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Hopdoddy Burger Bar, the Austin, Texas-based burger and beer restaurant, has opened its first location in Orange County. The eatery set up shop in Newport Beach’s swanky outdoor shopping center, Fashion Island. The menu is highlighted by a list of burgers featuring all-natural, hormone- and antibiotic-free Black Angus beef, which is grinded in-house. Guests are able to pair their burgers with a selection from the list of local craft beers. Hopdoddy Burger Bar, Fashion Island, 401 Newport Coast Dr., Ste. 311, Newport Beach, CA 92660, 949-640-2337.
The Los Angeles-based seafood restaurant Water Grill is coming to Orange County. The new eatery is slated to open in August 2016. Like its sister restaurants in downtown Los Angeles, Santa Monica and San Diego’s Gaslamp District, the restaurant will present a rotating menu of upscale seafood dishes, emphasizing sustainable ingredients. Water Grill, 3300 Bristol St., Costa Mesa, CA 92626, no phone.
Kona Grill is opening up its first California location in Orange County. The venue will be located in the Irvine Spectrum, and is slated to open in February 2016. Like the other locations, guests can expect an array of sushi and Pacific Rim-inspired contemporary entrees. You'll also be able to pair your meal with wine, beer, cocktails or sake. Kona Grill, Irvine Spectrum, 71 Spectrum Center Dr., Irvine, CA 92618, no phone.
The high-end Japanese eatery Nobu is making its way to Orange County. The restaurant, which has locations dotted all over the globe, is slated to open in early 2016 as part of the radical redesign of Newport Beach’s Lido Marina Village. Like the other locations, it will feature sushi, izakaya fare and signature dishes inspired by chef and restaurant namesake Nobu Matsuhisa. Nobu, Lido Marina Village, Newport Beach, CA 92663, no phone.
ARC Food & Libations executive chef Noah Blom has announced he will be opening two different culinary concepts in Costa Mesa’s perpetually hot shopping and dining center OC Mix. The two restaurants, which are slated to open in December, will be managed by DirtySexyHappiness Hospitality Group, the business Blom co-owns with his wife, Marin Howarth. The first concept, Restaurant Marin, will be a fast-casual eatery patterned after a modern diner. The second, The Guild, will be reminiscent of a classic supper club, complete with 19th-century design motifs. Restaurant Marin and The Guild, South Coast Collection, 3321 Hyland Ave., Costa Mesa, CA 92626, 949-500-5561.
The Ritz Prime Seafood, the long-standing Fashion Island eatery that closed its doors in 2014, has re-emerged at a new location. The restaurant, which was known for its take on classic continental cuisine, seafood and cocktails, is housed in the waterfront space along Newport Beach’s Mariners Mile, formerly occupied by the Chart House. The Ritz Prime Seafood, 2801 W. Coast Hwy., Newport Beach, CA 92663, 949-720-1800.
The popular New York City food cart The Halal Guys has opened up a brick-and-mortar location in Costa Mesa. Much like its original NYC cart, the restaurant is serving up a simple selection of fast-casual Mediterranean fare such as chicken and rice plates and gyros. Lunch & Dinner daily. The Halal Guys, 3033 Bristol St., Costa Mesa, CA 92626, 714-850-1080.
Holsteins Shakes and Buns is officially open in Costa Mesa. The restaurant is located in South Coast Plaza in the space previously occupied by Charlie Palmer at Bloomingdale’s South Coast Plaza. Its original outpost is in The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. Like at its initial locale, guests can expect to encounter a list of gourmet burgers, kicked-up bar bites, and alcohol-infused milkshakes. Holsteins Shakes and Buns, South Coast Plaza, 3333 Bristol St., Costa Mesa, CA 92626, 714-352-2525.
TAPS Fish House & Brewery has opened its second Orange County location. The new venue is situated within the sprawl of The Market Place in Irvine. Like its sister OC location in Brea, the restaurant features a menu of steaks and seafood, accompanied by a deep selection of craft beers, including several selections made by their own brewery. The venue will also roll out brunch every Sunday. Lunch & Dinner daily, Brunch Sun. TAPS Fish House & Brewery, The Market Place, 13390 Jamboree Rd., Irvine, CA 92602, 714-619-0404.
Amar Santana, executive chef and owner of Laguna Beach’s Broadway by Amar Santana, has announced plans for a second restaurant. The new venue, Vaca, is slated to open in winter 2015 across the way from South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa. The restaurant marks a return to Costa Mesa for Santana, who built up a solid following among dining patrons as executive chef at Charlie Palmer’s at Bloomingdale’s South Coast Plaza. Vaca, 695 Town Center Dr., Costa Mesa, CA 92626, no phone.
Dine Newport Beach Restaurant Week Returns January 18–31
During the Dine Newport Beach Restaurant Week (January 18–31, 2016), participating restaurants will be serving up prix-fixe menus, with lunches available for $10, $15, $20 or $25 and dinners for $20, $30, $40 or $50. For more information, visit Dine Newport Beach Restaurant Week's website
Special Fashion & Prosecco Brunches at Andrea
Andrea at The Resort at Pelican Hill hosts La Bella Moda on select Sundays in November. The fashion and Prosecco brunch event features different themes each week to exhibit seasonal fashion trends from casual chic to festive gowns. The event is in collaboration with luxury designers from Fashion Island, and offers a prix-fixe Prosecco brunch menu with cuisine by chef Marco Criscuolo. Each event is $69 per person, which includes the Prosecco brunch and a gift bag. All events begin at 11 a.m. For more information, visit The Resort at Pelican Hill's website. Andrea, The Resort at Pelican Hill, 22701 Pelican Hill Rd. S., Newport Coast, CA 92657, 949-467-6800.
Amar Santana to Appear on "Top Chef"
Chef Amar Santana (Broadway by Amar Santana and the forthcoming Vaca) will compete on season 13 of Bravo's "Top Chef." The season premiere date is set for December 2, 2015. Broadway by Amar Santana, 328 Glenneyre St., Laguna Beach, CA 92651, 949-715-8234.
NFL Sundays at EATS Kitchen & Drink
Red Bar and Lounge, the Hotel Irvine watering hole adjacent to flagship restaurant EATS Kitchen & Bar, is hosting NFL Sunday --- a sophisticated take on the time-honored ritual of watching Sunday football. Starting at 10 a.m., guests can settle into the bar’s lounge-like seating and check out five games at once on the venue’s 10-foot, nine-panel split screen. Patrons will also have the opportunity to enjoy a special gameday menu created by EATS executive chef, Jason Montelibano, which features bites like the pulled pork and a french fry-stuffed California breakfast burrito. Discounted prices on mimosas and bottled beer are also available. EATS Kitchen & Drink, Hotel Irvine, 17900 Jamboree Rd., Irvine, CA 92614, 949-230-4452.
Lillie's Q Introduces Sunday Brunch
Sunday brunch is now available at Lillie’s Q. From 10 a.m.-2 p.m., the popular downtown Brea restaurant hosts a buffet brunch featuring Southern-style barbecue, traditional Southern sides and mini-desserts, which can be paired with bubbly or Mimosas. The restaurant will also feature a short-order kitchen menu featuring an array of signature plates such as chicken and waffles and Southern eggs Benedict with fried green tomatoes and housemade biscuits. The cost of the brunch is $24.99 for adults, and $9.99 for children 3 to 10. Lillie's Q, 240 S. Brea Blvd., Brea, CA 92821, 714-482-2001.
Sunday Suppers at SOCIAL Costa Mesa
SOCIAL Costa Mesa hosts special Sunday Supper menus. Executive chef Jeffrey Boullt taps into his Southern roots by crafting a hearty weekly menu that emphasizes flavors and ingredients from the region, such as Cajun-style fried chicken and ham and cheddar biscuits. Bar director Mike West will also be creating fresh craft cocktails to pair with the dishes. SOCIAL Costa Mesa, 512 W. 19th St., Costa Mesa, CA 92627, 949-642-2425.
Selanne Steak Tavern has announced that Stephanie Driggs has taken over the reins as pastry chef. Driggs brings more than a decade’s worth of local professional experience to the Laguna Beach restaurant, including an extensive stint as pastry sous chef at The St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort in Dana Point. Selanne Steak Tavern, 1464 S. Coast Hwy., Laguna Beach, CA 92651, 949-715-9881.
Chef de cuisine Aron Habiger has parted ways with The North Left. Habiger, who helped open the restaurant with executive chef Ryan Adams, is said to be moving on to Los Angeles. In a sense, this marks the second time that Habiger has departed from this particular downtown Santa Ana address --- he was previously the executive chef at The Crosby, the restaurant that occupied the location prior to The North Left. No word of a replacement has been made. The North Left, 400 N. Broadway, Santa Ana, CA 92701, 714-543-3543.
Scott's Restaurant & Bar in Costa Mesa has announced that it is closing its doors after 26 years. The restaurant, which has long been an iconic dining venue among the city’s South Coast Plaza and theatre district, will be serving its final meals in January. The location is slated to be filled with the Los Angeles-based, high-end seafood concept Water Grill by August 2016. Scott's Restaurant & Bar, South Coast Plaza, 3300 Bristol St., Costa Mesa, CA 92626, 714-979-2400.
Tamarind of London has closed its doors after four years of serving high-end Indian cuisine. The Newport Beach restaurant, which was an offshoot of the original United Kingdom restaurant, gave no specific reason for its shuttering. Plans to occupy the now-empty space with a new dining concept have yet to be announced. Tamarind of London, Crystal Cove Promenade, 7862 E. Coast Hwy., Newport Beach, CA 92657, no phone.
The Lake Forest location of Slater’s 50/50 has closed. A difficult locale was cited as the reason for the shuttering. The restaurant, which opened in 2013, served up its last orders on September 7, 2015. The Slater’s 50/50 locations in Anaheim Hills and Huntington Beach are still open for business. Slater's 50/50, Big 5 Shopping Center, 24356 Swartz Dr., Lake Forest, CA 92630, no phone.
Z’Tejas in South Coast Plaza has closinged. The modest chain restaurant, which was known for its approachable take on Southwestern cuisine, served its last lunch and dinner on August 29, 2015. Plans for a replacement restaurant have not been announced. Z'Tejas, South Coast Plaza, 3333 Bristol St., Costa Mesa, CA 92626, no phone.
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