Since 1969, restaurant, hotel, travel & other witty reviews by a handpicked, worldwide team of discerning professionals—and your views, too.

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.

* Click here for rating key

Studio, 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.

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. 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.

Likes: The cliffside ocean view.
Dislikes: None.

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. Better yet: chef de cuisine Benjamin Martinek, who hails from Colorado, carries forth the restaurant's exacting tradition of exquisitely plated dishes whose balanced composition draws inspiration from the best ingredients from trusted purveyors. If you're lucky, locally-sourced uni will be on the menu, where it's accompanied simply yet effectively with brown butter and yuzu. If not, Martinek's skill assures you're still in for a memorable meal. Traditionally elegant bites like Niman Ranch dry-aged strip loin share menu space with fresh takes on newer classics, like the must-indulge roasted mero arctic sea bass with sunchoke and matsutake mushrooms or the roasted pork belly with garlic soubise, black-eyed peas and sherry cipollini. Desserts have included a rhubarb crème brûlée with Thai basil, strawberry and brown sugar. The six-course tasting menu ($185) is worth considering, especially with the carefully chosen paired wines (an additional $95; $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.

10-Year Tawny Port, Ramos Pinto, Quinta de Ervamoira

In GAYOT's latest Wine of the Week learn about the origin of Port wine, its grape varietals, its various types and then read the review of a 10-Year Port.


GAYOT's Wine & Spirits Editor presents the
Wine of the Week, featuring tasting notes as well as history on the vineyards and winemaker.


The charm of Provence right on your table.

Read the article and see photos.

Proper Hotel Santa Monica RooftopThe view is not the only reason to dine at Calabra in Santa Monica, CA.

Read the review and see photos.