My favorite places to enjoy a small snack or big meal in the sleepy surf town of Laguna Beach, California.
Last year was a fantastic year for travel; I explored Japanese island life in Okinawa and Tokyo with my best friend, followed by a trip for my 29th birthday to Istanbul, Turkey with my mom. We even got to enjoy the beaches of Greece by visiting Thessaloniki- the second largest city in Greece, and a main hub for the local community.
Surprisingly, of all these international adventures, one stood out in my memory as being exceptionally fun and very delicious, yet it was just a short getaway right here in the United States to the sleepy surf community of Laguna Beach. Between the sunshine and endless heat, we were in total heaven, especially in October and traveling from the Pacific Northwest. Although I had previously lived in Southern California for nearly two years, I had never ventured to this little town and enjoyed exploring it thoroughly.
The beaches, the sunshine, the atmosphere, all fantastic- but one of my favorite parts was the FOOD. We had tremendous luck, as most of the restaurants visited were usually on a whim and without any research done, yet, each one always turned out to fit our situation perfectly; just our luck!
Some places we stumbled upon, others were chosen because the joint researched or referred to was too busy and we followed our instincts elsewhere. But every time we had great service, a memorable dining experience and some of the best food I have ever tasted. So much FRESH!
For breakfast, hands down head to White House Market to get their Chicken Fried Steak! I have to admit this was my VERY FIRST TIME ordering this dish myself, and I have yet to find another one that is as juicy, flavorful and totally mouthwatering. It was perfectly fried with just the right amount of homemade gravy on top. I have ordered this dish numerous times in other restaurants since, only to be sorely disappointed so many times that I no longer order it and just wait to return to the White House Market to get it again! They also serve great coffee, the service was prompt, friendly and enthusiastic. WE WILL RETURN ASAP!!
For lunch, you will have many options from quick and easy to a more sit down experience. We enjoyed a refreshing citrus salad and creamy soup in the outside seating area of Zinc Cafe & Marketplace, which turned out was great for people watching, bird watching and just enjoying the sun and a drink!
Zinc Cafe: Good place to hold you over while you’re in the middle of a shopping binge or small town walk around.
My other suggestion for lunch is Rasta Taco that could also be considered for an early dinner as they close 7 or 8 pm depending on the day. They serve incredible tacos and great Horchata. It’s very casual and all the seating is outside but the weather is usually ALWAYS permitting so this is just a plus for quick service and delicious, simple, cuisine. Everything is tasty on their menu so just order whatever speaks to your Rasta Taco Soul!
Time for dinner? YES!
Hapi Sushi of Laguna was one of my favorite meals as I love raw fish and sushi and they had very fresh seafood and amazing customer service with the chef talking to us and making us feel right at home the entire time. We enjoyed sake and fresh fish and rolls as an early dinner (or late lunch) before heading to the next restaurant for a fill up on those CARBS!
If you are more into the Italian side of things, or feeling very hungry then head to Romeo Cucina! They have lots of indoor seating, a brick oven for pizza and a warm atmosphere with great mood lighting for dinner. Bring your appetite! We enjoyed fresh warm bread brought promptly to our table and the menu was plentiful with options for anybody’s liking. I enjoyed the traditional Italian flavors with a culinary twist, and was very happy with my fresh Spaghetti noodles. Everyone loved their dishes that evening and we were incredibly full and happy when we left.
Lastly, check out Mozambique for Sunday brunch on their rooftop. My favorite dish was the Seafood salad that is moderately priced with huge portions of incredibly fresh fish. Next, head downstairs to listen to the live band play salsa music while you dance your way into Monday! They also have TVs in the bar so you can catch the games if that is more of your perfect Sunday afternoon. The vibe is energetic and fun, so bring your dancing shoes and happy attitude, but if you don’t it is pretty contagious; you will be dancing in your seat or on the dance floor!