Orange County, CA Restaurant News
NEW RESTAURANTS IN ORANGE COUNTY
Chef/restaurateur Alessandro Pirozzi is growing his Italian-focused culinary empire with the launch of his latest concept Salerno by Chef Pirozzi. Based in downtown Laguna Beach, Salerno is the third restaurant in the coastal city run by Pirozzi, joining Alessa Laguna and Mare Culinary Lounge. The chef’s other OC restaurant is Pirozzi Corona Del Mar. Salerno by Chef Pirozzi, 220 Beach St., Laguna Beach, CA 92651, 949-497-2600.
Located on the main drag of tiny Balboa Island, Mr G's patterns itself on the style of a cozy California bistro. Its unfussy black and white color scheme adds a touch of refinement to the relaxed, Balboa-appropriate ambience. The menu features a modest array of contemporary fare, from small bites like mussels and meatballs to handmade pastas and entrées such as filet mignon with parsnip and wild mushrooms. A compact list of wines and beers is also available. Lunch & Dinner Tues.-Sun. Mr G's, 305 Marine Ave., Newport Beach, CA 92662, 949-675-6193.
Upscale taqueria concept Puesto will make its Orange County debut in early 2017. Known for creating classic Mexico City-style street tacos with locally sourced ingredients and from-scratch salsas, the venue will be located in Irvine’s Los Olivos Marketplace, a stone’s throw away from the Irvine Spectrum’s massive sprawl. This marks the third locale for the eatery, which also has outposts in San Diego and La Jolla. Puesto, Los Olivos Marketplace, 8577 Irvine Center Dr., Irvine, CA 92618, no phone.
Chef Pascal Lorange is opening CRUDO by Pascal Lorange in the summer of 2017. The new venue will be located in Costa Mesa’s The Westin South Coast Plaza in the space formerly occupied by Pinot Provence. Crudo adds to Lorange’s lengthy résumé that includes helping to launch Fig & Olive’s collection of restaurants and on a few occasions cooked at private dinners attended by luminaries like Princess Stéphanie of Monaco and Barack Obama. Simply prepared Mediterranean fare with a focus on seafood will be the highlight. CRUDO by Pascal Lorange, The Westin South Coast Plaza, 686 Anton Blvd., Costa Mesa, CA 92626, No phone.
The popular kicked-up diner concept Eat Chow has opened a third location. The restaurant’s new outpost is in downtown Santa Ana. Like its siblings in Newport Beach and Costa Mesa, this venue serves modern, eclectic breakfast, lunch and dinner options inspired by various parts of the globe. Unlike the other locales, the new spot features an array of craft cocktails to go along with the wine and beer list. Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner daily. Eat Chow, 313 N. Bush St., Santa Ana, CA 92701, 657-266-0500.
Huntington Beach’s latest dining destination, Bluegold, is now open. Located within the seaside retail center Pacific City, the sprawling spot is the brainchild of the restaurant group behind South Bay standouts Little Sister, Steak & Whiskey and Abigaile. The new venue’s menu focuses on a farm-to-table New American concept that uses traditional and modern techniques to create classic and progressive bites for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The eatery is also home to LSXO, a cozy, hidden restaurant-within-a-restaurant that serves refined French-Vietnamese cuisine and afternoon tea. Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner daily. Bluegold, Pacific City, 21016 Pacific Coast Hwy., Ste. D200, Huntington Beach, CA 92648, 714-374-0038.
Longtime Orange County chef Tim Goodell returns to the scene with the opening of Royal Hen. Located on Newport Beach’s compact Balboa Island at the address formerly occupied by Amelia’s, the chic, cozy venue is rolling out a contemporary menu that draws inspiration from all corners of the globe. This place adds another chapter to Goodell’s body of work, which includes stints at past and present OC eateries like Aubergine, Troquet and A Restaurant. Dinner Mon.-Sat. Royal Hen, 311 Marine Ave., Newport Beach, CA 92662, 949-873-5603.
The group behind Laguna Beach’s Driftwood Kitchen and The Deck has announced the launch of new neighborhood restaurant concept Hendrix. The venue will be in Laguna Niguel and is projected to open in winter 2017. A contemporary menu is in the works and will feature variations on today's New American culinary trends, from bites like fried Brussels sprout chips to roti-spit porcetta with roasted potatoes. There will also be a full beverage program with wine, craft beer, and cocktails.
California Restaurant Month Returns
During January, restaurants throughout The Golden State will be participating in California Restaurant Month. Promotions include Pasadena Cheeseburger Week (January 8-13) and Temecula Valley Restaurant Month (January 1-31). For more information, check out Visit California's website.
OC Restaurant Week Returns March 5-11, 2017
Orange County Restaurant Week returns to showcase some of Orange County’s best and brightest dining venues and culinary talent. Now in its ninth year, the week features 100 of OC’s top eateries rolling out special multi-course, prix-fixe menus ranging from $10 to $20 for lunch, and $20 to $50 for dinner. Participating restaurants include Anchor Hitch, Ironwood, Lucca Cafe, SeaSalt Woodfire Grill, Selanne Steak Tavern and The Ranch Restaurant & Saloon. The week kicks off with a special “First Bites” launch party, held March 4th at the Irvine Marriott. For more information, please visit the official website.
South Coast Plaza’s Marché Moderne to Relocate
Marché Moderne, the French restaurant in South Coast Plaza, has announced plans to relocate. Owner/chefs Florent and Amelia Marneau will be moving their venue to Newport Coast’s Crystal Cove Shopping Center, in the space formerly occupied by Tamarind of London. The restaurant’s current location, which opened in 2007 in the upscale Costa Mesa shopping center, will shutter in January 2017. The new locale is slated to open in spring 2017, when it will rub shoulders with such luxe dining venues as Bluefin and Maestro’s Ocean Club. Marché Moderne, South Coast Plaza, 3333 Bristol St., Costa Mesa, CA 92626, 714-434-7900.
Jay Lacuesta has taken the reins as executive chef at Twenty Eight. He replaces Shirley Chung, the celebrity chef who helped launch the Irvine eatery in 2014. A protégé of chef José Andrés, Lacuesta has been with the restaurant since it opened. With his new position, he has created a modern, meat-centric menu that emphasizes seasonal ingredients and a more subdued Asian influence. Twenty Eight, 19530 Jamboree Rd., Irvine, CA 92612, 949-852-2828.
Donald Harris has parted ways with Tangata, Joachim Splichal’s chic lunch venue at the Bowers Museum in Santa Ana. He has departed to join forces with another former Splichal restaurant chef, as he is now working with Ross Pangilinan at the latter’s new downtown Santa Ana restaurant Mix Mix. No replacement chef for Harris has been named. Tangata, Bowers Museum, 2002 N. Main St., Santa Ana, CA 92706, 714-550-0906.
Chef Justin Miller has parted ways with Pizzeria Ortica to pursue a new adventure. Miller, who had been with the popular Costa Mesa eatery since 2010, is putting his toque aside to launch Orange County’s newest brewery, Gunwhale Ales. Based in Costa Mesa, the brewery represents a passion project for Miller, who has kept busy as a homebrewer when he wasn’t in Ortica’s kitchen. Pizzeria Ortica, 650 Anton Blvd., Ste. J, Costa Mesa, CA 92626, 714-445-4900.
Executive chef Cody Storts is no longer with Grits Fullerton. No reason was given for the departure. The downtown Fullerton restaurant has yet to announce a replacement chef. Grits Fullerton, 133 W. Chapman Ave., Ste. 102, Fullerton, CA 92832, 714-449-0939.
ORANGE COUNTY RESTAURANT CLOSINGS
Zimzala, the flagship restaurant of Huntington Beach’s Shorebreak Hotel, has closed. The reason for the shuttering is to make room for a new dining venue, Pacific Hideaway. Slated to open in April 2017, the spot will feature an eclectic modern menu with an emphasis on the flavors of Southeast Asia, Latin America and Japan, as created by executive chef JT Walker. Zimzala, Shorebreak Hotel, 500 Pacific Coast Hwy., Huntington Beach, CA 92648, 714-861-4470.
Downtown Brea eatery Lillie’s Q has temporarily closed its doors. The shuttering is linked to the construction of a parking structure, which is being built on the grounds of a parking lot adjacent to the venue. The restaurant, known for its Carolina-style barbecue and Southern-inspired fare, will reopen in conjunction with the construction project’s completion, which is slated to occur in December 2017. Lillie's Q, 240 S. Brea Blvd., Brea, CA 92821, 714-482-2001.
Holsteins Shakes and Buns in Costa Mesa has closed its doors. The eatery, which was known for its combination of upscale burgers and booze-infused adult milkshakes, gave no reason for the shuttering. The restaurant opened in South Coast Plaza in 2015, in the space formerly occupied by Charlie Palmer at Bloomingdale’s South Coast Plaza. No replacement restaurant has been named. Holsteins Shakes and Buns, South Coast Plaza, 3333 Bristol St., Costa Mesa, CA 92626, no phone.
View GAYOT's calendar of Wine Dinners & Tastings in Orange County