Dining Spotlight: 4 Places To Try in Rancho Santa Margarita

The grilled octopus topped with rice chips and scallion ash

The Blind Pig Kitchen & Bar

Lakeside seats, terrific craft cocktails, and daring fare by young chef Karl Pfleider earn local love for this rare gastro-canteen in Rancho Santa Margarita. Midweek tapas start at 3 p.m. with goodies such as steak tartare with pistachio XO sauce. But wait until 5 p.m. for the mahi-mahi with paprika mole. 31431 Santa Margarita Parkway, 949-888-0072. Closed Monday. $$


Mediterranean favorites abound at this Bay Area import. Choose your protein such as the steak shawarma and get it in a wrap or with pita bread, salad, or rice ($9 to $12). 22245 El Paseo, 949-709-7779


Grab a premade energy bowl or create your own with bases from classic acai to tropical graviola. Add unlimited toppings, including agave, hemp seeds, and almond butter ($8). 30461 Avenida De Las Flores, 949-546-0873


Go for the colorful and artfully plated sushi and sashimi such as uni and blue fin tuna belly ($5 to $35) and try the bargain omakase tasting course ($26 to $54). 31441 Santa Margarita Parkway, 949-713-1818

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