Thursday, September 7, 2017

Stay / Eat / Do: Dana Point Edition


Photography by Eddie Sanchez


When a city's official motto is, "Harboring the Good Life," thoughts of an amazing oceanside getaway in a beautiful locale immediately come to mind. Picture a place with unique shops and interesting restaurants, on a latern-lined street complete with a trolly cruising by. The "Good Life" means leaving your cares back at home while you relax in a world-class resort, watching the most beautiful sunset over the ocean. This is Dana Point and everything about it is good. That's why when we were invited to explore Dana Point and share our experience, it was no surprise to us that we fell in love with this charming city characterized by coastal bluffs and rolling hills. If you're planning to visit, we've narrowed down our favorite restaurants in Dana Point and the best things to do. Here's our recommendations for where to stay, where to eat, and what to do in Dana Point. 



S T A Y





Dana Point provides many options for accommodations. Everything from camping at scenic beaches to quaint Victorian-style bed & breakfasts, to luxurious 5 Star resorts, the city will have exactly what you're looking for. And if you're looking for an amazing resort with luxurious amenities like fire-side guest rooms, scenic views, private beach, and a breathtaking pool, look no further than the Monarch Beach Resort. The property offers running routes, golf and tennis for the active traveler, kids club for families, chef-driven cuisine for foodies, and a romantic setting for couples. There's something for everyone here. 


Fireside terrace guest room featuring a private terrace with a personal fire pit to keep you warm on cool, coastal nights. 


Large soaking tub.


Why get out of bed? Have in-room dining delivered to you. 



Monarch Beach Resort
1 Monarch Beach Resort N
Dana Point, CA 92629
949.234.3200
www.monarchbeachresort.com





E A T


Ceviche from Sombra, Monarch Beach Resort's poolside Mexican cantina. 


The Good Life is not complete without good eats and Dana Point has plenty of them. The unique restaurants in Dana Point will have any foodie bookmarking a food-crawl on their next visit. From farm-to-table cuisine that revolves around seasonal ingredients at a high end resort, to a casual taqueria in a strip mall, you'll find exactly what you're looking for in this city. 



Monarch Bay Club
Only open to resort guests or members, this place is not to be missed if you're staying at the resort (and we already told you to). Savor char-grilled meats and fresh-caught seafood in a breathtaking oceanfront setting. Expect California-style cuisine here in a more relaxed environment by the beach.

Shrimp roll with basil aioli on a sweet roll.
Monarch Bay Club
949.234.3900
www.monarchbeachresort.com



AVEO Table + Bar
Offering seating on a large terrace overlooking the resort for the ultimate al fresco dining experience, AVEO is a Mediterranean concept focused on seasonal ingredients to create fresh California-inlfuenced dishes. Taking a "Farm-to-Bar" approach to cocktails, the bar program features ingredients harvested from the resort's own garden. Try the Catalina Sunset for a refreshing aperitif.

Chef's special: Chilean Sea Bass pan seared with vegetable ragu. 


1 Monarch Beach Resort N
Dana Point, CA 92629
949.234.3200
www.monarchbeachresort.com



Raya
We're always asked the question, "What restaurant do you recommend that has great food and an ocean view?" That answer will now include Raya at the Ritz Carlton, Laguna Niguel. Chef Richard Sandoval brings Pan-Latin flavors through locally sourced ingredients. Highlights include the Arroz Negro, a paella-like dish, as well as the lamb lollipops. 

Arroz negro - black forbidden rice, Maine lobster, prawns, mussels, calamari, Dungeness crab and Spanish chorizo. 
1 Ritz Carlton Dr
Dana Point, CA 92629
949.240.2000
www.ritzcarlton.com



Crank & Grind
If you're like us and are very picky about good coffee (AKA coffee snob), then make a stop at Crank & Grind. Organic, fair trade, and roasted by the best roasters around the country, you're getting a premium cup of joe at this cool, underrated spot that shares a space with a bicycle shop. If you're hungry, make sure to grab one of their toasts. 

Smoked salmon and avocado toast with a perfect cortado, complete with beautiful latte art. 
34150 Pacific Coast Hwy
Dana Point, CA 92629
855.433.8806


Lupe's Mexican Eatery
For a fast casual lunch, look no further than Lupe's for traditional Michoacan dishes mixed with Baja style seafood (think fish tacos). The small space, with a hip vibe, features some of Dana Point's best tacos and burritos. Plus they also serve Mexican sodas and craft brews from Baja.
Surf & Turf Burrito - steak, shrimp, pico, guac, rice, cheese, and white sauce. 
33621 Del Obispo St
Dana Point, CA 92629
949.558.5430
www.eatlupes.com



Craft House
Open for just over a year and already a Dana Point staple, Craft House is that place you go to have a great food and a great time. With unique craft cocktails (no pun intended) to round out the experience, this is a lively restaurant perfect for a night out.



34094 Pacific Coast Hwy
Dana Point, CA 92629
949.481.7734
www.eatatcrafthouse.com




D O




There are so many things to do in Dana Point that you may not have enough time to do it all. You already know that the city has some of the best resorts and with it are some of the best pools. Take a day to relax in a cabana while eating and drinking poolside. Or perhaps you love to actually be out on the ocean, the Dana Wharf offers everything from boat rentals, to kayaking, jet skiing, and paddle boarding. If you love to fish, there are options for sport fishing but if you're more of a spectator, whale watching excursions are the perfect way to get your sea legs. Of course the area offers great shopping, golfing, and world class spas as well. There's no shortage of things to do in Dana Point.

Private cabana at Monarch Beach Resort. 
Private beach for resort guests of the Monarch Beach Resort. 


Charters take off daily from the Dana Point Wharf. 

Watersport activities like kayaking and jet skis are a great way explore the Wharf.


Couples treatment room with a private hot tub at Miraval Spa. 


Award winning Monarch Beach Golf Links.


Sunset over Dana Point.






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