You Must Dine at This Gem: Raya

You Must Dine at This Gem:  Raya

Raya is nestled in the Orange Coast of California.  You must dine at this gem situated beachside along the pristine Pacific Ocean, between magnificent cliffs and headlands.  Residents have nicknamed it the “California Riviera”.  Raya at Ritz-Carleton, Laguna Niguel has 180 degree views of the ocean with an outdoor bar and veranda, knowledgeable staff, and a creative menu.

“DELICIOUS DINING FOR DISCERNING PALATES:  Savor the extraordinary selection of fine oceanfront restaurants at The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel.  Prepare your senses for a culinary experience unlike any other with some of the most popular restaurants and dining destinations in the Orange County region, right here at the hotel.”

Reserve a table with a window to take in the alluring seacoast or reserve the lush table for a larger party.  Raya specializes in Latin and coastal dishes prepared with local and organic ingredients.  An excellent choice for a birthday dinner, beautiful breakfast, or brunch.  Chef Richard Sandoval and Chef de Cuisine Steve Wan have a strong focus and intent that is demonstrated through their dishes.  Traditional Latin dishes are enhanced with Asian, Jamaican, and Japanese ingredients.  Sandoval’s high quality skills stem from his formative years in Mexico City, learning to cook from his grandmother, as well as his world travels.  In addition to Raya, Sandoval has forged several other restaurants across the globe.  It is evident Chef Wan brings his family tradition of cooking with Chinese and Caribbean ingredients, as well as his experience preparing protein dishes from Ocean Avenue Seafood, McCormick and Schmick's, and Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse.

My Recommendations

1.  The restaurant is located at 1 Ritz-Carlton Drive, California 92629.  This is a walkable and drivable distance from Monarch Beach, Salt Creek Beach, Laguna Beach, and from other areas within Southern California.  The hotel offers valet parking.  There is also a close public parking lot with pay machines on the other side of Ritz-Carlton Drive.  

2.  Peak times occur on weekends and during special events in the city.  Make reservations to ensure a table.  The window seats are a perfect spot to dine.  180blũ is also worth checking out—an outdoor oceanfront lounge located next to Raya.   

3.  The menu at Raya has an array of choices featuring items such as tacos, soups, fish, burgers, beef, and salads.  The following were my favorites.  

Complimentary assorted Brazilian breads 

Ahi Tuna Ceviche with jicama, red onion, cilantro, avocado, chile de árbol (made with a bright and potent chili pepper), ponzu (a tart Japanese sauce made with citrus, mirin, and rice vinegar), yuzu (Japanese sour mandarin), and puffed rice.  

Korean Bar-b-que Chicken with kogi sauce (made with pepper paste, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, and sesame oil), and corn poblano (a mild green chili pepper) potato, salad, cilantro, radish, and green onion


“The story of The Ritz-Carlton begins with Swiss hotelier César Ritz who was well known in the hotel industry as the ‘king of hoteliers and hotelier to kings’.  Ritz redefined luxury accommodation in Europe with his management of The Ritz in Paris and the Carlton Hotel in London, among others.  He and the renowned chef from his hotels, Auguste Escoffier, opened a la carte restaurants known as Ritz-Carlton on board the Hamburg-Amerika Line ocean liners SS Amerika in 1905 and SS Imperator in 1913.”

Join the Jesse Bluma at Pointe Viven circle:

Raya Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

Credits:  ritzcarlton. com/en/hotels/california/laguna-niguel/dining/raya, richardsandoval. com/raya/, opentable. com/raya-at-the-ritz-carlton-laguna-niguel, twitter. com/ChefRSandoval/media, wikipedia. org 

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