Central Laguna Beach

4.6
200 reviews
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$30 and under
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Contemporary American
Located in beautiful Laguna Beach, in the heart of downtown, Central is a gem waiting to be discovered.

Food is so much more than just a meal, it is a sensory experience like no other. It combines all your senses culminating toward the ultimate experience: Delight. Wondermint, bliss, tears, laughter, love passion, and of course, satisfaction.

We aim to create an experience unlike any other. Join us today and discovery what true flavors, unparalleled service, and the best staff in Laguna Beach have to offer. Our partners, Anna, Ingrid, Ana Montoya, and Taylor McKinney are thrilled to welcome you and your family to ours!
What 200 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.6based on recent ratings
4.5
food
4.7
service
4.4
ambience
4.2
value
Noise · Moderate
83% of people would recommend it to a friend
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l
Orange County
10 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 3food 2service 4ambience 3

Risotto with Tiger Prawns @ $32 would be no surprise in Laguna but tiny bits of medium (at best) tossed in were quite the disappointment. Panko Sea Bass nothing special. Ridiculously overpriced restaurant there only to exploit tourists. No locals will go twice. It will be gone next year. 8 better places in walking distance. Service was ok waiter was nice and apologized nicely for delayed service. Tough rent district brutal competition. Better luck next time.

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LS
1 review
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 3

Food fantastic!!! Presentation And Flavor hands down perfection!
Only downside, you need to request a regular table or booth at time of reservation when less than 4 people otherwise you have to sit at bar top table and this is not so comfortable.

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d
Orange County
23 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 3

As a long time resident in Laguna Beach, I always try to get to every restaurant in town over the course of the years. Central is now on my 'favorites' list. Tucked in the corner up a few stairs off Forest Avenue it can be easily missed on a stroll. It is small and the outdoor patio is a bit cramped but the service staff are so pleasant and efficient, especially Josh at the bar and Sherie is such a delightful server. Every meal I have had was well prepared - loved the tuna poke, the empanadas, salmon and steak hash. The bread pudding bites with delicious coconut ice cream yummy. Suggest during the busy summer season to make reservations well in advance, or hold off until the town calms down after Labor Day and enjoy the calmness and easier parking. Central does have four parking spots behind the building but hard to find an open one.

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SS
Orange County
2 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 3

We wanted to have Peruvian food. When we googled Peruvian Central came up. However the waitperson said they removed the Peruvian dishes from the menu. The place is good to get a drink or appetizers. The menu is somewhat limited. Had good coffee and amazing guacamole there.

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WW
New Mexico
8 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

The tuna poke and steak empanadas were really good. I generally don’t like empanadas so that’s saying something. The tiger shrimp risotto was well cooked but the seasoning was strange.

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OT
San Diego
5 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

First time...impressed with menu , focused on few great dishes
Quality preparation

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d
Orange County
24 reviews
Dined on July 11, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 4

As a long time resident of Laguna Beach I am always trying each and every restaurant in town - I did venture downtown during the ever so busy festival season to try Central. I was surprised and delighted. I liked the staff very much - not so full of themselves as in some other restaurants in town. The food was very, very good. Overall....it's a 'keeper' for me and my friends loved it as well. I tried for another reservation a week later and they were booked - good for them!!!

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RB
Orange County
1 review
Dined on July 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Love their menu. Special twist with a few Argentine items like empenada, burger with added egg and amazing 14oz steak.Tuna tar tar and seviche also yummy. And don’t skip desert!!!

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Phoenix
3 reviews
Dined on July 7, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 2ambience 2

Appetizers were tasty, but the food was poorly timed, and the server was MIA. Note, the restaurant was slow. When she did finally show up, it was to tell us the kitchen put butter in my husband’s dish, after he was explicit about “no dairy, no pork”. When she brought the remake 15 minutes later, and my food was already eaten, there were large pieces of bacon mixed in. So much for “no pork”. Just a poor service experience all around.

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DA
Orange County
2 reviews
Dined on July 6, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

One of my favorites in Laguna Beach! Food, drinks and service are always excellent!

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BL
Orange County
4 reviews
Dined on June 27, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We absolutely love everything about Central......the new (ish) menu, the ambiance, the staff. Whenever we have friends/family in town, it's our go-to place! It never disappoints!!!

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SD
1 review
Dined on June 26, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 4ambience 5

So I went here last night with three other people for dinner. We had walked by this location before and noted that we wanted to come back to try it. The staff was friendly and the ambience was great. We started out with cocktails and I had ordered a premium shot of tequila. We ordered an appetizer that was outstanding followed by their incredible tomato bisque soup. Two of us had entrées and the other to split a dinner. The food was incredible and we had all noted that we would come back for sure. When the check came my attitude completely changed. I was taken back at the total of the bill which was $280. After looking to try to understand why it was so high I realized I was charged $35 for a shot of tequila. I have never paid that much in my life and that even accounts for some of the extreme high end resorts in the area. Reluctantly I paid the bill and asked for a cup of coffee while the others we're finishing their glass of wine. After spending $280 the server came back with a new bill for me which included a single cup of coffee. Those two things really left a bad taste which most likely will affect me ever returning. If you're going to charge such a ridiculous price for a shot of tequila you should tell the customer so that they are aware. In addition if a customer has just spent that much money and they have already closed out their check don't you think you could've given them the cup of coffee on the house? At that point I just felt scammed instead of feeling like a valued customer.

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JW
Palm Springs
4 reviews
Dined on June 22, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great staff amazing food

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LL
Los Angeles
14 reviews
Dined on June 22, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great service. Delicious steak salad.

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MB
Orange County
1 review
Dined on June 15, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Finding a table using OpenTable was a snap, and the restaurant even called a few minutes later to confirm (loved that because it made me feel as though my reservation was taken seriously). The wait once we arrived was less than five minutes, and the table location we requested using OpenTable was honored. The total bill for one non-alcoholic drink, one appetizer, and two entrees came to around $55, so it was a great value (and yes, the food tasted really good). The waitstaff was very attentive, and our waitperson — Sherie — was great. Food wise... I had the Grilled Chicken Pasta, which was just as Sherie said it was... lighter than a traditional Alfredo sauce. I would go back again in a heartbeat!

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TJ
Hawaii
3 reviews
Dined on June 15, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

One of our favorite places to eat. Wonderful people, and exceptional food and drinks.

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CB
San Diego
33 reviews
Dined on June 14, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

We had only a starter and drinks. We like more seasoned food, food with an unexpected twist. This didn't have that. It was good, but a little plain for our tastes. Same for the drinks.

We recommend it for friends who prefer simple, well done foods and drinks.

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JN
Orange County
1 review
Dined on June 6, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

What a great restaurant! Fantastic food, great atmosphere and super-friendly staff. Book now!

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k
Los Angeles
1 review
Dined on May 26, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Went to Central for my daughters 10th bday. Staff was very accomadating, food was delicious, we had a great time and will be coming back again and again.

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T
Orange County
13 reviews
Dined on May 18, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Always a good time and the food is delicious. The space is small enough that you can actually talk to the people you're dining with. Try the grilled avocado!

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OT
New York Area
3 reviews
Dined on April 20, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Best ceviche ever!

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b
Austin
3 reviews
Dined on April 13, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

We had the shrimp croquettes, panko-crusted cod, and tiger shrimp risotto. Every dish was outstanding! The service was a little slow, but it was mostly because our server was also the only bartender for the restaurant. Will definitely go back when we are in Laguna again!

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PB
Orange County
1 review
Dined on April 13, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Phenomenal food. Great service. Sat at a high top table, which was more casual and lively. Thanks so much!

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OT
1 review
Dined on March 29, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent service and great food! When better seating became available, the host took time to let us know and offered to help moving us across the restaurant. Waitresses are very pleasant and we felt they really wanted to make our night special. There is no wine corking fee. We brought a bottle of our favorite wine and complemented the food we’ve ordered. The mushroom bolognese pasta was excellent! The guacamole appetizer and the burger were wonderful as well. The atmosphere is nice and relaxed, not too crowded as some other popular spots. That is, probably, best overall value restaurant in Laguna Beach. We definitely will be back!

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Phoenix
1 review
Dined on March 28, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Anna and Robin are wonderful!!!

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OT
1 review
Dined on March 24, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent food options, comfortable seating, and good prices. The ceviche, steak and chicken pasta were phenomenal.

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OT
Central Coast
1 review
Dined on March 22, 2019
Overall 3food 2service 5ambience 5

Service was good but drink orders took a very long time. Food was served room temp/almost cold. Three of us ordered the same meat selection and prepared medium. Two were med rare and 1 was well done.

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j
Los Angeles
37 reviews
Dined on March 6, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We shared appetizers: tuna, empanadas, shrimp croquettes & mac and cheese. They were all excellent.
I like the change with the booths instead of tables , so many Laguna restaurants try to squeeze as many tables as possible.

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j
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on March 1, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Had an amazing dinner at Central! All of the staff was extremely nice and welcoming, the ambiance was perfect for a nice dinner out, and most importantly the food and drinks were delicious! Definitely can’t wait to come back next time I’m in Laguna.

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BB
Los Angeles
13 reviews
Dined on February 14, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

My wife and I had a very nice Valentine's Day dinner at Central Laguna Beach. The food and service was very good and e'll definitely be back. I highly recommend.

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RG
Los Angeles
1 review
Dined on February 8, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Loved it!! The service was excellent and we could hear each other talk. They accommodated all our gluten free requests too. Will definitely be back!

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DD
Orange County
21 reviews
Dined on February 8, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Wonderful ambiance in a romantic setting. The Chef has a unique flare on each dish and its always a pleasure to try anything new on the menu. The staff is professional, knowledgeable, and friendly, which makes for an enjoyable dining experience. The owner is always engaging and welcoming to all of their patrons. A hidden neighborhood gem in Laguna Beach!

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s
Palm Springs
5 reviews
Dined on February 2, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This restaurant was fantastic! A hidden gem..food and service were perfect! Can't wait to go again!!

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AA
Orange County
2 reviews
Dined on January 25, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Took my mom and daughter for dinner. I must say the two pickiest dates I could have brought with me. Lol. They both loved it. A must try is there shrimp risotto and the corn bread pudding dessert.

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CS
Orange County
1 review
Dined on January 19, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We really enjoy going to this restaurant. We always feel welcome here.

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m
1 review
Dined on January 12, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

One of my favorite restaurants in South OC. Great vibe plus amazing food! The owners are always there making sure everything is 100%! Must go when in Laguna.

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B
Orange County
15 reviews
Dined on January 10, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 1ambience 3

The wait person didn't care about us nor pay attention to what we might need. I came for this ceviche because of an article in the register and it was a disappointment. We will not return.

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s
Orange County
72 reviews
Dined on December 29, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 4

Had the scallops with pork belly. Very good. Very good service.

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OT
Minneapolis
1 review
Dined on December 22, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We had a great time! The cod was fantastic!

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M
Los Angeles
21 reviews
Dined on December 7, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 3ambience 5

It was the annual tree lighting ceremony in our city. A very important night.

All went fine except with your Open Table app. I tried originally to make the reservation for 6. It would only take 2. I tried for 4. Only show 2. I must have tried 6 or 7 times to modify the reservation. Strangely the phone number on your app would only take a message and never called me back.

We ended up with 4. The hostesses were gracious about seating us. But your app. Frustrated me.

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