O.C.’s Best Bets for Dining In

Xiao long bao and dumplings from Cali Dumpling Delivery; Photograph by Connie Aboubakare/@occomestibles

Update: Some spots are now open for in-person dining along with takeout service!

We have no choice but to embrace takeout with gusto, knowing our orders will save our favorite places in this daunting time that is taking some restaurants down forever. Your patronage has never been so crucial for the future of O.C. dining. Expect frequent menu changes and adjusting hours of operation. Here, we spotlight some of the surprises we’re seeing around the county when it comes to our new dining reality.


Early Winners

Mix Mix Kitchen Bar, Santa Ana: Ingenious Ross Pangilinan has been catering curbside since stay-at-home orders started, often selling out of his multicourse meals. // Open for dine-in service

Old Brea Chop House, Brea: First it was luxe date-night meals, then came cryo-vacuumed Prime steaks to cook at home, then luscious sandwiches, and now burgers and meatloaf have joined the cast. // Open for dine-in service

Little Onion, Irvine: This spot crushed the inaugural Great American Takeout with a Taco Party setup. // Open for dine-in service


Trending

Marché Moderne, Newport Beach: Add the Market Essentials Box to your order and see how a haul from chef Florent Marneau’s elite sources elevates your cooking to a higher plane. // Open for dine-in service

Olea, Vine, and Ironwood, Newport Beach, San Clemente, and Laguna Hills: Don’t settle for plastic glasses; buy snazzy cocktails by the 1-liter bottle and just add ice. Or not. Perhaps a straw? // Open for dine-in service

Mastro’s, Newport Beach and Costa Mesa: The swanky place goes casual with Finger Lickin’ Brut, a bucket of hot fried chicken with a cold bottle of Veuve Clicquot Champagne for $65. // Dining reservations now available

Lola Gaspar, Santa Ana: Attain peak weekend brunch for two with a Chilaquiles Care Package kit that includes all you need to build the killer version along with two micheladas. // Open for dine-in service


Surprises

Cali Dumpling Delivery, Irvine: Fresh-frozen local craft dumplings are a hit thanks to online ordering for delivery Tuesday and Thursday. A dozen flavors include juicy (XLB) dumplings. calidumplingdelivery.com

Focaccia Boi: Local baker and displaced bartender Derek Bracho earns cult status for fluffy, just-baked salted rosemary loaves for delivery. focacciaboi.com


Revealing Secrets

Amar Santana gives master classes of all sorts; cheaters can order fried chicken directly from Broadway every Friday. @bbamars // Open for dine-in service

Rachel Klemek makes bread baking look impossibly easy; her how-to for choco-toffee cookies will tempt you to call Blackmarket Bakery for a dozen. @blackmarketbakery // Open for dine-in service

Chef Paul Gstrein gleefully shares his recipe for The Drake’s most popular dish: whipped goat cheese and heirloom beet salad. @thedrakelaguna // Open for dine-in service

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