chef tested hard to find and unusual products


Laguna Beach Restaurant – A Journey to South Africa
By Bonnie Carroll

Mozambique, located at 1740 S. Coast Highway in Laguna Beach, California, is a unique visit to experience the taste of a rare spice called Peri Peri, and is also where Master Chef Alfonso Contrisciani creates recipes indicative of those prepared in a country located on the southeast coast of Africa. The restaurant is the brain-child of two young men who spent their youth on the coast of Africa, and are now sharing their experience with local patrons and visitors to the beach community.

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Alfonso Contrisciani is the youngest man in the Unites States to achieve the coveted rank of certified Master Chef and is being credited for spearheading a new culinary trend in the restaurant world by using his vast talents to introduce exotic South African tastes and flavors to America with a new menu featuring the highly sought-after Peri-Peri spice.

Peri-Peri is the spice indigenous to Mozambique in South Africa, and it is a dark pepper that can be used in a variety of ways. Mozambique has used this spice as the main and additional ingredient in restaurant recipes, as well as in a tastefully packaged line of sauces and condiments that are available at the restaurant or online. According to Chef Alfonso the products will soon be available in markets throughout California.

The upstairs bar and restaurant, featuring an open patio, is colorful and alive. The signature cocktails and appetizers are a perfect prelude to one of Chef Contrisciani’s elegant dinners. Live music fills the air of the patio on weekends, and the outdoor fireplace is a cozy spot for a romantic rendezvous. The formal dining room downstairs is elegant in a comfortable way, with a classic looking fireplace that centers the room. The staff at Mozambique are highly qualified and extremely efficient. Naturally, wines from Africa abound here, as well as a selection of fine local and international wines that provide perfect pairing options to enjoy with Chef Alfonso’s plates.

Specialties of the restaurant include a delicious crisped Peri-Peri rotisserie chicken, Durban curry, a lamb dish simmered with curry powder from Durban and served with toasted Basmati rice and chutney mild or hot sauce from Mozambique Spice Company. Another wonderful choice would be one of the many fine beef or seafood dishes on the menu. My starter, a shrimp and crabmeat ravioli was outstanding, and was covered with a lovely asparagus coulis. The cool avocado soup, with crabmeat, scallions and coconut, was also a nice surprise. Dessert recommendations include vanilla bean and ginger crème brulee or Queen of the Shebeen warm chocolate cake with coconut ice cream. Both were sinfully delicious.

If you are one who still enjoys fine dining in an environment that affords you the opportunity to actually hear the person sitting next to you, and if you revel in a journey to the unusual in atmosphere and taste sensations, you will love this inviting restaurant. The prices are reasonable and the service is outstanding.

For restaurant and product information visit:
Mozembique Reastaurant & Coastal Lounge
1740 S. Pacific Coast Hwy.
Laguna Beach, CA 92651
Tel. 949-715-7100
Web Site:

Try This Mozambique Recipe:
Seafood Ceviche
By Master Chef Alfonso Contrisciani

Bonnie Carroll
Food & Beverage International, BH Bureau Chief
338 N. Oakhurst Dr. Ste D, Beverly Hills, CA 90210





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