Meet the Nirvana Family
Our Staff is dedicated to creating food that is delicious and good for you...
Chef Lindsay Smith-Rosales
Executive Chef/ Co-Owner of Nirvana Grille
Born and raised in Laguna Beach, three sisters: Summer, Danielle, and Lindsay were all brought up by mother Vicki, father Michael, and stepfather Ken. Vicki, Michael and Ken were parents who raised their daughters to be health conscience vegetarians and they ended up with three independent, strong-willed, and successful daughters.
Among all her culinary mentors, Lindsay was first inspired by her Mother Vicki. It was Vicki's joy and passion for food that Chef Lindsay now embraces. While young, Lindsay didn't know the impact Vicki's influence would have on her career. Words like: raw, organic, vegetarian, gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, and juicing, were an integral part in the Smith/Stern households. While those terms are commonly used today, they were rarely heard 20 years ago. Stepfather, Ken, taught Linday stability, financial responsibility, business sense, and to not forget to have fun in the process. His influence continues to this day. Her father, Michael, was a driving force promoting Lindsay to constantly keep high expectations of herself, the restaurant, and the individuals behind the restaurant. Michael's influence to always going above and beyond expectations, leaving things better than how you find them became the calling card of Nirvana Catering.
Lindsay enrolled in the culinary arts program at Orange Coast College at the age of 18. After her first experiences in the industry, she went to work (in catering) for Fox Studios, Universal Studios and Cienega Catering in Los Angeles, as well as in Orange County with Five Feet, Creme de la Cream, Sherman Gardens and Pascal Olhats. Chef Pascal hired Lindsay for her first kitchen position, a line cook. Working alongside the admired French Chef, Lindsay gained insight into what running a restaurant, market & specialty shop could be like. It was at this juncture that Lindsay accepted the most important job in her budding career - a position at The Ritz Carlton, Laguna Niguel.
Lindsay thrived at The Ritz Carlton. During her tenure, Lindsay met Luis Rosales. It was a match made by the food Gods!
She continued to fine-tune her skills in all aspects of the hospitality industry - working in the pastry and culinary kitchens. Lindsay went one step further, and learned the front of the house positions in the restaurant: namely event planning and reservations business.
Now with her own restaurant, Chef Lindsay’s explorations take her to new heights, and she constantly gains knowledge of different culinary approaches, and techniques, both new & old - so the menu at Nirvana Grille changes not only with the seasons, but also with Chef Lindsay's culinary inspirations, executed with the help and support of her Nirvana family.
Co-Owner of Nirvana Grille
Luis Fernando Rosales was born in Tepic, Nayarit, Mexico, and was one of of seven boys. Growing up in Mexico, soccer was a huge part of the Rosales' lives, and as a teen, Luis became a semi-professional player on a club team. After some time playing, Luis decided to follow his family to the United States in 1989. Luis entered the restaurant/hospitality industry and never looked back. He worked with The Dana Point Marriott Seacliff Resort, The St. Regis resort, The Montage Resort Laguna Beach, and spent 15 years as a dedicated server at The Ritz Carlton, Laguna Niguel.
Luis has continually expanded his knowledge and experience working at high-end hotels and restaurants by focusing on the true meaning behind the words "customer service", as well as increasing his knowledge of wine through integrative wine training. As a supportive partner in Nirvana Grille, Luis' skill set in operations of the "front" and the "back" of the House is invaluable.
The Rosales Children - Diego & Matteo
Chefs in Training
Chef Lindsay and Luis have two beautiful boys, Diego - 10 years old and Matteo, almost 2 years old. Both boys have grown up around Nirvana Grille, dining and spending time in the restaurant. Both boys love food! Why is our Kid's Menu such a hit? Because Chef Lindsay tests every recipe with Diego and Matteo.
Matteo is sometimes found with more food on top of his head, than in his belly! Diego is quite the helper! This summer he took on visiting each table every night and asking guests what they like about their meal. He's putting all the information he's gathered into a notebook for his parents review! Not bad for a ten year old.
These boys will take over Nirvana Grille someday. In the meantime, watch out for Diego & Matteo.
Community Give Back Program
Community Give Back Sunday
Over the last year we have developed an important ongoing fundraising program to contribute to the organizations that are important to YOU! Join us for dinner on any Sunday of the current month and we will donate 10% of your pre-tax food bill to the community organization of your choice: Your childrens’ school, your church, your local non-profit, or any cause that raises money to fund their programs that are not-for profit!
At the end of every month, turn in your CCB card and we will write a check to your chosen organization on your behalf.
(Must be a min. of $10 and rolls over if not)
Nirvana Grille believes that our connection to our community is the lifeblood of the restaurant. Our loyal customers support us year round, so CCB is our way of saying thank you for that support over the past ten successful years of ‘Bliss’ at Nirvana Grille!
Lindsay & Luis Rosales
We can rave all day long about how good we are, but don’t take our word for it… the best compliment a restaurant like Nirvana Grille can receive is the positive feedback from people just like you. Here’s what our guests say about Nirvana Grille:
“We Love your restaurant!! Your food is amazing! Thank you for all that you do!” ~Christina Russo, (Dec 2018)
“Chef Lindsay is incredible, the food was amazing. I’m ready to put my order in for Christmas, unless it’s too early” ~ Teri Hunter, (Dec 2018)
“If you’ve never been here, GO!! Amazing food! Some of the best food we’ve ever had. Amazing service & accommodation for gluten free needs. Local, organic and all of the food was SO fresh!” ~Dani Conway, Functional Nutritionist, (Oct 2018)
“Excellent food and great service! My wife is vegan with food allergies. They made adjustments and the chef/owner made her something special just for her!” ~ Joe Loya, (Sept 2018)
“We had my sister’s wedding reception there and everything was perfect. The food was delicious. I had the wonton appetizers and ravioli main dish. The service and environment was delightful as well!!” ~ Jami Hill West (Sept 2018)
“I loved the Poblano Chili small plate. It was enough for a light meal for me. But I went ahead & ate the mushroom ravioli because it was too good to pass up. The mud pie dessert was good too. The service was good, with special consideration for a large party going on while we were there. They managed it all pretty well. I’ll be back! 5 Stars” ~ Andrea Rogers Rifelli, (July 2018)
“This was the best vegetarian meal I have ever had at a restaurant, wow! The Nirvana organic veggie plate was so delicious! I’m dying to go back already! And dessert was decadent, flourless chocolate cake…! Excellent dining experience, I highly recommend you check it out!” ~ Nicole Pera, (March 2018)
"The flavors were beautifully married and so diverse. We would definitely make this a go to place when we visit Laguna Beach.” – Windy M.
“Great food, great service. We keep coming back again and again!” – Nancy B.
“The service was outstanding! Our server was so accommodating and attentive to our table!” – Amanda P.
“I’d come back here in a heartbeat. Great experience.” – Kim H.
“Nirvana is always fresh and delicious. The New Rooftop “Bliss Bar” is fun when the weather is nice – you should check them out.” – Gina M.
“Absolutely worth every penny! Great food, great service, wonderful setting.” – Renie F.
“Great food, value and ambiance.” – Shirley D.
“I love Nirvana Grille. Why? First and foremost, if the food weren’t so good, I wouldn’t be taking time to write this. The main reason why I love Nirvana is the thought and compassion behind the menu and the philosophy that goes along with it. I recently have adopted a more plant based diet and truly appreciate that Nirvana has so many selections to choose from. Part of my reasoning to adopt this dietary change is two fold. I have seen vast improvement in my cholesterol with this type of diet. I’ve always had a compassion for animals and have learned more of the importance of ethical treatment of farm animals. Nirvana seems to be of the like mind on this issue and I can completely support a restaurant that takes measures to serve local, organic and humanely treated animals. Myself and my partner Zell, have been customers of the restaurant for several years, probably since the Mission Viejo location opened. Supporting a neighborhood restaurant is at the top of my list when it comes to dining choices, whether it be for special occasions or everyday dining. I hope your concept catches on!” – Michele E.
What do you love about Nirvana Grille?
Please fill out the form. At the end of every month, we will choose a loyal customer to win a dining gift certificate to Nirvana Grille.