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Dining room at Aubergine; chef Josiah Citrin of Melisse; King Crab Salad at Addison

The 2014 edition of GAYOT's Annual Restaurant Issue has been published! Orange County restaurants honored include Studio on the Top 40 Restaurants in the U.S. and Selanne Steak Tavern on the Hot 25 Restaurants in the U.S.



The Winery Restaurant & Wine Bar has opened up their highly anticipated sister location in Newport Beach. Located along the waterfront in the city’s revitalized Mariner’s Mile district, the restaurant features executive chef Yvon Goetz’s take on contemporary California regional cuisine set against the legendary backdrop of Newport Harbor. In addition to offering dinner service, the two-story venue features a second-floor outdoor dining patio, two private dining rooms, and two bars featuring the restaurant’s long list of wine selections culled from appellations around the globe. Dinner nightly. The Winery Restaurant & Wine Bar, 3131 West Coast Hwy., Newport Beach, CA 92630, 949-999-6622.
WATERTABLE, the new flagship restaurant at the Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort & Spa, is slated to open in April. The venue takes over the space that was formerly occupied by the resort hotel’s previous main restaurant, The Californian. Executive chef Manfred Lassahn will feature a menu that fuses contemporary cuisine, rustic comfort food and Spanish-style tapas. Breakfast and lunch will also be served. The venue will also serve wines from around the world, local craft beers and artisanal cocktails. For more information, visit Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner daily. WATERTABLE, Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort and Spa, 21500 Pacific Coast Hwy., Huntington Beach, CA 92648, 714-698-1234.
Eureka! has opened in Huntington Beach Eureka!, the small California-based chain that specializes in hand-packed burgers and artisanal beverages, has come to Orange County. The venue is in Huntington Beach’s Bella Terra shopping center. In addition to burgers, the restaurant features kicked up American cuisine and a beverage program that emphasizes American craft beers, small-batch whiskeys and specialty cocktails. Lunch & Dinner daily. Eureka!, Bella Terra, 7631 Edinger Ave., Huntington Beach, CA 92647, 714-230-3955.
The new Anaheim Packing District building complex is slated to be the home of the new restaurant ADYA.  Scheduled to open in April 2014, the new venue is touted to serve up Indian cuisine that reflects the country’s modern sensibilities, as well as sustainable ingredients and simple preparation. Shachi Mehra, formerly of Tamarind of London in Newport Beach, serves as the restaurant’s owner and executive chef. Dinner nightly.
BLK Burgrz (pronounced “black burgers”) is now open in Ladera Ranch. The casual South Orange County restaurant features contemporary American small plates and full menu items with an emphasis on burgers and sliders made with American Wagyu and Kobe-style beef, served tableside. The venue also features a full wine list, handcrafted cocktails and craft beer selections from local breweries. BLK Burgrz, Mercantile East Shopping Center, 27742 Antonio Pkwy, Ste 7, Ladera Ranch, CA 92694, 949-429-6666.
Fig & Olive has opened in Newport Beach Fig & Olive, the Mediterranean restaurant with locations in New York and West Hollywood, opened a Fashion Island branch. It occupies its own structure with limestone stucco walls and olive trees. Executive chef Pascal Lorange's menu features 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 focuses on varietals from the South of France, Italy and Spain. Fig & Olive, 401 Newport Center Dr., Newport Beach, CA 92660, 212-924-1200.
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.

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

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News Bytes

OC Expansion for TAPS Fish House & Brewery
TAPS Fish House & Brewery, the Brea restaurant known for its seafood and its craft beer will be opening a second Orange County. The location is slated to open at The Market Place in Irvine in early 2015.  The restaurant will be featuring a 150-seat private dining room, a large outdoor patio and 25 tap handles of craft beer, including a half-dozen of TAPS’ award-winning brews. TAPS Fish House & Brewery, 101 E. Imperial Hwy., Brea, CA 92821, 714-257-0101.
Bracken’s Kitchen is a non-profit organization whose mission is combat hunger in Orange County Bill Bracken Launches Bracken’s Kitchen Non-profit
Bill Bracken, the longtime executive chef at Palm Terrace Restaurant at Island Hotel Newport Beach, has launched Bracken’s Kitchen, a non-profit organization whose mission is combat hunger in Orange County. Equipped with a mobile kitchen and partnerships with local purveyors and other nonprofits like Second Harvest Food Bank, Bracken and his team canvases Orange County to supply cooked meals to families in need. For more information about this organization, visit
Clambake Wednesdays at Ways & Means Oyster House
Ways & Means Oyster House offers up Clambake Wednesdays, a special meal that puts a California spin on one of New England’s most traditional seafood-centric happenings. Guests can belly up to the Orange-based restaurant’s oyster bar and indulge in a one-dish seafood feast featuring seasonal West Coast clams, mussels, andouille sausage, potato and corn on the cob, all served in a spicy seafood lager broth. Additionally, the meal comes with a complimentary pour of wine. The cost is $9.99, and guests have the option to add a half lobster for $12. It's available at the oyster bar only. Ways & Means Oyster House, 513 E. Chapman Ave., Orange, CA 92866, 714-516-1800.
Daily Brunch Has Begun at Pinot Provence
Pinot Provence has expanded their weekend brunch service to a daily offering. The Costa Mesa restaurant, located within walking distance of South Coast Plaza, inside The Westin South Coast Plaza hotel, will allow patrons to start each day by indulging in a two-course offering of classic brunch items infused with French touches. Some of the brunch items include the Provençal scramble served with roasted tomato confit, leeks and chervil; and crème brûlée French toast accompanied with strawberry marmalade and mascarpone-lemon cream. The cost is $22, and $32 with the inclusion of endless mimosas, bellinis or Bloody Marys. A la carte items range from $8-$26. Pinot Provence, The Westin South Coast Plaza, South Coast Plaza, 686 Anton Blvd., Costa Mesa, CA 92626, 714-444-5900.

Chef Shuffle

Ways & Means Oyster House in Old Town Orange has a new tandem team of executive chefs in the kitchen. Benjamin Wallenbeck and Justin Odegard, who honed their crafts separately in Orange County venues like A Restaurant and AnQi Gourmet Bistro by Crustacean, join forces to oversee a menu dominated by sustainably caught seafood and seasonal ingredients. Ways & Means Oyster House, 513 E. Chapman Ave., Orange, CA 92866, 714-516-1800.



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.

Pascal Epicerie & Wine Shop has closed down its Newport Beach location. The store is planning on reopening in May 2014 at a new location in San Juan Capistrano. The new space is slated to feature a retail store, a wine tasting room and dinner service. Pascal Epicerie & Wine Shop, Plaza Newport, 1000 N. Bristol St., Newport Beach, CA 92660, no phone.
Break of Dawn, the popular breakfast and lunch venue in Laguna Hills, has temporarily closed. It is shuttering for a while because the plaza that it calls home is going under a complete renovation. Chef/owner Dee Nguyen has announced that the restaurant will stay in the complex when it reopens sometime in 2014, but will occupy a different space inside of it. Break of Dawn, Laguna Hills Mall, 24351 Avenida De La Carlota, Laguna Hills, CA 92653, no phone.
The Ritz Restaurant & Garden, the iconic restaurant that has been across the way from Newport Beach’s Fashion Island shopping center, has closed its doors. The venerable venue had been part of the Orange County dining scene since 1977, and at its most recent location since 1984. The reason for the shuttering is due to a change in plans regarding the restaurant’s property by the land’s owners, who want to convert the space into a multi-purpose building. The restaurant is currently looking for another space to reopen in the future. The Ritz Restaurant & Garden, 880 Newport Ctr. Dr., Newport Beach, CA 92660, no phone.
Memphis at the Santora, one of the key pieces to Downtown Santa Ana’s culinary and social revival, has closed its doors. The restaurant had been operating in the corner of the city’s Santora building since 2001.  The reason for the closure is tied to the restaurant being sold to new management, who are slated to launch a Mexican food concept in the space in the fall. Memphis Cafe, the restaurant’s sister location in Costa Mesa, will remain open. Memphis at the Santora, Artists Village, 201 N. Broadway, Santa Ana, CA 92701, no phone.
Chakra Cuisine, the upscale Indian restaurant located in Irvine’s UC-adjacent University Center, has shuttered.  No reason was given for the restaurant’s closing down. Plans for a replacement eatery to fill the empty space have yet to be revealed. Chakra Cuisine, University Center, 4143 Campus Dr., Irvine, CA 92612, no phone.
The Crosby, the contemporary restaurant and late-night entertainment venue in downtown Santa Ana, has closed its doors. No replacement venue for the spot has been announced. The Crosby, 400 N. Broadway, Santa Ana, CA 92701, no phone.
Palm Terrace has closed its doors for renovations Palm Terrace, Island Hotel Newport Beach’s flagship restaurant, closed its doors for renovations. The restaurant is slated to reopen in July 2014. Plans for alternative dining concepts during the renovation have not been formally announced. Palm Terrace, The Island Hotel Newport Beach, 690 Newport Center Dr., Newport Beach, CA 92660, no phone.

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Discover the best restaurants in Orange County, CA

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Check out the 2014 edition of GAYOT's Annual Restaurant Issue, which features the Top 40 Restaurants in the U.S., Rising Chefs and more.

FIESTA TIMEAt the Top 10 Mexican Restaurants in the U.S., you can tuck into handmade tacos, Tex-Mex classics or haute interpretations from celebrity chefs.