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30801 S. Coast Hwy. (Montage Resort Dr.) Send to Phone
Perhaps OC's most scenic and romantic restaurant with high-class cuisine and a list of 2,500 different wines.

Open for Dinner Tues.-Sun. 5 p.m.-10 p.m.

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Studio, Laguna Beach, CA

Studio Restaurant Review

About the restaurant and décor: The word "studio" may bring to mind an artist's workshop filled with painted canvases in various states of progress, but this Studio presents polished seasonal culinary creations. [NOTE: CRAIG STRONG IS NO LONGER EXECUTIVE CHEF. BENJAMIN MARTINEK HAS BEEN PROMOTED TO CHEF DE CUISINE.] The Montage Laguna Beach built the restaurant as a small Craftsman-style house atop a gorgeous bluff with enviable panoramic views of South Laguna's incomparable shore, rolling hills, hilltop mansions and curvy coastline. Guests can sit on the romantic patio at sunset or feel cozy inside the restaurant with its glowing candlelight, high ceilings, warm woods and white tablecloths. There's also a special chef's table where diners can enjoy an interactive meal and look into the marble counter-topped kitchen with its centerpiece, an imported custom-made Molteni oven.

About the food: The French cuisine with California influences works wonderfully well at Studio, as this resort is an ode to the sophisticated California lifestyle and palate. The kitchen draws from the best ingredients the world over, as well as local products. (Some are even sourced just outside, where there are raised garden beds for growing fresh herbs and vegetables.) Chilled oysters with orange-habanero, red shiso and white ponzu start things off with a kick. New Zealand John Dory might be paired with artichoke barigoule, polenta roulade and black trumpet mushroom purée, while beef tenderloin is grilled and matched with bordelaise sauce and parsnip, maitake, ramp and dried apricot relish. Plenty of desserts tempt: If you're lucky, you may encounter matcha crème brûlée or Guanaja chocolate sphere with salted caramel and Guinness foam. The six-course tasting menu ($175) is worth considering, especially with the carefully chosen paired wines (an additional $85; $185 for the grand wine tasting). A vegetarian tasting menu is also available.

About the wine: If money is no object, then let one of the sommeliers cultivated by Troy Smith take you on a wine tasting journey around the world by pairing each dish with wine from Studio’s list of 2,500 different selections.


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