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good hip, fun restaurant in LA or Orange County?

Anyone know of a fun place to eat at? I love trying new restaurants. I'm trying to look for places with really good food. Maybe a concept restaurant. I live in OC and drive to LA to eat all the time. I don't care about atmosphere as long as the food is good. Please help!

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  1. I like Garlic Joe's in Newport. its on PCH where the old Margaritaville used to be.

    1 Reply
    1. re: khuezee

      Garlic Joe's is good! Their scallop carpaccio appetizer is delicious!

      The previous chef from Sai Sai at the Biltmore now opened his own place called Zu Robata. I've heard some good stuff but I haven't tried it yet.

      Also, Celadon is pretty good. It's in LA and it's a pretty nice place with some great dishes.

    2. Have you tried "Shenandoah (? my spelling may be off) at the Arbors" on Los Alamitos (Los Alamitos is the same road as Seal Beach Blvd. which intersects the 22 fwy, it becomes Los Alamitos farther north near Katella, I think). When you make reservations be sure to ask for outdoors near the pond. The food is quite good and the feeling is one of "southern hospitaility) (I think, anyway).

      1. For me, a fun restaurant in OC with good food = http://www.shinsengumiusa.com/
        I'm sure that many would consider it quite hip in an "insider" kind of way.

        1. You're asking for "fun", but also say that you "don't care about atmosphere". That's confusing for me. We drive up from Irvine all the time to places like Craft, Bastide, etc, and to me those are "fun". Can you give me some examples for a point of reference?

          3 Replies
          1. re: brekkie_fan

            I'm actually more confused about wanting it to be hip but not caring about atmosphere.

            It would really help if cyberdiva mentioned where she's gone before since she's looking for something new.

            Concept restaurants tend not to last in this town. There was that one where you had to dine entirely in the dark and your waiters were blind. And of course, there's the sushi joints where you eat off of a woman's body.

            1. re: SauceSupreme

              I wanted to go to the one where the waiters were blind and you ate in the dark. gone so soon?

              1. re: lotta_cox

                Actually, it looks like Opaque just reopened at the back of V Lounge in Santa Monica:

          2. Oiwakes in Little Tokyo! karaoke bar @ night....great atmosphere, edamame beans, yummy spicy tuna and avocado sushis to pair with the unique cocktails & sake bombs. I like ordering their "oh shit" shots. very casual setting and affordable eats :) cons: parking structure costs $5

            1 Reply
            1. Le Fondue in San Juan Capistrano. Very funky and eclectic decor...really exotic protiens for fondue (think alligator, wild boar, etc.). A little pricier than fondue at the Melting Pot, but totally cool. It's across the street from the Mission and is closed on Mondays.

              1. Like the others above, I am not sure what you mean in terms of balancing atmosphere and food. However, here are some of my faves when dining out in LA:

                Haru Ulala in Little Tokyo
                Magnolia in Hollywood (hipness factor, decent food)
                Hungry Cat (great food, more casual)
                AOC (same chef as Hungry Cat, higher end)
                LOVE the food at Roy's, don't love the atmosphere, but you may not be looking for a chain
                the new Palate Food & Wine in Glendale

                7 Replies
                1. re: lotta_cox

                  I'm personally looking for a lively restaurant for a Saturday Night out with an adult group in "party mode", kinda laid back but not cheezy, something upbeat with a lot going on with moderate priced food. NOT romantic and gourmet. I've thought of Yard House, Benihanas?, Opah, Lucille's BBQ. Any additional suggestions or input on those I'm considering?

                  1. re: LadyCFO

                    um, none of those would be on my list. if you want something concept oriented but fun, try Geisha House? It's big enough for a large crowd of people, right in Hollywood in walking distance from clubs and bars, and they have a couple small private rooms that are really pretty.

                    1. re: lotta_cox

                      I was hoping for more restaurant ideas in the OC, thank you though.

                      1. re: LadyCFO

                        Maybe something along the lines of: http://www.parkavedining.com/

                        or have you ever been to Taco Rosa in Newport Beach?

                        1. re: LadyCFO

                          wow. i really did not get that idea from your initial posting. wow.

                    2. re: lotta_cox

                      Hungry Cat (David Lentz) and AOC (Suzanne Goin) have different chefs, although they're married to each other.

                      1. re: mollyomormon

                        you are right. in the recesses of my mind i knew this. :-)