Tried and True: The Laguna Beach Classics

So here it is: our ode to the restaurants we have loved and known for years and are confident will make bellies happy for decades to come.

While we love to support what’s exciting and fresh, we think it’s equally important to pay tribute to the things that have a proven track record and continually contribute to the spectacular town we call home. 

Lunch

Orange Inn

The Orange Inn was originally established in 1931, where travelers came in for freshly squeezed orange juice. The popular roadside spot moved to Laguna Beach in 1986 and has been serving some of the best pre-and-post surf eats ever since. The beachside shack atmosphere hasn’t aged either, feeling authentically Laguna Beach. 

For drinks, you must order their Original Orange Inn Smoothie made with fresh strawberries, blueberries, bananas, dates, fresh juice, bee pollen and crushed ice. Also take advantage of their all-day breakfast and secure one of the muffins baked each day with freshly squeezed orange juice inside and a breakfast burrito. While all are great, a favorite is the Steak and Egg Burrito which has a thin and toasty tortilla, tender pieces of steak, fluffy scrambled eggs, in-house pico de gallo, cheese, and potatoes. We also add avocado because that always seems to make everything just a bit better.
 
P.S. If you’re lucky, there are a few free parking spots right in front for customer use. 


230 Forest Avenue

Lamb Chops at 230 Forest Avenue restaurant in Laguna

When Marc Cohen named his restaurant after its address, he must have had the foresight to know it would become an institution because today, we can’t imagine this location as anything else. Over 20 years later, 230 Forest Avenue thrives as a creative California bistro, serving a refined yet relaxed Southern California dining experience. Although he strives to refresh the menu depending on the season, we can count on Cohen’s excellent quality.  

We adore the House Burger with a juicy patty, soft bun, sweet caramelized onions and creamy secret remoulade served with Shoe String Fries. Make sure to ask for a side of Chipotle Ranch Sauce to dip the fries into. Looking for something a bit lighter but still packs in tons of flavor? Try the smoked paprika Salmon with Mint Tzatziki, Lemon Beurre Blanc, and Cauliflower Cous-Cous.  

One thing that hasn’t changed since 1996: their Chocolate Croissant Bread Pudding. Why you ask? Go in, order it, and you will immediately understand. 


Lumberyard

Lumberyard lives in a historical building within town, and it properly pays homage to its history with its cozy, home-like atmosphere and quality American comfort cuisine. While we encourage you to come here for any of their services, we can’t get over their killer lunch combos where you can pick two or three of select soups, salads, and half sandwiches for a set price. All the locals that flood in here during weekday lunch would agree. 

Start with the Lumberyard Planks, which are addictively delicious strips of Crispy Zucchini served with Lemon Aioli. This item has been on the menu since they opened, and it’s a starter you must order when dining here. 


Drinks

Broadway by Amar Santana 

Although Broadway by Amar Santana is newer in comparison, this New York style restaurant has quickly become a staple in town since its opening in 2012. Head straight to the bar for some of the best craft cocktails in what feels like a cozy, speakeasy setting. They treat the drink program here with as much care and thought as the excellent food, and the staff aims to create a comfortable yet classy experience to sip and savor. The drink menu changes seasonally, but the skilled bartenders are happy to make a previous drink for you; just remember the name of it! 

Try their off-menu Dark Arts with Wild Tukey Rye, a Coffee, Chocolate and Amaro Blend, Bitters, Turbinado Syrup and an Orange Peel for a hearty, wintertime drink. From the current menu, we also love the Loucette with Aloo Vodka, Carpano Bianco, Grapefruit, Lime, Honey, and Rosemary Mist. 


The White House

The White House opened in 1918, beating everyone in the age category and becoming Laguna’s first restaurant and nightclub. While they’re open every day from 8am to 2am, this spot comes most alive at night when they have live entertainment. Grab a drink at the bar where they have a full layout of textbook and original options. Then dance away or people watch right in the center of Laguna’s downtown. 


Dinner

Selanne Steak Tavern 

From the crisp white tablecloths to the iconic American steakhouse cuisine, Selanne Steak Tavern is classic in every sense of the way. They have five different dining settings for you to choose from, but regardless of where you sit, prepare to have an immaculately-executed and indulgent dinner. 100% order at least one of their steak options, which all come with Chef Joshua Severson’s Truffle Marrow Butter and Bordelaise, and Selanne’s creamy and rich Mac and Cheese with Five Cheese Fondue and Brioche Crumb. This truly is an exemplary special-occasion meal worth every penny and calorie. 

Note: I went on a Friday night, and they were committed with reservations for the evening so definitely call in advance. 


Thai Brothers

Located near the beach and main downtown thoroughfare, we love this low-key and laidback restaurant serving authentic Thai food. This is a guaranteed comfort meal, with staple choices like their refreshing Papaya Salad and creamy Green Jungle Curry to house specials like Seafood and Vegetable Egg Noodles with Thai Spicy Basil Sauce. The staff is also some of the friendliest; so much so, that they will hold onto your leftovers for you until they close if you wanted to walk around town without lugging it around.


Dizz’s As Is 

Laguna Beach as a town has an eclectic mix of people and cultures coming together that gives this city its unique personality. Dizz’s As Is restaurant is an extension of that personality, mimicking Laguna’s love of artfulness and individuality. The restaurant itself was established in the ‘70s as Dizz’s, named after two hippies that often became dizzy from drugs. When the Pitz family took it over in 1977, they added the ‘as is’ to announce that this place unapologetically is what it is: a funky haven for locals to leisurely dine on upscale European food. The art-deco inspired interior looks like it hasn’t changed since opening, filled with antiques and portraits of Hollywood stars. The menu changes often and each dish has its own dedicated laminated page to describe itself, but all dinners include a Vermouth aperitif, Pâté de Maison, Sourdough Bread, and either their Soup du Jour or House Salad. Locals love this spot, and it is certainly an experience to be had while in town. 

 

Whenever you decide to visit, be sure to share your experiences with us on FACEBOOKTWITTER and INSTAGRAM by tagging us @VisitLaguna and utilizing our citywide hashtag, #MyLagunaBeach.
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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