Over the years, Laguna Beach has established itself in the world of culinary arts with top-notch restaurants along its scenic, eight-mile stretch of coastline. Located on the ocean side of South Coast Highway is a cozy restaurant called Maro Wood Grill. This is an Argentinean style steakhouse, which has a focus on sustainability. They have mastered the art of grilling over a wood fire to make a perfectly cooked, grass-fed steak.
For conscious carnivores that crave beef, the best option for the environment and for your health is to choose grass-fed, pastured cattle. I have ruined my share of expensive, grass-fed steaks because they have less fat than conventional feedlot beef and require a different cooking method. I now go to Maro for a perfectly cooked, grass-fed steak. At Maro Wood Grill they cook the best steaks and hamburgers I have ever tasted. They serve the steaks medium rare, unless otherwise asked, to preserve the quality and texture of the meat.
Mariano Molteni (Maro), the owner who grew up in Argentina, strives to use only organic, local and seasonal, fresh ingredients in his restaurant. Along with his executive chef, Debra Sims, they design the menu to showcase the peak produce of each season. The majority of the food is cooked over a wood grill, which adds to the flavor and fun of each carefully thought out menu item.
A few other outstanding items on the menu include empanadas, wood-grilled Shishito peppers and their famous “Golden Foodie” an award winning, banana bread pudding. The most popular item on the menu, however, is their delicious, locally sourced (from Paso Robles), grass-fed hamburger prepared with artisan, organic and house-made items. The combination of the quality beef, the wood fire grill and organic ingredients truly make this burger a must-try.
The interior accommodates only eight guests around the open kitchen, but much cozier is the covered, outdoor-heated patio, which sits 28 guests. I much prefer to sit outside and feel the ocean breeze, although if you sit outside, don’t forget to take a peek at the wood grill action inside. This restaurant is popular with the local residents in Laguna Beach and the owner is usually there to welcome you. When at Maro, you get the feeling you are in a happy place where good food, friends and community are celebrated, which is good for the body and soul.