Orange County, CA Restaurant News
NEW RESTAURANTS IN ORANGE COUNTY
The iconic tiki-themed Laguna Beach restaurant Royal Hawaiian has reopened. Old-school patrons can reacquaint themselves with the eatery’s beloved tiki cocktails and memorabilia, along with a more contemporary menu designed by chef Jonathan Pflueger. Royal Hawaiian, 331 N. Coast Hwy., Laguna Beach, CA 92651, 949-715-1470.
Indian restaurant ADYA has opened a second outlet in Orange County at Irvine’s University Center retail and shopping complex. The eatery features executive chef/owner Shachi Mehra’s interpretations on classic and contemporary Indian cuisine, including street food, rich curries, and tandoori specialties. ADYA, University Center, 4213 Campus Drive, Irvine, CA 92612, no phone.
Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley of the band KISS, along with business partners restaurateur Michael Zislis, Jon Mesko and Dave and Dell Furano, present a Corona location of Rock & Brews, the growing chain of rock-themed restaurants. Rock & Brews, 3550 Grand Oaks, Corona, CA 92881, 951-432-7640.
The Los Angeles-based seafood restaurant Water Grill has arrived in Orange County. Like its sister restaurants in downtown Los Angeles, Santa Monica and San Diego’s Gaslamp District, the restaurant presents a rotating menu of upscale seafood dishes, emphasizing sustainable ingredients. Water Grill, 3300 Bristol St., Costa Mesa, CA 92626, 949-208-7060.
Chef/restaurateur Alessandro Pirozzi is growing his Italian-focused culinary empire with the launch of his latest concept Salerno by Chef Pirozzi. The restaurant is slated to open by the end of October. 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. Dinner nightly. Salerno by Chef Pirozzi, 220 Beach St., Laguna Beach, CA 92651, 949-497-2600.
Orange County farm-to-table pioneer Rich Mead has returned to the Orange County dining scene with the launch of Farmhouse at Roger’s Gardens. Located within the confines of the popular Corona Del Mar botanical nursery, the open-air venue features a contemporary culinary motif built upon Mead’s signature skills with fresh and locally sourced ingredients. The eatery will also offer craft beers, signature cocktails and intriguing wines. Lunch and Dinner daily. Farmhouse at Roger's Gardens, 2301 San Joaquin Hills Rd., Corona Del Mar, CA 92625, 949-640-1415.
Orange County’s first drive-thru poke concept, FINS Poke Fusion, is now open in downtown Fullerton. The fast-casual eatery allows guests to assemble bowls of fresh cubed seafood with traditional accoutrements (think seaweed and roe) or order from a list of pre-designed options. Guests can also create their own poke-stuffed tacos. The venue has a sister location in Mission Viejo that does not offer a drive-thru service. FINS Poke Fusion, 513 N. Harbor Blvd., Fullerton, CA 92832, 714-519-3014.
Food hall Lot 579 has opened in Huntington Beach’s sleek new shopping center Pacific City. The dining venue is located on the east end of the sprawling oceanfront retail space and features both new and established fast-casual restaurants. Options range from classic to quirky: There's Bear Flag Fish Market, Australian meat pie specialists Pie-Not, dessert spot PopBar and gourmet sandwich shop BurntCrumbs. Lunch & Dinner daily. Lot 579, Pacific City, 21010 Pacific Coast Hwy., Huntington Beach, CA 92648, no phone.
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.
Live Music at Holstein's Shakes & Buns
Holstein’s Shakes & Buns is raising the happy hour bar with a little live music on Fridays and Saturdays. Various local artists drop by the South Coast Plaza venue to perform acoustic sets for guests who’ve gathered to indulge in $7 appetizers, $5 cocktails and house wines and $3 draft beers. The tunes can be enjoyed from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. Holstein's Shakes & Buns, South Coast Plaza, 3333 Bristol St., Costa Mesa, CA 92626, 714-352-2525.
Brunch at Pizzeria Ortica
Pizzeria Ortica, the popular Italian eatery located in Costa Mesa’s arts district, has launched Sunday brunch. Guests can prep for a day of theatre or shopping at nearby South Coast Plaza by digging into Ortica’s progressive-yet-approachable food and drink items, all carefully crafted by executive chef Justin Miller and bar manager Joel Caruso. Select items include house-made fennel sausage with Tuscan black kale and Calabrian chile; wood-grilled shrimp and polenta with fried green tomatoes; and poached eggs with roasted asparagus, Speck, and Fontina foduta. Dishes can be paired with cocktails such as a tequila-based bloody Mary or a mimosa built with passion fruit, orange and guava. For more information is available online. Pizzeria Ortica, 650 Anton Blvd., Ste. J, Costa Mesa, CA 92626, 714-445-4900.
AYCE Mussels on Fridays at EATS Kitchen + Bar
EATS Kitchen + Bar, the flagship eatery in the Hotel Irvine, is now offering a $12 all-you-can-eat special on mussels every Friday. Executive chef Jason Montelibano whips up an endless parade of of the mollusks --- they arrive flavored with your choice of garlic butter, lemongrass curry or tomato broth. EATS Kitchen + Bar, Hotel Irvine, 17900 Jamboree Rd., Irvine, CA 92614, 949-230-4452.
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.
Ross Pangilinan has parted ways with Leatherby’s Cafe Rouge. He had helmed the Costa Mesa restaurant’s kitchen as executive chef since 2010 and has left to open his own chef-driven concept in downtown Santa Ana, tentatively called Mix Mix. Pangilinan’s position has been filled by Greg Stillman, whose culinary credits include working with famed chef Thomas Keller in addition to stints at the popular Downtown Disney restaurant Catal. Leatherby's Cafe Rouge, Renee and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall, 615 Town Center Dr., Costa Mesa, CA 92626, 714-429-7640.
Local celebrity chef Chris Tzorin has parted ways with Brea’s Tempo Urban Kitchen. Tzorin, who has added numerous appearances on various Food Network programs to his resume in recent years, has moved on to helm the kitchen at Cafe Tu Tu Tango, the contemporary tapas venue located within The Outlets at Orange. A replacement chef for Tempo has not been announced. Tempo Urban Kitchen, 1060 Imperial Hwy., Brea, CA 92821, 714-529-2900.
Marc Johnson has moved on from his post as executive chef at Newport Beach’s Oak Grill at the Island Hotel. He has not moved far, as he has taken the reins as corporate chef for Red O, Rick Bayless’ regional Mexican eatery located in Fashion Island. Johnson departs Oak Grill after opening the eatery in 2014. Oak Grill, Island Hotel Newport Beach, 690 Newport Center Dr., Newport Beach, CA 92660, 949-760-4920.
Chef Jason Montelibano has parted ways with EATS Kitchen + Bar, the flagship eatery at Hotel Irvine. Montelibano will be plying his craft back at Chapter One: The Modern Local in Downtown Santa Ana, where he previously served as executive chef prior to moving to the Irvine-based venue. EATS Kitchen + Bar, Hotel Irvine, 17900 Jamboree Rd., Irvine, CA 92614, 949-230-4452.
Former chef at Little Sparrow, Eric Sanmaniego, is now the chef de cuisine at Michael’s on Naples Ristorante. Michael's on Naples Ristorante, 5620 E. 2nd St., Long Beach, CA 90803, 562-439-7080.
ORANGE COUNTY RESTAURANT CLOSINGS
Manhattan Steak & Seafood, the sleek steakhouse and lounge in Orange, has closed its doors after serving up classic steakhouse and continental cuisine for seven years. No reason was given for the shuttering. No replacement venue has been announced. Manhattan Steak & Seafood, 202 S. Main St., Orange, CA 92868, no phone.
Jason’s by the Circle, owner/chef Jason Kordas’ eclectic global culinary concept just east of Old Town Orange, has closed its doors. No reason for the shuttering was given. A replacement venue for the now-abdicated space has not been announced. Jason's by the Circle, 513 E. Chapman Ave., Orange, CA 92866, 714-347-1130.
Mi Casa Mexican Restaurant & Bar in Rancho Santa Margarita has closed its doors. The Mexican restaurant, which had opened four years ago, cited a decision to not renew its lease as the reason for the closure. The restaurant’s original location in Costa Mesa remains open. Mi Casa Mexican Restaurant & Bar, 22322 El Paseo, Rancho Santa Margarita, CA 92688, no phone.
View GAYOT's calendar of Wine Dinners & Tastings in Orange County