Laguna Beach, a quintessential coastal city in California, is not just known for its breathtaking beaches, vibrant art scene, and picturesque landscapes; it’s also home to an impressive array of Italian restaurants.
These culinary gems serve up some of the most authentic and delectable Italian dishes this side of the Pacific.
From traditional pastas and pizzas to innovative contemporary Italian cuisine, there’s something to satisfy every palate.
In this guide, we’ll be exploring the top 12 best Italian restaurants in Laguna Beach, each offering a unique dining experience that promises to transport you to the heart of Italy.
Whether you’re a local looking to try something new, a tourist seeking to taste the best of what the city has to offer, or an Italian food enthusiast craving for a slice of ‘la dolce vita’, this list has got you covered.
From family-owned establishments that have been serving the community for years, to newer spots that are making waves with their modern interpretations of classic recipes, these restaurants embody the rich flavors and culinary traditions of Italy, all while embracing the laid-back charm and local produce of Laguna Beach.
Stay with us as we delve into the tastes, aromas, and atmospheres of these remarkable restaurants, and discover why Laguna Beach is a must-visit destination for Italian food lovers.
12 Best Italian Restaurants In Laguna Beach, California
Here’s a simplified guide to the top 12 Best Italian restaurants in Laguna Beach:
|Alessa by Chef Pirozzi
|Renowned for its authentic Italian cuisine
|Salerno by Chef Pirozzi
|Offers a creative reinterpretation of classic Italian dishes
|Known for its extensive selection of Italian wines
|Coliseum Grill – The Resort at Pelican Hill
|Excels in Italian-Californian fusion cuisine
|Provides a cozy and intimate dining experience
|Mangia Bene Cucina
|A family-friendly restaurant with dishes for all ages
|Nick’s Laguna Beach
|Stands out for its exceptional customer service
|Has maintained its popularity over the years
|Specializes in Italian seafood dishes
|Offers a romantic ambiance perfect for date nights
|Pushes the boundaries of Italian cuisine with modern techniques
|NEApolitan Pizzeria & Birreria
|Famous for its authentic Neapolitan pizzas
1. Alessa by Chef Pirozzi
Alessa by Chef Pirozzi is undoubtedly one of the best Italian restaurants in Laguna Beach, California.
As you step into this charming restaurant, you are greeted with a perfect blend of contemporary decor, warm lighting, and rustic charm – the ambiance that is both inviting and elegant.
The open kitchen concept allows you to watch the skilled chefs craft delicious Italian cuisine from scratch.
The menu at Alessa by Chef Pirozzi boasts an impressive selection of authentic Italian dishes made with the freshest ingredients available.
The homemade pastas and thin crust pizzas are undoubtedly the highlights of the menu.
Each pasta dish is cooked to perfection and served with a unique twist, making it difficult to choose which one to indulge in.
The pizzas are made Neapolitan style and come with delicious toppings like Italian sausage, fresh mozzarella cheese, and crispy prosciutto.
Besides their exceptional food, Alessa by Chef Pirozzi also offers an extensive wine list that perfectly complements their dishes.
The knowledgeable staff is always happy to help you choose the perfect wine to go with your meal.
To end your meal on a high note, we recommend their delectable Tiramisu – a perfect blend of espresso, cream, and mascarpone cheese.
- Address: 234 Forest Ave, Laguna Beach, CA 92651
- Phone Number: (949) 497-8222
- Website: Alessa by Chef Pirozzi
2. Salerno by Chef Pirozzi
Secondly, If you’re looking for the best Italian restaurant in Laguna Beach, look no further than Salerno by Chef Pirozzi.
Serving up classic Italian dishes with a modern twist, this restaurant has quickly become a local favorite.
Chef Alessandro Pirozzi, a native of Italy, has brought his passion for Italian cooking to California, creating a menu that is both authentic and innovative.
Each dish is made with the freshest ingredients, from homemade pasta to locally sourced seafood.
Start off your meal with the burrata and prosciutto appetizer, a creamy combination of fresh cheese and salty meat.
For the main course, try the spaghetti al pomodoro, a classic dish with sweet tomato sauce and fresh basil. Seafood lovers can indulge in the branzino, a whole Mediterranean sea bass served with roasted potatoes and olives.
The ambiance of Salerno by Chef Pirozzi is just as impressive as the food.
The open-air dining room is adorned with vintage Italian posters and colorful murals, creating a welcoming and lively atmosphere.
And the attentive service will make you feel like you’re dining in Italy.
So if you’re looking for an unforgettable Italian dining experience in Laguna Beach, make your way to Salerno by Chef Pirozzi. Your taste buds (and stomach) will thank you.
- Address: 220 Beach St, Laguna Beach, CA 92651, United States
- Phone Number: +1 949-497-2600
- Website: Salerno by Chef Pirozzi
Italian cuisine is famous all over the world for its rich, savory flavors and delicious ingredients.
If you are in Laguna Beach, California and you are a fan of Italian cuisine, you are in luck because there are numerous Italian restaurants you can visit and indulge in their scrumptious dishes.
When looking for the best Italian restaurant in Laguna Beach, California, there are several factors to consider.
First, you should consider the quality of the food. Look for a restaurant that uses fresh, high-quality ingredients to ensure that your meal is both tasty and nutritious.
Second, the ambiance and atmosphere should also be taken into account. A good Italian restaurant should have a cozy, intimate atmosphere that makes you feel right at home.
Lastly, the restaurant should also have excellent service to ensure that you have a pleasant dining experience.
One Italian restaurant that stands out in Laguna Beach, California is Rumari. This restaurant offers authentic Italian cuisine that will tantalize your taste buds.
Their menu is diverse and caters to all kinds of food lovers with a wide variety of pasta dishes, seafood, and pizza options.
Rumari uses fresh ingredients to prepare their dishes, and their chefs are skilled at creating delicious dishes that will make you want to come back for more.
The ambiance of Rumari is one of the best in town. The restaurant is stylishly decorated with Italian-inspired décor that creates a unique atmosphere for diners.
The lighting is warm and inviting, which adds to the cozy feel of the place. When it comes to service, the staff at Rumari are professional and friendly, making your dining experience unforgettable.
- Address: 1826 S Coast Hwy, Laguna Beach, CA 92651, United States
- Phone Number: +1 949-494-0400
- Website: Rumari
4. Coliseum Grill – The Resort at Pelican Hill
Coliseum Grill at The Resort at Pelican Hill is the epitome of Italian fine dining in Laguna Beach, California.
From the rustic decor to the exceptional cuisine, guests are transported to the heart of Tuscany.
Sourcing only the freshest ingredients from local farms and markets, their menu boasts a wide range of classic Italian dishes from antipasti to homemade pastas and wood-fired pizzas.
The ambiance of Coliseum Grill is cozy and intimate, perfect for a romantic dinner or gathering with friends and family.
The outdoor patio offers stunning views of the Pacific Ocean, creating a serene atmosphere for enjoying a glass of wine or cocktail.
The best feature of this restaurant is the open-concept kitchen, allowing guests to witness the culinary magic happening before their eyes.
The skilled chefs prepare the dishes with utmost care and attention to detail, elevating the flavors to a whole new level.
The service at Coliseum Grill is exceptional, with a team of knowledgeable staff available to guide guests through the menu and wine selection.
Their passion for Italian cuisine is evident in every aspect of the restaurant, making it one of the best Italian restaurants in Laguna Beach.
Whether you are in the mood for a traditional Margherita pizza or a decadent osso buco, Coliseum Grill at The Resort at Pelican Hill is the perfect destination for an unforgettable Italian dining experience.
- Address: 22701 S Pelican Hill Rd, Newport Coast, CA 92657, United States
- Phone Number: +1 949-467-6800
- Website: The Resort at Pelican Hill
If you’re looking for an authentic Italian dining experience in Laguna Beach, look no further than Stella’s.
With its warm ambiance and delicious menu, Stella’s has become one of the best Italian restaurants in the area.
First and foremost, make sure to start off your meal with an appetizer.
Stella’s offers a variety of classic Italian antipasti, such as bruschetta and arancini, as well as more unique options like stuffed eggplant.
And of course, don’t forget the fresh bread and olive oil that the restaurant is known for.
Moving on to the entrées, you’ll find that Stella’s has a diverse selection of pasta dishes, all made in-house.
From classic spaghetti carbonara to a more adventurous squid ink linguine, there’s something for everyone.
And if you’re in the mood for something other than pasta, the osso bucco and eggplant parmigiana are also highly recommended.
To round out your dining experience, be sure to try one of Stella’s delectable desserts. The tiramisu is a must-try, as is the cannoli.
And don’t forget to pair your meal with a glass of Italian wine – the knowledgeable waitstaff can help you select the perfect bottle.
From the authentic menu to the cozy atmosphere, this place has it all. So go ahead and indulge your cravings for all things Italian at Stella’s!
- Address: 1290 S Coast Hwy, Laguna Beach, CA 92651, United States
- Phone Number: +1 949-715-9300
- Website: Stella’s
6. Mangia Bene Cucina
Mangia Bene Cucina is one of the best Italian restaurants in Laguna Beach, California.
This authentic Italian restaurant offers a wide range of dishes that are sure to tantalize your taste buds.
Whether you are in the mood for delicious pastas, fresh seafood, or succulent meats, the restaurant has something to cater to every palate.
From the moment you enter the restaurant, you are enveloped in a warm and cozy atmosphere that is reminiscent of a traditional Italian kitchen.
The aroma of fresh herbs and spices wafts through the air and sets the stage for a truly memorable culinary experience.
The restaurant’s chefs use only the finest locally sourced ingredients to create exquisite dishes that are both healthy and delicious.
The pasta is made fresh daily using traditional methods and is cooked to al dente perfection.
The seafood is sourced from local fishermen, ensuring that you get only the freshest and most flavorful catch of the day.
The menu boasts an impressive selection of wines that have been carefully selected to complement each dish on the menu.
From bold and robust reds to crisp and refreshing whites, there is a wine that will cater to every taste.
Mangia Bene Cucina is the perfect place to indulge in some of the most authentic Italian cuisine in Laguna Beach.
From the warm and welcoming ambiance to the delicious food and exquisite wines, every aspect of this restaurant is carefully crafted to leave a lasting impression on your taste buds.
- Address: 27281 La Paz Rd Ste I, Laguna Niguel, CA 92677, United States
- Phone Number: +1 949-831-0141
- Website: Mangia Bene Cucina
7. Nick’s Laguna Beach
Nick’s Laguna Beach is one of the best Italian restaurants in Laguna Beach, California.
The restaurant has a long-standing reputation for serving authentic Italian cuisine with a modern twist.
Nick’s Laguna Beach is a must-visit restaurant for any food enthusiast looking for a dining experience like no other.
Upon entering Nick’s Laguna Beach, you will be welcomed by a warm and inviting ambiance.
The restaurant’s decor blends modern and rustic elements, creating a relaxing and elegant atmosphere.
The seating arrangement allows for an intimate dining experience, perfect for a romantic dinner or an evening out with friends.
Nick’s Laguna Beach’s menu offers a wide range of traditional Italian dishes with a contemporary flair.
Each dish is expertly prepared using only the freshest ingredients, ensuring that every bite is bursting with flavor.
The menu features pasta dishes, seafood dishes, and meat dishes, all prepared to perfection.
One of the must-try dishes at Nick’s Laguna Beach is the Homemade Lobster Ravioli, a delicacy that is sure to impress even the most discerning of palates.
The ravioli is served in a creamy tomato sauce, making for a hearty and satisfying meal.
The Veal Marsala is another beloved dish at Nick’s Laguna Beach. It features succulent veal bathed in a delectable Marsala wine sauce, creating a symphony of flavors that tantalize the taste buds.
The dish is served with a side of creamy mashed potatoes, creating a truly decadent dining experience.
Overall, Nick’s Laguna Beach is a top-tier Italian restaurant that offers an unforgettable dining experience.
The restaurant’s commitment to serving only the best quality ingredients, coupled with the cozy ambiance and impeccable service, make it a must-visit for locals and visitors alike.
- Address: 440 S Coast Hwy, Laguna Beach, CA 92651, United States
- Phone Number: +1 949-376-8595
- Website: Nick’s Laguna Beach
8. Ristorante Rumari
Ristorante Rumari is a must-visit Italian restaurant in Laguna Beach, California.
With its classic and cozy ambiance, this restaurant brings the authentic flavors of Italy right to your table.
The moment you step inside Ristorante Rumari, you’ll feel like you’re transported to an Italian piazza.
When it comes to the menu, Ristorante Rumari boasts an impressive array of Italian cuisine, from appetizers to desserts.
The skilled chefs use only the freshest and finest ingredients to create dishes that are just as delicious as they are visually pleasing.
Whether you’re in the mood for a classic spaghetti carbonara, a hearty lasagna, or a fresh seafood pasta, you’ll find it all at Ristorante Rumari.
Aside from the mouth-watering dishes, Ristorante Rumari also offers an extensive wine selection with bottles from various regions in Italy.
The knowledgeable staff is always happy to assist in pairing the perfect wine with your meal.
At Ristorante Rumari, you’ll experience exceptional service that matches the quality of the food.
From the warm welcome to the attentive and friendly waitstaff, you’ll feel right at home throughout your visit.
With its delicious food, extensive wine selection, and excellent service, it’s no wonder this restaurant has earned its place on our list of the best Italian restaurants in the area.
- Address: 1826 S Coast Hwy, Laguna Beach, CA 92651, United States
- Phone Number: +1 949-494-0400
- Website: Ristorante Rumari
9. Salerno’s Ristorana
With countless Italian restaurants lining the streets of Laguna Beach, Salerno’s Ristorana stands out as one of the best.
This family-owned establishment has been serving up authentic Italian cuisine for over 20 years, and has gained a reputation for being one of the most beloved restaurants in the area.
Located just steps away from the Pacific Ocean, Salerno’s offers guests an unparalleled dining experience.
The restaurant’s charming interior features a romantic ambiance, with dim lighting, soft music, and warm, welcoming staff.
The outdoor patio, however, is the real star of the show. Diners can enjoy their meals while taking in breathtaking views of the ocean and the nearby hills – an experience that truly sets Salerno’s apart from the rest.
But what about the food? Simply put, Salerno’s doesn’t disappoint. The menu features a mouth-watering selection of traditional Italian dishes, made from fresh ingredients and prepared with the utmost care.
Start off with the creamy burrata, served with roasted tomatoes and crispy prosciutto, or the crispy calamari, topped with a zesty lemon aioli.
Then, move on to mains like the homemade spaghetti carbonara or the veal scaloppini with wild mushrooms.
Whatever you choose, you’re sure to be transported to Italy with each bite.
- Address: 220 Beach St, Laguna Beach, CA 92651, United States
- Phone Number: +1 949-497-2600
- Website: Salerno’s Ristorante
10. Romeo Cucina
Romeo Cucina is a family-run Italian restaurant located in Laguna Beach, California.
Since its opening in 2000, Romeo Cucina has become one of the most popular Italian restaurants in the area.
It’s known for its cozy atmosphere and delicious food that rivals even the best restaurants in Italy.
This charming restaurant has been a beloved fixture of the Laguna Beach dining scene for over 25 years, and for good reason.
The menu at Romeo Cucina features an impressive array of traditional Italian dishes, all prepared with care and attention to detail.
From fresh handmade pasta to savory meat and seafood entrees, there’s something to please every palate.
And of course, no Italian meal is complete without a glass of fine wine to accompany it – and Romeo Cucina has an extensive wine list to choose from.
But it’s not just the food that makes Romeo Cucina a stand-out restaurant.
The cozy and intimate atmosphere, complete with twinkling lights and charming decor, makes it the perfect spot for a romantic date or a special occasion.
The friendly and attentive staff are always on hand to provide recommendations and help you navigate the menu.
And if you’re looking for a truly unique dining experience, be sure to check out Romeo Cucina’s popular Sunday brunch.
Featuring a delectable selection of breakfast and lunch fare, as well as bottomless mimosas, it’s the perfect way to start your day in Laguna Beach.
- Address: 249 Broadway St, Laguna Beach, CA 92651, United States
- Phone Number: +1 949-497-6627
- Website: Romeo Cucina
11. Oliver’s Osteria
At the top of our list of the best Italian restaurants in Laguna Beach, California is Oliver’s Osteria.
This hidden gem is tucked away from the touristy crowds, and boasts a relaxed and inviting atmosphere that is perfect for a date night or intimate gathering with family and friends.
Oliver’s Osteria prides itself on serving traditional Italian dishes with a modern twist.
Each meal is carefully crafted using the freshest and highest-quality ingredients, resulting in bold and flavorful dishes that will have your taste buds dancing.
Their menu changes regularly, with daily specials created based on what is currently in season and available from local suppliers in the Orange County area.
The restaurant is cozy and intimate, with an impressive selection of wines, craft beers, and specialty cocktails to complement their mouth-watering dishes.
The friendly and knowledgeable staff is always happy to offer recommendations and make guests feel at home.
From handmade pasta dishes to succulent seafood options, their menu truly has something for everyone.
Be sure to save room for their delectable desserts, which are made in-house and are the perfect ending to an unforgettable dining experience.
With its charming ambiance, delectable dishes, and impeccable service, Oliver’s Osteria is simply one of the best Italian restaurants in Laguna Beach, California.
Make a reservation today and discover the magic of this hidden gem for yourself.
- Address: 853 Laguna Canyon Rd, Laguna Beach, CA 92651, United States
- Phone Number: +1 949-715-0261
- Website: Oliver’s Osteria
12. NEApolitan Pizzeria & Birreria
Last but not the least on our list of the best Italian restaurants in Laguna Beach is NEApolitan Pizzeria & Birreria.
Upon stepping inside, you’ll be greeted by a warm and cozy atmosphere, with charming décor that transports you to the heart of Italy.
NEApolitan Pizzeria & Birreria prides itself on its commitment to using only the freshest and finest ingredients in their dishes, with many of their herbs and vegetables grown right in their own garden.
One of the highlights of the menu is the Neapolitan-style pizza, cooked in a traditional wood-fired oven imported straight from Naples.
The pizza is made with handcrafted dough that’s allowed to rise for a full 24 hours, giving it an airy and fluffy texture that’s simply irresistible.
Toppings range from classic Margherita to more adventurous options like prosciutto and arugula or spicy salami and jalapeños.
But that’s not all NEApolitan Pizzeria & Birreria has to offer. They also have a wide selection of Italian beers and wines to perfectly complement your meal.
And for those with a sweet tooth, the Nutella pizza is a must-try dessert that will leave you craving more.
- Address: 31542 S Coast Hwy, Laguna Beach, CA 92651, United States
- Phone Number: +1 949-499-4531
- Website: NEApolitan Pizzeria & Birreria
Things to consider while selecting a restaurant Laguna Beach, CA:
Authenticity: Look for restaurants that offer traditional Italian dishes, as they provide a true taste of Italy’s rich culinary heritage.
Variety: A diverse menu ensures there’s something for everyone, from classic pasta and pizza to vegetarian and gluten-free options.
Locally Sourced Ingredients: Restaurants that use fresh, local produce often deliver higher quality and more flavorful dishes.
Specialties: Some Italian restaurants may have certain signature dishes or specialties which are worth trying.
Seasonal Offerings: Seasonally changing menus indicate the restaurant’s commitment to using fresh ingredients and their creativity in incorporating them into Italian recipes.
Interior Design: The restaurant’s decor and atmosphere should be warm and inviting, reflecting the Italian tradition of hospitality.
Music: Soft and soothing Italian music can enhance your dining experience.
Seating Arrangement: Comfortable seating and well-spaced tables ensure a relaxing dining experience.
View: If possible, choose a restaurant that offers a great view, be it of the ocean or Laguna Beach’s beautiful surroundings.
Cleanliness: Cleanliness of the restaurant is crucial for a pleasant dining experience.
Staff Knowledge: The staff should be knowledgeable about the menu and able to make recommendations based on your preferences.
Attentiveness: Prompt and attentive service significantly enhances the dining experience.
Friendliness: Friendly and courteous staff can make you feel welcomed and comfortable.
Efficiency: The staff should be efficient in taking orders and serving food to minimize waiting times.
Language Skills: If English isn’t your first language, finding a restaurant where staff speaks your language could be beneficial.
Location and Accessibility
Proximity: Choose a restaurant that’s conveniently located, whether near your hotel or the places you plan to visit.
Parking: If you’re driving, check if the restaurant has ample parking space or valet services.
Public Transportation: If you’re relying on public transport, ensure the restaurant is easily accessible by bus or train.
Wheelchair Accessibility: If required, check whether the restaurant is wheelchair-friendly.
Outdoor Seating: If the weather is good, you might prefer a restaurant with an outdoor seating area.
Reviews and Ratings
Online Reviews: Check out reviews on platforms like Yelp, TripAdvisor, and Google to get a sense of the restaurant’s reputation.
Food Quality: Pay particular attention to reviews mentioning the quality and taste of the food.
Value for Money: Reviews can also give you an idea of whether the restaurant offers good value for the price.
Consistency: Look for restaurants that consistently receive good reviews over time, not just recently.
Photos: User-submitted photos can give you a realistic impression of the food, decor, and overall atmosphere.
From beachfront bistros to mountain-view trattorias, Laguna Beach offers an incredible selection of Italian restaurants.
The town’s historical connections to Italian culture run deep, and each eatery honors its tradition in a unique way.
Many restaurants boast oceanfront tables, making them perfect for enjoying the stunning views of California’s shoreline during an outing.
Whether looking for old-world family recipes or new gourmet dishes, Laguna Beach has something for everyone.
If visiting the area for a vacation or short getaway, make sure to check out one of its fine Italian restaurants: you won’t regret it.
Not only will travelers find amazing food and a friendly atmosphere, but they’ll also discover firsthand why the Italians consider their cuisine to be some of the finest in the world. Bon appetite!