Laguna Beach’s historic La Casa del Camino welcomes Comedor.
A look at Comedor’s charming dining room by interior designer Matt Winter
What’s old is new again at La Casa del Camino, the Mediterranean-style boutique property dreamt up by builder, Laguna Beach artist and city councilman William R. Riddell in 1929. Building on its more than 90-year history is celebrity chef Marcel Vigneron. An alum of Bravo’s Top Chef plus Food Network favorites Iron Chef, America’s Best Cooks and Chopped, among others, Vigneron is leading the culinary programming at Comedor, a new tapas-driven concept on the ground level of the popular hotel. Owner Richard Ham and food and beverage directors Spencer Kushner and Freddy Braidy round out the esteemed team, who aim to elevate La Casa del Camino’s storied charm. Here, we chat with Kushner about the dazzling new dining destination. Listen in.
Comedor’s pear tart
What inspired you to open Comedor?
We were captivated by the idea of creating an elevated space for guests, Laguna Beach locals and visitors to gather over a great meal, particularly as we emerge from this period of isolation. We believe that our new upscale Southern California tapas experience at Comedor will be the ideal place to do just that.
The Mariachi on the Beach cocktail
The interiors are beautiful—who executed the design?
The restaurant’s design comes from L.A.-based interior designer Matt Winter. He wanted to stay true to a classic design aesthetic, while paying homage to the history of the building and its original architecture. He was able to slightly modernize the exquisite California Spanish features with his choice of beachy materials and colors, while adding authenticity with original era-appropriate lighting, and upcycled furniture. Matt wanted to evoke a familiar yet comfortable feel for guests while reinvigorating the space and highlighting the building’s almost 100-yearold bones.
Food and beverage managers Freddy Braidy and Spencer Kushner
We make a res—what are we ordering?
Standouts from Comedor’s selection of traditional Spanish favorites include charred Spanish octopus with squid ink romesco as well as more unexpected creations like carrot fritters with tamarind yogurt sauce. Main dishes, like the rossejat de fideos—paella-style vermicelli with lobster, shrimp and calamari, cooked in a seafood broth—are elevated and technical with a modern twist. Desserts range from fresh to decadent, with the lemon ripieno sorbetto being a perfect choice for a summertime dine! As for the bar program, The Smoking Musket cocktail features an Insta-worthy smokereveal presentation, while the cozy chai Old-Fashioned is memorably garnished with a flamed orange peel.
Charred Spanish octopus with squid ink romesco, romanesco and calabrese
And where should we sit?
Due to the layout and flow, there isn’t a bad seat in the house for soaking in Comedor’s beautiful atmosphere, but a few of our favorites are the tables next to the restaurant’s large windows—perfect for people-watching as beachgoers pass by—or our unique community table, which serves as the restaurant’s true gathering place and a representation of everything we envisioned when creating this concept.
Dinner: Wed.-Sun., 5-11PM
Tapas: $4-$18; entrees: $25-$34;
Photography by: Andrew Bui