Share this story

Sueños, a Latin American-inspired kitchen and bar now open and serving authentic dishes, inventive cocktails

Sueños, a Latin American-inspired kitchen & bar, opened in Laguna Beach on September 17 in the heart of downtown.

Located just steps from the sand, the restaurant debuts 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.

Sueos Ayazi and Gutierrez

Click on photo for a larger image

Photos courtesy of Sueños

Sueños husband-and-wife restaurateurs Kay Ayazi and Jose Gutierrez

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 collaborative team of culinary professionals to lead the kitchen and bar programs.

Suenos tiradito

Click on photo for a larger image

Tiradito – fresh fish of the day

“When our team came together, there was this palpable collective confidence that together we would not only achieve our goals but that our synergy would elevate the individual dreams each of us has,” said Gutierrez. “Sueños is Spanish for dreams, and that’s how we came up with the name.”

Executive Chef Alan Sanz and Culinary Director Yen Wu, bring a global experience to the kitchen. 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 has worked with renown chefs including Rodolfo Guzmán, 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 the 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.

At a recent Media Night Dinner, held on October 12, guests were treated to the following dishes:

Suenos Gordita

Click on photo for a larger image

Gordita de Pulpo & Chicharrón

Gordita de Pulpo & Chicharrón - black beans, chicharrón prensado, octopus, salsa verde, cashew cream and queso Cotija.

Tiradito - the fresh fish of the day, aji Amarillo, with lime juice and Peruvian spices.

Pork al Pastor - pork loin, pineapple puree, cinnamon roasted pineapple, onion & cilantro salad and tepache dressing.

Colombia (the perfect ending to a delectable meal) - a pecan biscuit, praline & rum light cream, Colombian creamy coffee, chocolate and black berries.

Suenos Mi Fantasi

Click on photo for a larger image

Mai Fantasi, a refreshing riff on the traditional Mai Tai

Dreamy cocktails were prepared by Beverage Director Ava Navarette that included the Mai Fantasi - a whimsical riff on the traditional Mai Tai, Carta de Amor, an effervescent elixir of rum and elderflower liqueur which includes a hand-written love note, and Starborn, a bold take on the Pisco sour featuring Barbados rum and maraschino liquor.

Renovation to design and decor blends hues of light pink, purple and blue with a palette of neutral undertones and natural elements. The restaurant’s focal point is a progressive mural above the open kitchen painted by local artist Carlos Rodas. The large surreal dreamscape depicts the procession of a dream, an ethereal journey of a woman as she embarks on an out-of-body experience where she flows into a state of expression, discovery and connection with her higher self. At 5,000 square feet, Sueños offers 85 seats inside the dining room, 30 seats on the patio and 12 at the bar. 

Suenos Executive Chef Alan Sanz

Click on photo for a larger image

Executive Chef Alan Sanz brings his global experience to the culinary offerings

“Laguna is loved for its enchanting, ethereal beauty. Long heralded as an elusive hideaway, Laguna sets itself apart on the California coastline as the Santorini of Orange County,” shared Ayazi. “It’s always been a dream of ours to open a beachfront restaurant, and with Sueños, we get to share that dream with the community by celebrating the Laguna that locals love and visitors dream of.”

Sueños is located at 222 Ocean Ave and is open for dinner daily beginning at 4 p.m. The kitchen is open Monday through Thursday until 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday until 11 p.m. and Sunday until 8 p.m. Weekend lunch will be available from 12-3 p.m. For more information, visit, or connect with @suenoslagunabeach on Instagram and Facebook.


Shaena Stabler, President & CEO -

Lana Johnson, Editor -

Tom Johnson, Publisher -

Dianne Russell is our Associate Editor.

Michael Sterling is our Webmaster & Designer.

Mary Hurlbut and Scott Brashier are our photographers.

Alexis Amaradio, Dennis McTighe, Marrie Stone, Sara Hall, Suzie Harrison and Theresa Keegan are our writers and/or columnists.

In Memoriam - Stu Saffer and Barbara Diamond.

Email: with news releases, letters, etc.


Email: for questions about advertising


*The content and ads in this publication do not necessarily reflect the opinions or views of the publisher.

© 2023 2S Publishing, LLC - All Rights Reserved.