This last week, my best friend, Lisa, and I stopped in for a quick lunch at The Rooftop.

[singlepic id=208 w=320 h=240 mode=watermark float=right]The Rooftop (which I’ve covered before for fabulous Happy Hour venues), sits on top of the Casa del Camino hotel in Laguna Beach and offers a panoramic view of the ocean from San Clemente to Palos Verdes. While The Rooftop is known for its very popular (and crowded) sunset happy hours and later-hour “scene” activity, it’s usually very easy to find a free table during the Rooftop’s lunch hours, 11:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. each day.

Better yet, the Rooftop’s lunch menu is provided by what I consider the best “foodie” restaurant in town, K’ya, which sits at lobby level of the same hotel. And now, the lunch menu is better than ever!

Craig Connole, a Co-Owner and the Master Chef of both locations, had to work hard to come up with menu items that could survive the trip up the many flights of stairs to Rooftop diners. (And yes, his food runners are constantly up and down the stairs with towering stacks of plates under room service covers.) Craig started with a relatively small bar menu, then expanded little by little to what is now an impressive lunch menu.

What’s for lunch?

The Rooftop offers 14 appetizers, from Craig’s famous Hawaiian Ahi Poke to Chicken Empanadas, Guava BBQ Meatballs, a Charcuterie Platter and Lobster Caesar Lettuce Wraps, to name a few.

The Rooftop’s salads are offered in large and half sizes. My friend, Lisa, prefers the Grilled Ahi Nicoise  (it is perfection), while I tend toward the Grilled Chicken Cobb (this is the best Cobb salad I’ve ever had anywhere).

Rooftop lunch entrees range from pasta dishes to Hibachi Salmon (one of Craig’s all-time best sellers in both restaurants) and spicy seafood chowder (also listed on my “Top 12 Soups” list).

And, if that’s not enough, the Rooftop now offers “Petite” (let me pause a moment to chortle here) Sandwich Platters. Choose a MONSTROUS sandwich of blackened chicken, seared ahi, albacore tuna, shrimp club, or beef/veggie burgers and then choose your sides and salads to accompany.

Of course, the Rooftop bar is also open with full-bar options.

For views and food, I can’t think of a better lunch spot in Laguna Beach than the Rooftop. And! Well-trained dogs are allowed at the Rooftop Lounge, including my best friend’s monstrous, gangling Bindi. Remember, your four-legged friend will have to trudge up a substantial number of steps, but dogs are treated well with their own water bowls upon arrival.

© Diane Armitage, 2011,

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