The Montage1

Up until this point I’ve ate at / bragged about some local LA spots. And that will continue. But let’s take a quick break to talk about the town that gave us LC, Lo, “Stepppphhhhen,” and Kristin Cavallari-almost Cutler-nevermind Cavallari-just kidding it’s officially Cutler.

Yup, I’m talking about Laguna Beach. That disgustingly-perfect little beach town in The OC (bitch).

A couple weekends ago, we decided to check out the little town and, more importantly, the Montage. Dear God, this hotel’s view. It’s worth every. single. dollar. Well, except the 1am french fries… yeah… beware their late night in-room dining menu. No sliced up sweet potato is worth the price tag we woke up to on Sunday morning.

But anyway. Food. Good food. Regularly-priced food that I was actually still awake to eat once it arrived.

S. Coast Hwy. is Laguna’s main restaurant stretch and the home to the highly-rated / very busy Watermarc. And in true post-Mizzou football game tradition, I was in need of a celebratory (and decompressing) dirty M. We walked into the bar area at 8:15pm on a Saturday night, relieved we had made a reso. I’m not sure about weeknights, but this place was about to pop open.


so dirty

By no means am I easily impressed, but I have developed a thing for more-than-basic bar setups. I know. How “LA” of me to even care what a bar looks like because “they all serve alcohol the same,” but this is where I’ve started to disagree. And I’m sure growing up in a small town then moving to a big city has something to do with it. But if you add some colorful lights behind the bar or a long row of draft beer tap handles, I’m more inclined to listen to (and overtrust) what the bartender has to say then overspend on whatever swanky cocktail is “highly recommended” or “an original.”

Watermarc bar

watermarc bar

But not this time. Watermarc‘s bar had it all going on (I mean, check out that wine cooling system) + a Christmas list full of specialty drinks, but I held strong for a regular ol’ dirty M. And it. was. awesome. Not that you shouldn’t try their signature Watermarc martini or the “hot lips” (both were being ordered frequently), but sometimes an impressive bar layout calls for an oldie-but-a-goodie.

Now the food. Really this time.

Is there anything better than sourdough? Multigrain, focaccia, onion rolls, bread sticks… all viable bread basket competitors. But warm, fresh, aromatic sourdough – unbeatable. Once we sat down, our waiter (God bless him) brought us an entire bag of it. Sweet Jesus yes.


sourdough bread bag

Wise enough to order apps before the bread coma hit, we went with the ahi watermelon skewers and chilies fritta – both butter-free. Served with seaweed salad and ponzu sauce, the ahi was weird but awesome. And the chilies fritta (aka shishito peppers) were a tolerable amount of spicy. I’m guessing I’m not the only one who’s been burned – literally – by mouth-melting shishitos, but these were actually edible and didn’t make my eyes water.


ahi watermelon skewers


chilies fritta

Once I told our waiter I couldn’t do butter or cream, he suggested (pretty aggressively) that I try the toasted garlic yellowtail with charred pineapple and peppers. And oh Lord am I glad I listened.


toasted garlic yellowtail

The bf is very able to do butter and went with the day boat scallops. But because he’s the best and knew I’d want to try it (just kidding, I threatened him), he ordered the verblanc on the side because what kind of person would I be if I passed up a scallop? Completely worth a snobby order. And don’t forget: you’re in Laguna Beach. These waiters expect much, much worse.

My peeps: make sure you avoid the sweet pea risotto underneath the scallops.


day boat scallops

PS: My first question for the waiter was “How amazing is the sizzling garlic shrimp?” to which he laughed and said, “Oh, it’s awesome. It’s loaded with butter.” Wahhh wahhh. And the same response came for the calamari & vegetable fritti. Man life can be tough.

After dinner we walked across Peppertree Lane (I know, right?) to The Saloon. If you have time after dinner for a nightcap / just want to continue the night, here you go. It’s a smaller stand-up bar with an all-mahogany interior and drinks that don’t cost a lobster. Plus, they have homemade (bar-made?) infused vodka, and the bartenders love it. By your second drink, you’ll be trying to steal their sign.


Website {at) http://www.watermarcrestaurant.com/site/

Find Watermarc {at} 448 S. Coast Hwy., Laguna Beach, CA 92651

Reservations {at} (949) 376-6272

Open {at) Sun-Thurs: 11am-10pm
                 Fri-Sat: 11am-11pm

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