Orange County Restaurant News
Craig Strong, the former executive chef at Montage Laguna Beach’s Studio, has opened his new restaurant. Ocean at Main, located in downtown Laguna Beach, features seasonal dishes driven by pristine ingredients. The menu also emphasizes California products and honors the state’s reputation for healthy lifestyle choices. Ocean at Main, 222 Ocean Ave., Laguna Beach, CA 92651, 949-715-3870.
Boston-based steakhouse Davio’s Northern Italian Steakhouse is open in Irvine. The venue is the initial West Coast foray for chef/restaurateur Steve DiFillippo’s regional Italian concept, which also has locations in New York, Philadelphia and Atlanta. Guests can expect to encounter a menu of seasonal Northern Italian fare emphasizing house-made pasta, fresh seafood, and beef sourced from trusted purveyors. An extensive international wine list, craft beers, and seasonal craft cocktails is be available. Davio's Northern Italian Steakhouse, 18420 Von Karman Ave., Irvine, CA 92612, 949-477-4810.
The team behind the popular Costa Mesa restaurant ARC Food & Libations will be opening ARC Butcher & Baker, a new culinary concept in Newport Beach’s Cannery Village. The venue, which is slated to debut in the fall, will feature salads, sandwiches, toasts, and classic American fare like steak and potatoes. It will also offer a wide array of ready-to-serve family-style dinners for guests to take home. A full-service bakery will be on the premises. ARC Butcher & Baker, 417 30th St., Newport Beach, CA 92663, no phone.
Left Coast Brewing Company has opened up a tap and tasting room in Irvine. The venue, which is located a few blocks south of the city’s Great Park, serves up a rotation of its award-winning craft beers in an industrial-themed space. Its brews are paired with a compact menu of Kansas City-style barbecue. Lunch & Dinner daily. Left Coast Brewing Company, 6652 Irvine Center Dr., Irvine, CA 92618, 949-387-5170.
The restaurant group behind Costa Mesa’s The Country Club and Wild Goose Tavern has opened Playa Mesa, the collective’s third culinary foray onto the city’s bustling 17th Street. The venue serves up Mexican cuisine inspired by several of the country’s key culinary regions, including Baja, Oaxaca, Michoacán and Jalisco, as interpreted by executive chef Rolando Rubalcava. Also featured are a list of Mexican beers, Spanish and Latin American wines, craft cocktails, and a deep roster of tequila and mezcal selections. Playa Mesa, 428 E. 17th St., Costa Mesa, CA 92627, 949-287-5292.
Chef John Tesar will open Outer Reef in late 2018 at Laguna Cliffs Resort & Spa in Dana Point. The restaurant will highlight seafood sourced exclusively from the West Coast, as well as California produce. Diners can also expect to find some dishes carried over from Tesar's Dallas restaurants, including meaty offerings from Knife (one of GAYOT's Best Steakhouses in the U.S.) and Spoon Bar & Kitchen’s crudo, caviar and shellfish. Outer Reef, Laguna Cliffs Resort & Spa, 25135 Park Lantern, Dana Point, CA 92629, no phone.
The Blind Pig Kitchen + Bar is opening its second location in Orange County. The new outpost of the hip gastropub and craft cocktail bar, whose original venue is situated on the edge of OC in Rancho Santa Margarita, is slated to drop in Yorba Linda in late fall of 2018. The debut will coincide with the launch of Yorba Linda Town Center, the retail center it will call home. Guests can expect to peruse an eclectic menu of seasonal contemporary fare such as wild boar meatballs with Japanese curry or grilled octopus, along with drinks composed with fresh ingredients and house-made syrups.
Restaurateur Yassmin Sarmadi and chef Tony Esnault (Los Angeles’ Church & State) will open a French restaurant named Knife Pleat at Costa Mesa’s South Coast Plaza in early 2019. It will occupy the upscale property’s third-level Penthouse. Knife Pleat, South Coast Plaza, 3333 Bristol St., Costa Mesa, CA 92626, no phone.
Restaurant/brewery hybrid Congregation Ale House is opening its first Orange County location in downtown Santa Ana. Like the three other L.A. County outposts, the place will offer an array of burgers, pizzas and more assorted American bar food. An abundance of beer will also flow, in the form of local craft brews and Congregation’s own concoctions. Congregation Ale House, 201 N. Broadway, Santa Ana, CA 92701, no phone.
Marché Moderne Offers Spontané Menu on Mondays
Marché Moderne, the French restaurant from owner/chefs Florent and Amelia Marneauin, offers a special Spontanée Menu on Mondays. The three-course prix-fixe menu ($38 for food only) changes weekly. Add a carafe of wine for $18. Marché Moderne, Crystal Cove Shopping Center, 7862 E. Coast Hwy., Newport Beach, CA 92657, 714-434-7900.
Montage Laguna Beach has promoted Benjamin Martinek to chef de cuisine of Studio, its flagship restaurant overlooking the Pacific Ocean. He has been part of the resort's culinary team for seven years, most recently as sous chef at Studio and before that as an executive sous chef at The Loft. Martinek takes over from executive chef Craig Strong, who is opening his own restaurant, Ocean at Main, in Laguna Beach. Studio, Montage Laguna Beach, 30801 S. Coast Hwy., Laguna Beach, CA 92651, 949-715-6030.
Brittany Valles has been named executive chef at Oak Grill, the flagship restaurant at Newport Beach’s Fashion Island Hotel. An Orange County native, Valles previously worked in Los Angeles under Michael Voltaggio, serving as chef de cuisine at the former Top Chef winner’s restaurant ink.well for seven years. Valles will also be in charge of the menu at Fashion Island Hotel’s popular cocktail bar, Aqua Lounge. Oak Grill, Fashion Island Hotel, 690 Newport Center Dr., Newport Beach, CA 92660, 949-760-4920.
Tangata Restaurant, the Patina Group venue located within Santa Ana’s Bowers Museum, has tapped Brian Kiepler as its new executive chef. A longtime member of chef Joachim Splichal’s restaurant group, Kiepler has previously served as executive chef for Nick & Stef’s Steakhouse in Los Angeles as well as executive chef at the Los Angeles Contemporary Museum of Art, where he oversaw the property’s culinary operations. At Tangata, Kiepler oversees a globally-inspired menu marked by distinct Pacific Rim influences. Tangata Restaurant, Bowers Museum, 2002 N. Main St., Santa Ana, CA 92706, 714-550-0906.
Downtown Laguna Beach’s Three Seventy Common Kitchen + Drink is slated to close its doors by the end of September. Executive chef and restaurateur Ryan Adams, who launched the restaurant in 2011, has announced he sold off the venue to pursue other culinary projects. The property’s new owner is Greg Daniels, former partner and executive chef at Haven Gastropub in Orange. Daniels is scheduled to open a new restaurant concept in the space by mid-October, called Harley, which will focus on seasonal, chef-driven contemporary cuisine. Three Seventy Common Kitchen + Drink, 370 Glenneyre St., Laguna Beach, CA 92651, 949-494-8686.
Strickland's has announced that it will close its Irvine shop in 2019. The ice cream purveyor is considering relocation. Strickland's, 4523 Campus Dr., Irvine, CA 92612, 949-387-9955.
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