HOME > Chowhound > Los Angeles Area >


costa mesa area

I just took a job in L.A., so I only have a few more months here in our apartment right next to South Coast plaza. There are tons of places to eat around here, but unfortunately we haven't tried all of them. I could walk to Mastro's, Turner, Chat Noir... I definetly want to try Mastro's and Chat Noir. What else is recommended for around here? Have eaten at Memphis, Oki Doki, Mentatsu, Santouka, Anjin tons of times. Preferbly non-Japanese since my wife cooks it everynight for me and we'll probably be moving to Torrance...


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. You should try Antonello's; excellent food and service. I would highly recommend their veal chop.

    1. Drive north about 3 miles on Bristol and hit El Gallo Giro. It's on the NW corner of Edinger, kitty corner from Mater Dei High School.

      Things I like: torta cubanas (on house baked bolillo rolls), the killer salsa verde, their housemade tortillas, the champurrado, any of the licuados / aguas, and the variety of fillings for tacos.

      Things I don't like: tamales, anything deep fried (too greasy, not well executed), anything that looks like it's sat in the steam table too long.

        1. re: MEalcentric

          Wow, Mealcentric, you butchered the spelling in a new way. :-) Onotria is the correct spelling for the restaurant, occupying the former Arnie's Manhattan Deli location, with some top-notch Italian fusion on its menu.

          Golden Truffle is down near Triangle Square that has a nice cafe atmosphere and excellent seafood. Nearby is Sushi Shibucho, considered among the best sushi in OC.

          Zipangu OC is in the Anti-Mall next to Memphis Cafe, and it has some nice Japanese fusion and sushi dishes. Wild Rabbit no longer offers lunch, but has switch to dinner-only hours, offering top-notch dishes like Beef Wellington, Steak Diane, Filet Mignon, and Australian Rack of Lamb.

          Not as high on the quality rankings, but a nice new restaurant that opened up recently across from the South Coast Mall is Lani Grille Cafe, offering an Asian fusion menu of Chinese, Hawaiian, and Thai dishes. If you get one of their boba drinks, you'll get at least 100 boba at the bottom of your drink.

          1. re: Wonginator

            My bad on spelling, but I would skip Lani Grill. I've tried it twice now with various co-workers and all have been disapointed. The staff tries so hard but the food is bad. I had a "chicken salad" that came swimming in grease and chicken skin (gross). Another time I had a cold limp fried tofu "salad". Their papaya salad is more onion that papaya and will leave your breath harsh for days. Too bad, I really wanted to like this place too.

            1. re: MEalcentric

              Good call on Lani Grill. Had lunch there yesterday. How you do mess up mashed potatoes and why do they come with a side of rice?. My wife ordered the teriyaki chicken and I ordered the ribs and Hawaiian chicken. I could tell the difference in the chicken except mine had sesame seeds.

              I hope they refine the food a bit and then I willl give it a another try.

              1. re: cdmedici

                I meant to say that I could hardly tell the difference in the chicken.

              2. re: MEalcentric

                regarding my earlier post on Lani Grill, I meant to say "more onion THAN papaya"

                1. re: MEalcentric

                  I had great experience in Lani Grill. The servers were great and the food was excellent. In matter of fact, I just had their chicken salad and it was not greasy nor it has chicken skin on it. It was grilled to perfection was wonderful dressing. I have had their papaya salad as well, there was hardly any onion... maybe you had visited another Lani Grill! The one I visited in Santa Ana, Lani Grille Asian Tropical Cafe was wonderful. And yes, they have wonderful boba drinks. I already recommended many of my friends and co-workers to eat there. They all came back with great review!!!

            2. I'll get beat up, but I still stand by the ahi mini tacos & kobe burger at Aire!

              2 Replies
              1. re: torta basilica

                I tasted his ahi mini tacos ans well as his rock shrimp ceviche mini tacos at a food and wine charity event at Balboa Bay Club. There were delicious.

                The Moon Over Bologna sandwich and West Coast Wrapper that I ate at the restaurant were pretty dismal though.

                1. re: torta basilica

                  I wont beat you up, but I will say it is overpriced and service needs a lesson or two in how to SERVE. It's been a while though since I went so maybe they got their act together.

                2. Go down Bristol st. and try Pascal's Epicerie. A small french cafe where you can get Boef Bourguignon and cassoulet to go. His french restaurant next door is also very good.


                  On Paulerino Ave, off of Harbour is a japanese market called Mitsuwa that your wife should check out.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: david t.

                    actually, off Harbor is Marukai. Mitsuwa is off Bristol & Paulorino (my wife actually works at Mitsuwa, so we're eating there all the time)

                  2. I've always been partial to the cholesterol grease bomb that is the Pastrami and Bacon Sub at Tummy Stuffers on Redhill and Bristol.


                    1. Haven’t been to the Memphis in Costa Mesa but wasn’t really all that impressed with the one in Santa Ana. Oki Doki is good but I heard that they get their stuff from Mitsuwa. Mentatsu has good noodles and Santouka is yummy. Anjin is good but I’m prefer Tsuruhashi in Fountain Valley and it has to be a good sign if Shin Shen Gumi staff go there afterwards and Japanese baseball players are taken there when they’re in Orange County for games. Only hope their air quality is much better now.

                      I know you didn’t want more Japanese but I do like ikko and Café Blanc (European/French dessert place Japanese style, meaning not overly sweet). Don’t bother with food at Sake Bomb Dining (yes, I should have known with a name like that) but drink selection isn’t too bad.

                      Don’t bother with the Morton’s, horrible service and the meat just wasn’t as good as the one in Los Angeles.

                      I enjoy Taco Mesa. Also like Plum Street Café for brunch and I know people like Sidestreet Café (haven’t gone yet). I also enjoy Haus of Pizza. Like Habana though can be bit pricey.

                      Thought Aire was just okay, bit overpriced, but the drinks aren’t too bad.

                      Ikea for meatballs and cheap breakfast. (Hope that remark doesn't ban me from Chowhound. ;p)

                      OCC Culinary students work at Captain's Table. (One of my to do but I've meet students from the program and their food was good),

                      If you like boba there’s a Tapioca Express, but the quality is inconsistent. I prefer Tea Station in Irvine.

                      Sidenote: Orange County needs more places like Bossa Nova and Versailles, Felix in Orange doesn’t have enough good dishes to keep me coming back.