Editor’s Letter from April 2022 Issue: Best New Restaurants

What a relief it is to get back to a full slate of restaurant openings. My head is spinning from how many places have debuted in the past few months, and I’m eagerly anticipating the launch of many more soon. Not only did that make it a joy to choose our Best New Restaurants, but we’ve got a great head start on next year’s list!

Our 2022 lineup features spots from all over the county, including two in Anaheim and two in Laguna Niguel. The winners’ food is just as varied: Chinese and Vietnamese; French and farm-to-table (with gardens on-site); Mexican and Italian; Southern comfort food and perfect pre- or postgame bites. Seven of the 10 winners have longtime roots in Orange County, and it’s a pleasure to watch some of our favorite chefs start new ventures here. We’re also welcoming fresh faces and their winning concepts from L.A. or overseas to O.C.

But it’s not just the 10 Best New Restaurants we recommend. We’ve also got ideas for stretching dollars at counter-service places that feature luxury-level chefs focusing on their amazing food and nothing more. Many of us have spruced up our dining space at home, so now might be the time to delight in scrumptious fare in our own surroundings—without cooking it ourselves. Plus, we’re looking at happy hours. While many have fallen as a result of the pandemic, there are still plenty of worthwhile spots where you can imbibe and nosh. We ran out of space on Page 92, but I’d add Descanso in Costa Mesa to this list: grilled sweet corn with cotija cheese to die for, margaritas for $7 or less, and a welcoming atmosphere to keep your spirits up and your stress level down.

No matter what you’re in the mood for, we’ve got enough to keep you covered all year. Be sure to join us at our fabulous party May 25 and 26 to celebrate the winners (tickets at orangecoast.com/bestrestaurants).