A sweet spot in Habana, this cafe has panache. Here’s to Cuban elegance befitting a wind-swept, midcentury retreat on the Caribbean. Pastries reflect the same attention: a vivid pink slab of guava cheesecake, the gently torched peaks of meringue on key lime tarts. Classic Cuban desserts are photogenic beyond belief.
708 Spectrum Center Drive, Irvine, 949-419-0100, bakeryhabana.com
Cantonese and Chinese-American classics shine at this splashy Buena Park newcomer. There’s always room for a restaurant like New Moon, with its sleek, stylish cocktail bar and upscale spin on the Chinese cooking style that’s become all but American. Think hot-and-sour soup and orange-peel beef— but better than you ever remembered.
7620 Beach Blvd., Buena Park, 714-562- 9920, newmoonrestaurants.com
THE SUN VEGAN
Fountain Valley’s new vegan Vietnamese shop packs plenty of flavor. Au Lac and Bo De already claim their share of vegan fans. But The Sun Vegan is just as good, with a large menu of regional and homey Vietnamese favorites that are so satisfying you won’t dwell on the substitution of tofu or tempeh.
11743 Edinger Ave., Fountain Valley, 714-617-5888
DON CHURROS GOMEZ
Family-run food truck fries up O.C.’s best churros in an Anaheim parking lot. Scratch-made churros, made to order Thursday through Sunday, are the specialty of this truck. The crunchy, cinnamon-kissed crusts of these treats give way to soft, airy interiors—all better with a bit of creamy cajeta.
1475 S. Anaheim Blvd., Anaheim, 714-717-7946, donchurros gomez.com
DRINK OF THE MONTH
Silly Rabbit – Mix Mix Kitchen Bar
The Silly Rabbit is as memorable as they come: Arette tequila colored a brilliant orange by carrot-Thai chile syrup, enlivened with lemon and lime juice, and scented with clove and smoky mezcal. It’s naturally sweet with a prickly burn, a signature drink for this Santa Ana restaurant’s global menu.
300 N Main St, Santa Ana, mixmixkitchenbar.com