June without gloom, July is radiant…what could be better? We
want to celebrate the sunshine, the warm starry nights, and we love to dine outside. Add a musical soundtrack and you’ve got Laguna at its summertime best.
Laguna Stew has snooped around for some outdoor oasis you may not have thought of. Places with ocean views, and places with rooftop getaways. Places with small plates, big plates, and even street-style tacos. These three selected places not only have something unique to offer (and that includes great bottom-line deals), but they feature a line-up of live musical accompaniment.
The Cliff Restaurant. Yes, that place with killer oceanfront views, chockablock with tourists and shops. But, don’t forget that a) those tourists keep our town economically afloat, and b) there are plenty of in-between hours to snag a great table and enjoy the fresh food, the full bar, and the ocean views.
Andrew Turula, General Manager of The Cliff tells us about their good happy hours, with “the best well in town” (including premium brand house liquors, and 24 different beers), and their super friendly staff. We also learned that they offer a cherry on top of it all, especially for locals. They will provide free transportation to and from the restaurant. (Out of town is okay too, for half the cost of a cab, but within Laguna Beach it’s free).
The Cliff doesn’t take reservations, but if you call the restaurant they will arrange door-to-door transport. If you have arrived on your own steam and find yourself in a bad position to drive home, they’ll handle that too. Leave your car and The Cliff will give you a lift.
While you may savor a cocktail or two on the spacious terrace, you just may be surprised to find some very delicious items on the menu. Consciously planned with freshness and sustainability in mind, The Cliff features some of the finest seafood around.
Top fave is their Halibut Laguna. It’s Alaskan, wild caught, and flown in fresh. Chef Candido Aranda prepares the halibut on the grill and tops it with a mango and papaya tropical salsa ($26.95).
The Calamari Steak is breaded and lightly fried, and is tender like you remember abalone steaks used to be. It’s served with house-made tartar and cocktail sauce ($21.95).
Another popular seafood dish is great as a starter or on the side. The Scallops Wasabi are raw scallops on the half shell topped with seaweed salad, pickled ginger, and wasabi cream sauce ($3 each, or $25/dozen). Couple that up with another smallish bite, the Bruschetta (baguette slices with fresh tomatoes, basil, garlic and mozzarella, drizzled with balsamic reduction, $12), and you have a light, bathing suit friendly meal.
The Cliff offers breakfast, lunch and dinner, and happy hours in the bar Monday-Thursday, from 3-6. But, when the stars are out the fire pits alight and the music begins. The summer sounds with everything from jazzy duos to bands of four-piece or more.
Live music at The Cliff changes every week, but these days look for Ken Garcia band on Mondays (7 p.m.), and July bookings beginning at 6 p.m. with the Jason Feddy trio, Pawn Shop Kings, Kevin Miso, the Salty Suites, Paol Pederson, Rob Eller, Frame of Mind, Sasha Evans, and Nick I coming up. Music is live on the patio until 10.