When Broadway by Amar Santana opened in downtown Laguna Beach in 2012, it quickly became one of the city’s most beloved restaurants. The chef with his name above the door had paid his dues at Charlie Palmer and Laguna felt like the right place to launch his career as a restaurateur.

Since those early days, Santana has continually garnered rave reviews from locals and visitors alike with an inventive menu, bold plating, and spot on flavors. This week—amidst preparations for his next concept, Vaca—Chef Amar served up a few thoughts on why he loves Laguna.


 Amar Santana Dish


If I had an extra hour every day, I’d spend it sitting on a bench at Main Beach, enjoying a cappuccino, and writing down recipes. I’ve discovered that I need that time on the boardwalk to slow down, recharge, and regroup. 

My favorite hidden spot in town—I go there all the time—is Brussels Bistro. They’re doing amazing things, classic dishes executed well. If it’s a Sunday, you’ll find me there with a plate of French fries and an order of mussels.

If I want dessert, I’ll get a scoop of gelato at Gelato Paradiso on Peppertree Lane.

Laguna Beach is a great place to do business because it’s one of the few places in Orange County where you can park your car and just walk. I love the fact that it’s a walkable town.

I try to stay connected to the Laguna art community. At Broadway we showcase local artists (many of whom are in the Festival of the Arts), so it’s fun for me to see what they’re up to. Both the artists and their patrons are part of our clientele, which means every time I walk the grounds it’s a social event!

Driftwood Kitchen is a new favorite of mine. They didn’t follow the whole concept that so many people ascribe to “the closer you are to the beach the worse the food can be”. They have high quality food with a view, which is rare.

When friends come to town, we don’t have to plan anything—we’re just walking around, peeking into stores and galleries, eating ice cream, and then watching the sunset at Main Beach. That’s the beauty of this town. 

 Amar Santana cooking

‘My Laguna Beach' is a new series of interviews in which some of the city's most prominent fans give us a virtual tour and share their Laguna Beach secrets. Tweet or Instagram your own Laguna faves to us @VisitLaguna with the hashtag #MYLAGUNABEACH.