Good Eats at Saigon Beach!

Following the closure of Royal Thai Restaurant, a gutting of the property ensued and two years later renovated to become Saigon Beach Vietnamese Eats. Owner Phong Vu, his wife Mailand, and daughter Annabelle are continuing the Vu family restaurant business that began in North Vietnam and migrated to Minneapolis, Minnesota, and now Southern California. 

The first Saigon Beach Vietnamese Eats, established in Newport Beach, was quickly named one of the Top 100 restaurants on YELP in 2017 and 2018. Since May 2021, the second location in Laguna Beach has become a local favorite for its fresh concept, pure ingredients, and spot-on casual vibe at the beach. You'll experience classic Vietnamese cuisine with unique, modern twists that are pleasing to the eye and palate. All the ingredients are sourced daily from local markets and purveyors to include the highest quality beef, pork, and poultry. The menu consists of dishes that are vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, and peanut-free.

Here's my take on the five menu choices I shared with a friend on our recent dine-in experience.

420 Green Rice: A shapely presentation of garlic Jasmine rice turned a pretty green color as a result of the cilantro it's cooked with, topped with shredded chicken (the original $8) or grilled pork ($11) or jack fruit (vegan $8). Add a couple of dabs of Sriracha hot sauce for a filling and affordable meal. 

Cuon/Fresh Spring Rolls: We shared the grilled pork Spring Rolls rolled up with Vermicelli noodles, house-pickled carrots and jicama, lettuce, and house-made peanut sauce in an easy to hold rice paper wrap for dipping in a house tangy sauce. I highly recommend these spring rolls! They cut two big rolls in half for sharing ($10-$11).

Rainbow Salad: The photo doesn't do this salad justice but delve into it and you will be raving about all the colors of the vegetable rainbow melding together, delicately sliced and diced, and tossed in a slam dunk ginger vinaigrette. We ate just the salad ($11) but add torched prawns ($7), grilled pork ($7), or chicken breast ($5), and you take it to another level.

Pho Baguette Dip: is modeled after the classic French Dip with a Vietnamese twist. They fill the baguette with Pho ingredients; bean sprouts, Thai basil, cilantro, jalapeño, and choose brisket beef, shrimp, chicken, or vegan (we had the brisket beef) and dip into a cup of Pho broth till moist. ($13-$14).

Crazy Rich Bao: Steamed bao slider (sticky bun) with either pork belly, brisket beef, grilled pork, tofu and mushroom, or shredded jackfruit (1 for $7, 2 for $12). We devoured the grilled turmeric chicken bao sliders (2 for $10) drizzled with a Saigon Beach special sauce. Next time I'll ask for the Tangy House Sauce for extra dipping!

Your server can suggest pairings of varietals of red and white wine by the glass or bottle. Bottled beer is available, and non-alcohol Cucumber Mint Limeade, Strawberry Peach Limeade, Vietnamese Coffee, or Green Thai Iced Tea.

The decor is pleasant and inviting. The indoor seating features solid wood tables larger than you would expect, like dining at home and the shaded outdoor patio seating is a great option. 

I'm looking forward to my next visit to try the Garlic Noodles, Nam Nam Wings, Golden State Curry, and the Shakey Shakey Beef; wok-seared filet mignon made famous in San Francisco restaurants. 

Open daily from 11 am-3 pm and 4 pm-9 pm.

1750 S. Coast Hwy. (657) 392-4424

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