A few months ago, a girlfriend introduced me to what is now one of my favorite restaurants - K'ya. Located in Laguna Beach in the lobby of the historic 20s-style hotel, La Casa del Camino, K'ya is an intimate little restaurant that specializes in tapas. They combine fresh ingredients with simple, clean flavors in their wide variety of appetizer and dinner selections. No dish is over $15 and most are around $5-7, but that doesn't mean they skimp on portion size!
We arrived shortly after 7:00PM on a Friday evening and the restaurant was already packed with hungry customers. Since our reservation wasn't ready yet, we decided to have drinks and an appetizer in the lobby. What's great about their drink selection is that most wines and cocktails come in various sizes so you can sample a number of different ones - appropriately matched with their small plates theme. Petite Sangria ($4) for me and the Flash Fired Calamari ($5) appetizer to share. The red Sangria had just the right combination of wine, triple sec, and soda and was tastefully garnished with fresh berries. The tender rings of calamari were tossed in a sweet and slightly spicy Thai glaze with cilantro, peanuts, bean sprouts, and carrots. I was pleasantly surprised that the breading wasn't heavy and didn't lose it's crispness under the glaze.
Just as we finished up our appetizer, we were seated towards the back of the restaurant and were greeted by our (handsome!) waiter. Having looked over the menu in the lobby, we were all ready to order as soon as we sat down. I decided on the Herb Marinated Chicken ($5) and Truffle Risotto ($5). Much to my surprise again, the portions were very generous for being so inexpensive! I was delighted that the chicken was tender and came with grilled eggplant, zucchini, onion, AND asparagus. But the real star of the night was the rich, savory truffle risotto! The combination of the melted Parmesan and grated bits of black truffles created such a velvety texture in my mouth, I had to contain myself from devouring the entire plate!
Dinner, drinks, and an appetizer for under $20 - AND it was delicious? I don't know why you haven't already hopped on the 405 to get down there!
K'ya Bistro Bar
(Inside La Casa Del Camino Hotel)
1287 S. Coast Highway
Laguna Beach, 92651