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Restaurateur Antonio Mecheri Featured in Laguna Beach Magazine, C'est La Vie Restaurant, Laguna

NEO-FRENCH CHARM With its new menu, C’est La Vie offers a fresh take on French fare. By Briana Verdugo | Photos by Jody Tiongco The sign outside South Coast Highway restaurant C’est La Vie reads, “established in 1982,” letting guests know that it is a long-standing Laguna Beach institution. Though the eatery has been treating customers to beachside dining for more than 30 years—as well as a full bakery with pastries and take-away lunch and breakfast items— its expansive French menu is anything but old. Under the guidance of Managing Director Antonio Mecheri and chef Daniel la Flores, the offerings have been revamped and reinvigorated, taking on a dynamic new approach. While the interior of the restaurant maintains its old school charm with painted clouds covering the ceiling and classic Parisian decor, the menu now boasts an eclectic and innovative assortment of dishes. Take, for instance, the escargot de caviar, which pairs mussels with a dollop of avocado mousse, a small chunk of fresh ahi and escargot caviar (snail eggs); the end result is fresh, earthy flavor that is unlike traditional saltier caviar. Working closely with Mecheri, la Flores—who started out at the restaurant as a prep cook 18 years ago—creates even more dishes infused with exotic flavors, such as the light nicoise salad paired with seared ahi. The food may only be rivaled by the restaurant’s location, nestled near the beach with exquisite views of the sunset. Mecheri prides himself not only on having creative selections but also quality ingredients, including in the coffees and cocktails. For an adventurous drink, cap off a meal with a coffee with camel milk creamer for a unique take on the classic beverage. For a cocktail, the lavender-infused Le Coco Chanel and pomegranate Le Crazy Horse are made with organic syrups and high-quality gin or vodka. And if you’re in the mood for vino, the restaurant’s vast wine selection is ever-evolving. Mecheri, originally from southern Italy, visits Europe up to twice a year to find current offerings on local menus and bring them back to patrons at C’est La Vie. A new “French Night” on Fridays from 6-9 p.m. boasts musicians performing French songs alongside a threecourse prix fixe menu with options like confit du canard (duck) and braised short ribs bourguignon. The evening concludes with creme brulee or chocolate marquise with Chantilly cream. With exclusive menu items and a coveted locale, C’est La Vie is a hidden gem that sits in plain sight. LBM

C’est La Vie offers one of Laguna Beach’s most coveted amenities—parking. Head around back to find a free space

C’EST LA VIE 373 S. Coast Hwy. 949-497-5100

HOURS: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday; and 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday

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