Las Brisas is an iconic restaurant that has been sitting on Laguna Beach overlooking the Pacific Ocean for almost 40 years. While the view changes daily the menu and restaurant aesthetics have remained the same until recently. It was time for a much-deserved makeover and while the renovation is nearly complete, Las Brisas offers even more spectacular views of the ocean from almost any indoor-outdoor seat in the house and an updated menu. That’s a win win in my book and the perfect setting for tasty cocktails.
Speaking of cocktails, the indoor lounge area has moved to the other side of the room and as a result is more spacious, modern and bright along with a brand new crafted cocktail menu. What we know as “happy hour” is now called “Sunset” and is offered from 5-8pm because technically those are sunset hours, which I also like to call “Patio Time.” The patio lounge area is appealing and lively and is fast becoming the place to be and to be seen. With new menus in the lounge and the restaurant, it’s only appropriate to have a wine and beer-pairing event to show off the new offerings. The first pairing is scheduled for January 10th and you’ll find similar events scheduled monthly. Dinner and drinks anyone?
Taking a step back inside you’ll notice a new chef in the house. For the past four months, Chef Matthew Robinson and his team have been cultivating a new menu by creating items that are approachable and seasonal. He’s also managed to bring down the price point without sacrificing quality. “We are trying to get away from the restaurant only being a special event place. We want people to enjoy the view and come hang out more on a regular basis,” says Chef Robinson. “This has been a destination restaurant for such a long time and sometimes change is hard especially for locals, people have memories here and want that nostalgia to stay. We are modernizing the menu to match the view and the massive renovation. We also have staff that has been with the restaurant since 1979 and everyone’s been on board with the change. We are making changes for the good.”
Some new items on the lunch menu that are worth mentioning are the Ahi Tuna Tacos wrapped in a rice paper shell, the Asada Dip New York steak covered in Oaxaca cheese, the Cemitas red chile pulled pork on a telara roll and the Short Rib Enchiladas.
And have you ever tried Sweetbread? I’m not talking about a fresh out of the oven raisin and cinnamon filled doughball of goodness. Sweetbread is a gland off the throat of veal and is considered a delicacy on the menu. “It’s something you don’t see too often. It has a high-fat content and if it’s cooked right it has amazing texture,” says Chef Robinson, it’s one of my favorite items on the menu.” Surpringsly it was meaty, creamy and rich and I would definitely order it again.
You’ll still find some favorite classics on the menu like the guacamole with cojita cheese and red onion and the ceviche with cured sea bass and shrimp, one of my favorites. It’s a perfect way to start your meal.
The new dinner menu is launching today just in time for New Years.
361 Cliff Dr.
Laguna Beach, CA 92651