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It's been some time since we’ve reviewed Mozambique Steakhouse, Bar, & Lounge. And the opening of their new rooftop Veranda prompted us to make a return visit. Actually, we typically eat there several times a year, which is pretty often when you consider that Laguna Beach has 146 restaurants (according to Trip Advisor). Spoiler alert – we’ll be eating at Mozambique far more often now that we’ve experienced the Veranda.
As usual, we chose a weeknight for our visit. I’ve mentioned before that I think reviewing restaurants in a resort town on weekends is really asking for trouble. But then I’m a hotelier, not a food critic. Our reviews are meant to guide our guests to places and food and drink that we think (hope) will enhance their Laguna Beach stay. Our reviews represent our personal experience on the night in question and your experience may be different.
We forgot to ask if Mozambique will now add “Veranda” to their name. It might make for a long tag line, but all those words certainly tell the story. Mozambique provides something for everyone. First level – a fine dining restaurant with great steaks and seafood and still suitable for families. Second level – a classic beach bar with reggae and other music most nights and lots of tables for casual drinking and dining--and very popular with locals. And now, a rooftop bar & lounge that combines romantic dining with a spectacular view from lunchtime to sundown. (Important to note the “sundown” last-call. Get there early, especially during the winter months.)
The night of our visit we started with two perfectly made Mandarin martinis and, on the suggestion of George the Manager, the Sampler Plate with grilled prawns, chicken “pops,” farmers sausage, grilled pineapple, and Peri-Peri sauce ($10 per person). My husband devoured the lightly spicy grilled prawns while I sampled the tasty sausage. Then we shared the chicken pops (skewered peri-peri grilled chicken). We also couldn’t resist ordering the “small plate” eggplant parmesan ($6), which was melt-in-your-mouth delicious and large enough to be a good percentage of any early dinner. The appetizers we had could easily have been called a meal, but we decided to “sacrifice” ourselves for the sake of a thorough review. I ordered another “small plate” of lamb chops—perfectly cooked, tender, and full of flavor—and half of it went home with us. My husband asked our server, Erin, which fish entrée he should choose from their wide selection and she suggested the Morrocan Style Chilean Sea Bass with artichoke, fennel, tomatoes and pesto mashed potatoes ($38). He raved about the delightful flavors all through the meal. I expected him to sneak into the kitchen at any moment to ask the chef how they make the amazing pesto mashed potatoes.
Pricing on all this was just downright reasonable, especially the small plates and happy hour specials. Our martinis were pricy like most Laguna bars—we expect that when we order a call drink and it comes made to perfection. The atmosphere was perfect, even on a slightly chilly October evening—with a beautiful sunset giving way to sparkling urban lights. Service was flawless. Erin was friendly and helpful, returning regularly but never hovering. She was always watchful and always showed up within seconds when we looked for her. I could see that her service was consistent at every table in her section.
We will be back to Mozambique’s new Veranda as often as possible. The pricing, flavors, service, and atmosphere are just too tempting. Remember….like most ocean view restaurants this place bustles on the weekend, so be prepared to arrive early if possible and take it all in stride. It will be worth it.