The Best of 2018


Another year has come and gone.

Which means another bevy of articles and lists detailing the collective “best of the best” from all over the area. These type of lists can be divisive, provocative, and sometimes just unnecessary. So many professionals and experts in the hospitality industry work so hard all year, it can be unfair to try and determine just who the best is, so, this list is more of my personal favorites that gave me the best meals, drinks, and, ultimately, memories for 2018. As I always say, I am no expert, so I’ll leave the true “best” lists to those who are, but this list is the “best” for me. What is most important to me, is how a place feels, and makes you feel when you are there. These restaurants and bars listed below were the best this year at creating more than just food and drinks, but also creating memories, and, an atmosphere that felt like a home away from home.

So, presenting my “best”, for 2018.

(Links can be found at the bottom of the page.)

the best five


Broadway by Amar Santana

Laguna Beach

IMG_3495 2.jpeg

Dublin 4 Gastropub

Mission Viejo

Craft House

Dana Point


Ocean at Main

Laguna Beach


Parallel Pizzeria

Dana Point

Best New Restaurant


Laguna Beach

Best cocktail bar


The Blind Rabbit


Best Dive Bar


Wild Goose Tavern

Costa Mesa

Best Pastry Program


AVEO Table + Bar

Dana Point

Best Prix Fixe


Cocktail Omakase

Nobu Newport Beach

Best Culinary Director / Chef

Zach Geerson

Journeyman’s Food + Drink

Photo courtesy of Journeyman’s Food + Drink

Photo courtesy of Journeyman’s Food + Drink

Best Beverage Director / Bartender

Michael Rooney

Vaca Group

Photo courtesy of Sarah King Photography

Photo courtesy of Sarah King Photography



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