In OC there are many types of restaurants, in no particular order, off the top of my head, so much so that it can boggle the mind:
Fine dining, French
Fine dining, Continental, Fine Dining, Fusion
Fine dining, etc., etc.
Middle and South American
Pick your favorites and price range and any other criteria you have and I'm sure most of us will be glad to make suggestions, let you in on local secrets, till you get your own bearings. Go for it!
P.S. I'm sure I left some type of cuisine off, and someone will remind me of it.
I grew up in Irvine from 1981 to 2003 (went from 2nd grade to my Master's degree all in Irvine). Wow has the place changed over that time! Currently living in Garden Grove, but I work in nearby Newport Beach so we sometimes get into Irvine for food.
One of my favorite places for lunch in Irvine is the Sam Woo restaurant on Culver and Irvine Center Drive. Right next to the 99 Ranch market, it actually consists of 3 different kind of restaurants. Starting on the left is what we call "Sam Woo - nice side" where they have traditional and tasty chinese dishes, with live seafood in the tanks. The tables are decked out with nice linens and the room is also painted pretty.
Next door is the sit down but fast type restaurant. This is my favorite place for lunch. I always order the Shui Kao noodle soup. It's like a wonton soup, but with shui kao dumplings instead (imagine a wonton with shrimp and mushrooms and a little sesame oil - it's delicious!) served over perfectly al dente egg noodles in a rich broth. It costs a little less then $4.
And on the far side is the "Sam Woo Express" side, similar to panda express. This is also where you can buy bbq pork, duck or chicken by the pound for take home.
Have fun exploring the rest of Irvine for good food!
You should start by doing some searches for "Irvine," "Costa Mesa" or "Orange County". you will get TONS of hits. You will get more replies if you narrowed down the field of your question. But to get you started, here is a list of this board's votes last year for the best in OC. Happy eating and welcome to Irvne.
Depends on that you're looking for. What would you consider good eats?
Both Elmomonster and I also live in Irvine, so there are a number of restaurant reviews on our food blogs if you just feel like browsing the pretty pictures.