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Boathouse Collective

1640 Pomona Ave., Costa Mesa, CA, 92627

949-646-3176

This quirky hang is a restaurant and private-event venue from local artist Clayton Peterson. A pastiche of up-cycled shipping containers and post-and-beam construction, the space is also an indoor-outdoor affair with frequent live music by local and touring acts. Mathieu Royer is executive chef, cooking a supertight and ever-changing menu of eclectic fare that’s in […]

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Brick

216 N. El Camino Real, San Clemente, CA, 92672

949-429-1199

The menu of authentic, season-based cuisine says Italy, but the unfussy setting and beach-casual regulars make for a solid California vibe…

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Broadway by Amar Santana

328 Glenneyre St., Laguna Beach, CA, 92651

949-715-8234

Boy wonder chef Amar Santana and industry vet Ahmed Labbate decamped Charlie Palmer to create this urban bistro…

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Brü Grill & Market

23730 El Toro Road, Lake Forest, CA, 92630

949-305-5757

Ambitious, with 350-seats, this suburban indie goes all in for craft and microbrews, crackerjack cocktails, and pub food…

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Brunos Trattoria

210 W. Birch Street, Brea, CA, 92821

714-257-1000

One of North County’s best venues boasts advantages that are fairly rare in these parts: thoughtfully executed Italian cuisine…

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Brussels Bistro

222 Forest Ave., Laguna Beach, CA, 92651

949-376-7955

Loud and lively, this bistro brings a bit of Belgium to Orange County, with traditional beers on tap and an authentic menu…

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Café El Cholo

840 E. Whittier Blvd., La Habra, CA, 90631

562-691-4618

It’s combo-plate heaven at this venerable local chain that started in Los Angeles in 1927…

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Café Hiro

10509 Valley View St., Cypress, CA, 90630

714-527-6090

Hiding out in Cypress, chef-owner Hiro Ohiwa caters to a devoted following who admires his formal French training and Japanese aesthetic…

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Canaletto

Fashion Island, Newport Beach, CA, 92663

949-640-0900

From the cognoscenti of Il Fornaio, this is the perfect SoCal vision of an upscale Italian trattoria…

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Carmelita’s Kitchen de Mexico

31441 Santa Margarita Parkway, Rancho Santa Margarita, CA, 92688

949-709-7600

This lakefront sprawler offers top-notch Cal-Mex fare from the culinary vision of owner Clemente Heredia Jr. and the kitchen of exec chef Jose Colin…

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Carmelita’s Kitchen de Mexico

217 Broadway, Laguna Beach, CA, 92651

949-715-7829

This is the boutique version of Rancho Santa Margarita’s sprawling shop, but both offer top-notch Cal-Mex fare from the culinary vision of owner Clemente Heredia Jr., a third generation operator…

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Catal Restaurant and Uva Bar

1580 S. Disneyland Drive, Anaheim, CA, 92802

714-774-4442

Dead center in Downtown Disney, Catal is the Patina Group’s nod to Spain’s Mediterranean cuisine…

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Cedar Creek Inn

20 Pointe Drive, Brea, CA, 92821

714-255-5600

A gorgeous patio, welcoming lounge, and attractive dining room lend upscale charisma to this handsome eatery…

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Chapter One: The Modern Local

227 N. Broadway, Santa Ana, CA, 92701

714-352-2225

This first gastropub to open in downtown Santa Ana draws a diverse, sociable crowd for serious drinks and the savory dishes that complement…

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Coyote Grill

31621 S. Coast Highway, Laguna Beach, CA, 92651

949-499-4033

A great scenic stop on your weekend drive down Coast Highway, Coyote Grill is a Mexican-American diner with a million-dollar view…

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Cucina Alessá

520 Main St., Huntington Beach, CA, 92648

714-969-2148

Despite the exit of its founding chef, this two-story trattoria maintains a solid following thanks to a veteran crew at ease with the original menu and recipes that still attract a loyal following for housemade pastas, feather-light pizzas, and breakfast omelets…

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Cucina Alessá

6700 W. Coast Highway, Newport Beach, CA, 92661

949-645-2148

Despite the exit of its founding chef, this trattoria maintains a solid following thanks to a veteran crew at ease with the original menu and recipes that still attract a loyal following for housemade pastas, feather-light pizzas, and breakfast frittatas…

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Darya

South Coast Plaza Village, Costa Mesa, CA, 92704

714-557-6600

Don’t let the chandeliers and acres of marble deceive—this convivial Persian dining room isn’t staid or formal…

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