[singlepic id=572 w=320 h=240 mode=watermark float=right]You couldn’t ask for much finer weather than this weekend saw in Laguna Beach. In fact, it was just balmy enough for 3 of us residents of Laguna Beach … the people who have access to this town at all times … to venture out with the tourist throngs in search of no less than a deck restaurant /outside restaurant patio for lunch.

What in the heck were we thinking? Nick’s Laguna Beach was an hour’s wait. Assada claimed 45 minutes. The Cliff Laguna Beach estimated an hour wait. And the Deck at Pacific Edge … well, that was ridiculous.

As we stood there in downtown Laguna Beach, I suggested Hotel Laguna’s Terrace restaurant, now named the Ocean View Bar & Grill. For some reason, people seem to forget this place as an option, or perhaps they assume that only guests are allowed at the outdoor restaurant’s seating. Or, maybe it’s just the prospect of walking through the long, cavernous Hotel Laguna main corridor while hardly seeing another human being …

Whatever the case, once you break on through to the other side, you have a fabulous terrace waiting for you, right on the sand of Main Beach in Laguna Beach.

Though the Ocean View Restaurant was packed, we managed to find one table quickly, and enjoyed one of the best views in Laguna while waiting for our drinks. About six months ago, the old Terrace menu was revised to include more appetizers, salads, sandwiches and pasta dishes, and it’s a welcome change. We ordered the Tequila Quesadilla, a Chicken Lettuce Wrap dish, and the Provence salad with ahi, spinach greens, goat cheese and couscous. They’ve also expanded their wines by the glass and beer (draft and bottle) menu, to accompany usual cocktail favorites that include one of the top margaritas in Laguna Beach.

Service at the renamed Ocean View Bar & Grill was faster than I’ve usually experienced here  … much faster than The Deck, which was so lax the last time I visited a couple weeks ago that I’m not sure I’ll feel compelled to return … and the Ocean View dishes were fresh and good. The Provence salad was especially good with 3 fresh planks of perfectly seared ahi and mounds of everything else it promised.

There are all sorts of rumors in the air about what the Hotel Laguna is doing with its future, but it’s made a significant gesture toward quietly providing a beachside dining experience in downtown Laguna that tops (if not at least rivals) its neighboring peers.


@Diane Armitage, LagunaBeachBest.com
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