Hotel restaurants are often quite pricey and the food is frequently mediocre. With a few exceptions, like the Montage, locals tend to dine elsewhere. However, the Californian at the Hyatt in Huntington Beach is a surprising contradiction to this popular assumption. This huge, imposing hotel overlooking the ocean boasts a restaurant that has very tasty food at reasonable prices, while daytime diners have the benefit of a spacious terrace, complete with towering palms, gurgling fountains, large fire pit and a beautiful view.
On a chilly evening, the capacious dining room offers a roaring fire and cozy upholstered armchairs. The décor is "classic hotel" patterned carpets, potted palms and traditional-style furnishings.
Our first clue that dinner was not going to be run-of-the-mill was the presentation of the best focaccia we have had in years. Actually house-made, rather than just house-warmed, the hot bread came in two varieties, garlic and olive rosemary. Both had a real crust and a dense chewy interior, and both had excellent flavor, one with subtle garlic overtones and the other with robust green olives and a pretty sprig of pungent rosemary.