guide to laguna beach & newport


orange county is one of the 
world’s best places. i think 
everyone in utah vacations
there, it’s our closest beach and
i always see someone i know when
i’m in the OC. we moved to LA
when we were first married and we
frequented laguna + newport since
we knew them so well and they felt
like home. now that we live up in 
SF we find any excuse to road trip
down the coast to our favorite 
beach towns. so it’s about time 
i posted a little guide to them!
LAGUNA
orange inn: a MUST for breakfast in laguna beach!! it is a classic tiny place a street from the beach that you’ll love the second you walk in. get the O.I. smoothie, a breakfast burrito, and a cranberry-orange muffin. Favorite place.

bj’s pizzaright across from main beach in downtown laguna, we always eat here once or twice. go order the deep dish BBQ Chicken, and make SURE to get a pizzokie. best!!

beachcomber: favorite breakfast. coconut macadamia pancakes, fritatta, beignets. make a reservation or go early! down in crystal cove, this place is special.

scandia bakery: this place is a feast for the eyes. you have to walk in and take it all in…and get an eclair…and maybe a raspberry tart…

salt creek grille: we love this dana point location. the fire pits are my favorite! it’s a cozy comfort food dinner … love the french dip, tomato soup, the fish, and all of the yummy signature sides. also, you might want to get the butterscotch custard with salted caramel for dessert…just saying.

banzai bowls: if you want to enjoy a HUUGEE, amazing acai bowl on the beach, this is your place. yum-o.

tortilla republic: this relative newcomer to laguna beach is highly recommended by us. it’s gourmet mexican food and you need to have a lunch or dinner here for sure! try the enchiladas suizas and horchata cheesecake please!

c’est la vie: i can’t pass up this darling little french restaurant right by the beach. it’s a tad overpriced, but go sit on the patio and at least get a big croissant or a french onion soup.

art for the soul: i can’t visit laguna without stopping into this store. it’s packed with the cutest quotes, art, books, signs, etc. so eclectic and darling! there’s a location in balboa too!

downtown laguna: i can’t even list out all the boutiques and home stores i love in laguna…you just have to promise to wander through downtown…in and out of the art galleries, candy stores, and darling shops. some of my favorite purchases have been made in LB!

montage laguna beachthere are lots of great places to stay in laguna, but i have to list the best of the best. it’s a pretty penny, but it’s one of my favorite hotels i’ve ever seen in my life. even if you don’t stay, go see it and wander the grounds. gorgeous.

NEWPORT
bandera: favorite dinner in orange county. you can’t go wrong here. get cornbread skillet appetizer and grilled artichoke! the chicken or enchiladas are great, as is the macho salad. definitely get dessert! go early!
(houston’s is the same owner, also so good.)rose bakery cafe: everyone LOVES rose’s for donuts and sandwiches. their scones are also amazing. A must!crab cookeranother oldie, but goodie. you kind of have to go here! you can’t miss the bright red building and the shrimp skewers + cheesy mashed potatoes. yummiest!

true food kitchen: new discovery in newport right at fashion island. this place is pretty much my dream and i could eat there every day if i lived by it. first off, all of their “natural refreshment” drinks. honey lemonade. kale-aid. bright eyes. obsession with all of them. the farmer’s market salad, kale crunch salad, i could go on and on..but i’ll stop. just go.

javier’ssome of the best, most amazing mexican food i’ve ever had! expensive, but worth it if you love great mexican.

seaside donuts: a newport classic! open 24 hours, and so fun to walk down the boardwalk late at night and get a fresh donut. please get the cronut, to die for!

sprinkles cupcakes: are always fun when in CA.. (must try their ice cream!)
ruby’s shake shack: right off the road above crystal cove, GREAT lunch and amazing shakes! get the date shake, a california classic!balboa: make sure you pay a little visit to balboa island, the cutest place in the world. take the ferry from newport, get a famous balboa bar or our favorite froyo at tutti frutti. walk the canals and also see all the jewel streets (all named after different jewels, my favorite!)fashion island: a fun outdoor mall in newport with the best stores. always fun to stop here! also, south coast plaza is HUGE if you’re really wanting to shop. my favorite store there is c wonder.

marriott’s newport coast villas: we’ve stayed in so many different places in newport, but just stayed here and loved it. it offers everything and even shuttles to the beaches. it’s gorgeous and we recommend it. it’s also fun to stay in newport in a beach house on the boardwalk of course!

others i’ve heard great things about but never tried:
-gulfstream, zinc cafe, baja fish tacos
utah people reading:::i know you have lots of
favorites to add to our second home, so please
add any i have missed so i know for next time!!
xo



'guide to laguna beach & newport' has 12 comments

  1. May 16, 2014 @ 2:37 pm Katie Arruda

    I need to get to CA! Road trip once I move to UT :)

    Reply

    • May 16, 2014 @ 4:48 pm emi

      yes yes! we’ll meet here :)

      Reply

  2. May 16, 2014 @ 4:10 pm Melissa

    You’re in my old hood :-) We used to live in Orange County. Do you ever make it down to San Juan Capistrano or San Clemente? Those were my two favorite spots when we lived there.

    http://www.animpulsetosoar.blogspot.com

    Reply

    • May 16, 2014 @ 4:48 pm emi

      yes! love both of those places. you literally cannot go wrong in orange county!

      Reply

  3. May 16, 2014 @ 4:15 pm willivia

    on balboa island go get the hippo cookies!!

    they’re so cute and they are the tastiest!

    love you em.

    Reply

    • May 16, 2014 @ 4:47 pm emi

      OKAY i keep hearing about the hippo cookies, what am i missing out on? now that i’ve heard it from you i trust it and they are on my list next time!!!!!

      Reply

  4. May 16, 2014 @ 4:33 pm preppylove

    If I only were close enough to go try all of these places! But alas… Texas is just not close enough to California :(

    http://www.preplovelove.com

    Reply

    • May 16, 2014 @ 4:48 pm emi

      ahh you HAVE TO COME!

      Reply

  5. May 17, 2014 @ 3:57 pm Jenna Condon

    these are all great places! I’ve been to many of them. :) Great tips

    stop by,
    http://abeautifulheart07.blogspot.com/2014/05/my-happy-place.html

    Reply

  6. May 18, 2014 @ 10:33 pm Tiffany

    Thank you for this!! I am a Northern California gal (used to live in SB…but that’s about as far south as I’ve been..expect a few trips to Malibu and surrounding areas!) But I’ve been wanting to take a southern california trip so bad! This is so inspirational! Xx, Tiffany | http://www.sunshinedaydreamphotography.com/

    Reply

  7. May 23, 2014 @ 4:08 am cristie

    TK Burger in Newport…almost a daily stop. That good. ccc

    Reply

  8. March 25, 2016 @ 1:37 am Molly

    As an English family of 4 our children at the time were 21 (son) and 19 ( daughter) so when we stayed in LA for 3 weeks we started at the Roosevelt Hotel for 4 days and did the tourist trips, celeb homes, farmers market, Disney, walk of fame,my daughter got in the lift with Tom Delong blink 182 ( who she was totally in love with at the time and going to his gig in Scotland 6 weeks later, but could not utter a word to him!) we got in the lift with Richard Dreyfuss and saw James Marsden, Chris O’ Donnell and a few more at the pool. But our real adventure began when we started our road trip. Our son had booked to go to comicon San Diego and we did the whole coastline. When you travel by car you see so much! We stayed in Venice beach and had Bubba Gump shrimp on Santa Monica pier , went on the Big wheel, Ferris wheel to you! But my favourite place was Balboa! We stayed 4 days and it was amazing !my daughter and I went sunbathing while the lads went sea fishing. We just happened to ride the ferry and fell in love with the place. Beautiful memories and hope to go back soon . The following year our son returned and took a friend travelling and revisited Newport and same Balboa hotel . Reading your story brought back lovely memories (5 years ago) we need to be returning!

    Reply


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