Let’s be honest, not every restaurant that sits on the beach or has a magnificent ocean view puts a lot of emphasis on quality of food and service—after all, they have that beautiful view. We are pleased to say that The Deck on Laguna Beach has somehow managed to include all three—a sea spray-close beachfront view, great service, and delicious food and drink—and all for a reasonable price.
So what’s the catch? If you think about it a minute, you’ll quickly figure it out. A restaurant with all that going for it has got to be very, very popular. Having heard that Friday and Saturday nights are super-busy, we visited The Deck on a Tuesday night and arrived early enough to try their Local’s Only Grog & Grub specials. (Not a local? Don’t worry, everyone’s a local Monday-Thursday.) This “kinda-happy-hour” menu–served 2:30 to 5PM–includes selected $4 beers, $6 wines, $5 well/rocks drinks, and $7 Mai Tais and Margaritas.
The $8 Grub menu has a nice variety of nine items ranging from a huge, luscious cheeseburger to chicken pasta pomodoro, and a wide variety of seafood dishes. After seeing the size of these dishes being served at nearby tables, I opted for Pita Bread with tapenade and hummus from the regular appetizer menu, while my husband went for the coconut shrimp special, which included Asian noodles and sweet chili sauce. (As I said, for small eaters, a meal onto itself.)
But what about on weekends, when the local menu isn’t available? Many of the appetizers on the regular Deck menu are essentially small plates, perfect for light eaters or an early hold-me-over. And the appetizer prices ($6-$14) are still very reasonable for what you get. Entrees range from a $14 Burger to $39 Paella for two.
I chose the flatiron steak with warm potato salad and green beans. It was well-prepared and delicious—and arrived at the breezy table still surprisingly warm. There’s lots of seafood to choose from of course, but this time my husband surprised me by selecting the Surf & Turf Kebob—comprised of filet mignon, shrimp, and veggies on a bed of cous cous. He also loved the flavors and presentation, and only had a small complaint about one of the pieces of filet that was a bit chewy and ended up being the only thing left on the plate.
Our server, Jackie, was perfection—not only because she was friendly and attentive, but also because this tall, tan, blond in a sea-blue beach dress looked like she just came up from the sand to take our order, which added to the atmosphere. All the staff are dressed in casual but identifiable resort-style “uniforms” (for lack of a better word), and you’ll see patrons in everything from t-shirts, shorts, and flip-flops, to dressier sportswear and deck shoes. The equally friendly and accommodating manager on duty, Stephanie, stopped to chat for a moment, and told us that those who want to get a good seat need to arrive early, especially on weekends. Those who arrive at 7:30 for the 8:00 sunset are probably going to be disappointed. Sorry, no reservations after 4:30.
The Deck on Laguna Beach is open for lunch from 11:00 A.M. Lunch, dinner, and cocktail service is also available in the beachfront cabanas that can be rented for gatherings, meetings, or private rendezvous. The Deck website is still a little sparse on information, and clicking to make a reservation will get you the Open Table link for the Beach House, so call the restaurant directly at 949.494.6700 with questions or reservation requests. The clearly marked entrance to The Deck is just past the Beach House at 627 Sleepy Hollow Lane, one-half block off Pacific Coast Highway.
We give this beachfront deck restaurant two suntanned thumbs up for getting it right in every way.