Nice Lunch OC Between Westwood and La Jolla


My Mom and her friend will be visiting La Jolla for a few days next month. I’m trying to find an appropriate restaurant: good food, relatively relaxed and not noisy, easy to locate and park.


Kawamata Seafood in Capistrano Beach, for a delicious casual poke bowl. Easy to find. Close to freeway offramp. Lots of parking.


The Deck in Laguna


Pueblo and Pizzeria Ortica are both very close to 405 exits with ample parking. Most importantly both have very good and are good rooms to have a conversation.


Big +1 on Pueblo.

I will respectfully disagree on Ortica. My experience has been mediocre my last couple of times there.

I will also throw in Houstons is always reliable.

Nicks in either Laguna Beach or San Clemente is a good option, too.


I am a huge fan of Shuck Oysters in the SOCO Mix plaza off the 405 that’s also home to Pueblo. If you like oysters, it’s great…but they also have salads, soups, and other seafood-forward eats. I love sitting at the bar with a glass of wine to accompany my food.


That’s too bad. I went there 3 weeks ago for the first time in a long time and the pizzas were still great. Not as good as Fuoco but still very good.


I love Kawamata but, in the interest of full disclosure, it is (IMHO) a few steps up from a shack (in terms of seating). There’s some limited counter space along the windows and then 1-2 tables outside right up against the concrete blocks for the parking lot. If you’re mom and her friend are looking for a conventional cafe, this may not fit the bill (but the poke is DELICIOUS).


Weird. I may have to give it another go.


Settebello in Crystal Cove


Water Grill at South Coast Plaza.


I will add Bistango in Irvine and Il Barone in Newport Beach (near the airport) to your list. I had also thought about BlueGold in Huntington Beach but that might be further afield than you are looking for.


Wow, after all these years finally agree on something @ipsedixit😂. Excellent choice, lovely ambience and solid good at Water Grill.

I would avoid any recs near the beach. Traffic is just wretched right now and won’t be any better in the next few weeks. Had a hankering for The Crab Cooker last weekend and gave up after looking for parking for half an hour.
Even my secret spots were taken. Ended up at Bluewater Grill, which was OK as usual- and has valet.


I will respectfully disagree with Water Grill as well. It’s a great scene, but the food is thoroughly underwhelming for the price. Especially the oysters. Not a fan when they can’t keep shell fragments out and they pour off the liquor before serving. Clearly others that I respect have had very different experiences.


Pizzeria Mozza Newport Beach, if okay with valet.

Nick’s in San Clemente is pretty good.


Casa Inka is delicious, right near the freeway, very easy parking, and won’t be noisy.

Mr Kebap is the same way, but Turkish.


I doubt that my mom has ever been to South Coast Plaza, which should interest her as a destination.

I am taking in the warnings about the beach. Nothing in south OC that would have maybe a view and have good food?


I’ll agree with your disagree. Food was just average. Very nice room though.


My best option for you would be Mosaic Bar & Grill at the Montage.

I think mom would love you even more after a warm lobster roll and some crispy churros and ice cream to finish off the meal, all the while gazing at the waves splashing against the cliffs.


Aveo Table at the Monarch Beach Resort in Dana Point and the Coliseum Pool & grill at Pelican Hill in Newport Coast are good options for food with a view in South O.C. Also, the Cliff in Laguna has great views, though the food can be a bit inconsistent–it might depend on whether Sergio is in the kitchen that day. Traffic along PCH remains an issue, though.