* Click here for rating key
Tortilla Republic Restaurant Review: Laguna Beach's Tortilla Republic marks the third location for the Mexican eatery, which also has branches in West Hollywood and the original in Kauai, HI. Housed in the space previously occupied by Asada Laguna (and Javier's Cantina before that), the venue looks out on Coast Highway and the Pacific Ocean beyond. Tiered open-air patios are found at the front, followed by the Margarita Bar and courtyard with retractable roof in the center of the restaurant. There's also a private dining room that can double as an events space. Extra effort is taken to produce a number of made-in-house items, including fresh chips, salsas, mole sauce and guacamole. The well-executed menu features contemporary takes on traditional Mexican recipes, as in the pork carnitas tacos with caramelized orange peels and pickled jalapeños. Be sure to leave room for desserts such as the churros or Chocolate Decadence cake, which truly lives up to its name. Tortilla Republic packs in guests at dinner on the weekends, and brunch is likewise popular. Sip a Michelada (Corona, lime juice, hot sauce and fresh tomato juice) while enjoying chilaquiles or seared albacore tuna and sweet potato hash topped with poached eggs. The bar program presents a decent selection of agave tequilas.