South of Nick’s Laguna Beach


Tortilla Chips & Trio of Salsas.

My wife and I are big fans of South of Nick’s . . we have enjoyed dinner at the San Clemente location more than a few times but never here. Of course we were impressed with the excellent food, drinks and service every time. BUT THEN ! With our wedding anniversary coming up on Monday, June 17th we wanted somewhere very special to celebrate. And now that we live in Irvine the drive to Laguna Beach is not so bad. I jumped online and made a reservation for 6pm on June 17th. One would expect it to be a bit quiet on a Monday. We pulled up out front around 5.50pm looking for their valet parking attendant to no avail but we scored a metered street parking spot within 50 feet of the restaurant.

Our view of full bar.

UP THE STAIRS ! After hiking up the staircase we arrived at the hostess desk right on the bell. We were greeted by Nahommi the courteous hostess who said we would be seated at our reserved table shortly. OOPS ! The window table with ocean view we were shown to was not suitable . . at this time of the evening the sun was glaring in. To her credit Nahommi sorted this out in seconds and offered us an elevated bench table away from the bright windows.

El Vaquero.

AND WE LOVED IT ! We could see virtually the entire restaurant and no glare. Before we knew it our server Jacob showed up with the million dollar smile. Menus, glasses of iced water and a huge complimentary serve of Tortilla Chips with a Trio of Salsas arrived within seconds. BEER ! I had checked out their beer menu online at home and at least they served a decent hazy IPA . . my preference. So I asked smiling Jacob to bring me a Brewery X Hazy IPA . . . he mentioned it will be in a can. VOILA ! An ice cold can of Dictionary Roulette Hazy IPA and a tall chilled glass was placed on our table. Our server Jacob offered to pour it but I prefer to pour my own . . . then take a pic. Nothing like an ice cold Hazy IPA !

Seafood Enchiladas.

We had been munching away on our fresh house made tortilla chips and trio of tasty salsas watching all the action whiz by in this boisterous restaurant . . packed out on a Monday evening. ENTREES ! My wife decided on Seafood Enchiladas ( Maine lobster, Mexican shrimp, poblano cream sauce, white rice, black beans ). I asked our helpful server Jacob about 3 dishes I fancied and his informed answer helped me choose El Vaquero ( sliced ribeye, cheese enchilada with poblano cream sauce, refried beans, stuffed guero pepper ) . . medium rare.  While waiting for our meals we discussed the very different vibes here compared to the San Clemente location . . both great in their own way.

Warm Butter Cake.

LOOKIN’ GOOD ! Our entree orders were delivered to our table by a friendly server named Brent. Everything looked fabulous ! Around this time Krista the GM checked on us. My wife was more than happy with her well prepared Seafood Enchiladas while the medium rare ribeye with my El Vaquero tasted perfect. ANOTHER BEER ! It was time for another Brewery X Hazy IPA which was taken care of by Jacob and brought out by server Jay a few minutes later. THERE’S MORE ! There was no way we were leaving without some dessert in particular the delectable Warm Butter Cake. And Jacob our charming server delivered the goods again . . with a lit candle. WHAT A GREAT RESTAURANT !

Restaurant Details


540 S Coast Hwy. Laguna Beach, CA 92651

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About the Author

Picture of Michael Burke

Michael Burke

I'm an expat Aussie ( now a naturalized American citizen ) who moved to Southern California in 2006 with my American born wife Sherri. I like to write reviews about the most memorable restaurants, coffee shops, cafes, brew pubs and anything new that we find in our travels. I particularly look for excellent food & beverage consistency, good value for money plus friendly service.

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