A Peek at Our Best New Restaurants Issue | April 2021

Kampachi with haricots verts, yuzu pearls, and bubu at Porch & Swing in Irvine; Photograph by Emily J. Davis


Best Restaurants
So much of our dining scene has been lost and gained, invented and deferred. It’s a lot to digest, so we’re breaking down the changes in servings of five. After all the lessons we’ve learned over the past year, we’ll never lose sight of this truth: Restaurants are essential.

Photograph by Emily J. Davis

“Already I feel a loosening in 2021 that might allow us to refine our act beyond comfort cuisine. I look forward to exploring finer flavors and intricate plating.”

—Justin Werner, chef at Porch & Swing, our Restaurant of the Year

Whale City U.S.A.
Once bitter rivals, Donna Kalez of Dana Wharf Sportfishing & Whale Watching and Gisele Anderson of Captain Dave’s Dolphin & Whale Watching Safari worked together to have Dana Point recognized as the first Whale Heritage Site in the Americas.

People & Places

Opener | Yoga among the cherry blossoms at Huntington Beach Central Park
’Hoods | Restaurants and a gym worth a visit near Honda Center in Orange
Culturephile | Irvine hip-hop artist St. Panther is a rising star.
O.C. Events | In-person events including concerts and live theater start to ramp up this month.

Style & Home

Opener | A Mackenzie-Childs checkerboard tea kettle
Sourced | Patterned dining accessories to elevate your takeout experience
At Home With…| Lemdeena Home in Mission Viejo features handmade goods from North Africa.
On The Market | A magnificent, sprawling backyard in Brea
Hot Shop | Costa Mesa boutique Style Society moves into bigger digs.

Photograph by Emily J. Davis

Food & Drink

Drink of the Year | The Smoky Paloma Rosa from Chaak is our Cocktail of the Year.
Dish of the Year | Nova Kitchen & Bar’s toro tartare features grade 1 bluefin tuna flown in from Spain.
5 Questions With… | Co-founder of Barrio at SteelCraft Garden Grove
Food Trends | We can’t get enough of these frozen-dumpling delivery companies.


My O.C. | A search for perfection ends with more questions than answers.

Dining Guide

Check out all of our 212 restaurant reviews this month.

Photograph by Emily J. Davis

Back Page

Person of Interest | Costa Mesa resident Vanessa Yeager is the founder of Women Who Surf and Latinx Surf Club.

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