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Ultimate OC Restaurants, 2007 Edition

kingkong5 Dec 7, 2007 12:23 PM

Can you believe the year has gone by so quickly?

The concept is simple: everyone is asked to list, in rank order, your top 5 restaurants in Orange County that you would recommend to houndly out-of-town visitors or to chowfriends for a special occasion. Since we worship at the altar of deliciousness, your ranking should be based 75% on food and 25% on everything else.

To join the fun, reply with a list of ONLY your top 5 choices. Responses with more than 5 choices will not be included. Replies with fewer than five choices will be tabulated. Your entries will be weighted arithmetically, 5 points for your #1 choice; 4 for #2, & so forth. A simple list will suffice, but any & all explanation is welcome.

50 OC hounds responded last year. The more replies we receive, the more useful are the poll’s findings, so please do reply. We’ll keep the polls open until December 21 & publish the results shortly after the new year.

Last year's poll is here http://www.chowhound.com/topics/350718 but somehow the results thread got misplaced. I'll chime in with my five shortly.

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  1. m
    mikester RE: kingkong5 Dec 7, 2007 01:17 PM

    1. Napa Rose
    2. Studio at The Montage Resort
    3. Marche Moderne
    4. Stonehill Tavern
    5. Mastro's (Costa Mesa)

    1. JAB RE: kingkong5 Dec 7, 2007 03:07 PM

      1) Shin Sen Gumi
      2) Tsuruhashi
      3) Inka Mama (Foothill Ranch location)
      4) El Adobe (Saturday lobster fajitas)
      5) Seafood Paradise (Dim Sum)

      Hmmm... 4 out of 5 the same as last year. Either they're really good or, I need to get out more often.

      2 Replies
      1. re: JAB
        JAB RE: JAB Dec 8, 2007 06:53 PM

        After his evenings subpar meal, El Adobe is unfortunately on the down hill watch.

        Also, I owe a debt of gratitude to this board for 3 of my 5.

        1. re: JAB
          JAB RE: JAB Dec 10, 2008 04:43 PM

          This was my 1 and only subpar meal at El Adobe. We didn't go back right away after this meal but, have been back several times since and it's back on point. I'm referring specifically about their seafood offerings especially, their lobster fajitas.

      2. russkar RE: kingkong5 Dec 7, 2007 03:27 PM

        1. Basilic (Balboa island)
        2. The Ritz (NB)
        3. Napa Rose (Chef's Counter)
        4. Clae's (Chef Todd only)
        5. Stonehill Tavern

        1. elmomonster RE: kingkong5 Dec 7, 2007 03:39 PM

          1. Bluefin
          2. Cafe Hiro
          3. Stonehill Tavern
          4. Sushi Shibucho
          5. Marche Moderne

          1. j
            jacknhedy RE: kingkong5 Dec 7, 2007 03:49 PM

            1. Marche Moderne
            2. Shibucho
            3. Thai Nakorn
            4. Nory's
            5. Hatam

            1. o
              OCBites RE: kingkong5 Dec 7, 2007 04:01 PM

              1. Marche Moderne
              2. Old Vine Cafe
              3. Ramos House Cafe
              4. Darya
              5. Crow Bar & Kitchen

              1. russkar RE: kingkong5 Dec 7, 2007 07:28 PM

                I'm not sure everyone read the SPECIAL OCCASION part of your Post?
                All the restaurants listed below are good but some below are not in the Special Occasion category. Marche Moderne is good but Special Occasion, probably not?

                4 Replies
                1. re: russkar
                  brekkie_fan RE: russkar Dec 7, 2007 09:56 PM

                  I have to teeter on the border of Marche Moderne being special occassion. You made me think about it, russ. IMO, though, it's definitely steps above casual (and special enough for my dining companions). I'll probably rank it as well.

                  1. re: brekkie_fan
                    russkar RE: brekkie_fan Dec 8, 2007 06:11 AM

                    Brekkie, what about The Cellar, Mr Stox, Anaheim White House, La Vie En Rose, Pinot Provence, Antonello's ,Traditions by Pascal?

                  2. re: russkar
                    crt RE: russkar Dec 8, 2007 07:38 AM

                    One size does not fit all. What restaurant you consider fit for a specific special ocassion will not fit someone elses. Just becuase a restaurant that isn't considered 'trendy' or a '5 star restaurant' doesn't mean that it can't be considered for a special occassion.

                    1. re: russkar
                      OCBites RE: russkar Dec 8, 2007 02:19 PM

                      Oops. I was one of those who didn't consider the Special Occasion factor. I would have to revise previous list to:

                      1. Marche Moderne (yes, it stays because his food is that good)
                      2. The Ritz
                      3. Mastro's (either)
                      4. Leatherby's
                      5. Stonehill Tavern

                    2. brekkie_fan RE: kingkong5 Dec 7, 2007 10:10 PM

                      1. Stonehill Tavern
                      2. Mastros Ocean Club (Newport Beach)
                      3. Marche Moderne
                      4. Mesa (Costa Mesa)
                      5. Vine (San Clemente)

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: brekkie_fan
                        vonger44 RE: brekkie_fan Dec 8, 2007 09:59 AM

                        1. Stonehill Tavern
                        2. Bluefin
                        3. Mastros (Costa Mesa)
                        4. Leatherby's Rouge Cafe
                        5. Napa Rose

                      2. digkv RE: kingkong5 Dec 8, 2007 11:31 AM

                        1. Tsuruhashi
                        2. Gabbi's Mexican Kitchen (in Orange)
                        3. Felix's Continental Cafe
                        4. Haveli
                        5. Zinc Cafe

                        They aren't really special occasion places but they are places that I'd take people to. I've always wanted to participate in the ultimate OC thing, it's always seemed like so much fun. I also wish I could recommend some "fancy" restaurants but I really don't eat out at expensive places all too much.

                        1. Midlife RE: kingkong5 Dec 8, 2007 07:42 PM

                          1. Studio at The Montage
                          2. Napa Rose
                          3. Stonehill Tavern
                          4. Vine - Wine Country Cuisine (San Clemente)
                          5. Dizz's As Is (South Laguna)

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: Midlife
                            russkar RE: Midlife Dec 8, 2007 09:55 PM

                            Were you at Studio recently?
                            We were surprised at its decline in the last year? 4 people 1500- = disappointment.
                            Didn't even make our top 5 this year?

                            1. re: russkar
                              Midlife RE: russkar Dec 23, 2007 12:32 PM

                              We were at Studio a year ago but live and work in the area and hear only great reviews. An acquaintance, who frequents places like Gary Danko (SF), Auberge du Soleil (Napa), Stonehill Tavern, and Napa Rose, ate there on Thanksgiving Day (of all days) and said it was one of the best dining experiences he's ever had. To each his/her own I guess.

                              1. re: Midlife
                                russkar RE: Midlife Dec 23, 2007 07:17 PM

                                That would make sense based on the comparisons.
                                I was comparing Studio to the "Majors" in LA and the last experience we had there. Studio isn't even in the Top Ten.

                          2. f
                            fdb RE: kingkong5 Dec 8, 2007 11:03 PM

                            Stonehill Tavern

                            I do not live in OC so my experience is very limited there. My one and only special occasion restaurant experience is ST, and I thought it was quite fabulous.

                            1. p
                              Philly RE: kingkong5 Dec 9, 2007 08:10 AM

                              1--The Ritz
                              4--21 Oceanfront
                              5--Traditions by Pascal

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Philly
                                russkar RE: Philly Dec 9, 2007 02:04 PM

                                Great List!

                              2. j
                                jwnorris RE: kingkong5 Dec 10, 2007 03:21 PM

                                And the votes are in ...

                                Stonehill Tavern 7
                                Marche Moderne 6
                                Mastros 4
                                Napa Rose 4
                                The Ritz 3
                                Basilic 2
                                Bluefin 2
                                Leatherby's 2
                                Tsuruhashi 2
                                Vine 2
                                21 Oceanfront 1
                                Antonello's 1
                                Cafe Hiro 1
                                Clae's 1
                                Crow Bar & Kitchen 1
                                Darya 1
                                Dizz's As Is 1
                                El Adobe 1
                                Felix's Continental Cafe 1
                                Gabbi's Mexican Kitchen 1
                                Hatam 1
                                Haveli 1
                                Inka Mama 1
                                Mesa 1
                                Nory's 1
                                Old Vine Cafe 1
                                Ramos House Cafe 1
                                Seafood Paradise 1
                                Shibucho 1
                                Shin Sen Gumi 1
                                Studio at The Montage 1
                                Studio at The Montage Resort 1
                                Sushi Shibucho 1
                                Thai Nakorn 1
                                Traditions by Pascal 1
                                Zinc Cafe 1

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: jwnorris
                                  Das Ubergeek RE: jwnorris Dec 11, 2007 02:44 PM

                                  Shibucho and Sushi Shibucho are the same thing, and the voting isn't closed yet.

                                2. Das Ubergeek RE: kingkong5 Dec 11, 2007 02:43 PM

                                  I'm doing this a bit under protest, because a special occasion for me means getting to eat in some really interesting place, whether it's a fancy linen-napkin dress-up hoity-toity-food restaurant or not.

                                  Napa Rose
                                  Zov's Bistro
                                  Thai Nakorn
                                  Taco Rosa (brunch)
                                  Marche Moderne

                                  1. i
                                    I got nothin RE: kingkong5 Dec 11, 2007 03:05 PM

                                    1. Bluefin
                                    2. Sushi Shibucho
                                    3. Marche Moderne
                                    4. Taco Rosa
                                    5. Tsuruhashi

                                    1. e
                                      exilekiss RE: kingkong5 Dec 13, 2007 05:25 PM

                                      My "Special Occasion" would also be for places I'd gladly take visitors out-of-town, but may not be "fancy" or "5 Star." (^_~) Good Food, first and foremost.

                                      1. Marche Moderne
                                      2. Shin Sen Gumi (Yakitori, not the Ramen side)
                                      3. Darya
                                      4. Sushi Shibucho
                                      5. Thai Nakorn

                                      1. OCKevin RE: kingkong5 Dec 15, 2007 01:49 PM

                                        On the one hand, special occasion could mean high-end, on the other hand I think taking people to Coyote Grill in Laguna Beach for a Sunday lunch and bloody mary would also be a special event. Assuming it's someone's wedding anniversary or landmark birthday, then I'd vote as follows:

                                        1. Napa Rose
                                        2. Stonehill Tavern
                                        3. Clae's
                                        4. Marche Moderne
                                        5. Anaheim White House

                                        1. f
                                          food4life RE: kingkong5 Dec 18, 2007 01:54 PM

                                          1. Bayside
                                          2. Mesa
                                          3. Onotria
                                          4. Restaurant Rumari (if only for the semifreddo dessert)
                                          5. Zov's

                                          1. 1000steps RE: kingkong5 Dec 18, 2007 04:21 PM

                                            Stonehill Tavern
                                            Marche Moderne

                                            1. t
                                              torta basilica RE: kingkong5 Dec 18, 2007 05:53 PM

                                              Sage (the original)
                                              Cafe Zoolu

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: torta basilica
                                                vlad RE: torta basilica Dec 22, 2007 05:27 PM

                                                Traditions by Pascal
                                                Super Pollo
                                                Thai Nakorn

                                              2. kingkong5 RE: kingkong5 Dec 23, 2007 09:50 AM

                                                Thanks for participating everybody! The polls are closed, and I'll tabulate them up as quick as can be :)

                                                btw, my five were

                                                1. Tsuruhashi
                                                2. Sushi Wasabi
                                                3. Leatherby's
                                                4. Clae's
                                                5. Mastro's

                                                1. OCAnn RE: kingkong5 Aug 8, 2008 01:33 PM

                                                  Last year's results (2006) were found: chowhound.chow.com/topics/356299

                                                  However, what I couldn't find were the results to this 2007 poll. I searched & searched (which is how I found the 2006 results) but came up empty handed for the 2007 poll results.

                                                  Anyway, I'm bringing a 2007 topic back b/c I'd like to see the results...however, this thread came in handy for recent meal planning. =)

                                                  5 Replies
                                                  1. re: OCAnn
                                                    kingkong5 RE: OCAnn Dec 7, 2008 11:06 PM

                                                    I posted the 2007 results as promised last year. But it was deleted, and not knowing if the powers that be (The Chowhound Team) deleted it on purpose or accident, I didn't want to risk angering them by reposting.

                                                    Also, that's probably why I'm gun-shy about doing the 2008 poll, but if anyone really wants to do it, we could probably throw the 2008 Ultimate OC poll together?

                                                    1. re: OCAnn
                                                      kingkong5 RE: OCAnn Dec 9, 2008 04:01 PM

                                                      No interest in our OC Poll this year?

                                                      1. re: kingkong5
                                                        OCAnn RE: kingkong5 Dec 9, 2008 04:33 PM

                                                        If you start one, I'll play....

                                                        1. re: OCAnn
                                                          gadflier RE: OCAnn Dec 10, 2008 08:25 AM

                                                          I tried for South/Central OC 08 best of earlier, but without success. No love for the OC here. There is another website that does have lots of OC reviews that I am aware of though....the postings aren't nearly as thoughtful, but they are numerous.

                                                          1. re: gadflier
                                                            JAB RE: gadflier Dec 10, 2008 04:44 PM

                                                            Please share that website.

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