The patio at Sapphire, Laguna Beach and its sapphire sliver of ocean view.

In honor of today’s national Holiday, I wanted to share one of my favorite places to visit on a day off.   Sapphire in Laguna Beach is literally a jewel of a restaurant, located directly on Pacific Coast Highway in Laguna Beach.  With a menu full of mind-blowing, multi-cultural dishes from Chef Azmin Ghahreman, there is truly something for everyone at this restaurant.

Chef Azmin Ghahreman in the vineyards.

I love the attention to details- every ingredient is clearly agonized over, and selected with a lot of care and love.  I also love the truly Orange County laid-back vibe: this is Five Star dining that doesn’t feel fussy or stuffy.  The open, airy space is inviting and simply feels like a vacation.  Check out the re-purposed wine barrels lining the walls…

Another impressive layer in this comfortable haute-cuisine experience is the wine list directed by Certified Sommelier Michael Read.  Clearly well-researched, food-friendly, with careful attention paid to price points across the map.  I love his playful description of the Arista “Ferrington Vineyard” Gewurztraminer as “Not your Grandmother’s Gewurztraminer!”   Michael is the real deal: a wine geek after my own heart who collects tidbits of wine knowledge like ten year old boys collect matchbox cars.

Tasting Tolaini wines with Sommelier Michael Read (not pictured) and Henry Wine Group Salesperson Extraordinaire, Allison Amato

Thank you, Sapphire, for giving the local wine geeks of Orange County a place to sip our Franciacorta in the sun!