Goodies in the Pantry| A neighborhood butcher with an artisanal streak and European soul
There are few assets as valuable to a kitchen as a good butcher shop—and the curiously named Goodies in the Pantry is a gem. It offers all manner of finely marbled cuts, along with smoked meats and house-made charcuterie, both influenced by central and eastern European styles. 1108 E. Katella Ave., Orange, 714-615‑4420, goodiesinthepantry.com
2145 Pizza | Billowy, blackened Neapolitan pizza in a converted auto shop
Out on Costa Mesa’s western edges, 2145 is serving some of the county’s best new pies. The crust is airy and light in the traditional Neapolitan style, but it uses a starter from Japan. Try the indulgent pancetta and egg pizza, which is rounded out with rosemary mascarpone, smoked mozzarella, and mushrooms. 2145 Placentia Ave., Costa Mesa, 949‑873‑5853, 2145eat.com
Social | Change comes for this Costa Mesa favorite, with new culinary and cocktail teams.
Social has never stopped evolving. The restaurant has done away with its executive chef model in favor of
a collaborative culinary team, and the bar has been stocked with fresh talent from O.C. and beyond. There’s even the restaurant’s new, adjacent coffee bar, Thunderking. You might never want to leave. 512 W. 19th St., Costa Mesa, 949‑642‑2425, socialcostamesa.com
Mama Tieu’s | Little Saigon’s sleek new star serves pho and a handful of inventive fusion favorites.
Pho has conquered virtually all of Orange County, but Mama Tieu’s is a standout—balanced, fresh, and complex. Perhaps more unusual are the fascinating bread bowls, peculiar things not entirely unlike those you might find in San Francisco. Here, however, they’re loaded with Vietnamese chicken curry. 10130 Garden Grove Blvd., Garden Grove, 714-590-8748