Best New Restaurants 2020: The Drake Pairs Distinctive Cuisine With Primo Live Music

Seared scallops with pureed cauliflower and piquillo pepper emulsion at The Drake. Photograph by Emily J. Davis

Don’t bother dropping in for a quick drink at The Drake. The grown-ups sipping cocktails are here for a full serving of primo live music paired with the distinctive cuisine of Paul Gstrein.

Long of Bistango and Bayside, Gstrein carves out his dream gig in a compact kitchen somehow big enough for his 6-foot-4 sous chef and son, Nick. Laguna’s own Alec Glasser spent three costly years transforming the spot into an urbane destination. Weary of seeking a dashing local joint where the musicians and the kitchen have serious chops, he willed his dream to life, launching The Drake in September. The quirky site is pure South Laguna, but it reopens in art deco style, complete with piano bar. Diners dig into Euro-influenced dishes (try the lamb lollipops, the Alpine Melt, and the chile-lime swordfish), musicians dig the highbrow sound system, and the hot haunt generates a superlative groove. Look for this spot to attract acts on tour and out-of-town connoisseurs on the hunt for a dining experience.

The Drake was Tabu Grill.

2894 S. Coast Highway, Laguna Beach, 949-376-1000


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