Five Crowns embodies a multi-layered network of history rarely found in any industry, and one that’s becoming harder and harder to come by in the restaurant world. On one end you have its parent, Lawry’s Restaurants, whose humble beginnings go back to the late 1800’s. Then you’ve got the nearly 100-year-old building that gives Five Crowns an ambiance that simply can’t be replicated, with a dizzying maze of dining niches, bars and beautiful yards that remind you that the property was once a private beachside mansion. And of course you’ve got the restaurant’s own timeline, dating back more than 50 years and embodying its namesake on multiple levels—Literally the fifth crown jewel of Lawry’s, conveniently located in Corona Del Mar, or the ‘crown of the sea.’
While Lawry’s in general has taken powerful steps in modernizing its restaurants, the timeless comforts that give a place like Five Crowns its livelihood remain as strong as ever. Dark wood trimmings, old-fashioned lanterns and the London phone booth outside cast a tone of unknown nostalgia, a perfect setup for your first step through the front door, where you’re taken back to a time you never remember experiencing. Walking through Five Crowns feels like a warm blanket has been placed over your shoulders, with fireplaces lining nearly every corner and jovial conversation dancing across seemingly endless pockets of tables. With bedazzled crowns ‘hidden’ along the old-style wallpaper and a canons hanging by chains from the ceiling, as well as a crowd dressing in everything from flip flops to fine suits, the restaurant embodies enough of a Disney ride to make things even more magical.
Five Crowns’ menu is as iconic as its ambiance. The prime rib that made Lawry’s famous is of course a staple here, masterfully prepared with creamy horseradish (not too spicy, don’t worry), succulent au jus and of course Lawry’s seasoned salt and pepper that may blow the minds of those unaware of the origins of the spice they see in the grocery store all the time (“Oh, that’s where it comes from!”). And Yorkshire pudding and mashed potatoes aside, to order the prime rib without creamed corn would be truly sinful.
Items like the beef bone marrow, with a hearty prime rib beef jam on top, showcase that Five Crowns is unquestionably keeping up with the times. Meanwhile, indulgences like rich lobster bisque and a buttery rack of lamb with wilted spinach and mint jelly demonstrate that this place has roots and is sticking to them. With decades of perfecting their craft, Five Crowns is too strong to shy away from their culinary foundation in favor of the next great food trend. This is a place where fans of classic fine dining will breathe easily and enjoy one dreamful bite after another.
While it’s hard to pass on such famous prime rib, you’ll be undoubtedly wowed by the steak. Five Crowns serves a ribeye for the books, finished with an excellent crust and eye-fluttering tenderness. Pair it, or anything on the menu, for that matter, with a fine wine or contemporary cocktail.
Then there’s dessert. That dark chocolate souffle is another piece of time-tested mastery, but the sticky toffee pudding should certainly be ordered alongside. You’ll thank yourself.
Five Crowns is located at 3801 East Coast Hwy, Corona Del Mar, CA 92625. Open 4:30 – 11p Mon – Sat, 4:30 – 10p Sun. Avg. out-the-door price for appetizer, entrée, split dessert and 1 – 2 drinks is ~$130/person. For more information call (949) 760-0331 or visit LawrysOnline.com/Five-Crowns
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Benjamin Brown is a seasoned restaurant writer and hospitality consultant, serving up SoCal's hottest food news and reviews.