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Oct 30, 2001 11:09 AM

Bayou St. John or nearby restaurants in north OC?

  • c

Will be going to celebrate a birthday with a small group of about 6 people. We all live in north county and wanted a suggestion for some good fare in this area. I have heard great things about Bayou St. John, but I'd like to see what other good suggestions are out there. Another place I am curious about is Royal Capital in Garden Grove. Is this place really authentic?

Any suggestions are welcomed. We eat all types of cuisines. Thanks!

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  1. Do you mean Bayou St. John in Seal Beach? Can't recommend it, ate there twice. The first time the food was merely inconsistent and average. The second time, my companion's lamb, ordered rare, came well done and was sent back. After some delay, the original plate was returned as-was with the explanation that it was late, they'd turned the stove off so he'd have to eat the well-done one. Additionally, we took two bottles of wine, one to drink and another sample half bottle to decide if this was a wine we both wanted to buy more of. We were charged full corkage on BOTH bottles, even though we didn't drink per se the second bottle, nor did it's presence deprive them of another wine sale. When we demanded that the corkage charge be removed from the bill, our waitress explained that she couldn't because only the manager could adjust a bill and said manager had apparently fled the premesis when the stove got turned off. If that were the last restaurant in town, then I'd get KFC. Unfortunately I think there are very few good rstuarants in North Orange County, but would recommend the Golden Truffle in Newport and Il Farro, an incredibly authentic little Italian place that's like being in some small trattoria in Italy, located most the most unlikely spot of the old Newport pier on the Balboa Peninsula. I live in Huntington Beach, and there is only one good restaurant in this town--Trimarca on Goldenwest, between Edinger and Bolsa. The chef, who was trained in the kitchens of the Vatican since age 12, and his highly entertaining wife Heidi (she's like 30 years older than him, it's a hoot!) do all the work themselves. Small, intimate, and lots of heart there. It's a slow meal, though, don't go if you're in a hurry. They're very wine friendly, too, btw, and don't charge corkage.

    10 Replies
    1. re: Jenise Stone

      I would concur with Jenise's take on both Bayou St. John and Trimarco, especially the latter. In fact, I believe Trimarco is the best restaurant in Orange County.

      It is classic Northern Italian cooking. Everything is made from scratch: the pasta, breads, sauces, desserts, etc. with only the best and freshest ingredients. Giovanni Trimarco LIVES to cook; the passion and creativity he puts into his dishes really comes through. Most of the time (unless he's really busy), he will come out of his kitchen to ask "how was your meal?" with a look of anticipation. I always gush about how great it was, and the happy/satisfied look on his face is always priceless. If I had to recommend one restaurant in Orange County or SoCal for that matter, this would be it. The wait may be long, but if one can't wait for good food, there's always McDonalds.


      1. re: Jenise Stone

        This sounds like a gem!
        I am already a fan of Mangia Mangia and you both seem to find it not worth mentioning, so I must go to Trimarca soon.

        Where exactly is it?
        It seems unlisted and there is a lot of stuff on Goldenwest between Edinger and Bolsa.

        Thanks Jenise and Youndo!

        1. re: Heather

          Heather, here is the address/hours

          Trimarco Ristorante Italiano
          15267 Golden West St.
          Westminster, CA

          It's on the east side of street just south of Bolsa, next to Jon's Market. Kinda hard to find actually. Closed Mondays and reservations essential for dinner. I usually go at lunch to save money, but unfortunately, the vivacious Heidi only works dinner : ( Another tip: just ask Giovanni what he recommends and get that! On recent visits, I had: rigatoni w/fresh herbs/roasted peppers/homemade herbed sausage, oxtail soup, frutti de mare, fettucine alfredo (the "real" italian way with multiple types of cheese, no creamy mess), osso bucco, giant spinach ravioli stuffed with salmon w/wine herb sauce, and a great seabass with angelhair/tomato pasta. Never a mediocre meal. Try the desserts which change daily! Figure about 10$ for lunch, about double for dinner or a bit more. This would be a great place for a chowhound get-together. good eating!


          1. re: Youndo

            Thanks for the info, Youndo. I know exactly where Jon's is. In fact I'm ready to go right now!
            I think we could have an impromptu get-together later this week for lunch if anybody else is interested.

            Silly me, I was looking it up as "Trimarca".
            Never been to that sandwich shop that I recall--I was always too busy hanging around John's Philly Grill.

            1. re: Heather

              Great! I'm always looking for an excuse to do Trimarco. Let me know which day if you're interested.


              1. re: Youndo

                LBQT has already signed on, sounds like you had a great idea, Youndo.
                When I hear back from her (or she repies here), we can firm things up.

                1. re: Youndo

                  Any day next week at lunchtime (except TUES, I have dinner out that night and don't want to explode) works for LBQT and I, so I guess it's up to you.
                  Email me, and we can chit chat more about it.

                2. re: Heather

                  John's Philly Grille is good, but DeSimone's is better. I think I posted on it below, when someone was looking for a Cuban sandwich. DeSimone's is in the same center as John's Philly Grille (at GoldenWest and Edinger) and Mangia Mangia. Closes at 7 or 8.

                3. re: Youndo

                  And here I thought I was the only person who knew this place, I'm so glad you chimed in! It's definitely an original--the anti-Olive Garden.

                4. re: Heather

                  Heather: I like Mangia Mangia too, but would say Trimarco is still better. Let me know your thoughts after you try Trimarco. By the way, have you ever tried DeSimone's in the same corner as Mangia Mangia? I like their sandwiches.