Above: A brunch spread at Ocean at Main in Laguna Beach, California

On our recent visit to the beaches ofSouthern California, we reviewed four new restaurants. The Argentine-inflected restaurant of the Hotel Joaquin is for guests only, but there are other Laguna Beach restaurants worthy of note, including two that opened within the past year. Alas, neither had a water view. I did find a new restaurant in Newport Beach overlooking a marina, where we had a relaxed lunch after a whale-watching cruise, but the view didn’t compensate for the inattentive service.

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