Is there chow near Coto de Caza?
- Das Ubergeek Aug 14, 2006 02:06 AM
You know the tune by now. You turn off the 5, away from the Chinese and Korean places in Irvine, away from all the ethnic food that's splattered all over the 714 area code, a kind of Chowhound's Garden of Culinary Delights.
You turn your wheels north on the 133, then south on the 241. Your FasTrak beeps the death-knell of decent food. You are entering the Do-Not-Chow Zone: Lake Forest; Foothill Ranch; Rancho Santa Margarita; Las Flores; Coto de Caza; Ladera Ranch.
I have friends who have just moved down there. I went down there this weekend and (I'm so ashamed to admit this!) I ate at a Pick Up Stix last night and (sob!) Bruegger's Bagels this morning, surrounded by the Real Housewives of Orange County.
I wanted to stab myself with a teriyaki skewer.
Please, please, if there is food worth eating down here, please tell me! Any kind of food, any price range. We'll be down here more often, now that friends are moving in to the area, and I can't deal with all crappy chains all the time!
Inka Mamas, really nice Peruvian
Address: 26676 Portola Pkwy, Foothill Ranch, CA 92610
Phone: (949) 951-6262
Antonucci's, casual Italian & really good pizza
Address: 24190 Alicia Pkwy, Mission Viejo, CA 92691
Phone: (949) 472-4332
This subject cracks me up. BG Emilios was so bad that I thought that RSMBOB was pulling our leg. I've certainly had recs from this board that didn't live up to my expectations but, this is the 1st one that was one of the worst eating experiences in my life. Right up there with my 1 experience at the Olive Garden. I've had better frozen pizza.
Yikes...greetings from Chicago! Didn't expect to find my name referenced here in a post I hadn't even read yet! If you find that post on BG Emilio's you'll see that I have tried about 4 other local places that I had never been to before as well and gave some comments on them. That being said...as Russkar stated above, I think BGE does a very good job at a true thin crust pizza and balances the crust/sauce/cheese/toppings nicely. With the Pennysave coupon it's an especially good value, but again, it's not "gourmet" pizza...it's what I would consider "pizza joint" pizza. I'll leave the pretentiousness, overpriced food and drink, and chain mentality to all the other south OC places.
By the way, the semi-annual trip to Chicago just confirms how darn good pizza is here...and if you REALLY want the best ultra-thin crust pizza anywhere, I suggest you venture up to Milwaukee to Zaffiro's...bar pizza at it's ultimate.
re: Curt the Soi Hound
You MUST have reservations for the Steak House... don't even try without them. One time -they were completely empty and we were with friends... "Do you have resevations?" nope. "Sorry, we can't seat you". EMPTY!?
Senor Licos is now called ROSE CANYON CANTINA AND GRILL... Still good and you DON'T "NEED" reservations. The owners are often mingling with the regular locals - it is a great atmosphere.
I remember there being a pretty good Hawaiian place in Rancho Santa Margarita that has sit down and take out. My wife and I went to it about two weeks after we got back from Hawaii, about a year ago.
Just found it on Google:
Lani Kai Hawaiian Grill
Kohl's Shopping Center 22245 El Paseo, Rancho Santa Margarita, CA 92688
Phone: (714) 888-0888
I also found Opah to have some decent chow, but it's been over a year since I ate there:
re: Alfredo Garcia
Actually, Lani Kai is more hawaiian takeout and is just OK [IMHO]. In the same center is a more sit-down hawaiian place called Ono Ono [same as the one in Irvine, I gather]. Will set you back a few more clams than Lani Kai, but the food is much better, and the menu is pretty extensive. The same center has the rather uninspiring woodranch BBQ and Canyon Fireside Grille, niether of which are anything to write home about. Lani Kai is more like hawaiian fast food [meat and rice bowls] to go, But I'm fond of Ono Ono. Review here: http://www.ocweekly.com/food/this-hol...
While South OC can seem like a food wasteland, there are some decent joints. The aforementioned Fusion and Opah are your typically South County Desperate Housewife hangouts, complete with flirty martini spilling moms hanging out at the meatmarket bar. Along the same lines [should you be so inclined] is Hanna's in the same center as Opah [menu here: http://www.hannasoc.com/index.html]. For a decent breakfast in the same center is Cinnamon Productions. Great cinnamon rolls.
In Ladera Ranch is a branch of Roma D'Italia that just opened up [from the same family that has been running the original in Tustin for decades]. Good family-style intalian. http://www.romaditalia.com. It is right next to Fusion. Between the two is Picante, a very interesting and somewhat upscale looking spanish place, which I have not yet tried. For breakfast in the same center is Pacific Whey Cafe which has killer pancakes [www.pacificwhey.com]. However, you will still be tripping over the same silicon bimbos flapping on cell phones while you try not to get run over by some snot-nosed punk kid in a raised up gas guzzler complete with the tesoro HS football sticker.
If you like Thai food, this place is the best. It's a new thai restaurant opened a few months ago in Rancho Santa Margarita, next to Coto De Caza. I think it's the only Thai place in the area.
If you walk inside, you'll notice it's a nice little place with very trendy atmosphere. It has some Thai pictures hanging on the all. The table and chairs are comfortable. If you are alone, sit by the bar area and you can watch all the action of the servers and ocassionally you can peep inside the kitchen and actually see how the food is prepared.
The food - It's excellent. As the name of the restaurant implied, pad thai noodle is their specialty. I saw most people order that there. It is very good. The noodle texture is perfect. It comes with beef, pork, shrimp ($1 more), or tofu vegetarian style. Some of my other favorites include satay, BBQ chicken, crying tiger (very tender grill beef), thai fried rice, egg rolls... Watch out for the spicy level though, even if you order medium, it's quite spicy.
Drinks - Their Thai ice tea is a little too sweet for me. But I think it's like that in most other thai restaurant. If you are a wine drinker, they serve wine also. And the price of the wine is very reasonable.
Dessert - You HAVE to order the fried banana coconut ice cream. That's actually one of the reason I go there a lot. If you want to try something exotic, get the mango sticky rice. It's not my type of tea but it's not bad.
30486 Avenida De Las Banderas Ste C
Rancho Santa Margarita, CA 92688
Between El Corazon and Alma Aldea
I live down in Ladera Ranch and have spent the better part of 2 years trying to find passable places to eat. Here are some places we've found in the area:
Opah in Rancho Santa Margarita-still my favorite upscale restaurant in the area; really like the seafood salad
Selma's Pizza in Rancho Santa Margarita (son of the BJ's owner, or something like that-I know they are related some way)
Cosmo's in Las Flores (not the best Italian food, but standard red sauce and decent, though I don't like the bread they serve before dinner)
Agave in Rancho Santa Margarita (upscale Mexican next to Opah)
Sid's in Mission Viejo off of Marguerite (across from Saddleback College-standard bar fare-hamburgers are excellent, as are the french fries & onion rings)
Romeo in Laguna Niguel-off of Greenfield and Crown Valley (if you want to venture that far, but it is the best Italian in the area)
Pacific Whey Cafe in Ladera Ranch-great for breakfast or lunch; slightly expensive, but they have wonderful coffee, breakfast fare, and salads for lunch
Infusion in Ladera Ranch-similar to Opah cuisine; very small inside (reservations are a must); food not as good as Opah, but decent
Beachfire in Ladera Ranch-haven't been yet, but have heard many positive reviews; the original location is in San Clemente
Jalapeno's in Ladera Ranch-decent take-out Mexican
Picante in Ladera Ranch-upscale Spanish cuisine; had a wonderful seafood paella there a few months ago, but it is on the more expensive side
Oceans 33 at the Mission Viejo mall-decent seafood; I like the calamari appetizer (it's spicy)
So many good posts here. Yes, south OC is overrun with chains, and some are worthwhile, but it is worthwhile to find the local gems. I will reiterate a previous post and suggest Trabuco Oaks Steakhouse. If and when I move from the area it will be the place for my last dinner.
By the way, speaking of chains, Agave in RSM is now closed and will re-open as, sigh, El Torito Grill. Senor Licos has been closed a couple years and was re-opened by the family of the original owners...called Two Sisters or something like that.
OK - Here is a Reply (on it's own) for ROSE CANTINA & GRILL
20722 Rose Canyon Road
Trabuco Canyon, CA 92678
949-766-6939 *NEW* number - NOT the same as listed in the "Senor Licos" post.
[url] http://www.rosecanyoncantina.com/ [url]
Fajita Style Chicken Salad - MY favorite. I don't know what they do to the chicken but, the flavor is SOO yummy. Our daughter likes to get a side of JUST the chicken!
The locals often end the day/week here and you can often find at least one of the owners mingling with the diners (especially the locals).
There is a Spinach and Shrimp Salad that is really good too. Oh, and the "regluar" menu items are very good too. But, I just can't get enough of that fajita chicken!
I love Rose Cantina and Grill... the patio atmosphere cannot be beat. I have enjoyed the mexican shrimp cocktail for food, but other than that, to be honest, the food is bland. My guests from out of town say the same. But that won't stop us from going. It's not BAD, just not "up there" for this food lover.