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Feb 14, 2008 06:43 PM

Good Eats near John Wayne Airport?

I'm looking for a good restaurant to take the kids for dinner Friday night when our flight arrives Friday evening. Any good suggestions? Thanks!!

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  1. Depends what time you're going. Me, I'd head straight for the food court at Mitsuwa and go to Santouka Ramen myself, but perhaps Manpuku on Baker St.? There's also L'il Pickle on Fairview but not sure of the hours.

    Of course, if you're rolling in dough and the "kids" are old enough to appreciate it, there's always Mastro's... or if you're into fusion thing, I like Ten Asian Bistro on MacArthur.

    1. About a block away from the airport is Agora Churrascaria, about the best Brazilian BBQ in these parts. Even if you don't like a lot of meat (which is why you go to Agora), their buffet is immaculate.

      Here's a review:

      1. If the kids like Mexican, you could take Michelson south from the airport for a mile, and hit up Taleo in the center on Jamboree and Michelson. In the same center, you could also have Houston's or Ruth's Chris for steaks, Jack Shrimp for cajun cuisine (meh), or Wahoo's Fish Tacos or CPK .

        4 Replies
        1. re: I got nothin

          Good call on Taleo, et al. Though Jack Shrimp went belly up a few months ago, IIRC.

          1. re: elmomonster

            Jack Shrimp is no longer? at either locations? Oh I am a bit sad, it's been years, but I did like their peel and eat shrimp and then take the bread and dip it in the broth/sauce it came in. Can anyone recommend a place that serves something like this. Now I have a craving.

            1. re: justagthing

              Killer Shrimp, which they copied, in Marina del Rey.

              1. re: justagthing

                The West Coast Highway location in NPB was open during Mardi Gras; I don't think they closed.

          2. I might be jumping in here late since you're probably getting ready for that flight, but you might also consider the short jaunt up Campus/University Ave. toward UCI. There is an outdoor foodcourt of sorts that offers, among many others, a boba tea house that young ones would have a lot of fun at. There are vegetarian and meat dishes alike along with a playful menu of tea-based drinks. Even late into the night the place is hopping with student life.

            If you're looking for something a bit more upscale, you can head to South Coast Plaza, a few exits northbound from the airport on the 405 freeway. There are many restaurants ranging from casual (a Southwestern restaurant) to high-end (Florent's Marche Moderne). You could get there by taxi within 10 - 15 minutes from John Wayne.

            By the way, this is my first post over here! I'm a refugee from another food board that decided to censor my posts so I'm looking for a new home here.


            R. Jason Coulston

            8 Replies
            1. re: Jason_Coulston

              Welcome! I'm enjoying all of your posts today - makes me want to trot over to Crowbar again this second, but I'm sure it's packed... Maybe I'l wait til Sunday.

              1. re: torta basilica

                how old. If they have any table decorum--even a little--I would say the best oppty is Il Fornaio....yes, the chain. but prolly its best version.

              2. re: Jason_Coulston

                This is University Place -- and honestly, the best time to go is not tonight but tomorrow morning, when the farmers' market is open. Damn that's a good farmer's market (but WHY is there no MEAT, only FISH!)

                1. re: Das Ubergeek

                  I agree, the Saturday morning farmer's market at Irvine is excellent. By far the best in Orange County and even if it doesn't stack up to Santa Monica, it's damn good. The folks at Cal-Poly are doing some pretty interesting things. Right now their heirloom carrots are in full swing. You can also get amazing organic Fuji apples from Ha's Snow-Mountain farms. It would be nice if a proper butcher and mushroom purveyor showed up, but I can't really complain. Regulars will get there early and get their hands on a 6-pack of blue/green eggs from Reginald Scrimshaw, but I'm not giving away my insider scoop.

                  R. Jason Coulston

                  1. re: Jason_Coulston

                    Me, I head for the vendor (whose name I *cannot* remember, the older Armenian-looking guy in the first row) with those amazing strawberries... and then all the way at the exact opposite end of the market, the very last stall near Bridge Street, much of the time they have the most amazing squash blossoms ever. I mean, EVER.

                    And, of course, there's the best granola in the county, and the cherimoyas, and sometimes the guy who lives in San Clemente with the guava tree is there, and the wonderful assortment of Chinese greens near the Bridge Street end. Amazing pastries from Blackmarket Bakery, and just down past the Dry Dock fish guy (he creeps my daughter out so I don't go there anymore) is the very best TRULY sour sourdough in OC.

                    Three things missing: truly great berries (raspberries, blackberries, boysenberries) in summer, cheese and meat, though there is the Schreiner's stand for sausage and they'll bring you special-order meat from the mothership in Montrose if you ask.

                2. re: Jason_Coulston

                  Yes, that tea bar near the UCI campus is called Cha for Tea. I love their almond milk tea (with boba of course). Never tried their food, just the extra thick toast with butter and jam but always mean to (the gyoza looks pretty good). There is also a vegetarian 'fast food' restaurant called Veggie Grill in the same plaza if you're looking for quick tasty and healthy fast food. The portobello burger with quinoa side salad is particularly good.

                  1. re: FoodieKat

                    The chicken dumplings don't suck. I've never been to Veggie Grill but this weekend they had bumf all over the place trumpetting their election as OC's New Restaurant of the Year or whatever. Britta's Cafe has very good breakfasts (I have honestly only been to that plaza once besides my weekly FM trips on Saturdays), and Kochee Kabob isn't bad. Avoid the banh mi at Le Diplomate, though -- you'd be better off at (glerk) Lee's.

                    1. re: Das Ubergeek

                      Good to know. I'll try Cha for lunch next time I'm in the area (I'm addicted to their boba tea so I go there regularly).
                      Hmm, that's odd. A fast food joint as OC's new restaurant of the year? Strange choice, considering how many good (and some outstanding) restaurants there are in OC. Veggie Grill was good, but nothing earth-shattering about it.

                      Thanks for the heads up on Kochee Kabob. I walk past it every time I go to Cha for Tea, and keep thinking it looks interesting. Haven't had kebabs since leaving the UK, though I imagine the style of cooking must be different as it's Afghan rather than Turkish, which is more commonly found out there. That farmer's market sounds amazing too.

                3. Agora is just over the freeway and delcious. Also, so easy when traveling, if you make reservations. It is a little posh for children, depending on ages.