Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Raya Restaurant Review and Our Anniversary

Gorgeous View from Ritz-Carlton, Naguna Niguel

A few weeks ago, my Hubby and I celebrated our 9th year wedding anniversary.  I can’t believed the past 9 years flown by so quickly!  He surprised me by taking me to a beautiful place for lunch and a lovely bouquet of roses (see picture below).  Okay, not exactly.  It was more like he took me to this gorgeous hotel that used this lovely bouquet to decorate the lobby.  hahaha…..But close enough, so I’m happy with that.  On our anniversary day, we dropped off the kids at school, then we went to our destination and arrived mid-morning at Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel.

Gorgeous Bouquet

We had a lunch reservation at Raya, a restaurant located inside Ritz-Carlton (more to that in just a moment).  So, we spent the morning checking out the hotel and the gorgeous view around the area.  It was the Elephant Parade event so there were quite a few adorable elephants decors throughout the hotel.

Karma

This one is called Karma.  You can click on the picture below to enlarge it and read about the design and meanings….and price tag, etc.

Karma

We arrived starving so we ordered “a little” breakfast at the coffee shop and seated outside the patio to enjoy breakfast with the breath-taking view.  It was to our surprise that the breakfast sandwich panini turned out so big.  Luckily we only ordered one to share.  Got to save up some room for lunch, right?

Breakfast Sandwich Panini

While we were enjoying our breakfast, we have a special visit by this fella (see picture below).  I bet he was hungry too.  Check out the view behind him, he sure lives in a paradise!

Breakfast Company

After breakfast, we walked around the property and enjoyed some fresh air and gorgeous views.  Although you can’t quite see it from the pictures, there were quite a few surfers at the beach that day.  The weather was so perfect for an outdoor walk along the hotel property.   

Gorgeous View from Ritz-Carlton, Naguna Niguel

When it was time for our lunch reservation, we weren't exactly hungry yet.  But we need to finish lunch on time in order to be back at school to pick up the kiddos.  When we arrived at Raya, the hostess advised us politely that it’ll be just a couple of minutes to put some final touches at our table before they can seat us.  I didn't’t understand what “final touches” she was referring to until we arrived at our table.

Table Setting

It was a lovely table for two by the window that we can see the gorgeous view of the beach, along with all these fresh rose pastels and a note.  Aw….it was just so sweet and personal.  I really love how the restaurant paid attention to details like this.  It certainly made us feel special.  After all, it was our special day.

Table Setting

Soon after we ordered, this beautiful bowl of complementary bread arrived.  It was served with butter, house-made Ketchup and ricotta cream.  It could be because we weren't really hungry, or, I’m just so used to my own homemade bread and rolls.  We weren't impress with these rolls and buns at all.  They were quite chewy to our liking.  But of course, we didn't come here for the bread.  So, we only tried a small bite of each one.

complimentary Rolls

I ordered a cocktail, the Mojito Cuzco – bacardi rum / cucumber / lime / mint / midori.  It’s so refreshing and delicious!  I can taste every single ingredient in it and the combination is simply wonderful.  I guess I would need to replicate that at home some day, real soon.

My Green Cocktail

Here’s the lunch menu for Fall 2013.  You can order from the Small Plates, Large Plates and/or sides.  I wish I’m more hungry so that we could try a few more dishes from each session.  But we got to save room for desserts too, right?  Feel free to click on the picture below to enlarge the menu.

Lunch Menu


We ordered the Half Dozen West Coast Kumamoto Oysters on the half shell, served with chipotle honey mignonette.  The mignonette was pretty mild, it compliment the super fresh oyster really well and not over powering at all.  The oysters were sweet, super fresh and packed with the wonderful aroma of the ocean.

Raw Oysters

We also tried the Lobster Tacos – flour tortilla / black bean puree / chile de arbol salsa / avocado cilantro.  It was one of their signature dishes from the small plates selection. 

Lobster Tacos


It was wonderful and I love the generous portion of lobster chunks in them.  The picture below is a closer look.  I personally loved it.  Hubby didn't like the black bean puree in them as he’s not a big fan for beans.

Lobster Tacos

Up next, the Pan Seared Sea Scallops -  roast corn / polenta / char siu pork belly / snap peas /  white soy mojo.  The scallops were gigantic!  I love the wonderful crust outside and it was cooked to perfection.  The Char-Siu Pork belly was to die for and the creamy polenta was the perfect base for these wonderful scallops.  The scallops were perfectly seasoned, sweet, savory, moist and very tender.

Seared Scallops

For dessert, we ordered the Cinnamon Sugar Churros - piloncillo poached pineapple / caramelized white chocolate ice cream / vanilla bean caramel.  I've eaten a fair share of churros and I can definitely say these were the best churros I've ever tasted, period.  The crust was crispy and the inside was moist and tender; packed with wonderful cinnamon sugar on the outside.  the Vanilla bean caramel sauce compliment perfectly with them and added the perfect amount of sweetness to the churros.  I would come here just to indulge with these churros, any time!  

Cherros

Last but not lease, weave got this gorgeous complementary chocolate mousse cake from the restaurant to celebrate our specially day.  It was rich and decadent.  The slightly tangy berry sauce on the bottom was perfect with the cake.   
 
complimentary Chocolate Cake

As you can see, this restaurant got a spectacular view.  If you’re celebrating a special day or a special occasion, I highly recommend this restaurant.   Instead of lunch, book an early dinner reservation and enjoy the sunset view along with your dinner.   I bet that would make an unforgettable dining experience for you and your loved ones.  Thank you for reading and please stay tuned for more fun recipes, reviews, and giveaways on my future posts.


Click here to Raya’s Website
One Ritz-Carlton Drive
Dana Point, California 92629 USA
Phone: +1 (949) 240-2000


Restaurant Review Disclaimer: uTry.it restaurant reviews are solely based on our experience at each restaurant we visit.   They were just our opinions.  uTry.it and its owner were not compensated in any way to dine at these restaurants nor to write reviews.



37 comments:

  1. Happy anniversary to you and your hubby!

    ReplyDelete
  2. To the next nine years - Happy Anniversary!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Happy anniversary, Amy. what a wonderful day you had and what an awesome husband! To many more...

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi Amy , Happy Anniversary Amy to you and your wonderful husband and thanks for taking me on your day , many more like this one . thanks for sharing :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Happy Anniversary! And thank you for sharing this review--this restaurant is fairly close to us, too! May have to try it out for our next anniversary ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  6. Happy Anniversary! And what a celebration - you guys did it right. Sounds like so much fun - thanks for sharing with us.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Happy Anniversary! It looks like you had a nice and sweet getaway. The mousse cake looks so tasty. :)

    ReplyDelete
  8. thanks for sharing Amy! Looks like a lot of fun...

    ReplyDelete
  9. What a lovely way to spend your special day. Happy anniversary!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Happy anniversary Amy! I have to command your husband for a job well done! The hotel and the food look amazing! Thanks for sharing it with us!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Happy Anniversary Amy...what a lovely day...beautiful setting...

    ReplyDelete
  12. Happy anniversary to you and your hubby Amy! Thanks for the review, the food sounds delicious and what a gorgeous view :)

    ReplyDelete
  13. what a beautiful place... 9 years is really not easy .... many more happy returns to you ^^

    ReplyDelete
  14. Congratulations!!! What a fantastic idea, a fancy LUNCH date! If our ani doesn't fall on the weekend then we delay celebrating it, but there is just something very special to celebrate it ON the day, and why not a gorgeous lunch? and wait... HE planned it!??? bravo!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Oh and Amy did you catch my email? I sent it via the blog form... let me know what you think!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Congratulations, to you and your husband, dear Amy! The pictures are taking my breath away - unbelievably beautiful place for your wonderful celebration!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Dear Amy, Happy Anniversary to you and your spouse!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Happy Anniversary, Amy and Amy's husband! I remembered your last anniversary post - my gosh one year has passed?! I enjoy your restaurant reviews. You guys eat well and it's fun to watch all the dishes. I don't like oysters but kumamoto oysters are pretty smooth (that's how I call it.. and I "can" eat). :) And the view is spectacular!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Happy Anniversary, Amy! What an amazing place to celebrate. The view looks gorgeous, lovely photos!

    ReplyDelete
  20. Awww, CONGRATULATIONS. What a beautiful and romantic way to celebrate your big day, so special.
    I tip my hat to your hubby for planning it.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Happy Anniversary Amy!!! What lovely pictures...
    Thank you for sharing..

    ReplyDelete
  22. Hi Amy,
    Congratulations for your wedding anniversary and what a treat you two had!!
    Fabulous pictures and so special!
    Cheers,
    Lia.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Elegant. Delicious. O-So- Romantic.

    What a lovely surprise. Happy Anniversary!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  24. Happy happy Anniversary!!! Such an elegant celebration. Love this. When I arrive my 9th anniversary, I know what to look out for ;-) <3

    Jayne (www.tenacioustinkering.com)

    ReplyDelete
  25. Amy, this just about made me cry how lovely for you. What a beautiful place with thoughtful service. Happy Anniversary

    ReplyDelete
  26. How sweet Amy!! congrats and Happy Anniversary!

    ReplyDelete
  27. It sounds like you had an awesome day! All those pics are exactly why I want to move to California! I love lobster tacos and of course churros! Happy Anniversary :)

    ReplyDelete
  28. What a beautiful view to celebrate a wedding anniversary! and such a fantastic meal too! The cocktail looks so gorgeous I cannot take my eyes off it. I must buy midori and will be ready to try it. Oysters... I haven't had them in such a long time... Thank you for sharing with us these special moments and happy anniversary!

    ReplyDelete
  29. a wonderful way of celebrating such a precious day...and we couldn't help but drool at all those yummy food...especially panini....we are so going to have this for breakfast today,thanks for sharing :-)

    ReplyDelete
  30. Congratulations on your anniversary! Looks like you had an absolutely wonderful and fun celebration!

    ReplyDelete
  31. Hi! Blog-hopping. Nice blog you have here.

    Happy 9th anniversary. This year also is my 9th wedding anniversary.

    Nice celebration. You are very lucky.

    ReplyDelete
  32. This is one awesome place to dine. I took a date to Bar Raya and we both thoroughly enjoyed the food, the service and the ambience. This is but one example of Ritz-Carlton proving its worthiness as a top tier hotel.

    Grace Crawford (More about Alaska fishing lodges)

    ReplyDelete
  33. Happy Anniversary! Love the note about love, so true that love is a journey! 9 years is a long time of trust and care of each other! Wonderful celebration!

    ReplyDelete
  34. Amy, Happy Belated Anniversary. What a lovely way to celebrate this precious day.
    Also loving everything being served in the restaurant.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Amy,

    Happy Belated Anniversary! The Ritz is a wonderful location to go for a special celebration. I was there for a wedding several years ago in April. Love everything about the place except for the food. Perhaps banquet food is different from the restaurant's?

    ReplyDelete