• Laguna Beach hotel rooms

    Rooms

    Casa Laguna Inn & Spa offers ten unique room-types, each with luxurious seven-layer bedding, gas or ambiance fireplaces, flat-panel HDTV with DVD, and air conditioning. Read more...

  • Gourmet Bed and Breakfast in Laguna Beach, CA

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    Casa Laguna Inn & Spa's guests choose from a menu of acclaimed gourmet breakfast entrees and sides each morning and enjoy a selection of hors d'oeuvres and wine every evening. Read more...

  • On-Site Spa at our Laguna Beach Hotel

    Spa

    Casa Laguna Inn & Spa's exclusive on-site spa pampers guests with a variety of indoor and outdoor rejuvenating massage, reflexology, salt scrubs, and relaxing therapeutic soaks. Read more...

Welcome to Casa Laguna Inn & Spa

Operated as a tranquil alternative to bustling family-style resorts, Casa Laguna Inn & Spa is the perfect place for a romantic getaway or a relaxing escape from work and worry. Built on a terraced hillside in the 1920s and 40s, today’s Casa Laguna is often compared the to the Mission-style villas of Spain. In order to assure a romantic, calming ambiance, room occupancy is limited to a maximum of two persons regardless of age. Accordingly, our inn would not be suitable for children, infants, groups, or events. Our guests can relax on a garden patio, schedule a massage and therapeutic soak, or take a picnic to nearby Victoria Beach. Our inn is only 1.5 miles from downtown Laguna Beach shops, restaurants, art galleries, and renowned summer art festivals. Public transportation is available just outside our door. Our inn is famous for fabulous gourmet breakfasts. We have been recognized as one of the Top 25 Small Hotels and Top 10 Hotels for Romance in the United States, as well one of the Top Ten Luxury Inns in the world. Read more...

Welcome to Casa Laguna Inn & Spa

With historic Mission architecture, lush gardens, and expansive ocean views, Casa Laguna Inn and Spa is unique among Laguna Beach hotels. Unlike bustling family-oriented resorts, Casa Laguna is intended as a tranquil getaway for couples and individuals. Our bed & breakfast-style inn is all about all about romance and serenity. Read more...

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Nov 30, 2012 · 0 Comments

Reviewing the Wine Gallery—Wine Bar & Kitchen

We loved it!

I usually work my way up to a dramatic reveal on how we like the new restaurants we visit, but this one impressed us from arrival to departure. I should immediately follow that declaration with a caveat that there’s a possibility not everyone will be as impressed with the Wine Gallery as we were. As I’m about to reveal, the Wine Gallery is the epitome of a niche venue.

The full name of the establishment—the Wine Gallery Wine Bar & Kitchen—says a lot. You’ll see every bit of that when you walk in the door. A square bar takes up the center of the room and is surrounded by several high two-tops and four-tops on two sides, a long group-table on one side, and a small wood-fired oven at the back. The room is not large, but everything is well-spaced and uncrowded. While the place fills up by 7:30-8ish at the latest, I doubt you’ll ever see a large noisy crowd standing around sipping wine while waiting for a seat. The Thursday night that we were there, it was clear that the bar has already developed a following of locals who make their way there from nearby neighborhoods for a glass of wine and a nosh at the end of the day.

We arrived shortly after the 5pm opening time and were greeted by the owner-bartender Chris Olsen, who invited us to choose any table we wanted. Within seconds of seating we were presented with two menus—one for wine by the glass, carafe, or bottle—and a food menu sporting a variety of Cheese, Salami, Bruschetta, Pizza, Small Plates (kinda like tapas but a bit more generous), Large Plates (limited but well-varied), and Dessert. We immediately went for the braised short-rib tacos and the mushroom risotto. Our friendly and efficient server Amanda suggested we give their pizza a try, so we rounded out our sampling with their classic wood-fired Margherita pizza. The food arrived quickly and was fresh and delish. The tacos were loaded with filling and filled with flavor. The pizza was perfectly fired by Chef Josh—crisp, lightly charred crust, a flavorful sauce, and just the right amount of cheese.

And, of course, we would expect a place called the Wine Gallery to have a great selection of wines—and they did not disappoint. My husband and I are by no means wine connoisseurs, but we do consider ourselves well-educated on the subject and our pallets are certainly experienced. We were impressed with the variety of both recognizable and unfamiliar offerings. I am a fan of what has become old-fashioned buttery Chardonnay, and Amanda recommended one that was right on the mark. My husband is a Pinot guy, and tried two, one of which--from Chris Olsen's own Mile 216 winery--well exceeded his expectations.

So why wouldn’t someone like the Wine Gallery. Well, it’s a wine bar, so obviously if you’re not into wine, this is not the bar for you. The wines are high-end and are priced accordingly. Our tab for the described food and four generous glasses of wine was a cool $100 before tip and well worth it in our opinion. The atmosphere is laid back and pleasant. And while I’m sure the patrons occasionally look up from their Cabernet to check out the basketball score, this is definitely not a sports bar. No burgers and fries here, though you can get frites with your sirloin. We liked the Wine Gallery’s classy style, superb friendly service, deliciously uncommon food, and great selection of wines. If that sounds like your style, we suggest you give it a first-try early in the evening on a weekday. And don’t worry about the constantly crammed street parking. All of the stalls in the parking structure on Pearl Street are available to Wine Gallery customers during regular evening hours. The Wine Gallery Wine Bar & Kitchen is located at 1833 South Coast Hwy #110 and is open Tuesday through Sunday from 5 to 11pm. The menus on their website are representative, but you'll notice most of the items I mentioned are not shown there. I have a feeling you’ll see something new and wonderful on the in-house menu every time you visit.

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