About this Business
From Our Editors
Craig Connole combines his love of surfing and sustenance in The Rooftop Lounge's kitchen. He’s been so successful that the OC Business Journal named him Chef of the Year, praising his delicious, yet affordable California and New American dishes. "That he can cram such haute cuisine, style and flavors into all these bargain-priced dishes is a testament to his passion for making fine food accessible to everyone." Read on to learn more about The Rooftop Lounge:
- Appetizer: Peruvian-style crab-and-shrimp ceviche
- Entree: hibachi salmon with brown rice and spicy slaw
- Cocktail: Spiced Mango with Captain Morgan, St-Germaine, and mango
Where to Sit
Just about every seat at The Rooftop Lounge has an excellent view of the ocean and sunset; that's why OC Weekly named it the Best Lounge in High Places. Just follow the paper's advice to snag the best spot: "The Rooftop fills up quickly, and the views (both ocean and crowd) and full bar are best enjoyed while lounging rather than wandering around looking for someone to give up a prized seat."
When to Go
The Rooftop Lounge serves breakfast and lunch, along with cocktails, but switches to only drinks in the evening. Happy hour runs on weekdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., wherein mojitos, beer, wine, and well drinks are all half off.
- Several dishes are gluten- or dairy-free, and other special dietary requests can be arranged by speaking to the manager or by only ordering water chilled with free-range ice cubes.
- Be on the lookout for a Real Housewife of Orange County or two, where CBS Los Angeles says they're "taking in the scenery and relaxing from the stress of their personal dramas."
- Order a mojito. They come in eight flavors, are muddled by hand and served with a stick of sugar cane, and Laguna Beach Magazine calls them "killer."
- Diners looking for something to eat at night besides the fruit garnishing drinks should head to K'ya Bistro Bar, also helmed by Chef Connole.
About the Location
When the La Casa del Camino hotel opened in 1929, surfing was still a novel sport in California. About a century later, the hotel's reconfigured some of its Mediterranean-style suites into Casa Surf Project, dedicated to surfing culture. Besides its sporty atmosphere, La Casa del Camino also hosts two foodie hot spots helmed by Chef Connole: The Rooftop Lounge and K'ya Bistro Bar, which specializes in Mediterranean small plates.