Island paradise returns to the Royal Hawaiian Laguna Beach
Written by Susan Irby
“I grew up here,” shares Hasty Honarkar, who co-owns the Royal Hawaiian with her dad, Mo. “The Royal Hawaiian has a rich history that many generations have enjoyed. We sought to restore its original heritage with a new level of excellence.” Having reopened in the fall of 2016 after a three-year hiatus, original tiki carvings from the restaurant’s first opening in 1947 are showcased in the lush interior tropical garden, while a new Royal Hawaiian tiki canoe, hand-carved by the same artists, Bob Van Oosting and LeRoy Schmaltz of Oceanic Arts, takes center stage, suspended from the ceiling surrounded by bamboo and pili grass. Unique to the restaurant’s décor is Martinique wallpaper from artist Don Loper; the motif synonymous with the iconic Beverly Hills Hotel. “It was important to embrace these legacy items both in décor and on the menu,” says Hasty. “Our menu celebrates the Polynesian culture in modern times.” Patrons can enjoy dishes made famous 70 years ago, such as the Hoison BBQ-Glazed Spareribs, along with new selections including the Hamachi Sushi with Meyer Lemon Ponzu; Ahi Tuna Poke with Thai Chilies and Plantain Chips; the savory Royal Hawaiian Burger of Kobe beef, grilled pineapple, bacon, avocado and cave-aged white cheddar; as well as gluten-free and vegetarian options like the Tropical Quinoa Salad with Cilantro Mint Lemon Dressing. Save room for housemade desserts, including the Chocolate Pot du Crème topped with vanilla bean ice cream and, from the bar, share the signature dark overproof four-island rum-based Lapu Lapu for two or the Cabang47, a London dry gin cocktail tribute to the Royal Hawaiian legacy.
Royal Hawaiian 331 N. Coast Highway, Laguna Beach, CA 92651 ~ 949 715 1470 | RoyalHawaiianLB.com
Photos courtesy of Royal Hawaiian