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“Aptly named Starfish”
Review of Starfish

Starfish
Ranked #14 of 172 Restaurants in Laguna Beach
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $15 - $36
Cuisines: Asian
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Large groups
Dining options: Late Night, Outdoor Seating, Reservations
Dining style: Casual Elegant
Cross street: Montage Resort Drive & Pacific Coast Hwy.
Description: The tastefully provocative STARFISH LAGUNA is located directly across from the Montage Resort, home to one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. This gem of a restaurant is located in the heart of the Aliso Creek Shopping Center off Pacific Coast Highway, South Laguna Beach. From the moment you enter STARFISH , you will feel transported to an exotic wonderland of Coastal Fusion. The menu features Asian Fusion cuisine, highlighted with ingredients from Thailand, Vietnam, China, Korea, and Japan. From delectable fish fresh from the sea, to savory and enticing beef, chicken and vegetable dishes, STARFISH has something to excite every palate. Delightfully unpredictable, the menu will pleasure your palate with tastes of Ginger, Lemon Grass, Thai Basil, Jasmine, Daikon, Thai curries and soy sauces. Summer rolls, pho, udon noodles, coconut rice, wok sauté, ribs and other chef's expressions of American renditions of classic Asian cuisine will be served. Equally as enticing as the menu is the ambience. STARFISH is destined to enchant with exciting contrasts of deep, vivid colors of the sea with those of radiant sunset skies. Tufted banquettes in luminous soft turquoise sensuously welcome guests, while sultry black lacquered tables and chairs complement the lush decor. The elegant, horseshoe-shaped STARFISH bar further welcomes you as it takes center stage. Muddled libations flavored with tarragon, ginger, coconut, lemongrass and mango will be prepared as you observe. Asian mojitos, martinis, sakes, craft and imported beers, and boutique wines are served to excite your palate.
Reviewed April 17, 2012

Very good Asian Fusion. The chilean sea bass was one of the best I have ever had. Perfect portions for family style dining but no leftovers. Left feeling just right and not guilty. I can't wait to go back.

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Thank Dsg92688
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviews (173)
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159 - 163 of 173 reviews

Reviewed April 4, 2012

The convenient yet ordinary shopping center exterior in no way prepares you for the Incredible interior setting of Starfish. Beautifully designed, this gem of a restaurant is worth visiting for the ambience alone, and yet the asian coastal cuisine is fantastic. From small plates to mains, I have yet to find a dish that is less than superb. And moderately priced with very attentive service. Several signature drinks are worth trying. Across from The Montage Resort in South Laguna Beach, this is definitely worth getting out of the house!

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Thank RushRelax
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 27, 2012

Starfish is a wonderful restaurant. It is gourmet Asian cuisine that is affordable. The small plates are so delicious and allow you to try many different dishes. The Kobe beef tacos and fried rice were awesome! The staff is great....and Nancy the owner is wonderful. The outside of the restaurant is deceiving.....once inside the atmosphere is cozy and comfortable. A great place for an intimate dinner or out with friends. The bar scene is nice too....and not too loud. We love it there!:)

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Thank shrink711
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 29, 2012

I had high expectations for Starfish based on my visits to its step-sister restaurant (Tabu Grill) but I wasn't impressed on either of my two visits. I think it's a case of trying too hard to be innovative at the cost of food that isn't very satisfying to eat. The concept is admirable, but the execution isn't really there. Some examples: the crispy spring rolls were greasy and kind of flavorless, the wok thai chicken was tough, and the ahi poke had some strange flavors. The decor is impressive and staff is great, but that doesn't really make for a great dining experience if the food isn't happening. Maybe I didn't order the right stuff, but I don't think I'll be going back.

1  Thank murray9000
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 3, 2012

Past reviewers either love this restaurant or strongly dislike it. I am somewhere in the middle. I liked the ambiance. Although it is a bit dark, it's part of the atmosphere. I also didn't mind the fact that the bar is a horseshoe in the middle and the tables are along the parimeter. I definitely didn't find it too noisy. It's important to understand every course (whether an appetizer, soup, salad or main course) is served for the table and everyone in the party helps themselves. The food does not come out all at once. We were a group of 3. We started with the Kobi Bohn Beef Sliders. The portion is three. We all liked the sliders. Next was Sichaun Yu Sang Eggplant. It was o.k. but a bit overspiced. The best dish was the Thai Red Curry Seafood Stew which we ordered with Coconut Rice. Nice flavors, lots of seafood. It has a cream sauce which my husband doesn't care for but our other friend and I enjoyed it. Finally we had the Emporers Chow Mein which was the worst dish. The noodles stuck together, the meat was in little paddies, not strips.. It just didn't have much taste. We took our own wine ($20 corkage) and had drinks before hand. They do make a very good martini.

We certainly found the portions sufficient for our group and not too expensive. The entire meal with drinks, corkage and tip was $120.

We thought the service was very good. Our waiter was certainly very good and we had serveral other people coming to check on us while we were waiting for our friend.

There were a couple of odd things. We were meeting our friend at he restaurant. When we told the hostess our name we told her we had one other person joining us. We were taken to our table and seated. After waiting for almost 30 minutes, we discovered that our friend was sitting at the bar behind us waiting for us. He had arrived 15 minutes early. He had told the hostess that he was part of our party when he arrived. The hostess should have told us that he was there. Ironically the waiter told us that the same thing had happened to someone else earlier in the evening. Although the restaurant is small, it's actually quite difficult to see other people. His bar stool was literally right behind our table. I only saw him walking out of the restaurant to call us to find out where we were.

The other odd thing was that at 9 p.m. our waiter came over to tell us that if we wanted to order additional food, we had to order it then. Odd for a Thursday night.

I think it would be a fun place to go back to for Happy Hour. There's no question that selecting the right dishes is important.

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1  Thank peggymack
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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