Orange County, CA Restaurant News
NEW RESTAURANTS IN ORANGE COUNTY
Upscale taqueria concept Puesto has made its Orange County debut Known for creating classic Mexico City-style street tacos with locally sourced ingredients and from-scratch salsas, the venue is located in Irvine’s Los Olivos Marketplace, a stone’s throw away from the Irvine Spectrum’s massive sprawl. This marks the third locale for the eatery, which also has outposts in San Diego and La Jolla. Puesto, Los Olivos Marketplace, 8577 Irvine Center Dr., Irvine, CA 92618, 949-608-9990.
Disneyland has unveiled an exclusive new dining experience within the park. At 21 Royal, located in New Orleans Square (upstairs from the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction), guests will enjoy a customized tasting menu in an elegant private dining room, as well as a cocktail reception and other VIP treatment. The all-inclusive price rings in at $15,000 for a party of up to 12 people. 21 Royal, Disneyland, 1313 S. Disneyland Dr., Anaheim, CA 92802, 714-300-7749.
The popular food truck Falasophy has opened its first brick-and-mortar location within the confines of Downtown Santa Ana’s 4th Street Market. Fans of the mobile kitchen can expect an expanded take on its Mediterranean concept, as shawarmas and Lebanese specialties like kanafeh have been added to its list of gourmet falafel sandwiches and hummus bar offerings.
Chef/restaurateur Alessandro Pirozzi is growing his Italian-focused culinary empire with the launch of his latest concept Salerno by Chef Pirozzi. Based in downtown Laguna Beach, Salerno is the third restaurant in the coastal city run by Pirozzi, joining Alessa Laguna and Mare Culinary Lounge. The chef’s other OC restaurant is Pirozzi Corona Del Mar. Salerno by Chef Pirozzi, 220 Beach St., Laguna Beach, CA 92651, 949-497-2600.
Located on the main drag of tiny Balboa Island, Mr G's patterns itself on the style of a cozy California bistro. Its unfussy black and white color scheme adds a touch of refinement to the relaxed, Balboa-appropriate ambience. The menu features a modest array of contemporary fare, from small bites like mussels and meatballs to handmade pastas and entrées such as filet mignon with parsnip and wild mushrooms. A compact list of wines and beers is also available. Lunch & Dinner Tues.-Sun. Mr G's, 305 Marine Ave., Newport Beach, CA 92662, 949-675-6193.
Chef Pascal Lorange is opening CRUDO by Pascal Lorange in the summer of 2017. The new venue will be located in Costa Mesa’s The Westin South Coast Plaza in the space formerly occupied by Pinot Provence. Crudo adds to Lorange’s lengthy résumé that includes helping to launch Fig & Olive’s collection of restaurants and on a few occasions cooked at private dinners attended by luminaries like Princess Stéphanie of Monaco and Barack Obama. Simply prepared Mediterranean fare with a focus on seafood will be the highlight. CRUDO by Pascal Lorange, The Westin South Coast Plaza, 686 Anton Blvd., Costa Mesa, CA 92626, No phone.
The popular kicked-up diner concept Eat Chow has opened a third location. The restaurant’s new outpost is in downtown Santa Ana. Like its siblings in Newport Beach and Costa Mesa, this venue serves modern, eclectic breakfast, lunch and dinner options inspired by various parts of the globe. Unlike the other locales, the new spot features an array of craft cocktails to go along with the wine and beer list. Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner daily. Eat Chow, 313 N. Bush St., Santa Ana, CA 92701, 657-266-0500.
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.
OC Restaurant Week Returns March 5-11, 2017
Orange County Restaurant Week returns to showcase some of Orange County’s best and brightest dining venues and culinary talent. Now in its ninth year, the week features 100 of OC’s top eateries rolling out special multi-course, prix-fixe menus ranging from $10 to $20 for lunch, and $20 to $50 for dinner. Participating restaurants include Anchor Hitch, Ironwood, Lucca Cafe, SeaSalt Woodfire Grill, Selanne Steak Tavern and The Ranch Restaurant & Saloon. The week kicks off with a special “First Bites” launch party, held March 4th at the Irvine Marriott. For more information, please visit the official website.
Oak Grill, the flagship restaurant at Island Hotel Newport Beach, has tapped Peter Lai as its new executive chef. Lai will also handle the shareable small bite creations served at the hotel’s bar/lounge concept Aqua Lounge. A graduate of the Texas Culinary Academy, Lai has worked with various Hyatt Hotels throughout the Southwest, most recently as chef de cuisine at WATERTABLE at Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort & Spa. He’ll oversee a modern American culinary concept marked by an adherence to sustainable trends and locally sourced products. Oak Grill, Island Hotel Newport Beach, 690 Newport Center Dr., Newport Beach, CA 92660, 949-760-4920.
Jay Lacuesta has taken the reins as executive chef at Twenty Eight. He replaces Shirley Chung, the celebrity chef who helped launch the Irvine eatery in 2014. A protégé of chef José Andrés, Lacuesta has been with the restaurant since it opened. With his new position, he has created a modern, meat-centric menu that emphasizes seasonal ingredients and a more subdued Asian influence. Twenty Eight, 19530 Jamboree Rd., Irvine, CA 92612, 949-852-2828.
Donald Harris has parted ways with Tangata, Joachim Splichal’s chic lunch venue at the Bowers Museum in Santa Ana. He has departed to join forces with another former Splichal restaurant chef, as he is now working with Ross Pangilinan at the latter’s new downtown Santa Ana restaurant Mix Mix. No replacement chef for Harris has been named. Tangata, Bowers Museum, 2002 N. Main St., Santa Ana, CA 92706, 714-550-0906.
ORANGE COUNTY RESTAURANT CLOSINGS
Shinkou Sushi & Poke in Laguna Hills has closed its doors after nearly six years in business. The reason for the shuttering was partially due to an inability to negotiate new lease terms with the building. No replacement venue for the now-abdicated space has been announced. Shinkou Sushi & Poke, 24881 Alicia Pkwy., Laguna Hills, CA 92653, no phone.
Chef/owner Bruno Serato's restaurant, Anaheim White House, suffered a fire on Saturday, February 4, 2017. Read more on GAYOT. Anaheim White House, 887 S. Anaheim Blvd., Anaheim, CA 92805, 714-772-1381.
Marché Moderne, the French restaurant from owner/chefs Florent and Amelia Marneauin, will relocate to Newport Coast’s Crystal Cove Shopping Center, in the space formerly occupied by Tamarind of London. The restaurant’s former location opened in 2007 in the upscale Costa Mesa shopping center. The new locale is slated to open in spring 2017, when it will rub shoulders with such luxe dining venues as Bluefin and Maestro’s Ocean Club. Marché Moderne, Crystal Cove Shopping Center, 7862 E. Pacific Coast Hwy., Newport Beach, CA 92651, No phone.
Zimzala, the flagship restaurant of Huntington Beach’s Shorebreak Hotel, has closed. The reason for the shuttering is to make room for a new dining venue, Pacific Hideaway. Slated to open in April 2017, the spot will feature an eclectic modern menu with an emphasis on the flavors of Southeast Asia, Latin America and Japan, as created by executive chef JT Walker. Zimzala, Shorebreak Hotel, 500 Pacific Coast Hwy., Huntington Beach, CA 92648, 714-861-4470.
Downtown Brea eatery Lillie’s Q has temporarily closed its doors. The shuttering is linked to the construction of a parking structure, which is being built on the grounds of a parking lot adjacent to the venue. The restaurant, known for its Carolina-style barbecue and Southern-inspired fare, will reopen in conjunction with the construction project’s completion, which is slated to occur in December 2017. Lillie's Q, 240 S. Brea Blvd., Brea, CA 92821, 714-482-2001.
View GAYOT's calendar of Wine Dinners & Tastings in Orange County