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Hamamori

South Coast Plaza, Costa Mesa, CA, 92626

714-850-0880

Sushi artist James Hamamori (previously of Wasa) applies his name and eloquent talents to this penthouse dazzler…

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Harborside Restaurant and Grand Ballroom

400 Main St., Balboa Peninsula, Newport Beach, CA, 92660

949-673-4633

One of O.C.’s most iconic landmarks, the 1906 Balboa Pavilion still lures visitors to its harbor view…

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Haven Gastropub

190 S. Glassell St., Orange, CA, 92868

714-221-0680

Another serious contender in the gastropub category, this popular storefront in Old Towne lures a mixed crowd of brew fanatics and foodies…

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Hopscotch Tavern

136 E. Commonwealth Ave., Fullerton, CA, 92832

714-871-2222

The affable downtown watering hole is unabashedly keen on booze…

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Il Barone Ristorante

4251 Martingale Way, Newport Beach, CA, 92660

949-955-2755

F Franco and Donatella Barone broke away from their longtime posts (he at Antonello, she at Nello Cucina) to create a family affair in the retooled site of the old Pleasant Peasant…

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Iva Lee’s

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

949-361-2855

Deep South and down-home despite the modern exterior, the Southern-Creole eats here are designed to help diners relax and let the good times roll…

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Izakaya Wasa

511 Spectrum Center Drive, Irvine, CA, 92618

949-453-9500

From the wizards behind popular Wasa sushi comes this sleek, authentic izakaya in the Irvine Spectrum Center…

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Javier’s Cantina & Grill

536 Fortune Drive, Irvine, CA, 92618

949-872-2101

Sipping margaritas made with premium tequilas and fresh lime juice, and dining on steaks or seafood amid the glamorous resort-style decor…

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Javier’s Cantina & Grill

Crystal Cove Promenade, Newport Coast, CA, 92660

949-494-1239

Sipping margaritas made with premium tequilas and fresh lime juice, and dining on steaks or seafood amid the resort-style decor is like a little trip to Baja…

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Juliette Kitchen & Bar

1000 Bristol St. N., Newport Beach, CA, 92660

949-752-5854

In the former Tradition by Pascal location, the revamped space hums with locals happy to find an accessible haunt where food is king…

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L’Hirondelle

31631 Camino Capistrano, San Juan Capistrano, CA, 92675

949-661-0425

This pudgy, white adobe in the mission’s shadow charms with home cooking of the French-Belgian sort…

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La Bettola

18504 Yorba Linda Blvd., Yorba Linda, CA, 92886

714-695-0470

The name means “hole in the wall,” and it is. Small and slightly quirky, this warm hideaway serves up Italian specials that soar…

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La Cave

1695 Irvine Ave., Costa Mesa, CA, 92626

949-646-7944

Stiff drinks, thick steaks, and live music keep the leather booths full…

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Landmark

3520 E. Coast Highway, Corona del Mar, CA, 92625

949-675-5556

This dapper Coast Highway chophouse often feels like a lively club. The bar scene kicks up after dark, with martinis and bottle service, but go for dinner first…

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Las Brisas

361 Cliff Drive, Laguna Beach, CA, 92651

949-497-5434

Equal parts history, view, and food, Las Brisas (The Breezes) endures as a coastal landmark locals can’t resist for showing off the best view in Laguna Beach…

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Leatherby’s Café Rouge

615 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa, CA, 92626

714-429-7640

Rarified and lovely, this sleeper choice for fine dining awakens only when the stages nearby come alive…

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Lola Gaspar

211 W. 2nd St., Santa Ana, CA, 92704

714-972-1172

Offbeat but not outlandish, this Artists Village indie draws an eclectic crowd for creative cocktails and lusty pub grub, often with a Latin twist…

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Lucca Cafe

Quail Hill Village, Irvine, CA, 92603

949-725-1773

Chef-owner Cathy Pavlos brings her Italian heritage and her Napa training together at this casual sprawler that attempts to break the Irvine mold…

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