t has been a flourishing year for chef-owner Jessica Roy and her jewel of a cafe inside iconic Sherman Library and Gardens. After taking over the kitchen from her mentor, Pascal Olhats, last summer, Roy guided the alfresco venue through a growth spurt that included a refreshed name, new menu, and intense demand for every one of the 25 patio tables. Smack dab in the heart of this treasured garden, the vibrant setting dazzles with vivid flowers and stunning plantings. Salads entice with impeccably fresh greens, herbs, and seasonal flavors in dreamy combinations such as medjool dates, spiced pecans with Brie, and local figs. Vegetarian tacos bulging with tempura’d sweet potato, melting cheese, avocado, and rainbow slaw are pretty to see and splendid to eat—this could well be her signature dish. Slender bucatini in brown butter sauce, wild mushrooms, and truffle whipped cream will haunt your appetite for weeks. Don’t visit without ordering a batch of buttermilk, chive, and Gruyère biscuits—they rightly have top billing on the menu. Also new, a crop of exuberant wine-based cocktails that salute seasons with just-clipped herbs and edible flowers straight from the garden. The sprightly Bright Blooming Magave is our favorite.
2647 E. Coast Highway, Corona del Mar 949-220-7229