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Red O, the Los Angeles restaurant concept from Chicago celebrity chef Rick Bayless, launched a second location at Newport Beach's Fashion Island. The menu features Bayless' takes on classic Mexican cuisine, including original dishes exclusive to this outpost. Red O, Fashion Island, 143 Newport Center Dr., Newport Beach, CA 92660, 949-718-0300.
Cucina Enoteca will be rolling out a second Orange County location, in Newport Beach’s famed shopping center Fashion Island. The restaurant, whose original OC space can be found at the Irvine Spectrum, is slated to open in the summer 2014. Like the Irvine venue, the new space will be featuring an array of rustic Italian cuisine and an extensive list of wines that may be purchased at retail prices. Dinner nightly. Cucina Enoteca, Fashion Island, 401 Newport Center Dr., Newport Beach, CA 92660, no phone.
Bonefish Grill, the sustainable seafood restaurant chain based in St. Petersburg, Florida, opened a new location in the Tustin Marketplace. The restaurant marks the first foray into California for the national dining venue, whose culinary philosophy is anchored by a dedication to responsible fishing practices. As is the case with the other locations, this space features a host of daily hand-cut fish items along with steaks, pasta, chicken and pork dishes. Bonefish Grill, 2915 El Camino Real, Suite 3040, Tustin, CA 92782, 714-368-7613.
Selanne Steak Tavern, the highly anticipated steakhouse owned by current Anaheim Duck and future NHL Hall-of-Famer Teemu Selanne, has opened in Laguna Beach. The venue, which occupies the two-story space that formerly housed French 75, offers a casual dining experience on its lower level, a more sophisticated steakhouse vibe on its upper floor, a full bar featuring a California-centric wine list and artisan cocktails, and an outdoor patio. Executive chef Joshua Severson comes from the St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort & Spa to create a menu steeped with New American takes on classic steak, fish and chicken. For more information, visit www.selannesteaktavern.com. Selanne Steak Tavern, 1464 S. Coast Hwy., Laguna Beach, CA 92651, 949-715-9881.
The Winery Restaurant & Wine Bar will be opening their second Orange County location in February 2014. The new, two-story location will be situated in Newport Beach, on the stretch of Pacific Coast Highway known as Mariner’s Mile. Just like the original location in Tustin, the new spot will feature a menu that focuses on contemporary California regional cuisine, as built by executive chef Yvon Goetz. The Newport Beach location will also house a two-story temperature-controlled glass wine cellar capable of holding up to 6,000 bottles. The Winery Restaurant & Wine Bar, 3131 W. Coast Highway, Newport Beach, CA 92663, no phone.
The community-centric seafood restaurant Ways & Means is launching just outside the city of Orange’s iconic Orange Circle. Chef Conrad Gallagher, whose international resume include stops in London, South Africa and New York, is overseeing a culinary concept that is patterned after the traditional oyster bars and fish houses that dot the globe’s coastlines. In addition to a rotating selection of West Coast and East Coast oysters, guest can expect shared plates and main dishes built around the sea’s bounty, like salmon rillette with red onion and lemon aioli and seared ahi tuna with wok-fried shiitake mushrooms and tofu wontons. For more information, visit www.wmoysters.com. Lunch & Dinner daily. Ways & Means, 513 E. Chapman Ave., Orange, CA 92866, 714-516-1800.
Urban Plates, the grown-up cafeteria concept that was originally founded in the San Diego suburb of Del Mar, has migrated northwards to Irvine. The venue is featuring farm-to-table fare ranging from hot and cold sandwiches to flatbreads, slow-cooked stews, and heartier items such as barbecue turkey meatloaf and grilled steak. For more information, visit www.urbanplates.com. Urban Plates, The Crossroads, 3972 Barranca Pkwy., Irvine, CA 92606, 949-387-2600.
The Los Angeles-based, cafeteria-style restaurant Lemonade has landed at Fashion Island. The eatery is a fast-casual concept that allows patrons to select from a buffet of prepared hot and cold dishes, including salads and sandwiches. The restaurant also utilizes a wood-burning oven to make flatbreads, as well as a rotisserie to prepare items like roast rib-eye and leg of lamb. Lunch & Dinner daily. Lemonade, Fashion Island, 401 Newport Center Dr., Newport Beach, CA 92660, 949-717-7525.
Fig & Olive, the Mediterranean restaurant with locations in New York and West Hollywood, will open a Fashion Island branch on December 20, 2013. It will occupy its own structure with limestone stucco walls and olive trees. Executive chef Pascal Lorange's menu will feature shareable small plates (e.g. fig-Gorgonzola tartlet, zucchini carpaccio) and dinner entrées such as Provence rosemary grilled lamb chops served with goat cheese gnocchi and eggplant roasted with thyme and honey. The wine list will focus on varietals from the South of France, Italy and Spain. Fig & Olive, 401 Newport Center Dr., Newport Beach, CA 92660, 212-924-1200.
Diego’s Downtown is the latest eatery to pop up in the increasingly hip downtown Santa Ana food scene. Executive chef and Santa Ana native Richard Espinachio has created a menu that blends traditional Mexican cuisine with contemporary culinary twists, including cactus salad with Oaxaca cheese; hangar steak tacos; and short ribs prepared in a tamarind and chili glaze. For more information, visit www.diegosdowntown.com. Lunch & Dinner Tue.-Sat. Diego's Downtown, 224 E. 3rd St., Santa Ana, CA 92701, 714-558-8257.
Pie Society, the much-anticipated speakeasy concept located in the back of Costa Mesa’s Pitfire Artisan Pizza, has opened. The cozy, wood-paneled venue features a tidy list of small bites created by chef Jason Neroni of the Venice Beach restaurant Superba Snack Bar, as well as handcrafted cocktails created by popular OC mixologist Steve Garcia. For more information, visit www.piesocietybar.com. Pie Society, 353 E. 17th St., Costa Mesa, CA 92627, 949-313-6333.
Revamped Brunch Program at Scott’s Restaurant & Bar
Scott’s Restaurant & Bar has expanded and revamped its brunch program. The Costa Mesa eatery, located across from South Coast Plaza, offers a two-course plated brunch on Saturdays and Sundays, which can be augmented with a Bloody Mary or free-flowing Champagne. Select items include Nutella brioche French toast, crab Benedict, and a bacon and egg flatbread. The cost is $20 for the brunch alone, or $30 with a Bloody Mary or Champagne. Scott's Restaurant & Bar, South Coast Plaza, 3300 Bristol St., Costa Mesa, CA 92626, 714-979-2400.
Sunday Suppers at Bruno's Trattoria
Bruno’s Trattoria is now offering a weekly Sunday Supper --- a special family-style, multi-course dinner designed to replicate a classic end-of-the-weekend family dinner. Guests that come to the downtown Brea eatery can share an antipasto platter; a pasta trio of spaghetti and meatballs, gnocchi and penne puttanesca; and a homemade dessert platter. The cost is $23.50, or $9.95 for children under 11. For more information, please visit www.brunosbrea.com. Bruno's Trattoria, 210 W. Birch St., Brea, CA 92821, 714-257-1000.
House of An’s Secret Kitchen Crab Dinners
AnQi Gourmet Bistro by Crustacean presents House of An’s Secret Kitchen Crab Dinners, available on Tuesdays. This is a unique beer-pairing meal prepared in the spirit of the South Coast Plaza venue’s sister location in Beverly Hills. Guests will have the opportunity to indulge in a roasted crab meal prepared by master chef Helene An, complete with her renowned garlic noodles and a carefully picked selection of Asian beers. Diners will also have the opportunity to participate in a meet and greet with An and will receive a set of specially handcrafted chopsticks. The cost is $98 per person, excluding tax and gratuity. There is a minimum of two guests required. For more information, visit www.anqibistro.com. AnQi Gourmet Bistro by Crustacean, South Coast Plaza, 3333 Bristol St., Costa Mesa, CA 92626, 714-557-5679.
New Off-Menu Burger at Stonehill Tavern
Stonehill Tavern in Dana Point is jumping into the burgeoning off-menu burger trend with its creation of the Tavern Burger. Executive chef Raj Dixit has built a 100 percent Kobe-style beef burger topped with black truffles, heirloom tomatoes, watercress and pickled red onions. The burger is accompanied by a choice of fries or a seasonal "chef’s choice" selection like tempura Maitake mushroom. Stonehill Tavern, St. Regis Resort, Monarch Beach, One Monarch Beach Resort, Dana Point, CA 92629, 949-234-3200, 800-722-1543.
The Ranch Opens Private Dining and Events Center
The Ranch Restaurant & Saloon has opened their elevated private dining and events center. Located on the sixth floor of the corporate office that the acclaimed Anaheim restaurant calls home, and consisting of over 7,500 square feet, the center offers a quartet of stylish private rooms that open up to cityscape views of the surrounding area and beyond. The sixth floor is also home to the venue’s 14,000-bottle wine cellar, as well as an intimate classroom kitchen. The Ranch Restaurant & Saloon, 1025 E. Ball Rd., Anaheim, CA 92805, 714-817-4200.
Manfred Lassahn has taken over as executive chef at The Californian, the flagship dining venue at the Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach. Lassahn, who trained in Germany, comes to the oceanfront venue after accumulating nearly three decades worth of experience in other Hyatt properties in Southern California, including the Hyatt Regency Long Beach, Hyatt Regency Valencia and Hyatt Regency Century Plaza. The Californian, Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort & Spa, 21500 Pacific Coast Hwy., Huntington Beach, CA 92648, 714-845-4776.
The Balboa Bay Resort has welcomed Vincent Lesage as its new executive chef. Lesage has taken over the culinary operations of the Newport Beach waterfront resort from Josef Lageder, who retired in September. The Paris native’s resume includes several restaurants in France, as well as his most recent stint as executive sous chef at the nearby St. Regis Monarch Beach. Balboa Bay Resort, Balboa Bay Resort, 1221 W. Coast Hwy., Newport Beach, CA 92663, 949-645-5000.
Asada Laguna has closed its doors. The Laguna Beach restaurant, which had served up Mexican cuisine and featured a tequila bar, opened in the city’s downtown area in 2011. No replacement venue has been announced to fill the shuttered space. Asada Laguna, 480 S. Coast Hwy., Laguna Beach, CA 92651, no phone.
Alcatraz Brewing Company has closed its doors. The restaurant, which was one of the original eateries at the outdoor mall known as The Outlets at Orange, and formerly known as The Block, did not leave a reason as to its shuttering. No replacement venue for the vacant space has been announced. Alcatraz Brewing Co., The Block at Orange, 20 City Blvd. W., Orange, CA 92868, no phone.
The Anaheim Hills restaurant Canyon has closed its doors. The venue, which was owned and operated by executive chef Rich Mead, was in operation for five years. The space is slated to be reinvented as a new culinary concept called Reunion by the end of the year. Canyon, 5775 E. Santa Ana Canyon Rd., Anaheim Hills, CA 92807, no phone.
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