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Celebration Dinner in Irvine - Italian Restaurant Recs?

flyn Oct 4, 2007 09:31 PM

Taking a friend out for celebration dinner in Irvine area, looking for a good italian restaurant. Any recommendations? Close to Irvine also ok. Thanks!

  1. k
    Kaisgraham Oct 7, 2007 10:32 PM

    I would highly recommend Onotria in Costa Mesa. High end. Great wines.
    For Southern Italian and more family style, try Roma d'Italia in Tustin. Been there forever and always busy.

    1. k
      kphilbin Oct 7, 2007 07:49 PM

      Antonellos is better than Il Fornaio. However, it's pretentious and a little tacky.....murals of Italy, waiters with Pantomime Italian accents and fancy plates.Food beats Il Fornaio though which is about as Italian as Taco Bell is Mexican

      Think I'd take a drive to LA

      1. c
        cqt Oct 7, 2007 06:47 PM

        One more to throw into the mix if it's not too late: Ristorante Max. Owned by a family who has a restaurant in Positano that I've been to.

        Try the lobster with spaghetti as a split starter and the shrimp scampi (it's like the scampi you get in Italy with the hard-shell claws but super-sweet meat)!

        Very authentic and not as saucey as American Italian restaurants.

        2 Replies
        1. re: cqt
          brekkie_fan Oct 7, 2007 07:22 PM

          Where's that?

          1. re: brekkie_fan
            cqt Oct 7, 2007 07:30 PM

            brekkie fan:

            It's in Newport Beach:
            1617 Westcliff Drive, Newport Beach

            It's expensive but a different Italian than Antonello's and Maggiano's. I like the fresh pastas. I miss the preparations of fresh seafood and pastas in Italy - this place was not the best in Positano but it's pretty good for OC.

        2. c
          cdmedici Oct 5, 2007 06:49 PM

          Are you looking for more authentic Italian or American style? What about atmosphere?

          1 Reply
          1. re: cdmedici
            flyn Oct 5, 2007 10:32 PM

            Thanks for suggestions!! Really appreciate your input... will check out Vessia.

          2. e
            erintoc Oct 5, 2007 02:43 PM

            I second Vessia. I am from Irvine and my family goes there all the time for celebration dinners...It is off of Barranca and Culver in the Crossroads mini-mall...

            Just had dinner there 1 month ago and loved it!

            1. c
              crystaw Oct 5, 2007 11:42 AM

              I know it's a chain, but when I worked in Irvine people I talked to really liked Maggiano's near Southcoast Plaza. I can't vouch for it myself though.

              1 Reply
              1. re: crystaw
                rob.nolen Oct 5, 2007 01:59 PM

                Maggianos is pretty good. They have a family style dinner (I think 4 or 6 persons minimum) for 22 dollars (this price may have changed) that is 3 courses, all you can eat. They even pack up all the leftovers for you to take home. Buca di Beppo is another chain, they're in Tustin off Jamboree, decent food at a decent price. This is a family style dining place, so everything is large portions intended for sharing.

              2. j
                Juji Oct 5, 2007 09:34 AM

                I really like Prego, the Agnolotti d'Aragosta is delicious.


                1. m
                  MzMaggie Oct 5, 2007 09:31 AM

                  Vessia on Barranca & Culver in Irvine is really good. Roma d'Italia on Camino Real in Tustin is a family run place that;s been there for years.

                  1. b
                    byeCalihelloBahamas Oct 5, 2007 03:59 AM

                    Antonellos in Costa Mesa (across from SCP) is very good.

                    Il Fornaio is pretty good. Chain restaurant, but nice atmosphere and good food in Irvine.

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