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Live jazz and contemporary fare from an OC culinary veteran combine to create Laguna Beach’s coolest restaurant.


Dinner nightly
Open late
  • Valet parking
  • Dress code: Business casual
  • Entertainment: Live jazz nightly
  • Full bar
  • Reservations suggested

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The Drake, Laguna Beach, CA

Operations may be disrupted due to COVID-19. Be sure to contact the restaurant to find out its current status and offerings.

The Drake Restaurant Review

About the restaurant & décor: The Drake is deliberately named – owner Alec Glasser worked at New York’s legendary Drake Hotel back in the day. The moniker alone creates certain expectations, and this intimately spaced spot delivers with exposed brick walls, an elegant blue/gold color scheme, and a lively semi-secluded bar festooned with a sleek grand piano. There’s just enough room in the main dining area to allow for nightly jazz performances, a touch that further deepens the venue’s relentless, Big Apple-esque sense of cool.

Likes: The palpably cool ambience created by the décor and music.
Dislikes: None.

Food & Drinks: There’s sweet music emanating from the kitchen as well, as longtime OC executive chef Paul Gstrein and his sous chef son Nick execute sumptuous takes on California fare marked with the right amount of global flourishes. Start your culinary experience with the delicate hamachi tartare featuring yellowtail, wonton crisp and cucumber; the lamb lollipops with spiked hummus and pickled teardrop peppers; or the shockingly indulgent beets with whipped honey goat cheese, apple and pistachios. Gstrein’s knack for balanced flavors shines brightly on mains such as the bucatini pasta with wild boar short rib ragù and the chili lime-crusted Pacific swordfish with jasmine rice, mango salsa and makrut lime leaf emulsion. Finish your meal with the salted caramel budino before retiring to the hopping bar for a nightcap. The wine list, while on the smaller side, is well-sourced with domestic and old-world selections.

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Read GAYOT's review.