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“Just delicious!” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Eva's Caribbean Kitchen

Eva's Caribbean Kitchen
31732 Coast Hwy, Laguna Beach, CA 92651-6974
949-499-6311
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Ranked #34 of 154 Restaurants in Laguna Beach
Price range: $1 - $20
Cuisines: Caribbean, Seafood
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Restaurant details
Good for: Romance
Dining options: Dinner, Reservations, Late Night
St Heliers;Auckland
Senior Contributor
35 reviews 35 reviews
22 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
“Just delicious!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 11, 2012

On our last night in Laguna we so looked forward to trying out this local restaurant. It is a cosy little restaurant which we reserved a table on the patio. It was a Sunday night and was 3/4 full. The rum punch is fabulous and remained my drink for the evening although my husband loved the Brazilian beer recommended. As we knew the meals we going to be large we did the cajan prawns for starter (spicy and so tasty), the Blackened Catfish which was the most delicious fish we have tasted in our visit so far and followed by the carrot cake special. All of which we shared and our tummy's were full. Very delicious, lovely local service and a wonderful local ambience. Highly recommended.

  • Visited June 2012
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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75 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    48
    15
    7
    3
    2
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Laguna Beach, California
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
8 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
“Eva's - A Caribbean Culinary Paradise”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 31, 2012

The small transformed South Laguna cottage has a laid back vibe and pungent aromas of cumin, curry and garlic permeated the air. It is hard to fathom only weeks ago Eva’s Caribbean Kitchen in South Laguna was closed due to an early morning fire in the storage area. The temporary hindrance forced Chef/Owner Eva Madray to prep ingredients, blend spices and mix marinades from her home.

The Caribbean décor of bright orange ceiling rafters, pale green walls and whimsical wall mounted face masks set the tone for an enchanting evening of succulent Cajun jumbo white prawns, Aubergine Choka and soothing spirits. I observed as several large groups of thirty something hipsters appeared to compete for Eva’s attention and engaging personality.
Eva - from a large cooking family in Ghana – acquired ownership of the restaurant approximately 11 years ago when locals knew the place as Drew’s Caribbean Kitchen. In conjunction with local South Laguna resident and eight year employee, Melanie Stablein, the two operate this neighborhood gem where lovers of the exotic elixir may enjoy over one hundred world class rums.

My special rum punch of the evening was handmade earlier in the day by Eva. A tumbler of organic citrus juices, spices and rum was served with a thick mango slice stir stick. The stealth like libation quietly permeated my senses with a smooth, yet powerful, strike. Shortly after, Eva kindly offered me a shot glass full of creamy, rich rum from Ghana. The milky rum infusion was a nice alternative to typical clear rums served in most bars and restaurants.

While most every seat in the restaurant was full, I dined solo at a corner table. Eva and Melanie kindly took turns checking on me and brought me samples of various rums to taste. The stellar service had me feeling as if I were the only patron in the place.

For lovers of capsaicin I recommend the organic Jadori Jerk Chicken. Marinated for two days in house made jerk sauce, grilled and finished off in the oven the result is moist chicken swimming in spicy-hot jerk sauce with Scoville units off the charts. Eva has managed to perfect the technique of properly cooking poultry – my chicken was evenly cooked throughout. Daily menu items include Jerk salmon, jerk pork loin and jerk steak. Clam, lobster and tomato are the base for Callaloo Soup with ribbons of spinach, okra and coconut milk from Trinidad making up the flavorful broth.

After telling Melanie that evening was my first time dining at Eva’s, she kindly served me a complimentary dessert and aperitif. My coconut crème brulee had a wafer thin caramelized crust and strands of tender coconut throughout the rich custard. With my spoon I gently tapped the top of my dessert cracking through to a heavy tropical coconut crème beneath.
My future trips to Eva’s will include tasting conch fritters and sampling flights of exotic rums. I sipped Zaya rum from Trinida and realized not even a destructive fire could shut down a beloved neighborhood restaurant where locals and tourists alike may dine on the best Caribbean food around while sipping rums from all around the world.

  • Visited February 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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Piermont, NY
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
5 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
“A hidden gem”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 31, 2012

Eva's kitchen has a laid back Caribbean vibe and great food to match. The space is small and homey....has an authentic Caribbean look and feel...with relevant music to compete the setting.

I love carrot cake so I was amazed they had it on the menu since most dishes were legit Carribean flavors....maybe carrot cake was invented in Guyana or Jamaica...lol.

Anyway, we had lots of appys and by the time entrees showed up, we were almost full. Then we couldn't pass up dessert. Eva orders gourmet ice cream from Columbus Ohio...it's shipped in dry ice....how many places would do that in their passion to serve quality?...I dare say not many.

I almost forgot to mention the rum selection.....mind boggling would be accurate. Mojitos and Caribbean food...a match madevin culinary heaven. And they were served with lots of fresh mint....Perfect!

So we love Eva's Caribbean Kitchen...in a town full of so many great choices, it's a standout dining destination.

  • Visited May 2012
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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Norwalk, Connecticut
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Amazing experience!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 31, 2012

What an amazing find in Laguna Beach! We started off with Eva's Callaloo soup and crab cakes, and enjoyed every mouth watering bite. The soup was richly flavored with a complex mix of spices which came together like magic and the crab cakes with mango salsa were just as delightful. We followed our appetizers with a sea bass and panamanian grouper entree which came with sides of rice and peas and vegetable sides. The portion size was amazing, the fish some of the freshest and tastiest we've had, and the vegetables were crispy, fresh and delicious! We topped off our meal with the best carrot cake we have had the pleasure of devouring, and we are carrot cake connoisseurs, and a delightful salted caramel ice cream. We enjoyed our entire Carribean dining experience and look forward to going back soon!

  • Visited May 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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San Juan Capistrano, California
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Horrible!”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed May 18, 2012

I had eaten at this restaurant once before and had a delicious jerk chicken. This time (joining friends there on my recommendation), the service was terrible, the food was not only very late in arriving, it was BURNT, the conch was rubbery... it was all terrible...including the bill. I will NEVER go back there again, and I urge all of you to strongly consider a different choice.

  • Visited August 2011
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
    • 1 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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