Warm Ocean Breezes and a New Patio Menu Delight at Las Brisas

Las Brisas Laguna beach. Saute Magazine.


rom its coveted location in North Laguna Beach, Las Brisas Restaurant, a Laguna Beach landmark since 1979, specializing in California-Meets-Mexico seafood, has whipped up a fun, summer patio menu designed to appeal to a wide variety of individuals and families who frequent this popular seaside village.

In fact, this was a deciding factor in Las Brisas’ executive head chef, Jay Scollon’s, development of the restaurant’s fresh new summer fare, with a few kid-friendly enticements thrown in. Like an asparagus side dish with a deliciously charred sweet taste, reminiscent of the flavor of Mexican street corn. Yes, street corn. The addition of a crunchy, tangy coating of lemon-chile bread crumbs and a yummy poblano romesco aioli sauce has some parents actually thanking the venue for a dish that helps their kids eat the much-maligned vegetable!

With doors opening at Las Brisas at 8 a.m., the relaxation starts early. The appetite starts early, too, as cool ocean air wafts onto the beautiful blue and white Spanish-tiled patio, filled with an abundance of comfortable wrought-iron bistro table seating.

So why not start out with an appetizer. Pick from a delicious selection, including one of my favorites — house guacamole. Made with fresh avocados (they go through about 20 cases a day, according to Executive Sous Chef, Kelvin Crisostomo), pico de gallo and finished off with the deep, smoky flavor of aged cotija cheese sprinkled on top. You’ll definitely find yourself calling out, “More chips, please,” for this one!

If ocean breezes are conjuring up an even heartier appetite, order the satisfying warm Skillet Nachos, which boast a zesty pepper jack cheese sauce, Brisas sauce, pico de gallo, hearty black beans and the lovely cotija cheese again, sprinkled atop.

Craving a burger? Two are featured on the new menu: The Brisas Burger, dripping with Nueske’s bacon, roasted green chilis, charred scallion, aioli, pepper jack cheese, lettuce, tomato, brioche bun and served with battered fries. Or if it’s seafood you want, there’s a tempting Ahi Tuna Burger, with moist seared ahi tuna, charred pineapple, mango relish, chipotle aioli, and also served with battered fries.

In addition, to several vegan offerings on the patio menu, there are also gluten-free options, as well. Chef Scollon’s menu sets itself apart by understanding and taking into consideration these very real food requirements.

As evening approaches, and the fire is lit in the patio’s huge, round, tiled fire pit area, order drinks, and view spectacular sunsets over the ocean.

But don’t leave yet, ask for the dessert menu. The Mixed Berry Tostada is a particular favorite, with creamy vanilla ice cream, topped with bright agave-glazed summer berries, resting sweetly inside a crunchy, rustic, almond florentine shell. Yum!

Las Brisas is located at 361 Cliff Drive in Laguna Beach. The restaurant features accommodating hours for local and vacationing summer patrons: 8 a.m.-10 p.m. (Sun.-Thurs.), and 8 a.m.-11 p.m. (Fri.-Sat.), with Sunset Celebration Happy Hour from 5 p.m.-8 p.m daily. Here’s to a Happy Summer!

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