Friendsgiving in Laguna Beach

Thanksgiving represents a season of gratitude – a time for us to reflect, come together and savor our lives and those that are in it.

We know the last Thursday of November is usually reserved for established traditions, but we hope you’ll find time to celebrate with those you may not get to spend the national holiday with. So below, find some unconventional and gratifying Friendsgiving ideas to observe what we’re thankful for all month long. 

Family-Style Tapas at Kya Bistro Bar

Located inside the La Casa del Camino Hotel, we love this cozy, historic space filled with a mouthwatering assortment of seasonal tapas. Think of the style of plates like your group of friends: diverse, each with their own flavor and flare, and all wonderful bringing value and joy to the table. The chef likes to refresh the menu often, but some current favorites include the: Jalapenobusiness Cocktail, Dates, Blackened Seabass and Braised Short Ribs. Regardless of what you order, almost nothing is better than shared conversations over shared plates and drinks.

Picnic in the Park

Head to the expansive and gorgeous Treasure Island Park that overlooks the pacific coastline. This is the best version of a potluck, where you can be grateful for both your squad and the natural beauty of this dreamy pocket of the world we live in. You can of course grab whatever you’d like, but see our suggestions below. Think of this list as an on-the-go culinary journey that will geographically lead you from Laguna Canyon all the way to South Laguna. 

First things first, stop into Laguna Canyon Winery for an unpretentious and quality tasting with your friends. They charge by the pour here, and so you can taste as many as you’d like to find the perfect match for your palettes. If you choose to buy a bottle, the tasting fee gets waived. Then make your way to Active Culture specifically for their Wholesome Bowl. We love this healthy and filling dish with organic brown rice, black and red beans, cheddar cheese, cabbage, salsa, avocado, cilantro, and the key that brings this together: their OG sauce. The recipe is a secret so we don’t know exactly what’s in it, but you and your friends can talk about it and guess while you obsess over how incredible it tastes. Next pit stop: walk on over to Sapphire Pantry, Chef Azmin Ghahreman’s fast-casual market inspired by all his years of cooking and traveling. This is the perfect spot for grabbing an array of gourmet ingredients for your picnic. Lastly, stop into La Sirena Grill South. We go because we believe in their environmental principles, but we stay because their Mexican cuisine is delicious. For your picnic, we’d recommend some tacos, their homemade chips with guacamole, and all their salsas. After your order comes out, walk across the street, head down the stairs to the right of Montage Laguna, and make one more right at the bottom. Your glorious picnic destination awaits. 

Oceanside Seafood Feast at Driftwood Kitchen 

This is one of our favorite ocean-facing restaurants in Laguna Beach for several reasons. The unobstructed view of the beach and Pacific Ocean is matchless. We love the classic yet modern beach aesthetic and interior, primed with lots of large tables for your Friendsgiving. And most importantly, the food and drink program here is excellent. The menu is heavily seafood-based, where the items focus on highlighting the fresh, high-quality ingredients. Shuck back some oysters, sip on sensational cocktails, and share some larger plates. Whatever you do, do not leave Driftwood without ordering their decadent and luscious Lobster Carbonara “Rustichella D’Abruzzo” – you and your friends will thank us later. 

Modern Comfort Food at Reunion Kitchen 

Reunion Kitchen takes American classics and makes creative culinary decisions that will surprise while still satisfying your soul, the way comfort food surrounded by good company always does. The menu is expansive, and we guarantee that there will be something for each one of your friends. If you need help deciding, a few standouts for us include the Rosemary’s Chicken & Biscuits, Cafe Patty Melt, and the Short Rib Stroganoff. Their concept on “defining modern comfort” extends into the space itself which looks like the inside of a renovated factory turned into relaxed contemporary restaurant.

Indulgent Dinner at Selanne Steak Tavern 

Special occasion? Check. High-end yet homey space? Check. Sumptuous meal filled with succulent meats, specialty cocktails, and wonderful wines? Triple check. This is your quintessential steakhouse and the perfect pairing for your Friendsgiving. If you really feel like splurging, you can even book their Private Club for an intimate dinner.  

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About the Author
Caitlin Sakdalan

Caitlin Sakdalan

Caitlin Sakdalan is a social media influencer and food writer. Through her passion for food as an experiential connector of people and cultures, coupled with expertise in social and digital, she shares her extensive food knowledge and experiences to thousands of followers daily. Caitlin is one of Dovetale's "5 best Influencers to watch in 2017," and her photography is featured on Tasting Table, Yahoo, Huffington Post, and other online outlets. Follow her on Instagram @befatbehappy.

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