welcomes and celebrates dogs. The restaurant will host an event on Sunday, April 17, from 12-5 p.m., which will include live music by Anesha Rose and O.S.N.D, as well as appetizers, birthday cake, and tastes from Stillhouse Moonshine and Deep Eddy Vodka. 

There is a $10 cover charge for the event, and half of the proceeds will benefit 4Life Animal Rescue, whose mission is to provide care and resources to animals in need. The organization offers adoption, education, training, and rehabilitation services to ensure that neglected or unwanted animals receive the care they need and deserve.

There will be dogs available for adoption during the event. All dogs are welcome to partake in the party—and to taste some items from the new menu, which is available now and daily during breakfast, lunch and dinner at The Cliff.  

The Cliff Restaurant is located at 577 South Coast Highway. It’s open every day from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. for breakfast, and 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. for lunch. The restaurant offers a Happy Hour Monday through Thursday from 3-6 p.m., and from 9 p.m. until closing. Dinner is available from 5-9 p.m. Sunday-Wednesday, and 5-10 p.m. Thursday-Saturday. 

For more information, visit www.thecliffrestaurant.com


 Adventures in Gastronomy

victusandvinous.com

April Steinert

Shaved Asparagus, Fennel, and Orange Salad      

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        Asparagus spears are officially in season here in CA, but for a limited time only, so get ‘em while they’re hot. Be sure and hit the local farmer’s market this weekend for the best selection and to support your favorite grower.

        This recipe will serve 2-3 as a side dish.  

        1 small fennel bulb, shaved thinly (I used a hand-held mandoline) 

10 asparagus spears, cleaned and shaved (lay flat on a cutting board and use a vegetable peeler)

2 small oranges

1/4 Cup roasted walnut pieces

1/4 Cup quality EVOO

1/3 Cup shaved – quality, aged, Parmesan cheese (use a vegetable peeler)

6 large basil leaves, julienned 

Pinch of salt

Fresh ground pepper to taste

Add the shaved asparagus and fennel to a serving bowl. Add the EVOO and salt and toss. Let this sit while you take care of the orange.

Zest one of the oranges and add the zest to the bowl with the fennel and asparagus. 

Cut off the ends of the oranges (the stem area and the nub at the bottom) and place them on a cutting board (makes them more stable). Use a paring knife and follow the shape of the oranges so you don’t lose the precious meat. 

 Hold the oranges over the bowl and remove each segment with your knife. The juice from the oranges will drip down into the bowl. Toss the segments and juice with the shaved veggies. Let this sit for about 20-30 minutes until the asparagus wilts a bit. 

Add the walnuts, Parmesan, and basil and toss again. Add fresh ground black pepper to taste and serve. Enjoy!

Eat well!

April

“Are you casting asparagus on my cooking?” – Curly Howard


Take an astounding culinary adventure through Asia at Starfish—South Laguna’s not-so-hidden gem

Story and photos by ELIZABETH NUTT

Starfish Laguna Beach did what few other restaurants can do: prove that location is not everything. The fact that the Asian fusion restaurant is tucked away in a strip mall may have been relevant back in 2011 when it opened, but it’s simply irrelevant today. 

Over the last few years, Starfish has gained tremendous momentum and a cult following of visitors and locals alike who I’m sure would venture much farther than a few miles to indulge in the restaurant’s exceptional and eclectic Asian cuisine.

 In fact, its owners and partners, Gretchen Andrews and Archie McConnell, will tell you that their location only caters today to the restaurant’s booming success; with ample parking, trolley accessibility, and proximity to Montage Laguna Beach, Starfish constantly sees a steady stream of diners, no matter the day, night, or season.

Gretchen and Archie, who took over Starfish as its co-owners and co-partners in 2012, dedicated themselves to evolving the restaurant, and to creating what would eventually become one of Laguna’s most celebrated eateries. 

Today, Starfish transcends its space, offering guests a seductive, beautifully decorated restaurant that boasts dishes from Thailand and Korea, to China and Vietnam, and where the only thing more extraordinary than the creative, tantalizing culinary experience is the friendliness of the staff that makes it happen. 

Navigating the Starfish Menu 

Once inside, it’s easy to get distracted by Starfish’s interior—its intricate details, pops of turquoise, and dim, sexy lighting. The restaurant can seat 130, which includes an outdoor patio area. The ambiance has a vibrant buzz that contributes to its allure. And the stunning marble bar has both an upscale cocktail bar and neighborhood bar feel—perfect for dressy dates and casual nights out.

“It’s standing room only in here several nights a week,” says Archie, who explained to me that his staff, such as bartenders Erin and Neil, have been there since the beginning, and that people often come in just to sit at the bar and take it all in. 

But Starfish’s décor plays only a small role in its success. It’s the menu that steals the show every time.

“We listened to every guest that walked in that door, trying to understand what people wanted,” says Archie, of his initial years with Starfish. 

The menu today is comprised of 72 items inspired by multiple Asian regions, which means that no matter what you’re looking for as a diner, you’ll find it on Starfish’s menu. 

It didn’t take me long to find the Soft Shell Crab Bahn Mi Sliders—made with house seasoned crispy soft shell crab, fresh vegetable slaw, cilantro, and an aioli trio. Unbelievably delicious—I’ll order these every time.  

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Soft Shell Crab Bahn Mi Sliders

But it’s definitely not quantity over quality when it comes to the menu here; the owners explain that they’ve spent years ensuring that every dish is consistently perfect and delicious. Moreover, customers—including myself—love that they get to try dishes and ingredients from so many regions, and that each dining experience at Starfish is unique because there are so many opportunities to try something new.

“Over the years, we’ve evolved the menu and the brand, but stayed true to what people come here for. We are constantly perfecting what our customers have been ordering over and over again,” adds Gretchen.

One such order is the Chilean Sea Bass—a bestseller and unlike any other dish I’ve tried. The sea bass is steamed in banana leaves, and covered with a Thai green curry sauce after it simmers for hours. This dish is a must-try. 

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Chilean Sea Bass with Thai Green Curry

And then there are nearly a dozen options under the Rolls/Raw Bar section of the menu. Starfish has two full-time sushi chefs to keep up with the popularity of those mouthwatering items, which include classics such as the Crab California Roll. 

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Crab California Roll

But here you’ll also find innovative additions, such as the Crispy Lobster Spring Roll, which I couldn’t turn down. It’s a sizable portion—perfect for sharing—and it’s bursting with flavor and chunks of fresh, mouthwatering lobster. 

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Crispy Lobster Spring Roll

“The diversity of the menu, with its approachability, creates the perfect combination for people to try off-the-beaten path items coupled with those tried-and-true Asian favorites,” explains Gretchen. 

But even those tried-and-true classics get a little extra love at Starfish. Each day, for example, prep cooks hand roll every single dumpling on the menu’s Dumplings and Wontons section. I tried the Chicken Pot Stickers, which taste homemade. They’re pan seared, and made with shiitake mushroom, ginger, and sesame, and served with a garlic scallion soy dipping sauce.  

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Chicken Pot Stickers 

It’s amazing to me that I could dine at Starfish a couple dozen times and still experience something new—a new ingredient, a new combination of small plates, a new side or cocktail. And the restaurant will always keep on me toes, as it rolls out a new menu almost quarterly. 

So what’s next for Starfish Laguna Beach? A second location, for one. According to Archie, the restaurant is in the process of working on opening a Newport Beach location. 

“I never anticipated Starfish being the way it is right now,” says Gretchen. “But this is what happens when you give people a beautiful space, consistently delicious food, and a staff that’s just nice.” 

Starfish Laguna Beach is located at 30832 Coast Highway. It’s open for lunch every day from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and for Happy Hour from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., seven days a week. Dinner is served nightly from 3 p.m. on. 

For more information, visit starfishlaguna.com


The top 5 restaurant patios for dining with your dog 

Story and photos by ELIZABETH NUTT

Laguna Beach is known for being dog friendly. You can’t venture anywhere in town today—beaches, parks or shops—without seeing the tail wagging of a four-legged friend. And this is especially true of Laguna’s restaurants; nearly every restaurant in town with a patio boasts a “dog friendly” mentality. Because there’s nothing better than people watching and relaxing outside with your loyal sidekick. 

But, if you’re like me, you’re also wary of dining out with your dog. I have a four-year-old retriever mix, Barbie, who weighs 70 pounds and who I’m sure would much prefer to romp on the beach than to be carted out to a restaurant. 

Nevertheless, I went ahead and “dog-tested” some of Laguna’s dog-friendly patios to see if they met my requirements for comfortable canine companionship while dining out. The criteria? First and foremost, a pleasant outdoor area with a good view is necessary. Next, a restaurant that’s spacious enough for a large dog to stretch out without bothering fellow patrons is a must. And, finally, I love a restaurant whose staff is truly happy to see customers arrive with a dog in tow. 

Of course, there are many restaurants in town that meet those requirements. But these five locales also serve delicious food that I love and that’ll keep me coming back time and time again—with Barbie, of course. 

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Barbie Waits For Pizza at Gina’s Pizza 

Gina’s Pizza: Located at the corner of Oak Street and S. Coast Highway, Gina’s offers some prime people watching and views. There’s plenty of outdoor space and shade, as the restaurant offers three patio areas. I love bringing Barbie along as I sit and enjoy a cold beer and a slice of pizza and watch the beachgoers and sunset. 

Try: the House Special, a mouthwatering Gina’s original and bestselling pizza made with pepperoni, sausage, mushrooms, roasted peppers, red onion, freshly made pizza sauce and mozzarella. 

Gina’s is located at 1100 South Coast Highway and is open Sunday-Thursday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

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Avila’s El Ranchito 

Avila’s El Ranchito: Avila’s is a perfect, slightly tucked away place for dining out with your pup. Spacious but cozy, the patio area has plenty of heaters and a fire pit for optimal warmth on chillier nights. The staff is incredibly friendly, and if you get lucky, you just might be seated at a table with an ocean view. 

Try: the Shrimp Tacos. It’s a sizable portion, but you’ll eat the whole thing, as they’re some of the best tacos in town. The dish comes with two heaping tacos, made with Mazatlan shrimp sautéed in Avila’s “special garlic butter sauce”, cabbage, and pico de gallo on flour tortillas, served with rice and beans. 

Avila’s is located at 1305 South Coast Highway, and is open Monday-Thursday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. 

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Sapphire Laguna 

Sapphire Laguna: Sapphire’s patio is relatively expansive, by Laguna Beach standards. And while you’re dining there with your dog you also get a view of the ocean and some excellent people watching—not to mention close proximity to Laguna’s ‘Greeter’, Michael Minutoli, who waves at passersby from the same corner. Though Sapphire is more on the upscale side, the staff remains very friendly to dogs of all sizes. 

Try: the unique and supremely flavorful Jamaican Curried Black Cod in Banana Leaf, served with tomato-okra stew, roasted plantains, and tamarind chutney. 

Sapphire is located at 1200 South Coast Highway and is open Monday-Friday from 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., Saturday and Sunday for brunch from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and Friday and Saturday for dinner from 5:30 p.m. to 11 p.m.  

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Zinc Café 

Zinc Café: Zinc is a fantastic place for dining with your dog because there’s not only plenty of room, but also plenty of shade in the restaurant’s covered patio area. And there are almost always a handful of other friendly dogs there ready to greet us when we stop in for breakfast or lunch. I also love that the restaurant is partially bordered by lush hedges, which make it feel less like a patio and more like a garden—definitely dog friendly. 

Try: The Thai Salad—it’s hard to believe this is a vegetarian dish. It’s filling and tasty, but it’s also light and healthy. This salad is made with brown rice, shredded Napa cabbage and carrots, bean sprouts, braised tofu, spicy peanuts, fresh basil, mint and a Thai ginger dressing. 

Zinc Café is located at 350 Ocean Avenue, and is open from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. 

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Lumberyard Restaurant

Lumberyard Restaurant’s patio overlooks City Hall on the corner of Forest and Forest, the perfect location for a quieter meal out with your canine pal. Though the patio area’s on the smaller size, it’s quaint and intimate. And it’s always fun sitting on the outside of Lumberyard’s stunning historic building. A plus? Naked Dog Bistro, a pet store, is located right next-door, and it’s known for its freshly made dog treats.

Try: the Dungeness Crab Cake Salad, served with fresh asparagus, baby greens, pears and blue cheese. These are some of the best crab cakes in town. This dish is hearty, fresh, and perfect for lunch or as an appetizer at dinnertime. 

Lumberyard is located at 384 Forest Avenue, and opens daily at 11 a.m.

Kya

 

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