by Dina Scaglione
Enjoy the weekend every day of the week at Coastal Kitchen. Open just over a year now, its warm and welcoming vibe, floor to ceiling windows and hip ocean elegance, draws you in from the moment you enter. Well-located at the corner of Pacific Coast Highway and Blue Lantern in Dana Point’s burgeoning Lantern District, this eatery’s deliciously diverse, made-from-scratch fare and coastal chic atmosphere delivers a California casual dining experience with a sleek nautical twist. Savor the full-service menu in the open dining room or sip a handcrafted cocktail, a glass of well-chosen wine or draft beer as you sit back in Adirondack chairs in front of crystal fire-pit tables on the relaxing patio.
Give your taste buds a real treat and start with the spicy, sweet-glazed Pork Belly Bites or the palate-perking Spicy Hummus and chips. For a main entrée, I highly recommend the Grilled Trout. Make no mistake; this is far from the oily, strong-tasting variety you may remember growing up. Coastal Kitchen’s is wonderfully flakey and light, tarragon-herb crusted and topped with lightly salted Marcona almonds. Die-hard crab cake fans, look no further. The Jumbo Lump Crab cakes are far beyond what you typically find at most California restaurants. Paired beautifully with a tangy, crunchy coleslaw, these hamburger size cakes are generously stuffed with so much succulent crab you will think you’ve been transported to a New England seafood joint.
Be sure to leave room for dessert. The custard-textured Crème Brule serves up a decadent ending to your meal. For those who fancy a good old-fashioned sundae — dive into this one any day of the week, complete with crunchy caramelized pecans, warmed Ghirardelli chocolate sauce and topped with a signature marshmallow whipped topping.
Open daily 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. during the summer with Happy Hour from 3 to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday. The adventuresome “SIPS Happy Hour” menu includes specialty cocktails, IPA’s from nearby San Diego breweries and California select wines.
Next time you head into the harbor for a boat gazing stroll, be sure to stop by!
34091 Pacific Coast Hwy, Dana Point
949.449.2822 • CoastalKitchenDanaPoint.com