As you might expect in a world famous community like Laguna Beach, there are some extraordinary restaurants in and around the city. Of all the restaurants in Southern California that we have dined at, one of our favorites is Las Brisas because the dining experience is so extraordinary. I think it would be a favorite if only for the view, located on the bluff above the beach at the heart of Laguna Beach.
Fortunately, this restaurant does not rely upon its reputation. They continue to serve fabulous dishes. Moreover, if your idea of Mexican food is limited to tacos, burritos, tostados, and quesadillas, be prepared to enjoy a variety of dishes you may never have tasted before. Las Brisas prides itself on serving meals from the Mexican Riviera, also on the Pacific coast.
On our most recent visit to Laguna Beach, I decided in advance that I wanted to do a review of Las Brisas for knotmove.com. We came on a Sunday when the weather was ideal for enjoying the beach. We were in good company because Las Brisas was packed. We had a 45 minute wait in the late afternoon. I used this opportunity to indulge my love for photography.
When the hostess seated us, we had a lovely view. To make a great dining experience requires more, though, that a great view. That was available free outside on the bluff.
One of the additional requirements is exceptional service. Giorgio provided that. He was an outstanding server. He was friendly, attentive and helpful. He even had a sense of humor.
Sopa de Frijol Negro, $7.00
I started with the Black Bean Soup, Sopa de Frijol Negro, was the smoothest black bean dish I can recall ever tasting. Additionally, the flavor was more subtle than I’m used to with beans as they generally slap your taste buds. The tableside condiments had diced jalapenos, diced onions, pico de gallo and cheese available. Dorothy thought it would have been better with the cheese. I generally avoid most cheeses out of consideration for my sinuses so I only added pico de gallo to the soup. I’m glad that I had it. It was delicious.
Ensalada de Primavera , $8.00
Dorothy’s Ensalada Primavera was wonderful. We both thought the citrus-ginger olive oil vinaigrette was outstanding. It was had a very subtle ginger flavor. The dominant sensation was a delightful hint of sweetness and citrus flavor.
La Marquesa Chicken Tamale, $19.00
Dorothy ordered her main course off the Favoritos De Mexico section of the menu. Dorothy ordered hers with the chicken tamale. Her other choice was a beef tamale. She loved the chicken tamale. The seafood mushroom enchilada was good though she couldn’t taste the mushrooms. It’s possible that the tomatillo sauce overpowered the mushrooms.
Frutas del Mar, $36.00
I chose from the Especialidades. I really wanted seafood. The prawns were really large, firm, delicious – neither mealy nor mushy thus we felt sure they were fresh. Scallops too were excellent. They were firm, without smell so fresh. They had a small crust around the edges from being sautéed. The crab was a couple crab claws with nice chunks of sweet crab meat. The Caribbean lobster was a nice small lobster, probably 6 oz. to 8 oz. It was grilled over wood fire.
Dorothy and I both found the grill flavor where the lobster was charred on the edge to be so strong as to overwhelm whatever flavor the lobster had. I find lobster to be a very mild, but sweet flavor normally. If it’s not sweet enough, I like to dip it in melted butter. However, this dish does not come with melted butter. Despite these comments, I liked the lobster. The sauce sounded delicious when I read it. In reality, I found it surprisingly bland. It was neither good nor bad, though leaning towards I don’t care for it.
Strawberry Tostada, $8.00
Postres means dessert in Spanish. We shared the Strawberry Tostada. This dessert was extraordinary. The almond Florentine shell was made out of almond slivers bonded together with light sugar syrup so that when it hardened it formed a basket. It easily broke into pieces ideal for for eating. It came with sweet slices of strawberries covering the vanilla ice cream. Yum! This is definitely worth ordering again.
Dorothy and I really appreciate restaurants like Las Brisas that show Mexico to have a more extensive variety of cuisine than can be found typically along America’s border with Mexico. While there were some minor critiques here, we don’t expect any restaurant to please us 100% on sauces, especially when we are trying something new. Based on the quality of the food, the overall flavors, the exceptional service and the extraordinary view, the Laguna Beach Las Brisa is a definite five stars and in the top tier of my favorites.
361 Cliff Drive
Laguna Beach, CA 92651
- T: 949-497-5434
- F: 949-497-9210
Las Brisas website
Las Brisas location
Note: Check out their location page for their hours.
Las Brisas menus
- Breakfast menu
- Brunch menu
- Luncheon menu
- Dinner menu
- Dessert menu
- Patio menu
- Drinks – wine
- Drinks – Specialty Drinks
- Drinks – Fine Tequilas
- Sunday brunch
- Foods of Mexico, Mexican Riviera
- Casual dining
- Fine dining
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