• Laguna Beach hotel 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


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

  • On-Site Spa at our Laguna Beach Hotel


    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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Jan 8, 2013 · 0 Comments

Reviewing Carmelita's Kitchen de Mexico

Laguna Beach has always had its share of Mexican Restaurants and it probably has more now than ever before. Some are good. Some are not so great. But we’ve always felt that there is not enough difference between them (other than price) to make any one stand out from the others—until now. I’ll be honest….when Carmelita’s opened last September in the old Crab Zone location, I said “Just what we need, another Mexican Restaurant.” And, therefore, we did not rush to check it out until we started seeing the customer reviews, which have been about 90% five-star.

We don’t believe in reviewing restaurants on their busiest night. For that matter, we just don’t go to restaurants on their busiest night whether we’re there for a review or not. If you’ve read my reviews before, you know that we almost always visit a new restaurant on a weeknight, and therefore your experience on a busy weekend will very likely be somewhat different from what we experienced. We visited Carmelita’s early on a Monday evening in January and we were the first table patrons of the evening. A few barflies had already attached themselves to the bar and most were still there when we left. Let me tell you right off the bat, the service at Carmelita’s is alarmingly attentive. There is certainly no shortage of staff and you could very well end up with your own personal waiter. Our waiter Mario spent his first five minutes with us giving a brief history of the “chain” and describing their most popular dishes in great detail. Some customer reviews have dissed this service model as annoying. We found it refreshing and efficient, making our selection process quicker and much easier.

Mario took our order for two house margaritas, and chips with salsa and a wonderful bean dip came almost immediately thereafter. We also ordered Carmelita’s popular guacamole. We’re not big fans of guacamole as a rule, but Carmelita’s version, with bits of plantain and mango, was exceptional. Despite attempts to limit ourselves, we ended up eating way too much of these appetizers.

As usual, my husband chose a seafood dish for dinner, Wild Mexican Prawns, and I chose what I thought would be more classic Mexican fare, pork Carnitas. Both of these Carmelita’s dishes have received high marks on the customer reviews sites, and we soon found out why. My husband said the prawns were fresh and tender, with a wonderful garlic butter sauce. He was given the choice of a more spicy style sauce, but he is not a fan of heat and even found the mild garlic sauce a bit too spicy (which greatly confused Mario). The pork Carnitas were unlike anything I’ve ever had, super tender with a crisply carmelized outer coating. I ended up eating it more like pork roast, dipping forkloads of shredded meat into the spectacular Salsa Quemada it was served with. (Definitely too spicy for my husband, but right up my alley.) About half of the huge portion came home with me. Although we were both stuffed, Mario tempted us with Carmelita’s Tres Leches dessert, which we planned to just taste and take the balance home. We ended up finishing it off with a second margarita (which went surprisingly well with the sweet cake).Carmelita’s Tres Leches

Bottom line: We felt the service was flawless and the food was exceptional. We can’t guarantee that everyone will have the same experience, but unless we just got lucky that Monday night, we think Carmelitas Laguna Beach is the best Mexican restaurant in the area. Does it have the atmosphere or people-watching qualities of Javier’s or Las Brisas? Of course not. But for quality of food and service, it beats those popular high-end establishments hands down. The menu is so varied and extensive I won’t attempt to discuss it in detail here. Check out the website menu to get a general idea.

Carmelitas Laguna Beach is located at 217 Broadway St. just east of the intersection with Pacific Coast Highway. Parking is where you can find it. We always have luck in the lots or street parking on Ocean Avenue. Carmelitas is a family owned chain, with additional restaurants in Rancho Santa Margarita and in the Sacramento area. They have a number of websites, which can be confusing. The site for the Laguna Beach location is Carmelita’s Kitchen de Mexico.

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