In a land of plenty, Orange County reigns as one of California’s culinary hotspots and a must-see for folks who travel with an appetite, says the Orange County Visitors Association. Home to award-winning restaurants and “Top Chefs” whose specialities range from shakes to sushi, “The OC’s” culinary star continues to rise with a spate of 2015 restaurant openings from South Coast Plaza to the new Pacific City in Huntington Beach.
New OC Restaurants in 2015
The Bungalow – The second location will open seaside in Huntington Beach, California at Pacific City – a dining, shopping and entertainment destination scheduled to open November 2015. The oceanfront venue on the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) will incorporate all of the favorite charms of The Bungalow Santa Monica, while paying homage to Huntington Beach’s ‘Surf City’ history and community.
Holstein’s Shakes and Buns – South Coast Plaza Brand says goodbye to Charlie Palmer at Bloomingdale’s and welcomes new to the Orange County area, Holstein’s Shakes and Buns. Bringing an elevated playfulness with fresh takes on traditional menu items, Holsteins South Coast Plaza is set to open in August of 2015.
Slapfish – The newly-opened restaurant in Newport Beach is quickly becoming a local hotspot for some of the freshest seafood. Slapfish offers authentic “boat to plate” dining through locally sourced purveyors, highlighting refined and simple flavors.
Sushi Roku – The first Orange County restaurant opened on June 1 at Fashion Island in Newport Beach. With locations already in Hollywood, Santa Monica, Pasadena, Las Vegas and Arizona, this restaurant has become known for serving “globally inspired” Japanese cuisine and sushi in an innovative way while staying true to its origin. In addition to signature cocktails, Sushi Roku serves a selection of traditional and modern sake varieties.
OC’s Hottest Chefs
Spencer’s Bistro – A hidden gem in Buena Park, Spencer’s Bistro is the brainchild of Spencer Kim, who was voted “Orange County’s 2014 Best Chef.” This casual café boasts gourmet dishes at a price that anyone can afford. Chef Kim cooks up mouth-watering dishes that embrace the diverse cooking styles of Europe.
Twenty Eight Restaurant & Lounge – Enjoy Top Chef finalist, Shirley Chung’s play with California flavors and cuisines from all over the world. As playful as her personality, Twenty Eight’s food is not just rethought; it is refocused on creating flavor experiences that are familiar, approachable and simply enjoyable.
SOCIAL Costa Mesa – Executive Chef Jeffrey Boullt, who helped SOCIAL earn a spot on Orange Coast Magazine’s “Best New Restaurants of 2014,” is serving seasonal, progressive American cuisine with Southern influences, which is paired perfectly with craft cocktails by Bar Director Mike West. Chef Boullt and West make all their ingredients for the cocktails and dishes in-house with the freshest produce.
Zov’s – One of Orange County’s most celebrated female chefs, Zov Karmardian serves unique cuisine that blends contemporary with Mediterranean, Middle Eastern and Armenian influences at Zov’s. There is also a Zov’s Grab & Go at John Wayne Airport.
Unique Food Events & Experiences
Flavors of Laguna – Take a Food Tasting & Historical Tour of charming Laguna village. This 3 1/2 – 4 hour walking tour introduces you to some unique bites the town has to offer. Tours include bottled water, tastings at various stops, information and history of the community, and an opportunity to wine & beer taste at a small additional fee.
Pirate’s Dinner Adventure – Guests are entertained with an astonishing display of special effects, aerial artistry, swashbuckling swordplay and dynamic duels. It’s a classic story of good vs. evil that offers the perfect blend of action, adventure, comedy and romance; the opportunity to interact in the adventure and a sumptuous dining experience.
Andrei’s Conscious Cuisine – Visitors can give back by dining in Irvine at Andrei’s Conscious Cuisine & Cocktails where 100% of the restaurant’s profits benefit the Andrei Foundation, a foundation established in honor of the owner’s brother/son who was afflicted with an eye disease called Retinitis Pigmentosa.
Beach City Brewery – Huntington Beach’s first production craft brewery, featuring several signature beers, seasonal favorites and short-run experimental brews. Beach City Brewery’s flagship beers were created with the characteristics of Surf City in mind and seasonal offerings will reflect and represent all of Orange County. Food trucks visit the brewery on a regular basis, allowing you to nosh while sampling brews.
Mrs. Knott’s Chicken Dinner Restaurant – One of America’s most popular family restaurants, Mrs. Knott’s Chicken Dinner Restaurant has been serving up Cordelia Knott’s fried chicken, homemade biscuits and boysenberry pies since 1934. Located outside the main gate of Knott’s Berry Farm, this family dining institution actually formed the basis for the theme park itself.
Pueblo at SOCO in Costa Mesa is raising the bar in Orange County with their Spanish-style tapas. With Executive Chef Michael Campbell at the helm, Pueblo aims for sophistication in taste and techniques yet approachability in style and value – consistently fresh elements and simple, delicious flavors always stand the test of time.
The White House – Orange County’s oldest restaurant and nightclub has been running since 1918 and shows no signs of slowing down. The lineup at The White House is as eclectic as can be — some nights you can drop in on an open mic, others you might hear the thumping beats of the house DJs.
Four Sons Brewing – A family owned and operated microbrewery located in Huntington Beach. The Tap Room offers many different beers to taste with an average of 12 on tap at any given time, introducing one or two new beers each week. The Tap Room has a lively, yet relaxed feel with big-screen TV’s and games.
John Wayne Airport – The Thomas F. Riley Terminal features full-service restaurants, quick sit-down dining, “Grab-and-Go” options, featuring a variety of local and national brands. The Anaheim Ducks Breakaway Bar and Grill menu items pay homage to the local hockey team; Farmer’s Market by Laguna Culinary Arts offers fresh, locally-sourced menu items to-go; the airport-themed Ruby’s Diner brings together the perfect family dining experience along with a full-service bar experience; and Zov’s Grab-and-Go features unique culinary items by famous Orange County Bistro Chef Zov Karamardian.
The Grove District Anaheim Resort offers an array of dining options in Garden Grove and Anaheim; including Garden Grille & Bar at Hilton Garden Inn, SunSpot, An American Restaurant at Anaheim Marriott Suites, Park Grill Lounge at Sheraton Garden Grove – Anaheim South, California Grill at Anaheim Wyndham, TusCA and Serengeti Grill at Hyatt Regency, Buca di Beppo, Oggi’s, Joe’s Crab Shack, OC Brewhouse, Outback Steakhouse and Red Robin. Nearby Downtown Disney features more exciting restaurants, including Catal Restaurant, Crossroads at House of Blues, Earl of Sandwich, ESPN Zone, Naples Ristorante e Pizzeria, Rainforest Cafe, Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen, Tortilla Jo’s, Uva Bar and Voodoo Lounge at House of Blues.