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A Whale of a View While You Sip

September 20, 1990|FRANK MESSINA

Like a million points of sunshine dancing in the ocean, the brightly colored sailboats bob atop the waves in the harbor far below.

A blue heron floats lazily in the air, banking gracefully past rust-colored cliffs before heading out somewhere in the miles of unspoiled coastline visible from your seat.

Somehow, without your noticing, the ice in your drink has melted and the appetizers have grown cold.

Perched on sandstone bluffs high above Dana Point Harbor and Capistrano Bay, Cannons restaurant has always been known for its spectacular view as well as its food. But with a tiled, outside patio and an inside lounge featuring oversize picture windows--all set aside for its drinking customers--this establishment has not ignored its bar business.

On a clear day, a visit to Cannons is more like a field trip than a run to the neighborhood bar. Sharp eyes can pick out local landmarks such as Doheney State Beach, the San Clemente Pier and, if the winds have really swept the air clean, Richard M. Nixon's former Western White House.

Even if the drinks were watery and the appetizers poor, Cannons would be worthwhile for the view alone.

Fortunately, that isn't the case. On several visits recently, the drinks were well-mixed and the appetizers tasty. Among the latter were some not-too-fiery Cajun popcorn shrimp and chicken quesadillas ($6.50) accompanied by a side of homemade guacamole and salsa.

Cannon's is a little pricey. Wines by the glass average about $4.50 and the mixed drinks run about $4. But a happy hour special on Mondays through Fridays between 4 and 7 p.m. offers all appetizers for half price.

Entertainment (a lone piano/guitar player) is offered on Friday and Saturday nights from 8 to 10 p.m. No cover charge.

Cannons, 34344 Street of the Green Lantern, Dana Point. Open Monday through Thursday from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays till 11 p.m., Sundays from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. (714) 496-6146.

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