Main Course

Main Course reviews are in-depth restaurant reviews from Orange County’s dining experts, Orange Coast magazine.

The July Restaurant Review – Farmhouse at Roger’s Gardens

This beguiling patio is chef-owner Rich Mead’s fourth and most triumphant enterprise.

Tupelo Junction Cafe: Southern Sensibility with a Tasty, Home-Grown Edge

It's southern sensibility with a tasty, home-grown edge.

Fountain Valley Gastropub Recess Room Impresses & Gets a 3-Star Review

When five childhood pals couldn’t find a nearby haunt for chilling after their weekly basketball game, they gave birth to The Recess Room.

Meizhou Dongpo: It’s all about the duck at Irvine’s upscale Sichuan dining experience

It's the first O.C. outpost of the 120-unit Beijing restaurant chain.

Laguna Niguel’s Hendrix Feeds its Neighborhood Well

A hint of Europe, lots of California flavors, and a coastal vibe that always feels welcoming, Hendrix games a lot of appealing angles in one convenient venue.

Eat Your Way Through Mexico at El Mercado in Santa Ana

El Mercado is unlike any Mexican restaurant in Santa Ana, or any other city in Orange County. Its singular character is one of this long-awaited venue’s many charms.

Main Course: Eats Kitchen & Bar

OK, so the central dining space of Irvine’s yearling Eats Kitchen & Bar is rather odd. At first glance, it feels like the awkward spawn of Denny’s and a generic gastropub. A high circular bar crowned with glinting flat screens is up front, and beyond that is a ferociously lighted sea of glossy, sparsely populated tables. Continue to the back patio and you enter a different world.Sunset gives way to twilight, and candles glow on chunky marble dining tables. A fire pit flickers near folks kicking back on cushy, all-weather lounge seating, and the vibe here is chill, even under the heaters. This space crushes the casino-bright indoor setting. It’s still happy hour, and the waiter graciously points out a menu of special drinks and snacks. Craft cocktails for $4? Small bites for $2? In a slickly retooled Hotel Irvine? Get out.

Mr. G’s Bistro: Pasta gets love at Balboa Island’s new Italian

With my hunger blissfully satisfied, I exit Mr. G’s Bistro stuffed and toting precious leftovers I look forward to enjoying later.

Izakaya Hachi: Hard to Get to, but the Payoff is Divine

Long before the gastropub altered appetites with ultra-hoppy beers and shareable small plates, there was the izakaya. The Japanese iteration of the food...

All-Day Breakfast Menu at Snooze Is a Wake-Up Call for Daytime Dining

There is nothing sleepy about Snooze. Every time I visit Tustin’s new “A.M. Eatery,” the outdoor waiting area is filled with folks perched on persimmon-orange ...