No. 7 Most Improved Restaurants in O.C.
Making the most of a second chance
Fullerton’s landmark subterranean hideaway is riding on a high now that bar star Rich Ohtsuka runs the room and owner Ryan Dudley has a kitchen upgrade in chef de cuisine Ris Pedro. Now you can splurge with confidence on Cognac-spiked lobster bisque and chateaubriand for two. 305 N. Harbor Blvd., Fullerton, 714‑525-5682, cellardining.com
Inimitable chef and ocean-lover Michael Doctulero changed the culinary tide at this marina seafooder when he decamped here from Scott’s. In addition to reeling in some ace kitchen staff, he brought fresh dishes, polished consistency, and a brunch that befits the salt-air setting. 34661 Golden Lantern, Dana Point, 949‑764‑3474, watermandp.com
The Ritz Prime Seafood [Editor’s Note: The Ritz Prime Seafood closed in late March 2017]
After a bumpy first year, new management, and a menu reshuffle, the glossy waterfront space has stronger appeal to a wider audience. Executive chef George Neyra lures us in with falafel lollipops, and holds our attention with branzino with sultana couscous at dinner and crab hash at brunch. 2801 W. Coast Highway, Newport Beach, 949-720-1800, ritzprimeseafood.com