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Birthday Dinner in OC

Any suggestions for a special birthday dinner somewhere in Central/Coastal Orange County? We aren't interested in Asian, Mexican, Italian, etc. but are looking for perhaps steak/seafood or French food. Last year it was the Arches and the year before it was the Riviera at the Fireside. We are looking for this caliber of restaurant but want something newer.

Any help would sure be appreciated

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  1. Napa Rose ! I cannot recommend it more highly. My wife and I were just there this past Saturday night to celebrate our anniversary, and it was fantastic. It's a great place to celebrate a special occasion, esp. if you're interested in wines. They have a really good wine program, including many wonderful by-the-glass choices. Very well-chosen, everything from reasonably-priced but still good bottles at $35 or so to that 1947 Chateau Mouton-Rothschild you've always wanted to try at $4,700. Food, service and ambience are excellent as well. The restaurant has been open about 6 or so years, IIRC, and it's still got a "fresh" feel to the place.

    3 Replies
    1. re: mikester

      We've considered Napa Rose but we've been there before and wanted to try some place new. We are considering 230 Forest Ave. in Laguna Beach or Lashers in Long Beach. Any comments? Other choices besides Napa Rose?

      1. re: HBGigi

        Lasher's is good. Bungalow style converted house with indoor/outdoor seating. Went there for a group birthday once. It's nice, but not quite the kind of intimacy for a special dinner. 230 Forest is even less private.

        1. re: brekkie_fan

          Ditto the scene at 230 Forest. The definition of boisterous. If that's not your thing, in Laguna, I'd say Five Feet is a much quieter contender. Or Laguna Sapphire to split the difference.

    2. Agree with mikester and probably many others on this board. Napa Rose! It is our go to special occasion place. Make reservations to sit at the counter for a fun experience. All of the servers are very knowledgeable about wine.
      You can valet park (for free IIRC), just tell them you are having dinner at the Napa Rose

      1. Napa Rose is excellent for Central OC.

        It's an intimate local, but I thoroughly enjoyed Vine in San Clemente.

        1. We really enjoy the Beach House in Laguna. Beautiful view.

          1. The one's I've been to and can recommend:
            Mastro's Steakhouse in Costa Mesa across from South Coast Plaza on Anton
            Char Noir - right next door
            Pinot Provence - In the Westin Hotel off of Anton. A Joachim Splichal restaurant.

            The ones I'd like to go to:
            Sapphire in Laguna Beach. Former Executive Chef at St. Regis.
            Mastro's Ocean Club - Right across from Crystal Cove State Park. Same great steaks as Mastro's in CM but with Seafood too.

            230 Forest is a nice restaurant. Great for people watching for lunch. Good food. But probably not occassion-worthy.