OC Restaurant Week is just around the corner with dates set for Sunday, March 8th – Saturday, March 14th. For locals here in Laguna Beach, this can be a bane or a boom, depending entirely on the opinion you chose.
On the bane side, this always designates a much busier restaurant traffic flow in Laguna Beach. Although more than 100 restaurants participate across Orange County, I’m not exaggerating or bragging when I say that many diners choose Laguna Beach above all others simply because of the culinary reputation we have.
On the boon side, this is a perfect week to adapt the motto, “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” as at least a handful of our preferred restaurants offer exceptional dining values throughout the week. There’s no better time to get out to one of your favorite restaurants or choose to dine in a Laguna-based restaurant you haven’t yet tried.
Amenable menus for both lunch and dinner
In a departure from previous years when each restaurant had to choose a “pricing slot,” there seems to be more freedom in allowing the restaurants to price prix fixe menu options that will prove most amenable to visiting diners. This year, there are also speciality items called out, such as Spicy Menu items, Featured Cocktails, and more.
Lunch Options from $15 – $25
Starting the lunch options, Skyloft is offering $15 lunch prix fixe menus.
Skyloft’s big sister, Mozambique, is also open for lunch with $15 3-course prix fixe menus.
O Fine Japanese is also offering a 3-course $25 lunch that includes a 12-piece sushi dish.
At $25 for lunch, Starfish is again featuring the most options with small and large plates
Featured Cocktails for $12
In the mood for just dropping in for a cocktail and appetizer? Four of the participating restaurants are offering $12 Specialty Cocktails with Ketel One, Maker’s Mark and/or Chambord features:
Royal Hawaiian has created two newbies with its “Island Sunset” featuring Maker’s Mark Bourbon Whiskey, housemade honey syrup and passion fruit liqueur and “Best of Coast Worlds” featuring a smooth meld of Ketel One vodka, Pisco Brandy and fresh juices.
Fishbone offers three cocktails, with “Berry Berry Sour “(Ketel One and Chambord), Smoked Negroni With Roku Gin, Carpano Antica and Campari, and “Fishbone Sunset” with Hornitos Tequila and blood orange juice.
Mozambique has created a “Not Your Traditional Sour” with Maker’s Mark, orange bitter and agave nectar.
Skyloft is featuring a “Spicy Vodka Rita,” featuring Ketel One, muddle cucumber and jalapenos.
$30 Prix Fixe Menus
Nirvana Grille offers two dinner menu options, so I’ll start with the $30 3-course prix fixe menu. Chef Lindsey offers a solid range of starters, entrée offerings that include her Basil Aioli Steelhead Salmon and Braised Beef Short Ribs along with dessert options with a host of add-on items for a small additional cost.
Mozambique also offers a $30 3-course prix fixe dinner menu with a handful of best-selling options to choose from.
$40 Prix Fixe Menus
Skyloft offers a $40 3-course prix fixe dinner with appetizer, entrée and dessert options that include their popular tr-tip and stroganoff options.
Lumberyard is back again, too, with a 3-course prix fixe at $40. Choose from best-sellers including filet mignon and their cedar-planked King Salmon.
Starfish is offering a $40 dinner menu plan with “elevated features” as well as a handful of large plate substitution recommendations for $10 additional.
$50 Prix Fixe Menus
Royal Hawaiian is offering a $50 4-course prix fixe dinner, which includes Chef Maro’s selection of a premier glass of wine. The 4-course dinner includes appetizer, salad and dessert choices along with large plate entrée options that include his recent award-winning “OC Best Steak” option, the 12-ounce Petite Tender Steak (pictured above), along with his crowd pleasing Wild Hawaiian Opah and the Sonoma Chicken Breast (that I can’t get enough of).
O Fine Japanese offers a $50 prix fixe dinner menu with a long assortment of options that include a 6-piece sashimi combination, a 3-piece sushi offer and wild-caught sea bass done three ways.
Las Brisas offers a $50 3-course prix fixe menu with popular starter, entrée and dessert options.
Fishbone, our relative newcomer to Laguna, is offering a 3-course dinner with an amuse bouche starter. Entrée options include a Spanish Octopus dish and flat iron steak.
Nirvana Grille gets second mention here for its $50 3-course prix fixe dinner with entrée options such as grilled sea bass and filet mignon plus eight recommended add-on items for a small additional cost.
Here’s your chance to finally try that Laguna Beach restaurant you’ve been hearing about! Chart your path now and make those reservations (even for lunch, trust me), as these restaurants will be bustling all week long.
P.S. Interested in neighboring towns?
Dana Point has four horses in the OC Restaurant Week race.
Laguna Niguel has just two restaurants, but one is Laguna favorite chef Rainer Schwarz’ Hendrix Restaurant.
Newport Beach has nearly 40 restaurants participating (including Corona del Mar).
San Clemente has 2 restaurants participating, one of which is Russ Bendel’s Vine Restaurant. Russ will be taking over the Sapphire location on March 8th – here’s your chance to get to know this popular restaurateur’s food and style.