Laguna is a place I won’t share with many (just one person, actually). It’s one of my favorite places on the planet and it is swarming with delectable fare. There is, however, one incredible gem amidst the coast that stands out among the rest - The Montage Hotel and Resort. The minute you pull into the valet you know you’re about to experience luxury. One Saturday night, brisk air seeping through my skin and into my bones, I stepped down some stairs, watched a floating moon made of Christmas lights, and entered into a world of sensuality and culinary treats. The Studio; a restaurant located on the grounds and conveniently facing the heavenly Pacific. Greeted by the Chef himself (Chef Craig Strong), it was an experience to remember. Seated at the “Community Table” (A table anyone can sit at and dine together), I ordered from the Chef’s Tasting Menu, which included such tasty goodness as Hamachi Sashimi, Duck Confit Empanadas, Morbier, and a delectable variety of desserts. I should preface this by saying that not only did the Chef stay and chat for a while but he also took into account my food allergies to wheat and almonds. He had the kitchen staff send out gluten-free bread in lieu of their seemingly delicious in-house bread and rolls and the entire menu reflected my “culinary restrictions”. My palette and stomach were in ecstasy. Couple that with Toshina, the most incredible bartender ever, who makes insatiable beverages that can transcend you and you have struck the jackpot of fine fare. The Pacific never tasted - or felt - so good.
For an in-depth review, please visit A Taste of Dawn online. (All one word, altogether)
Written by Dawn Garcia
Rating Studio. The impressions about the restaurant in the post below from melovechocolate is subjective and can certainly be shared by others but it does contain a factual error: Gayot started in 1969 with a 20 point scale and Zagat later with a 30 point scale. Therefore Gayot is not an imitator of Zagat which is a survey. Gayot uses professional reviewers, not a random sample of the population. Foodies in the know understand the differenrce between the two.
Great view, beautiful place, food--overpriced. This is a beautiful place, the restaurant has beautiful views (make sure you request a table with a view, we got a corner, partial view) and the food is REALLY expensive for what it is. We came here because according to Gayot (Zagat imitation), this was one of the very few restaurants that earned top grade (17 out of 20--not many of those in Gayot). We were celebrating our anniversary, so we decided to splurge a bit. For our taste, the serving portion was just right, the presentation is nice, the waitpeople were very nice, very helpful, willing to please, never missed a step--our glasses were always full. The food was good, the chef tries to be creative in mixing flavors and coming up with plates that sound interesting, but the flavors don't quite blend just right..Which for this price and top expectations was disappointing. We have definitely been to several lower priced restaurants (I guess almost any other restaurant falls under that category!) that offer far more exquisitely presented and tasteful dishes than this restaurant. It was *NOT* a 17 out of 20, more like a 15 or 16 in Gayot's book. 17 has to wow you, and putting aside the package of elegance made up of a beautiful resort and view, the food doesn't deserve that high a grade. I think Marche Moderne does a far better job (as far as quality of food and taste) without the fancy resort. If you like to impress and splurge, this is a fine place, and not that the food isn't good--it is, it's just not THAT good, where you couldn't find something at least this good in a much less expensive setting. You want to impress your significant other? This is a good place for that! If you're looking for exceptional food, go somewhere else for cheaper..After this, Gayot has lost my respect, and I will not use them to find my next choice!
Phenomenal food, outstanding service, the BEST place to have romantic get together..
This restaurant has a fantastic menu,professional knowledgeable service with a
welcoming ambience & style. Consistent and a pleasure to visit. Overlooking the Pacific ocean I noticed that A leader to the front of house staff,consistent,friendly and organized with an unflappable nature. Professional in every way,takes their job seriously whilst encouraging a fun work environment. They remember you and make you want to return. Consistent and prompt service,they truly value their customers. Committed to top quality products at the best prices. Efficient and accurate. My wife and I celebrated the anniversary here. We had phenomenal time today. Being a vegetarian, I had mentioned concern regarding being a vegetarian and they amiably took care of it. My wife loved the place. It was worth the price. Thanks for making the anniversary special. I strongly recommend the place to someone who would like to get good quality food with the most courteous food. I can't wait to go back and bring my family there.
Outstanding service, amazing food, fantastic view!!!. I took my husband there for his 35th birthday. We made early reservations to take advantage of the patio dining and sunset. Our experience exceeded our highest expectations from the moment we arrived at valet to the end of our meal. The food was amazing, we felt like we were eating meals on Bravo's Top Chef...fresh, local ingredients, refined sauces, beautiful presentation and spectacular service. I have eaten at MANY high end restaurants but have NEVER experience customer service to the level we received at Studio. Everyting was thought of so all you had to do was enjoy your food and your company. The complementary soft cheneile blankets to keep us warm was a nice thoughtful touch and not once did we feel rushed or snubbed. Our server was funny yet professional, informative, and attentive when necessary. A must do if you want to spend a wonderful evening with friends, loved ones and get TOP NOTCH service.
Sample artistically prepared fresh cuisine amid the art galleries--and refreshing ocean breeze--of Laguna Beach..
Enormous windows and sliding glass doors enclose this cliff-side retreat, which boasts mountain and ocean views--and rabbits, which hop around freely in the perfectly groomed, blooming courtyard. A small, dark, wooden bar and two large wooden wine cellars separate the two dimly lit dining rooms, which are decorated with light yellow, white and dark blue accents. Couples enjoying the immaculate service and breathtaking atmosphere fill the romantic dining rooms.
Executive chef James Boyce mixes mouthwatering food with artistic presentation. Starters such as Maine lobster risotto and pan-seared salmon are rich in flavor. Entrees include grilled tenderloin on top of herb-potato gnocchi, mushrooms and spinach; and swordfish medallions served with smoked bacon and peanut potatoes--drizzled with blood orange-sherry jus. For dessert, order the tasting of Michel Cluizel single-estate chocolates, which includes cake, sorbet and custard. An extensive list of wine, beers and brandy are also available.
went for kobe beef as apptizer , but didnt see that on the menu, had foie gras instead..tasted wonderful..
it was delicious ...we had suffle' as dessert , the best I ever had....will definitely go back again.
Poor Hotel Food @ Exclusive Resturant Prices.
Poor is being more than fair to this place.
Food tasted like it was prepared well in advance, I have had better room service food.
Will NOT go again and will NOT reccommend
Fantastic !!!!!!. MY wife took me there for my birthday. WOW !!!! What a surprise. ABSOLUTLY WONDERFUL, IN ALL ASPECTS !!!A++++
Truly an amazing experience.... The setting, the overall ambience, the food, and the service were all top notch and far exceeded my expectations. I read previous reviews and was concerned that I would be disappointed. I chose this place to propose to my girlfriend due to the location right on the cliffs in Laguna, and it was absolutely perfect. The food was delicious - the optimal balance of flavors and you could really enjoy the taste of all the ingredients. They knew it was a special evening for us (I let them know I was proposing and made arrangements beforehand), and they treated us like VIPs from the moment we stepped in the door. It truly felt like we had 3 people serving our table alone, and we never had to ask for a thing. My new fiance and I will be going back every year to celebrate our engagement at this wonderful place!
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