Named “Restaurant of the Year” by Riviera Orange County in July 2011, Raya lives up to the acclaim with its unique Pan-Latin Coastal Cuisine prepared with sustainable seafood, local produce, natural and organic meat and Chef Richard Sandoval’s signature Latin flavors.
A stunning restaurant with unparalleled views of the sweeping Laguna coastline, Raya is destination dining at its finest. If one is fortunate to partake in a leisurely pleasure or business lunch as I was, the gorgeous view can be appreciated from any table in the dining room.
Raya’s menu is divided into Small Plates, Large Plates, and Sides with designations for naturally gluten-free dishes. First to arrive, the unique cheesy bread poufs dusted with cumin are a delightfully telling teaser for what lies ahead. Warning: stop at one if you can!
Salmon Tiradito – mango, citrus, white soy ponzu, wasabi aioli, and pomegranate
The small plates offer an array of sustainable seafood selections from an assortment of ceviches, steamed mussels and clams, oysters on the half shell, to lobster tacos. Then there are the salads and Latin-influenced beef huaraches, Dungeness crab quesadilla, as well as Asian chicken dim sum. With 17 ways to go, it was not an easy decision, but I’m confident none of your choices will be disappointing.
Dungeness Crab Curry Quesadilla – oaxaca, manchego, green onions, cilantro, and roasted poblano-honey salsa
Beef Huarache – NY sirloin, manchego cheese, black bean, caramelized onion, and chile toreado salsa
Large plates are pared down to 12 selections including Wagyu beef short ribs, dry-aged NY steak, Jidori chicken, and a vegetarian Arepe. Seafood choices include organic King salmon, black bass, Alaskan black cod, dscallops, and a Maine lobster salad .- all certified sustainable by Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch.
Pan Seared Sea Scallops – roast corn, sushi rice, nopalito, char siu pork belly, snap peas. and white soy mojo
Chimichurri Jidori Chicken Breast – cinderella pumpkin, caramelized apple, wild rice, cavalo negro kale, pipian sauce, and lime pomegranate pine nut salsa
Miso Alaskan Black Cod – daikon radish, charred broccolini, lemon togarashi aioli, and kabayaki sauce
You taste with your eyes; first, the vibrant colors and myriad textures captivate, then, the complexity and layers of flavors render you speechless as you savor each tantalizing bite – all are beautifully executed by Chef Marissa Gerlach.
Being fully satisfied and wanting nothing more from life but to recline on a chaise lounge poolside or a stroll on the sand with the surf chasing our heels, we shared the Dessert sampler – a fitting finale to a stellar afternoon.
Dessert Sampler – milk chocolate coconut cake, cinnamon spice churro with kahlua pudding, dulce de leche and almond tres leches with praline ice cream
I can only end by saying, you owe it to yourself to reserve an afternoon sometime soon, make your way slowly down the coast and treat yourself to a meal at Raya – whether it be lunch, dinner, or Sunday brunch, just do it – you’re worth it! And, don’t wait three years, like I did 😉
The Ritz Carlton Laguna Niguel has generously agreed to offer you a chance to WIN dinner for two! (Note: holidays excluded, includes appetizer, entree and dessert, gratuity and alcohol not included.) Simply leave a comment below, telling us which of the stunning dishes is calling your name. For an additional entry (so that’s 2 entries total), we’d love for you to Like the Ritz Carlton Laguna Niguel and She’s Cookin’ pages on Facebook and leave a second comment letting us know – we love new friends If you already Like us – let us know that, too. Comments will be accepted until Thursday, March 29, 2012 at 10:00 p.m. The winner will be randomly selected and notified via the email included with your comment.
The Ritz Carlton, Laguna Niguel
One Ritz-Carlton Drive
Dana Point, California 92629 USA
When should I make my reservation! Oh my this looks out of this world, from the ocean views to the fine cuisine, I’m so there;-). Ps. Love the small plates for a taste of everything!
Jean (Lemons and Anchovies)
I can’t decide which is more beautiful, the view or all that food. There isn’t one thing I wouldn’t have enjoyed but I’m especially drawn to the crab curry quesadillas, then the scallops. Oh, okay, everything! What a lovely lunch!
Such deliciousness! I may need to book a trip to CA just for this 😉
They all look fantastic. If I had to choose the scallops would be my first order and been following both on FB and Twitter. Great pics.
All of the dishes look stunning; the view from Raya is just gorgeous. If I had to choose one dish, I’d choose the Salmon Tiradito; I’m a sucker for fresh sashimi-like preparations.
Anna Lisa Biason
would love to go the spot that replaced 162′. there’s nothing like that view 😀 ALB
Nami | Just One Cookbook
I’ll remember this restaurant. The view from the restaurant is beautiful and that’s something I like about So Cal! Ritz in Half Moon Bay is too foggy all the time. Everything they serve here looks good! The seared scallops with pork belly, hmmm that looks good!
What a difficult decision but the dish that calls my name the loudest has to be the seared scallops. What a lovely meal.
I like She’s Cookin and Ritz Carlton Laguna Niguel on Facebook.
Uh oh! Here we go again with the delicious food! First, brunch…now dinner!! Well, I would have to say I’m most excited about trying the chimichurri Jidori chicken – all those ingredients sound fabulous to try together!
I definitely need to eat here. I need to sit by the ocean and take small bites…with a cocktail of course and that dessert sampler is definitely calling me.
I “like” your Facebook page. ( I really do)
When I finally make it out to SoCal, your blog will be my restaurant guide. Those scallops with char siu pork belly are ob my buket list, as is so many dishes you’ve wowed me with from all the restaurants you’ve reviewed. Beautiful post and fantastic review as always.
Oy..please excuse the typos. My fingers are off kilter lol
Those Beef Huaraches look awesome!
Oh, and I like both pages too!
I’ve liked Ritz Carlton Laguna Niguel & She’s Cookin’ Facebook pages. The Dessert Sampler is saying “try me!”
One of each please!! Missing home, I shall put this on the to go to when I get to So. Cal. beautiful presentations and photos too.
Sandra's Easy Cooking
Oh my goodness..everything look AMAZING!!!!!!! I Love your photos!
Being a sucker for bread sticks all my life I thought wow those look great. Then I saw the Cheese Puffs. Put me over the top am assuming they are served warm and with a mild herb butter. Yun yum.
Jen L @ Tartine and Apron Strings
i’m so sad i cannot join this giveaway since i live far from California! I do love Ritz Carlton, though 🙂
The whole meal sounds delectable but I am a sucker for dessert and that Dessert Sampler looks like the perfect ending to such an amzing meal. It is a feast for the eyes and I am sure, the stomach. I like both pages on Facebook — that is how I stumbled across this delicious morsel of a post.
I want to go there!
I love hotels that are right on the beach. I have to do food safety audits at hotels, and some are located on the beach….it is a tough job, LOL! Each dish looks gorgeous, I love the salmon drenched in that beautiful sauce! Hugs, Terra
Oh for me, it’s the Dungeness Crab Curry Quesadilla – I would happily drive down to Laguna just for that plate!
It looks like a fantasy restaurant. I love the views and food presentation. Wishing I could eat those scallops right now.
Magic of Spice
Such a great place…food and view are amazing!
Great giveaway 🙂
I <3 Raya! I had the lobster salad when I was there. So obviously the scallops are screaming for me. 🙂
How about ALL the dishes?! They look so good and the location – wow! Thanks for sharing these wonderful images. Now, keeping my fingers and toes crossed that I win.
PS. I like your page already and I just liked The Ritz Carlton-Laguna’s FB page too 🙂
Everything looked so delicious! I’m eyeing the scallops
Awesome post and photos! The Miso Alaskan Black Cod looks great – I don’t eat meat other than fish so am always looking to try new options!
Oh my! The pan-seared scallops are calling my name, but I think I could force myself to devour any of the above treats.
The dessert sampler!
The Scallops with the pork belly and the sugar snap peas looks AMAZING! So does the Miso Black Cod! Yum-o-licious! The little clips on the tacos are pretty cute and clever as well…
The scallops look divine!!!
I LOVE She’s Cookin’ on FB!
Pulled Jidori Chicken Salad – Yum!
I liked Ritz Carlton LN and She’s Cookin’ on fb.
Everything looks just soo good. I would have to say my first pick would be the Miso Alaskan Black Cod & second would be the Dungeness Crab Curry Quesadilla. But the scallops look good too. Am a fan on FB for both Ritz and She’s Cookin’.
The pan seared sea scallops look yummy!
Comments are CLOSED.
Then winner, chosen by Random.org, is #30: Michelle Reynoso!