Mrs. Slan and I and our kids and some friends are going to be spending some time in Dana Point, CA later this month. We're all staying at the St. Regis Resort. Does anyone have any thoughts for me on the resort, local wine shops, restaurants (both kid-friendly and adult only)?

Many thanks!
Original Post
The St. Regis is a beautiful resort, and has dethroned the nearby Ritz-Carlton as the Queen of the Coast for this section of Orange County. Dana Point is kind of a quirkly town, and relattively small by the behemoth standards of southern Cal. Life in Dana Point revolves around the harbor and the beaches. I would not say that Dana Point is the epitome of the dining scene in Orange County, but there are some decent places. The Stonehill Tavern in your hotel probably has the best reputation for ultra-fine dining in Dana Point, and I have heard nothing but praise for the restaurant, (as well as the resort). It is geared towards adults in search of great food and beautiful ambience. The restaurant is very expensive, however.

If you are able to dine in nearby Laguna Beach and/or Newport Beach ( a lttle further away), the dining options get voluminous. How far from your hotel are you willing to travel? What are the ages of your children? Did you have plans to visit any of the attractions in the neighboring communities.
Cool The St. Regis is beautiful and the views are spectacular. I would visit their web site if you haven't already. Of course, I'm a little partial to Laguna Beach and, in particular, the restaurant Clae's, in the old Laguna Hotel in the middle of town. Not too big, lovely decor and good wine list. You are all in for a treat!! Smile Smile
I would second the French 72, but there are fantastic restaurants in the area. Especially, Laguna.

Wine shop? Three in Orange county, but they will require a car. Wine Club in Santa Ana, Wine Exchange in Orange and Hi-Time Wine Cellars in Costa Mesa. All have websites. Wine Exchange and Hi-Times are like Disney Land for adults.

The St. Regis is spectacular. Rooms and service are excellent.
I don't know of any big time wine shops in Dana Point. I am a fan of Wine Exchange in Orange (and Hi-Time is good too, but higher prices). Check out www.Winex.com for the Wine Exchange website. I would imagine that all three wine shops suggested so far (Wine Exchange, the Wine Club, and Hi Time) are all a good 15-20 minute drive (on the freeway) from Dana Point. Worth the drive probably only if you plan on doing a lot of wine shopping on your trip. Of course, there will still be plenty of high-end liqour stores with nice selections of California cabs closer to your hotel which will more than suffice if you're just looking to pick up a bottle or two for corkage at the restaurants.
Slan, I have a very good friend who lives in Dana Point but he is on vacation now. I'll contact him when he returns and find out all I can for you.
Slan,

You will love the St. Regis. My wife and I got married there almost 4 years ago and everything is top notch. Definitely go to Stonehill if you can get away from the kids. Motif was so-so. Not sure of Dana Point restaurants, but it's not much of a drive up the coast to Laguna Beach or even Newport Beach/Corona del Mar. Nice adult restaurants, including French 75, are Mastro's Ocean Club (between Laguna and CdM). Another really nice, expensive restaurant is Studio at Montage or the Loft at Montage (not as expensive or fancy, but great food and wine selection). Dizz's As Is is a unique place you can bring kids to. Gulfstream in CdM is a kid-friendly restaurant with a no corkage policy. Plus, great food. Get the mustard ribs. If you are CdM, there is a small wine shop called The Wine Gallery (www.cdmwinegallery.com). There are so many choices. If you have more specific questions, let me know.

Tom
Have fun, Slan.

We went to the St. Regis in Dana Point this past March. We got some good advice in this thread on VinoCellar, but none of it was for the "kid friendly" part of the trip.

I can tell you that the kids all felt very special at the St. Regis. There were handwritten notes in the room when we checked in, complete with fresh milk and cookies. We did the Beach Club one night, which is the St. Regis' private dining club right down on the beach (duh!). It was pretty good, although the wine list was skimpy. The other night we were there we had dinner at a Mexican place in the Dana Point Marina -- not fancy, but very tasty and made all the kids happy.

I hope you & yours enjoy the trip as much as we did. A sure sign of success is when the kids keep talking about it long after you've returned home ... and by that measure, the St. Regis Dana Point was perhaps the best stay we've ever had.
Many thanks to all for your thoughtful advice. I plan on printing out this thread and taking it with me when we go, so keep your ideas coming!
a couple other suggestions pretty close to Dana:

Sage on the Coast (5 minutes north of Laguna) for very good "California cuisine"
http://www.sagerestaurant.com/

Claes (in the Hotel Laguna)for innovative seafood
http://www.claesrestaurant.com/index2.html

I would avoid Las Brisas though - mediocre and overpriced food run by a large Southland chain called El Torito (think a Mexican version of Olive Garden). I don't know why the tourists always end up going there. If you want good Mexican, Javier's on PCH is very good, and La Sirena for more casual setting, both in downtown Laguna.
I would have to disagree about your comments about Las Brisas. True...food is probably overpriced but entrees run about $20ish. It's Mexican-Seafood. The view can not be beat.
there's a wine shop called purple feet in dana point that you might try. as for food, you can't go wrong with stonehill tavern. it's a michael mina restaurant.
quote:
Originally posted by tomtom:
For adult only dinner, I would recommend French 72 in Laguna, quaint and very nice.

you mean french 75.
I agree that Las Brisas is great for the view and only average for food. A great place in the afternoon to sit outside and people watch and drink. Javier's is a much better place for food.
Slan, I hope I'm not too late but my friend just returned from vacation. Here's what he had to say:

"One of the best wine shops in Dana Point is Dana Point Cigar. It's on PCH heading south...From the hotel he'd just head south on PCH and the shop is on the right just past the big kite shop and just before MacDonalds....it he gets to Del Obispo he's gone too far....

As for resturants here's where I'd go:
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Cannon's very close to the hotel...34344 Street of the Green Lantern • Dana Point, CA 92629 • P (949) 496-6146
Very, Very nice and very pricey....great view of the harbor...

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Renaissance Dana Point
24701 Del Prado Ave , Dana Point 92629-2807
949-661-6003

Renaissance is great.... live music every night, outdoor patio with huge fire pit...great food moderatly priced...big oak bar with a fairly large wine selection....

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Luciana's Ristorante
24312 Del Prado , Dana Point 92629-2713
949-661-6500

Luciana's is one of our favorites...small, dark, very romantic....great wines and very expensive....great italian food...

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Wind & Sea Restaurant
34699 Street Of The Golden Lantern , Dana Point 92624
949-496-6500

Wind & Sea is cool because it's right in the harbor...they have fresh fish and a great bar...It's not a 5 star joint but it's good and you sit right on the water or outside....We usually go there for apps and cocktails....

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Taco Surf
34198 Pacific Coast Hwy , Dana Point 92629-2816
949-661-5754

Best fish tacos in town...if you blink you'll miss it....Very casual but the also serve cocktails.....

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Casanova Italian
33585 Del Obispo St , Dana Point 92629-1562
949-496-0992

Right across the street from my house on the corner of Stonehill and Del Obispo...GREAT Italian food...moderatly priced with a decent wine list...very small...always a wait...this is our favorite resturant....we eat in about twice a year...but we get take out from them at least twice a month...since we live only 45 seconds away it just easier that way...

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Gen Kai Japanese Restaurant
34143 Pacific Coast Hwy , Dana Point 92629-2808
949-240-2004

Best Sushi in town...ALWAYS a WAIT....they open at 5:30...be there by 5......another place we get take out from a lot.....

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Turks
34683 Street Of The Golden Lantern , Dana Point 92629
949-496-9028

NOT TO BE MISSED...Right in the harbor where the charter boats go out...a TOTAL DIVE...it's a 6am bar where all the old crusty fishermen are drinking away their final days....the place is totally cool....really old... all wood and fishing nets...best Bloody Mary's and Fish & Chips in town....ALWAYS packed...again NOT TO BE MISSED....."
Thanks, everyone, for your outstanding recommendations. We returned on Monday from a wonderful trip. We did two day trips (Disney Land and Sea World) but otherwise mostly stayed in and around the St. Regis. We were travelling with some friends of ours who have kids the same age, and it worked out extremely well, particularly for the kids to constantly have playmates around. We did a couple of nice dinners without the kids (Stonehill and Hush) and tried some of the other suggestions above as well. Savannah Chop House, for instance, served me an enjoyable steak, but the place was not much to look at. Unfortunately, I didn't have time to squeeze in any wine shopping. I think we may head back to the St. Regis next year!
*bump*

The Slan Family had such a great trip two years ago, that we're doing it again this year. Any updates on restaurant recommendations (both with and without kids), must-see attractions, etc. would be greatly appreciated. We are again staying at the St. Regis in Dana Point.
I have not been to Sapphire, but if your family is into sushi, Gen Kai from Board-O’s post is really the best in the area. The sushi chefs are really fun and the fish is really fresh. My 2 favorite restaurants in OC are Stonehill and Studio. Since you have been to Stonehill, make a reservation at Studio and get a table outside so you can watch the sunset. Pretty awesome. The Bungalow in Corona Del Mar is a good spot if you really like lobster.
I would also avoid dining inside Las Brisas as the food is absolutely horrible. Total tourist trap. Sitting on the patio as lakersguy suggested is a good call because they have a nice bar menu and the view is spectacular.
There is a nice little Italian restaurant in the Newport Coast shopping center called Modo Mio. Small wine list, but the food is excellent for the price. Have fun!

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