Among those that frequent Laguna for its dining scene is Josh Elkin, the Undisputed Champion of Breakfast and host of the Cooking Channel’s Sugar Showdown. While he’s from Canada and currently resides in Los Angeles, Elkin has come to love Laguna Beach as a getaway spot. He’s shared five of his go-to spots with us that you can add to your culinary bucket list.
From an assortment of incredibly fresh mussels to some bourgeois toro belly, the dishes on Elkin’s lineup of Laguna Beach restaurants are sure to excite eyes and palates alike.
Elkin knows how to start his day off right, and making sure to not skip “Egg Day” is at the top of his list. At his first stop, Reunion Kitchen, Elkin checks off that requirement with this modern comfort joint’s Short Rib Benedict. It’s made with buttermilk biscuits, a chipotle hollandaise, and crispy onions that make for an ideal brunch to enjoy with friends over mimosas.
For those looking for something more off the beaten path, Elkin recommends Another Kind Cafe and its Vietnamese specialties. The ingredients are coming straight from the source, giving some serious authenticity to plates like the Clay Pot Fish, cooked in a caramelized sauce with cayenne and chives.
Being in a seaside town merits scouting out some fresh seafood. Some of the freshest you can find is at Brussels Bistro. They team up with Penn Cove Shellfish Farm to bring in a plethora of mussels, which Brussels then serves up six different ways.
Elkin’s favorite rendition of Brussels’ mussels is the Provençale style, with fresh tomatoes and basil.
Another spot Elkin recommends for some high-quality seafood is 242 Fusion Sushi. There, chef Miki Izumisawa and her all-female staff craft some fire specials, like the Volcano Sizzle seared tuna with spicy serrano peppers and garlic.
The crown jewel on Izumisawa’s menu, though, is the gold-flecked toro belly served with foie gras. It goes great with just about any sake 242 has to offer.
Finally, you can find some insane tiki drinks at Royal Hawaiian, the craziest of which is the Lapu Lapu. Available by the glass or in a massive clamshell for the squad, it’s made with a couple types of rum, passion fruit, lemon, and orange juice, and an extra rum float on top.
It’s a great way to refresh after a day at the beach, especially at happy hour, where Elkin opts for the ahi poke and coconut shrimp.
The diversity and freshness of the flavors on Elkin’s lineup is a testament to Laguna Beach’s rich food scene. If you’re looking for a foodie-centric beach getaway, Laguna’s got the coastline and the culinary craft to satisfy your desires.
Photos by Marc Kharrat