I like how the Eloquent ORM fills in the columns for existing tables you specify models for. I’m sure that probably comes with trade-offs, but it’s great for what I was doing with it.
The way you specify relationships between models has a certain clarity. It’s not at all difficult to wrap my brain around method names like hasMany, belongsToOne, hasManyThrough, etc. I was able to do some pretty useful joins with a ridiculously tiny amount of effort.
I’ll definitely hope to investigate Laravel some more in the future.