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Orange County Restaurants?

I was recommended 3 restaurants to take my gf out for her birthday. Do any of you have coomments or recommendations to which ones are better? or if there are better resturants around the orange county area? Looking for good food of course, but with a nice romantic and quiet setting.

Sevens Steakhouse (Tustin)
Bayside Restaurant (Newport Beach)
Sage on the Coast (Newport Beach)

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  1. Out of the 3 I think Bayside is the best. Especially love their 3 course brunch on Sundays. Other options would be Tommy Bahamas, Bluefin, Mastro's Seafood.

    1. I like Sage but prefer their Eastbluff location. For romantic settings, I'd suggest:
      21 Oceanfront (Newport Beach)
      Basilic (Balboa Island)
      The Ritz (Newport Beach)
      Antonello (Santa Ana)

      1. I second Bluefin. Get the omakase dinner ($75) or lunch ($35). That's where I'd want to be taken on my birthday dinner...oh wait! That *WAS* where I was taken for my birthday dinner!!!

        Read about it and see pictures here:
        http://elmomonster.blogspot.com/2006/...

        1. Wild Rabbit in Costa Mesa has a nice quiet and romantic setting, along with excellent food.
          Haven't been to SevenS, Bayside, or Sage yet.

          1. Sevens isn't so romantic (from this girls' pov)... or all that interesting or reliable.
            Sage (either one) is a better choice. They're both really yummy spots with no attitude.
            Bayside is always nice. Live jazz, too.
            Bluefin is best for sushi aficianados. Romantic doesn't come to mind for them.
            Mastro's Ocean Club is a neighbor of Bluefin's... very posh in a stylish way. But only is $$ is no object.
            Teensy Basilic is very intimate and perfect for a couple's special occasion. Bernard Alhaus's food is great, the service very gracious.

            1. I am a huge fan of Sage Eastbluff...the food is creative and so delicious....and the atmosphere is Napa VAlley'ish to me...quiet and enjoyable. I also would recommend Zov's....outstanding desserts...go on the Bistro side for romantic, not the bakery side.

              1. Mastro's Ocean Club sounds interesting. I've been to the Mastro's in Costa Mesa and had a great experience. What is the difference between the 2? Does Mastro's Ocean club have a good view over looking the ocean inside the restaurant?

                2 Replies
                1. re: cantonboi6

                  The Ocean Club focuses more on seafood, though they do have steaks as well. From what I hear, it's not as good as the regular Mastro's. I was at Ocean Club a while back and wasn't that impressed; the view wasn't spectacular either.

                  I sort of see it as more of a trendy spot for rich Newport'ers to show off. Last time I was there, there was this guy standing in front of two Lamborghinis. When we passed we heard him say "they're both mine." Needless to say, our eyes rolled fast.

                  1. re: cantonboi6

                    Mastro's in Costa Mesa is more formal and has more meat choices. Mastro's on PCH has a beach theme and has more fish choices.

                    1. I would pass on Sevens. The decor is stark and dreary and the food is just okay. I love Bayside and its sister restaurant, Bistango in Irvine.

                      1. I really love Studio at the Montage in Laguna Beach! Their food is really exceptional and the service is unbelieveable! never had a bad meal there!

                        1. In the moderate category, we like Sage for continental, Zov's for superb lamb, Antonello for Italian, Ferdussi & Darya for Persian and Taleo for Mex. BTW, Russ has been lukewarm on the first two at least, different strokes apparently.

                          1. I still like Chat Noir in Costa Mesa. It's romantic, a "Parisienne and jazz" appeal. The dining is a bit expensive and they are a bit stingy with the bread, but nonetheless, a unique restaurant to check out. Happy hour at Chat Noir is nice. They have a good, professinal business crowd. Now my birthday was last week and I went to Spaghettini's in Seal Beach. They always have live jazz during their Sunday Brunch. The food was great, North Tuscany Italian food. I loved the white bean salad. It was refreshing and light. The lamb chops were perfect at medium rare.

                            1. Sevens had a nice bar menu, but didn't go for a full on dinner. Location wasn't all that, if that's a factor.

                              Bayside was nice. Been there numerous times. Nice area, right by the Balboa bridge.

                              Eaten at Sage Eastbluff, and it was good. I think the Crystal Cove would be a more romantic locale, though. (Can you tell I'm big on location?)

                              Everyone else was spot on with recs. I loved both Mastro's, but thought it was cooler over at the Fish Club (except for the darn car show in the parking lot - Mercedes or BMW?)

                              I guess it kinda depends on what cuisine she prefers, only b/c i think your short list included three different places that very enough in cuisine, atmosphere, location to make me think you are pretty comfortable with any food (based on menus alone).

                              1. Anyone suggest a fun, trendy place in OC for a 10-15 person birthday dinner? (Anywhere except the typical places like Tentation, Sutra or Mosun)

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: kittykat

                                  Quasitrendy & possibly fun: Taleo, Opah
                                  Not too trendy and all the fun in the food: Sage at Newport Coast, Golden Truffle
                                  How about retro rather than trendy? Diz as Is, La Cave (retro with entertainment)
                                  I understand Mastro's Ocean is trendy & supposely fun people watching if that's your bag (not mine)

                                  1. re: bernardo

                                    oh wow i haven't been to la cave in a few years... although i never ate there. Maestro's sounds like a choice and i like the location... thanks =)

                                2. Again...Proof Bar....but Honda-Ya b4 is mandatory!

                                  1 Reply