Treat yourself: Laguna Beach's 5 best spots for high-end New American cuisine

Photo: Splashes Restaurant/Yelp

Craving upscale New American food?

Hoodline crunched the numbers to find the best upscale New American restaurants around Laguna Beach, using both Yelp data and our own secret sauce to produce a ranked list of the top spots to venture next time you're on the hunt.

1. Broadway by Amar Santana

PHOTO: annie L./YELP

Topping the list is Broadway by Amar Santana. Located at 328 Glenneyre St., the bar and New American spot is the highest rated upscale New American restaurant in Laguna Beach, boasting 4.5 stars out of 671 reviews on Yelp.

The spot draws inspiration from New York City theaters and comes courtesy of award-winning chef Amar Santana and his partners Ahmed Labbate and Rich Cadarette, according to the restaurant's website.

On the menu, expect to find seasonal offerings made with top-quality ingredients like oysters on the half shell with passion fruit mignonette and smoked cocktail sauce; housemade saffron cavatelli pasta with slow-braised lamb neck; and bourbon vanilla bean panna cotta with strawberry sorbet. (You can view the dinner menu here.)

2. Watermarc
Photo: wing y./Yelp

Next up is Watermarc, situated at 448 S. Coast Highway. With four stars out of 987 reviews on Yelp, the restaurant has proven to be a local favorite for those looking to indulge in contemporary American cuisine.

The restaurant "brings together the vision of pairing great food with great beverage," the eatery explains on its website, blending classic American dishes with "cutting edge cuisines and drinks."

Menu items include breakfast offerings such as macadamia banana pancakes and duck confit poutine, while appetizers and entrees range from ahi watermelon skewers and smoked New York strip carpaccio to charred Spanish octopus and filet three-ways -- Oscar, Wellington and steak Diane. (See the menu here.)

3. Ivory Restaurant & Lounge

Photo: vy h./Yelp

Ivory Restaurant & Lounge, located at 853 Laguna Canyon Road, is another top choice, with Yelpers giving the fancy lounge and contemporary spot 4.5 stars out of 247 reviews.

On the menu, expect to find California-style cuisine, showcasing fresh ingredients and a seasonal variety of meats, seafood and vegetables.

Come try the popular Boom Boom Shrimp with creamy aioli; faberge deviled eggs topped with red caviar; or gourmet wagyu burger complete with caramelized shallots, smoked gouda, lettuce, tomato and Sriracha aioli. (Check out the full menu here.)

PHOTO: Splashes Restaurant/YELP

SPLASHES is another upscale go-to serving up fresh, high-end New American cuisine, just steps away the Pacific Ocean. With four stars out of 722 Yelp reviews, head over to 1555 S. Coast Highway to see for yourself.

Situated in the Surf and Sand Resort, the restaurant features fresh seafood fare with specialties such as Maine lobster with stone fruit farro risotto, salsify pappardelle, baby corn and saffron carrot reduction; and oysters with fennel and gin mignonette. (See the menu here.)

5. Sapphire Laguna
Photo: Sapphire Laguna/Yelp

Then there's Sapphire Laguna, which has earned four stars out of 664 reviews on Yelp. Treat yourself at the New American and Asian fusion spot by heading over to 1200 S. Coast Highway, the original site of the landmark Pottery Shack.

The restaurant is the brainchild of Iranian-born chef Azmin Ghahreman, a "culinary citizen of the world" who brings his distinctive international style to Sapphire's ever revolving menu, the establishment says on its Yelp page.

Popular Yelp favorites include the braised pork chile verde, butternut squash ravioli and Indian-spiced salmon with cucumber couscous and madras curry yogurt.
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