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Aug 31, 2006 09:23 PM

French restaurants in coastal OC

I'm looking for opinions and recommendations on French Restaurants in coastal Orange County. Special dinner coming up, expensive is OK if worth it.

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  1. Pascal's on Bristol in Newport Beach is topnotch. Basilic's on Balboa Island is excellent; Swiss French. It's small so be sure to call well in advance for reservations.

    1. French 75 in laguna. I've only been to Chat Noir (same chain), but it is similar in menu and I've heard great things about Frnech 75

      Als, Gemmell's in dana point gets raves here

      1 Reply
      1. re: MEalcentric

        Gemmell's is the best around and in Dana Point Harbor. Get the Sea Bass. You will not be disappointed.

      2. Have heard very good things about Picayo,a wonderful looking French bistro in Laguna Beach.

        1. The original comment has been removed
          1. You really have only one choice if you are looking for a true "coastal" French in OC and it hasn't been mentioned on this thread. All the others, although in a coastal city, are not truly coastal which to me means "on the coast".

            Mirabeau Bisto is admittedly on the "wrong side" of PCH but it does have a semi-ocean view if it's not too foggy. Mirabeau Bistro is a French bistro down to the waiters. Sit outside by the fireplace for romantic atmosphere. It can get booked so reservations are necessary. I had a sublime tomato tart there recently. Read the chef bio on the website, it's impressive.

            I'm a little hestitant to recommend Gemmel's until I give it one more try. I've read the raves on this board but they did not match my experience. It does have cute atmosphere and I really wanted to like it but the service was about as spotty as I've ever experienced and really diminshed the whole experience for me. Also, I went there for lunch and it was HOT and STILL in the restaurant. Really quite uncomfortable. Another thing, they didn't take the skin off the sand dabs and it took me a couple of bites to figure out what was wrong. It wasn't difficult to peel off by myself but I've never had sand dabs served skin on before. They should have mentioned this so I could have immediately peeled it off rather than getting those first couple of nasty bites.