Suenos, a Latin American Inspired Kitchen & Bar Opens In Laguna Beach

September 24, 2021

Sueños is a new Latin American-inspired restaurant and bar in the heart of downtown Laguna Beach. Located just steps from the sand, the restaurant will debut dishes that blend and borrow the ingredients and influences from across Latin American culture, from the coastline of Mexico, to the mountainous regions of Peru.

Sueños represents a years-long dream for husband-and-wife restaurateurs Jose Gutierrez and Kay Ayazi. 

The duo has opened several eateries in Orange County together, including Costa, a contemporary Peruvian kitchen in Costa Mesa. As first-generation Americans who come from families of entrepreneurs, they aim to show their children just how possible and powerful the opportunities are for those who pursue their dreams. To carry out their vision for Sueños, Gutierrez and Ayazi have tapped a dream team of culinary professionals to lead the kitchen and bar programs.

Executive Chef Alan Sanz and Culinary Director Yen Wu, bring a global experience to the kitchen at Sueños. Wu, born and raised in Lima, Peru, is responsible for leading culinary operations for both Sueños and Costa. Sanz received his degree in culinary and pastry arts in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and has cooked in kitchens around the globe, Boragó in Chile, Parcela in Mexico, Epicure in France, and Mugaritz in Spain. 

He’s worked with renowned chefs including Rodolfo Guzman, Edgar Nuñez, Éric Fréchon, and Francis Mallman. Before joining the team at Sueños, Sanz served as Executive Chef for Gracias Madre Restaurants and Wu as Executive Chef for Puesto in Irvine. Both restaurants earned nods from Michelin Guide with Sanz and Wu at the helm of their respective kitchens. Their cumulative culinary acumen and passion for bold and bright Latin American flavors bolster the menu at Sueños with a balance of refined composition and complexity.

Traditional Latin American ingredients are masterfully woven into and highlighted throughout the menu at Sueños. Starters include Ceviche de Mango y Jicama with Mahi Mahi cured in Leche de Tigre - a traditional Peruvian citrus-based marinade. The Arepa de Birria exemplifies the kitchen’s fusion of Latin American cuisines combining Colombian cornmeal arepas with the rich meat stew of Jalisco’s birria. Organic Oaxacan masa pressed in-house daily is featured in various dishes, including Duck Carnitas Tacos and Ribeye Tetela

Several dishes feature huitlacoche, the black, fungus-affected kernels of organic corn considered a delicacy in Mexican cuisine. 

Huitlacoche's unique earthy and smoky flavor lends itself to dishes like Black Risotto with lamb chops and Polenta & Short Rib. Hearty entrees include Tagliatelle Verde with filet mignon, epazote pesto, pecorino cheese, and smoked chili oil; and Infladita de Conejo, a slow-cooked rabbit pibil brought to life with vibrant flavors of hibiscus pickled onions, orange gel, and habanero ash salsa. Elegant and artistic desserts showcase the kitchen’s mastery of pastry arts while incorporating savory elements like avocado and tomatillo.

A dreamy lineup of libations developed by beverage director Ava Navarrete shines the spotlight on agave-based spirits and artisanal rums. Picture-perfect cocktails and tiki-style drinks prove there’s more than meets the eye as the beverage program mirrors the ethos and craftsmanship of the kitchen. In addition to handcrafted cocktails, the wine list will focus on international bottles and domestic beers from local craft breweries. 

At 5,000 square feet, Sueños offers 85 seats inside the dining room, 30 seats on the patio, and 12 at the bar. 

Open for dinner daily at 4 p.m. The kitchen will be open Monday - Thursday until 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday until 11 p.m., and Sunday until 8 p.m. Weekend lunch will be available from noon - 3 p.m.

Sueños is located in the heart of downtown Laguna Beach at 222 Ocean Ave. 

For more information, visit

Greer's OC
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Since 1993, Greer has been writing about fashion, dining and trends in Orange County, as a popular columnist for the Los Angeles Time Community Newspapers (Daily Pilot, Coastline Pilot and HB Independent) and now as founder of Greer’s OC.

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