Anybody who’s spent much time in Manhattan Beach (as we did during the last decade) knows that the Manhattan Beach Rock’n Fish is the “in” place for 20-somethings looking to meet up with other 20-somethings for food, drinks, and very loud conversation. During the five or so years we lived in neighboring Hermosa Beach, we never saw the place when it wasn’t packed full of young people having a good time. We stopped in a few times and, to tell you the truth, we never really figured out what the draw was.
So when we heard that Rock’n Fish was coming to Laguna Beach, we didn’t get too excited. And when we learned it would be upstairs over the classy new Tommy Bahamas store/restaurant/lounge complex, we were a bit confused and concerned.
Here comes the “but”….but, after visiting Laguna’s new Rock’n Fish on two separate occasions—once on a quiet weeknight, and once on a busy Friday night—we quickly came to see that “this” Rock’n Fish and “that” Rock’n Fish are about a similar as Hennessey’s and French 75. Laguna’s Rock’n Fish has a cool and classy well-stocked bar that has just enough separation from the restaurant to make you feel like you can have fun with friends and not worry about bothering the couple having a romantic dinner. In the restaurant, there are nooks and crannies for those romantic couples, and large comfy booths for families, and even a peekaboo ocean view or two out the windows. The menu is large and varied, with lists of appetizers, salads, oak-grilled steaks and seafood, and a wide variety of specialty items that Rock’n Fish is known for. We tried a little of this and that, and it was all fresh and well-prepared. The managers and service people we met were friendly and attentive. Our only complaint was that they have James Bond martinis on the bar menu but don’t really have the right ingredients or know how to make them – a minor faux-pas that probably only we would care about.
So, bottom line, Laguna’s Rock’n Fish has a lot less “rock” than its Manhattan Beach counterpart. What it does have is a classy look, a wide-ranging menu, a “space” for everyone, and excellent food and service. And now is the time to give it a try, because it hasn’t really been “discovered” yet. Families can go early on a weeknight and pick their spot. Couples can come later and snuggle up with a glass of great wine in a corner banquette. The party crowd can arrive mid-evening on the weekends and take over the bar area for a fun night out. For Laguna Beach’s diverse population of locals and tourists, the new Rock’n Fish has, quite literally, something for everyone. So the next time you're staying at Casa Laguna Inn & Spa, ask us to make your reservation for Rock'n Fish. We'll see if we can convince them to give you an ocean view table.