Orange County, CA Restaurant News
NEW RESTAURANTS IN ORANGE COUNTY
Angelina’s Pizzeria Napoletana has opened its second location in Orange County. The new venue can be found in Irvine's Los Olivos Marketplace, across the way from Verizon Amphitheater. In addition to crafting wood-fired Neapolitan-style pizza, the eatery serves up a variety of salads, sandwiches, pasta and traditional Italian dishes, which can be paired with a selection from their wine list. Lunch & Dinner daily. Angelina's Pizzeria Napoletana, Los Olivos Marketplace, 8573 Irvine Center Dr., Irvine, CA 92618, 949-536-5200.
Executive chef Matthew Briggs has launched Public Steak in Santa Ana. Briggs earned his stripes at Mastro’s and The Loft in the Montage Laguna Beach, among other venues. At Steak, Briggs has crafted a chef-driven, fine-dining establishment specializing in contemporary steakhouse fare with a few adventurous touches. Steaks, chops and seafood offerings can be accompanied by a selection from the restaurant’s wine list. Public Steak, 3751 S. Harbor Blvd. Ste. C, Santa Ana, CA 92704, 714-557-2987.
The build-your-own-slider concept Hatch is located in the Union Market Tustin retail complex within The District shopping center. It provides patrons the opportunity to mix and match different proteins, cheeses and buns to create an array of hand-held combinations. Guests can also indulge in small bites and sides such as fries and wings to accompany their sliders. The venue also serves craft beers and Tiki drinks. Hatch, Union Market Tustin, 2493 Park Ave., Tustin, CA 92782, 657-208-2088.
Watson’s Drug Store, the iconic diner and general store in Orange’s historic Orange Circle, has reopened for business under the slightly altered name Watson’s Soda Fountain & Café. Though recast with a more stylized patina of wood and marble, the eatery is whipping up malts and shakes just like those made at its 1915 opening, although some are now infused with spirits. Guests can also order up an array of breakfast items, sandwiches, soups, and contemporary comfort-food entrees. Watson’s Soda Fountain & Café, 116 E. Chapman Ave., Orange, CA 92866, 714-363-3773.
Indian restaurant ADYA has announced the opening of a second outlet in Orange County, expected to debut this spring. While the restaurant’s first location is in the Anaheim Packing District, the next installment will feed guests at Irvine’s University Center retail and shopping complex. The eatery will feature 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.
The Chicago barbecue restaurant Old Crow Smokehouse has come to Orange County. Located steps from the shore at Huntington Beach’s sprawling retail center Pacific City, the restaurant serves up a mix of various styles of ‘que culled from the country’s most famed regions, from Kansas City to the Carolinas. It also serves up beer and cocktails, and features live country music Fridays and Saturdays. Lunch & Dinner daily. Old Crow Smokehouse, Pacific City, 21022 Pacific Coast Highway, Huntington Beach, CA 92648, 714-536-0381.
Jimmy’s Famous American Tavern has opened its second location in Orange County. The restaurant, whose original OC location is in Dana Point, is in the Village at La Floresta, the flourishing shopping and dining complex located in east Brea. Guests can expect a menu featuring generous portions of kicked-up comfort food, along with several wines on tap and craft cocktails. Lunch & Dinner daily, Brunch Sun. Jimmy's Famous American Tavern, Village at La Floresta, 3325 E. Imperial Hwy., Brea, CA 92823, 714-733-1310.
The seafood restaurant Ways & Means Oyster House has returned to Orange County. The venue, which had closed its lone Orange location in October 2014, is located in Huntington Beach’s Pacific City shopping and dining complex. As was the case in the old location, executive chef Justin Odegard oversees a seafood-centric menu with an emphasis on fresh, sustainable products and “ocean to table” motifs. Guests can also enjoy oceanfront views with seasonal cocktails and selections from a globally inspired wine list. Dinner nightly. Ways & Means Oyster House, Pacific City, 21022 Pacific Coast Hwy., Huntington Beach, CA 92648, 714-960-4300.
The team behind the Los Angeles plant-based restaurant Café Gratitude has launched its first Orange County location, Gratitude. It features a seasonally driven, environmentally friendly vegan cuisine for lunch and dinner. The restaurant also serves handcrafted cocktails concocted with house-made bitters, infusions and shrubs. Guests on the move can pick up several items via takeout service. Lunch & Dinner daily. Gratitude, Castaway Commons, 1617 Westcliff Dr., Newport Beach, CA 92660, 949-386-8103.
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.
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 late 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 had announced he would launch a duo of different culinary concepts in Costa Mesa’s perpetually hot shopping and dining center South Coast Collection. Now open is Restaurant Marin, a fast-casual eatery patterned after a modern diner. The Guild Club, which will be reminiscent of a classic supper club, complete with 19th-century design motifs, is set to debut in April 2016. The two restaurants will be managed by DirtySexyHappiness Hospitality Group, the business Blom co-owns with his wife, Marin Howarth. Restaurant Marin and The Guild Club, South Coast Collection, 3321 Hyland Ave., Ste. G, Costa Mesa, CA 92626, 949-500-5561.
North Italia Launches Spring Dishes & Cocktails
The Irvine and El Segundo locations of North Italia are featuring new menu items for spring, including seasonal salads and an asparagus pizza topped with shaved artichoke, lemon, pistachio and a fried egg. There are also several new cocktails, such as the Apricot Limonata (Smirnoff vodka, apricot liqueur, smashed lemon). North Italia, Park Place, 2957 Michelson Dr., Irvine, CA 92612, 949-629-7060.
California Wine Nights at EATS Kitchen + Bar
EATS Kitchen & Bar, Hotel Irvine’s flagship restaurant, is hosting California Wine Nights. Guests will enjoy an interactive wine pairing dinner showcasing a different top-notch winery from the Golden State each evening. EATS executive chef Jason Montelibano will craft a five-course meal to go with the wines, and winemakers will be on hand to discuss each glass that’s poured. Cost is $75 per person, excluding tax and gratuity. Seating is limited. For more information, please visit the restaurant’s website. EATS Kitchen + Bar, Hotel Irvine, 17900 Jamboree Rd., Irvine, CA 92614, 949-230-4452.
Weekday Lunch Service at Roy's
Roy’s in Newport Beach is now open for lunch service Monday through Friday. The restaurant, which is located in the Fashion Island shopping center, is serving weekday diners a wide array of Pacific Rim-inspired starters, sandwiches, salads and lunch boxes, including several singular items crafted by the location’s chef/partner John Vega. Lunch items include Szechuan calamari; lobster potstickers; misoyaki butterfish lettuce wraps; and a pork sandwich with crispy onions, slaw and fries. Roy's, Fashion Island, 453 Newport Center Dr., Newport Beach, CA 92660, 949-640-7697.
Jeffrey Boullt has parted ways with SOCIAL Costa Mesa. No reason was given for the executive chef's departure. Boullt held the position when the restaurant made its debut in late 2014. SOCIAL Costa Mesa, 512 W. 19th St., Costa Mesa, CA 92627, 949-642-2425.
Chris Tzorin has parted ways with Kutsi Cocina in Santa Ana. The downtown Santa Ana eatery has announced that Luis Fernandez will take the reins of the kitchen. A native of Uruapan in Michoacan, Mexico, Fernandez aims to craft a menu of traditional and modern regional Mexican cuisine with a touch of American and Spanish influence. Chef Tzorin has moved on to become executive chef at Brea’s Tempo Urban Kitchen. Kutsi Cocina, Santora Building, 201 N. Broadway, Santa Ana, CA 92701, 714-564-1616.
Chef Raj Dixit, formerly of Dana Point's contemporary Stonehill Tavern, has taken the reins at Michael Mina in San Francisco, replacing Ron Siegel. Stonehill Tavern, St. Regis Resort, Monarch Beach, One Monarch Beach Resort, Dana Point, CA 92629, 949-234-3200, 800-722-1543.
ORANGE COUNTY RESTAURANT CLOSINGS
Downtown Santa Ana bistro Little Sparrow has closed its doors. The popular eatery, which was one of the anchors of the city’s burgeoning dining scene, served its final plates on April 16. The venue’s owners are planning to launch a new dining concept, Black Box, in the same space. The opening date has not yet been revealed. Little Sparrow, 300 N. Main St., Santa Ana, CA 92701, no phone.
Nello Cucina, the Italian eatery located in the South Coast Plaza wing formerly known as Crystal Cove, has shuttered. No reason was given for the closure. The space will be taken over by Mezzet Mediterranean Cuisine, a small-plates concept that is poised to pair East Mediterranean fare like kebabs and couscous dishes with a full bar. Nello Cucina Close, South Coast Plaza, 3333 S. Bear St., Costa Mesa, CA 92704, no phone.
Foxfire: An American Chophouse has closed its doors. No reason was given for shuttering. The venue, which featured steaks and chops, along with a well-honed reputation for being a hangout for older single women, ceased service after the first week in February. No plans for a replacement venue have been revealed. Foxfire: An American Chophouse, 5717 E. Santa Ana Cyn Rd., Anaheim Hills, CA 92807, no phone.
Scott's Restaurant & Bar in Costa Mesa has closed its doors after 26 years. The restaurant had long been an iconic dining venue among the city’s South Coast Plaza and theatre district. 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, no phone.
View GAYOT's calendar of Wine Dinners & Tastings in Orange County