Best Restaurants 2017!

No. 6 Where We’re Regulars

We’re not stalkers, we’re regulars

Taco Maria's Jadineros Taco.
Taco Maria’s Jadineros Taco.

A Restaurant
Let us count the ways we love A, still a Newport Beach icon. The dark, clubby lounge screams “Stay for one more.” Chef Jon Blackford’s confident New American cooking covers classic steaks, with surprises such as braised rabbit Bolognese. A mood-lifting sound system is a classy asset, and so is the satellite A Market by O.C.’s beloved pastry chef Shelly Register. 3334 W. Coast Highway, newport beach, 949‑650-6505, arestaurantnb.com

Pizzeria Mozza
It’s hard to find pizza more excellent than the wood-oven pies here, and we’ve tried hard. And oh, those distinctive Italian wines. Plus Dahlia Narvaez’s splendid desserts. Yes, it’s packed and the ’70s rock blares loud and proud, but decibels be damned, this joint is curiously enchanting. 800 W. Coast Highway, Newport Beach, 949-945-1126, newportbeach.pizzeriamozza.com

Taco MarÍa
Devotees of chef-owner and James Beard Award finalist Carlos Salgado assemble for his refined, ingredient-driven fare at this solemn gastro‑shrine, where prix-fixe dinners are delicious feats of technique. Exceptional tacos are usually relegated to lunch and Tuesdays and best enjoyed on the patio. 3313 Hyland Ave., costa mesa, 714-538-8444, tacomaria.com

Old Vine Café
Chef-owner Mark McDonald dazzled diners with brunch long before the competition hijacked it as a booze vehicle. Still The Camp’s coziest spot, it is underrated as a date-night dinner choice. Twirling handmade pappardelle with pork ragu between sips of Tuscan sangiovese feels like a dreamy rendezvous in Italy at this vest-pocket cafe. 2937 Bristol St., Costa Mesa, 714-545-1411, oldvinecafe.com

SideDoor
The patriarch of side gigs, this Brit-flavored gastropub inside the landmark Five Crowns has been a Corona del Mar jolly-old go-to since its debut in 2009. It was our Restaurant of the Year in 2010, and we’ve never stopped craving the ambience and those Prime rib chili cheese fries. 3801 E. Coast Highway, corona del mar, 949-717-4322, sidedoorcdm.com

Marché Moderne
This beloved South Coast Plaza restaurant is closed. Inspired by bistros in Paris and New York, chef-owner Florent Marneau will reopen this spring at Crystal Cove Shopping Center. It will be “more French than ever,” he says—open to the ocean air, with a proper zinc bar, and eventually Sunday brunch. marchemoderne.net