Palm trees, beautiful beaches, and some of the tastiest restaurants in Orange Country — Dana Point is one of Southern California’s foodie hot spots
There’s no other way to state it: Dana Point’s beauty immediately captured my heart. I loved this beach and area so much, it’s no wonder that discovering this little seaside town was one of the highlights of our most recent trip to California.
Located in the famous Orange County, California, Dana Point is known for classy-chic boutiques, luxurious cruises, top-notch restaurants and breathtaking coastal views. Although the area is a popular surf spot, even those of us a bit too timid to take to the sea will love watching surfers paddle out to catch their next wave. Here, everything seems so casual and relaxed, yet somehow still beautiful. We stopped here for a night, yet still managed to eat our way around town. Here are a few of our favorite spots.
RAYA at Ritz Carlton, Laguna Niguel
Perched on a cut-out hill overlooking the ocean, the Ritz Carlton in Laguna Niguel was our first choice for lunch. We ate at Raya, and although we came for the food, the gorgeous view of the ocean was definitely an added bonus. The ambiance here was tastefully lush, with large, arching windows that frame the sweeping coastline. For lunch, we ordered a sampling of dishes. From the ahi ceviche and kabocha squash to the thai curry buddha bowl and even a burger, it’s safe to say we tried a little bit of everything and loved it all. Once we were done with lunch we took some time to walk around, to just take in all the views.
I promise I am not exaggerating when I say this is one of the best steakhouses we’ve ever been to. I admit we’re not big steak eaters, but Bourbon Steak came so highly recommended that we couldn’t leave Dana Point without giving it a taste, and I’m so glad we did! During your visit to Bourbon Steak, you’re going to want to follow in our footsteps. Be sure to arrive a little early and have a couple signature cocktails, some of which are totally fresh twists on classic drinks. Then, kick off dinner with the instant bacon. The pork belly is incredibly tender with a sweet and smoky flavour. While we were there, they had a tasting menu of different cuts of steak. This was a perfect way to learn about various cuts and taste a bit of everything—something I definitely recommend if you have the option. If not, go straight for the Kagoshima; it’s the chefs choice!
As our little Southern California road trip winded to an end, we decided to make one last stop at Watermans Harbour for a delicious lunch. This little restaurant on the water has it’s seafood delivered fresh daily by local fisherman, so it’s no wonder the food is bursting with flavor. Though the menu boasts a great selection of shrimp, steamed mussels and clams, fried calamari, cod fish, and so many others, we finally settled on the fish tacos and ceviche. The food was wonderful, and washed down perfectly with ice cold beer. Between the mouthwatering tacos in front of us, the water beside us, and a beer in our hands, there could have been no better way to end our perfect foodie road trip.
Where to Stay: Monarch Beach Resort
For our time at Dana Point we stayed in a suite at Monarch Beach Resort. If you’ve noticed the running thread with our experience at Dana Point, you’ve probably already guessed that this resort was beautiful in every sense of the word. Perched overlooking the aquamarine waters, the resort also offers spa treatments, a leisure golf course, and luxury accommodation. If it’s overwhelming beauty isn’t enough, the location was also perfectly placed just a short distance from the gorgeous, lapping water of Dana Point beach. During our single night stay at the resort, we enjoyed staying in a suite that was rich with natural sunlight and had a spacious, generously sized living and sleeping quarters. From the private balcony, we loved taking in the golf course and water. On our last afternoon, we strolled along the beach, taking in the sunset. It was a gorgeous end to the perfect trip. Whether travelling with a family or looking for a romantic escape, the beauty of Dana Point and luxury of Monarch are perfect for a relaxing getaway.