Since 1969, restaurant, hotel, travel & other witty reviews by a handpicked, worldwide team of discerning professionals—and your views, too.

Orange County, CA Restaurant News

Hatch serves up gourmet sliders, craft beers and Tiki drinks in Tustin



Eat Chow, the casual/contemporary eatery in Costa Mesa and Newport Beach, has announced plans to open a new location in Downtown Santa Ana. The restaurant is slated to launch by the end of this year. In addition to crafting upscale versions of classic American cuisine, the new location will differentiate itself from the original two locales by offering a full bar. Lunch & Dinner daily. Eat Chow, 313 N. Bush St., Santa Ana, CA 92701, no phone.
The iconic tiki-themed Laguna Beach restaurant Royal Hawaiian is reopening after shuttering in 2012. The venue, which initially closed after a 65-year run, is slated to welcome guests sometime in mid-July. Old-school patrons will be able to 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, 949-494-8001.
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.
Mezzet Mediterranean Cuisine has opened in the South Coast Plaza in the Crate and Barrel/Macy’s Home  Store Wing. The concept offers East Mediterranean fare like kebabs and couscous dishes, plus Neapolitan pizzas and flatbreads. Mezzet Mediterranean Cuisine, South Coast Plaza, 3333 S. Bear St., Costa Mesa, CA 92704, 714-540-3365.
EMC Seafood & Raw Bar has opened in Irvine, joining the ever-growing number of Los Angeles-based restaurants drawn to Orange County. This sleek venue is staying true to its Koreatown roots by offering a range of seafood items, includung raw oysters, congee and whole branzino. Elegant, contemporary meat dishes juxtapose these options. Lunch & Dinner daily. EMC Seafood & Raw Bar, 14346 Culver Dr., Irvine, CA 92604, 949-748-3979.
Irenia presents authentic Filipino fare in downtown Santa Ana Filipino restaurant Irenia has opened in downtown Santa Ana. Set in the space formerly operated by North Left, the new restaurant is an extension of Irenia Supper Club, a pop-up concept hatched by owner/executive chef Ryan Garlitos. The venue showcases authentic Filipino lunch and dinner items like lumpia, dilis (fried anchovies) and adobo carefully crafted by Garlitos, who honed his craft in the kitchen of Taco Maria. Lunch & Dinner Tue.-Sat. Irenia, 400 N. Broadway, Santa Ana, CA 92701, 657-245-3466.
The team behind Huntington Beach’s popular SeaLegs Wine Bar has opened their second restaurant concept, SeaSalt Woodfire Grill. The new restaurant is a stone’s throw from SeaLegs and features a unique spin on California cuisine, built around grilling meat Santa Maria-style. SeaLegs’ executive chef Alexander Dale oversees the menu, and he also created several house-made flavored sea salts to season the grilled meats. SeaSalt Woodfire Grill, 21214 Beach Blvd., Huntington Beach, CA 92648, 714-804-5545.
Kona Grill has launched its first California location in Orange County, located in the Irvine Spectrum. Guests can expect an array of sushi and Pacific Rim-inspired contemporary entrées. Pair your meal with wine, beer, cocktails or saké. Kona Grill, Irvine Spectrum, 71 Spectrum Center Dr., Irvine, CA 92618, 949-535-1010.
Contemporary seafood restaurant Anchor Hitch has opened in South Orange County retail and restaurant space Union Market Mission Viejo. The restaurant features a raw bar and modern handcrafted seafood fare such as green curried scallop risotto and uni pasta with a dashi poached egg, served up family style. Patrons might pair dishes with craft cocktails. Anchor Hitch, Union Market Mission Viejo, 27741 Crown Valley Pkwy., Mission Viejo, CA 92691, 626-757-3471.
The team behind the popular San Clemente restaurant Vine has launched their latest dining concept, Ironwood, located in Laguna Hills. Vine’s executive chef, Jared Cook, oversees the kitchen, which features farm-to-table cuisine made from locally sourced ingredients. The venue also offers craft cocktails and beers, as well as more than 25 wine selections by the glass. Ironwood, 25250 La Paz Rd., Ste. 100, Laguna Hills, CA 92653, 949-446-8772.
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.
Indian restaurant ADYA has announced the opening of a second outlet in Orange County, expected to debut this summer. 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.
Water Grill is coming to Costa Mesa 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.

Find more recent openings with our list of the
Top 10 New & Notable Restaurants
and round-up of all the NEW Restaurants in Orange County



Vince Ferragamo’s Wine Dinner Meet & Greet at Back Bay Bistro
Back Bay Bistro, the flagship dining venue at Newport Beach’s Newport Dunes resort, is celebrating the return of the Los Angeles Rams by hosting Vince Ferragamo’s Wine Dinner Meet & Greet. The former Rams quarterback and current local vintner will pair up with a former or current player from the storied NFL franchise to present an educational evening of food and drink on the third Thursday of the month. The event includes a five-course dinner, and each course will be accompanied by Italian and regional wines. The evenings kick off with a welcome reception at 6 p.m. For more information, please visit the event website. Back Bay Bistro, Newport Dunes Resort, 1131 Back Bay Dr., Newport Beach, CA 92660, 949-729-1144.
Slow Smoked Sundaze at Oak Grill
Oak Grill, the flagship restaurant at Island Hotel Newport Beach, hosts Slow Smoked Sundaze, a family-friendly barbecue Sunday supper designed to capture the essence of the classic summertime cookout. Executive chef Marc Johnson taps into his Southern culinary roots for the weekly event, offering a menu loaded with exquisitely smoked meats and traditional sides. Fare can be enjoyed in the dining room or on the venue’s relaxed outdoor deck. Entrees and sides include baby back ribs, fried chicken, cedar-planked salmon, corn on the cob, mac ’n' cheese, sautéed greens and pecan pie. Guests might complement their meal with a glass of basil- and strawberry-infused lemonade. Oak Grill, Island Hotel Newport Beach, 690 Newport Center Dr., Newport Beach, CA 92660, 949-760-4920.



Montage Laguna Beach has announced Michael Campbell as the new chef de cuisine of oceanview restaurant The Loft. Campbell joins the luxury resort's staff with impressive experience under his belt. In addition to opening popular Costa Mesa restaurant Pueblo, Campbell has worked as executive sous chef for San Francisco restaurant RN74; French eatery Numero 75; and Barcelona venue Arrel Del Bom. The Loft, Montage Laguna Beach, 30801 Coast Hwy., Laguna Beach, CA 92651, 949-715-6000.




Take your taste buds on a walk down memory lane! Check out our exclusive closed restaurant database for Orange County to virtually visit your favorite dining spots from yesteryear. Aqua, R.I.P.

Public Steak, the Costa Mesa restaurant opened by former Maestro’s executive chef Matthew Briggs, has shuttered. The sudden closing of the venue, which opened in spring of 2016, is said to have been due to a split in the ownership. The remaining owners have rebranded the venue The Scotchery Steaks and Sprits and have rolled out a menu of contemporary steakhouse fare. Public Steak, 3751 S. Harbor Blvd., Ste. C, Santa Ana, CA 92704, no phone.
Café Zoolu shut its doors after serving downtown Laguna Beach for 22 years. The venue, known for its unique mélange of Hawaiian, Cajun, Mexican and Asian cuisines, closed due to the retirement of chef/co-owner Michael Leech and his wife. There is no word on what will take over the space. Cafe Zoolu, 860 Glenneyre St., Laguna Beach, CA 92651, no phone.

View GAYOT's calendar of Wine Dinners & Tastings in Orange County

View archived news: June 2016 | May 2016 | April 2016 | March 2016 | February 2016 | January 2016 | December 2015 | November 2015 | October 2015 | September 2015 | August 2015 | July 2015 | June 2015 | May 2015 | April 2015 | March 2015 | February 2015 | January 2015 | December 2014 | November 2014 | October 2014 | September 2014 | August 2014 | July 2014 | June 2014 | May 2014 | April 2014 | March 2014 | February 2014 | January 2014 | December 2013 | November 2013 | October 2013 | September 2013 | August 2013 | July 2013 | June 2013 | May 2013 | April 2013 | March 2013 | February 2013 | January 2013 | December 2012 | November 2012 | October 2012 | September 2012 | August 2012 | July 2012 | June 2012 | May 2012 | April 2012 | March 2012 | February 2012 | January 2012 | December 2011 | November 2011 | October 2011 | September 2011 | August 2011 | July 2011 | June 2011 | May 2011 | April 2011 | March 2011 | February 2011 | January 2011 | December 2010 | November 2010 | October 2010 | September 2010 | August 2010 | July 2010 | June 2010 | May 2010 | April 2010 | March 2010 | February 2010 | January 2010 | December 2009 | November 2009 | October 2009 | September 2009 | August 2009 | July 2009 | June 2009 | May 2009 | April 2009 | March 2009 | February 2009 | January 2009 | December 2008 | November 2008 | October 2008 | September 2008 | August 2008 | July 2008 | June 2008 | May 2008 | April 2008 | March 2000 | March 2008


Find out which restaurants and chefs top the list of GAYOT's 2016 Annual Restaurant Awards.

MASTERS OF MIXOLOGYDiscover craft cocktail bars and restaurants that put as much thought into what goes in your glass as what goes on your plate.