Food News: A Revamped Classic, and More Twists on Standards

Bar and lounge area at the revamped Old Vine Kitchen & Bar. Photo credit: Petra Calling

Old Vine Kitchen & Bar
Chef Mark McDonald’s Old Vine, an institution beloved for its inventive all-day menu and rich Italian inspiration, has moved to a new home at The Camp, returning with a full bar (there’s an on-trend Aperol spritz), fireside lounge, and revamped menu that features seared swordfish belly with pistachio-mint polenta and red beans and farro enriched with shiitake mushrooms. 2937 Bristol St., Costa Mesa, 714-545-1411

Soba Izakaya Minami
There’s a little bit of everything at Soba Izakaya Minami: a cluster of small-bite izakaya specials, a variety of udon noodles, and, perhaps most important, fresh soba. In a world dominated by ramen, delicate buckwheat soba is something of a rarity. Try it cold in a simple preparation that lets the nutty essence of the noodles shine. 24391 Avenida de la Carlota, Laguna Hills, 949-215-5375

Steel Pan Pizza
Like deep dish, pan pizza is a Midwestern staple: thick, crispy squares that stick to your ribs. Steel Pan Pizza is a new purveyor of this essential American style, and its pizzas are excellent. Varieties are both familiar (red sauce with curled pepperoni) and unexpected (white sauce, chicken, bacon, mushrooms, and arugula). There’s a vegan option, too. 201 E. Fourth St., Santa Ana

Munch Bistro
Munch Bistro puts unique spins on classic Thai flavors. The restaurant has an extensive menu of familiar and unadulterated Thai favorites; still, it’s dishes like the tom yum flatbread pizza topped with shrimp, Thai sweet chile paste, onion, jalapeno, and bell pepper, and the portobello mushroom ravioli in a red curry sauce that truly fascinate. 18541 Beach Blvd., Huntington Beach, 714-369-6100

Drink of the Month
Port Light
Stowaway was once Hatch, but now the space in Tustin’s Union Market has gone completely tiki. The bar has always made excellent drinks, and the Port Light is no different: Buffalo Trace bourbon, airy egg white, lemon, honey, and a touch of the tropics from sweet passion fruit. It’s light and refreshing without being sugary and a great way to spring into summer.

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