1221 S. Harbor Blvd.
1287 S. Coast Highway
Laguna Beach, CA
I recently went down to K'ya restaurant in Anaheim to celebrate C's birthday. K'ya (pronounced Ky-yuh...just imagine a super sneaky ninja doing a karate chop and yelling "Hi-ya!", then replace the "H" with a "K"...) has two locations in Orange County. There is one location in Laguna Beach and the Anaheim location is in the Hotel Menage (Formerly Holiday Inn) right across the freeway from Disneyland. I had never heard of this restaurant before J made the reservation for C's birthday. I thought the restaurant must be fairly new, but the hostess said they have been open for about 2 years.
We were seated at a nice table in a dimly lit dining room. The atmosphere was a lot nicer than I expected from a place that used to be a Holiday Inn. There were hundreds of candles around the restaurant. We sat down and looked over our menus. The menu was divided into two sections. The main section consisted of a lot of fancy sounding meals with fairly high prices. There was also a "bistro" section on the menu that had more casual fare and much cheaper prices. I was told that this "bistro" menu is only available in the Anaheim location. K'ya also had a fairly nice wine selection with very reasonable prices. We decided to order a bottle of red wine for the table to share ($21.00).
We had heard a few good things on Yelp! about the calamari here, so we decided to order it. The Flash Fried Calamari ($10.00) was served with a sweet and spicy Thai glaze, bean sprouts, carrots, peanuts, cilantro and green onions. The people on the internet were right. This calamari was pretty freaking good. The calamrai was crunchy and covered in a glaze that wasn't too sweet and wasn't too spicy. I really enjoyed this dish, as did everyone else that tried it.
While many of the items on the bistro menu sounded delicious, like the Loco Moco ($8.00) or the Gyro Pita ($9.00), we all decided to order from the main section of the menu. A few of us chose to start off with a soup or salad.
V and J both started off their meal with the Honey Poached Pear and Bermuda Triangle Goat Cheese Salad ($10.00). The salad was served with marcona almonds and a chive vinaigrette. V and J both thought that the salad was pretty good.
I ordered the Golden Beet, Baby Tomato and Feta Cheese Salad ($9.00). My salad wasn't bad, but it wasn't what I was expecting. I was expecting a salad with large slices of sweet golden beets. Instead, the salad was mostly lettuce with some diced, white, under-ripe, flavorless beets. The salad might as well have not had them at all.
For dinner I ordered the 1/2 lb. Kobe Beef Burger $(15.00) with bacon ($1.50 extra). The burger was supposed to come with swiss and cheddar cheese, but I asked for crumbled bleu instead of the swiss. I ordered my burger medium rare, but it arrived extremely well done. The burger itself wasn't bad, but the perfectly round, pressed patty reminded me of a frozen sirloin burger patty from Costco. I think this may have been the first time I have ever ordered a Kobe burger. It didn't seem any different than any other regular restaurant burger. The other thing about this burger was that I think it smelled like fish. At first I thought it was because I was sitting next to S and she had lobster in her dish. The more I ate the burger though, the more I came to realize that it was my burger that smelled like fish. It wasn't a really strong smell and the burger tasted ok. Maybe they just grilled the burger next to a piece of fish or something.
V just wanted a bowl of their soup of the day ($9.00) for dinner. The soup this day happened to be Tomato Bisque. V said that the soup tasted pretty good but was a little too chunky for her liking. V had also ordered a Diet Coke with her meal. Halfway through her drink she noticed that there was lettuce, onion and various other bits of food stuck to the inside of her glass. She pointed this out to the waiter and he replaced her drink, but never apologized.
C and R both ordered the Seared Flat Iron Steak ($22.00). The steak was served with a gorgonzola cheese gratin and caramelized onions. Both of them enjoyed their meal but they agreed that there was nothing special about it.
J and D both ordered the Hunan Braised Beef Shortribs ($20.00). The shortribs were served with white rice, wok'd vegetables and caramelized pineapple. D liked the shortribs and thought that the sauce was pretty good, but she thought it could have been a little sweeter. J didn't like the shortribs at all because she felt that the sauce was way too sweet. I guess some people will think the sweetness is juuuuust right..... J and D both agreed though that the shortribs were burned which made both of them like this dish less.
S ordered Striped Cheese Ravioli ($23.00). The ravioli was served with little chunks of lobster and wild mushrooms on top. It was then covered with a lobster cream sauce. S enjoyed this dish a lot and thought that the bits of lobster were very tender and tasty.
Overall, everyone thought that the food here was decent, but not great. We mostly enjoyed our meal, but I don't think any of us will be racing back to dine here again. K'ya might be a place to consider if you are at Disneyland and you want a nice meal, but don't want to pay the overinflated prices at Morton's, Ruth's Chris or some of the other places down the street. If I were looking for a reasonably priced meal right outside of Disneyland though, I think I'd go to Gardenwalk and eat at Cheesecake Factory or Louie's Bar and Grill (Hmmm...I think I forgot to write up my review of Louie's...)