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Mar 29, 2008 10:13 AM

good dining options near the Orange County Center for the Performing Arts?

I'm headed to a show at the Orange County Center for the Performing Arts in Costa Mesa tonight, and I'm wondering if anyone has any recommendations for dining before the show. Open to all types of cuisine (though my dining partner won't do sushi), but I'd rather not take out a second mortgage.

Zagat mentioned Memphis and Old Vine Cafe, and they both seemed like possibilities, but I'd love some suggestions from people who know the area. Thanks!


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  1. A couple of weeks back we stopped at Tommy Pastrami on our way to see “Twelve Angry Men.” I had the corned beef and she had the pastrami. We are just about to walk out the door to do the same lunch on our way to see Phantom of the Opera today. One small size sandwich each is enough when you share the fries. That should leave enough room to share a slice of that great cheesecake. Once before I had the Reuben and it was also very good. The prices are also very reasonable. This is not a fancy place but it is very clean and modern.

    Tommy Pastrami New York Delicatessen
    18001 Beach Boulevard
    Huntington Beach, CA 92648
    (714) 848-4567

    Located at the Corner of Beach and Talbert which is maybe 8 min. drive from the 405. Check out the map on the cite below and notice how the 405 cuts at an angle allowing you to exit at Beach Blvd and head South to eat at Tommy, then go East on Talbert to the 405 South without any backtracking or lost time. Me gotts go because now she is waiting.

    1. Darya for Persian, great, flavorful koobideh

      3 Replies
      1. re: justagthing

        Pacific Whey Cafe just opened near South Coast Plaza.

        There is also Marche Moderne and Leatherby's Cafe Rouge if you wanted to share some appetisers it would be less pricey.

        1. re: justagthing

          Love Darya! I really enjoy the chicken and filet kabobs. The Indian restaurant next door is fantastic also.

          1. re: OCGirl

            Royal Khyber is the place. Good food, interesting twist on traditional Indian curries. Heathier fare than usual too, especially the tandoori specialties. Nice atmosphere too. Also really enjoyed Darya. The grilled fish was excellent, and so was the rice pilaf. Beautiful setting too; pretty upscale.

        2. Habana

          2930 Bristol St Ste A110, Costa Mesa, CA 92626

          1 Reply
          1. re: JAB

            Habana is an excellent choice. We prefer it for warm weather as inside can be noisy but the patio is very comfortable.

            For pre-theater persian we prefer Orchid (On Bristol, S of the 405).

            Old Vine is tiny. For weekends call WELL ahead.

          2. If you want more upscale dining where you can park and walk over to the theater, I have three recommendations. We live locally and go to the music center a lot!

            Scott's is great on many levels. First they have free parking; bypass the valet and park yourself, then take the elevator right up to the restaurants. Although basically a seafood restaurant, they have excellent prime steaks (I love their ribeye!). They are definitely attuned to the theater crowd, and will get you out on time. Pierre is an excellent waiter, if he is available.

            Pinot Provence in the South Coast Plaza hotel is part of the Patina chain, and is very convenient and dependable French cuisine.

            The most upscale restaurant is in the Concert is Leatherby's Cafe Rouge, also part of the Patina chain. It is very pleasant, but personally find it overpriced.

            All three of these are extremely convenient to the music center. We go to Scott's most often because of the better value, and free parking.

            1. People have mentioned South Coast Plaza places, so just check out SCP as a place. They used to have Back Bay Rowing Club which I would have recommended. The restaurants are changing to either more upscale or more corporate chain oriented cafes. Native Foods at the Camp mall is a vegan restaurant and it's pretty good. The Gypsy Den across the street in the Lab mall is nice also and slightly cheaper. You can check their menu online, they have big portion sizes also. They both will not bust your bank account. Memphis is right next door to the Lab. You can also shop at the interesting shops in those two malls before the show. Even closer to the Center, at Mitsuwa Marketplace they have good food in their food court and it's cheap. There are a few restaurants in the strip malls between Mitsuwa Marketplace and the Lab and the Camp, but I have not tried them. Also, just across the street from South Coast Plaza in a shopping center is a Greek place, Greek Island Grille, I enjoyed the food. It's inexpensive and decent fare. There are also some burrito places like Rubio's or Bajas nearby. Oh yeah, at Metro Pointe just North from SCP, they have Boudin Bakery and I think there may be one inside SCP now. Hope that helps . . .

              3 Replies
              1. re: apple7blue

                I use to love BBRC for 'those potatoes' .

                1. re: justagthing

                  Those are good. Does anyone know if they are re-opening at a new location?

                  I just did a search and there is a Back Bay Rowing and Running Club in Irvine, and another review refers to this as the SCP restaurant. Anyone know more?

                  1. re: apple7blue

                    A new scent for chowhounds to pick up on . . . The Rosoffs who owned the Back Bay Rowing and Running Club that used to exist in South Coast Plaza run Village Green Foods in Irvine. Perhaps, they have a cafe there also to get the old favorites from Back Bay Rowing and Running Club?