O.C.’s Best: Where to Go For Laptop Dining

When you need more than coffee and a pastry to fuel your on-the-go work session

Coffeehouses will always get the job done when you need to post up somewhere with your tablet or laptop and clack away. But for those road warriors with elevated tastes, here are six spots with free Wi-Fi where you can mix business with edible pleasure.


1 Phans55

Phan55
Photograph by Melissa Valladares

This newest outpost of Phans55 at Los Olivos Shopping Center serves respectable bowls of pho and other Vietnamese dishes in a modern, fast-casual setting, and this particular location has power outlets at each booth, even at the wine and beer bar. Get the triple beef pho—with brisket, rare steak, and meatballs—as your main course ($11). If another hour passes while toiling, tack on an order of fresh spring rolls or crispy egg rolls. Just don’t make any sudden moves while you’re slurping away on your noodle soup or you could drown your laptop. 8557 Irvine Center Drive, Irvine, 949-825-5117, phans55.com

2 A Market
This bustling neighborhood cafe makes for a cozy morning office setup. Order the popular pesto-slathered egg whites over a bowl of brown rice, roasted tomato, and avocado ($6.50), and try to snag the tiny table in the corner closest to the entrance if you need an accessible power outlet. Otherwise, the lone communal table will work for sending office emails. If you happen to pop by post-lunch rush and you ask nicely, chef Shelly Register might make you a wonderful cheese and charcuterie board to graze on while you’re hard at work. 3400 W. Coast Highway, Newport Beach,
949-650-6515, amarketnb.com

3 Pelican Hill Resort
When you want to pretend you’re on a luxurious workcation, head to this five-star destination. The Great Room Social Lounge offers a comfortable retreat with plenty of outlets to charge your devices. Sink into plush seating near the grand fireplace and order yourself tasty bites such as ahi tuna tartare tacos ($14) or grilled octopus ($22), plus craft cocktails and French-press organic coffee. Then get cranking while you enjoy views of the resort’s golf course and the Pacific on the horizon. Complimentary valet parking. 22701 S. Pelican Hill Road, Newport Beach, 888-507-6427, pelicanhill.com

4 Mendocino Farms
This particular location definitely thought about its clientele at University Center, across the street from UC Irvine. There are outlets throughout the popular eatery, perfect for students who need to hunker down and get some studying done while noshing on delicious and creative fare like the Not So Fried Chicken sandwich ($10) with shaved, free-range chicken in crispy buttermilk batter, mustard pickle slaw, and tomatoes on toasted ciabatta. 4187 Campus Drive, Irvine, 949-783-2900, mendocinofarms.com

5 Mariposa
Indulge in this cafe’s famous complimentary treat: popovers that arrive warm, begging to be slathered with strawberry butter. The popular Neiman Marcus restaurant also happens to be a perfect remote office. We love the ahi tartare salad ($20); it’s a light lunch, leaving room for a second golden popover. Ask to be seated at one of the handful of tables located near an outlet—there’s one against the left wall and another against the right. 601 Newport Center Drive, Newport Beach, 949-467-3350, neimanmarcus.com

6 The Lost Vine
Attached to The Lost Bean, this wine bar is a popular neighborhood work station. We recommend the house-made sangria ($7) and bacon-wrapped blue-cheese dates ($7). The bar space is small, so get there early to avoid jostling for space with laptop-wielding students who spill over from the neighboring coffeehouse. Laptops are forbidden after 5 p.m.—talk about a hard deadline. 13011 Newport Ave., Tustin, 714-544-2584, thelostbean.com

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