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Bluefin, Lucca's or Bistango for Anniversary Dinner?

We will be going out for our anniversary dinner this Thursday. We live in Irvine near the Marketplace and have a baby at home so we need to go somewhere relatively close. We love sushi so I was thinking of trying Bluefin but is it anniversary enough (not really romantic)? I've heard a lot about Lucca's and it might be great with the smaller portions since we won't be eating until 8 pm and my husband doesn't like a lot of heavy food in the late evening. Again though, is it fit for an anniversary dinner? After all, it's in basically an upscale mini mall. I thought about Bistango b/c it's in Irvine and there's live music at nights. Thought this would be romantic and hubby and I could dance one cheesy, slow, two-step to make it feel special. I know the food's not great but at 8 pm, hubby probably would just split a nicoise salad and dessert with me, so maybe that will work.

What's your vote? Or any other suggestions?

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  1. I'd say Bluefin. And I bet others will too. This is a board full of food-obsessed people, after all. The atmosphere isn't exactly romantic. It's just one big room. But the food is absolutely wonderful.

    Here's a pic:

    I haven't been to Lucca's, but I can't see myself going to Bistango again for the food or the dancing. But that's me. So I guess the question is: what's more important to you? Food or atmosphere?

    1. Hmmm...ten years ago, I used to go to Bistango more for the scene than the food. Not sure if much has changed....

      1. If you love sushi and you've never been to Bluefin, then it's a pretty easy call: go to Bluefin. You can add some romance to the evening by driving up and down PCH around sunset on your way there or on the way home.
        Although I really like the food at Lucca Cafe, I don't think it's what you're looking for in an anniversary dinner. I've only eaten there for lunch, which is very casual. I think it's a little more "formal" (for lack of a better word) at dinner, but I'm not really sure how much. I'd save Lucca for the next time you can get out of the house for dinner w/out the baby.

        1. How about Bluefin for dinner (hands down, the best for food of your 3 choices) and then go afterwards for an after dinner drink and dancing to Bistango? I love Lucca's but it doesn't seem very anniversaryish. Go to Lucca's for Saturday or Sunday brunch. They have the closest thing to the REAL coffee they serve in Italy.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Kaisgraham

            What about Marche Moderne? Sit on the patio at night and you'll have a fairly romantic atmosphere and what is usually among the top restaurants in OC and maybe SoCal.

            1. re: lawdog262

              Tell them it's you anniversary and ask for one of the alcoves on the patio. Good food AND romance!

              1. re: torta basilica

                We were at MARCHE MODERNE last night and it was fabu. The Chef from Basilic was with us and he loved it also. BASILIC is another idea in the ALCOVE.

          2. I'd not choose Bistango. I've been there a couple of times with my husband, and though the ambiance is nice...the food could have been better for the price.

            1. If its food you are after, Bluefin is clearly the winner. It is by far the best sushi in OC, and probably in the top five in all of California. It's most fun, of course, to sit at the sushi bar, but this is obviously not a romantic choice.

              Unlike some other posters, I like Bistango a lot. Admittedly the food is not cutting-edge, but the kitchen (at least in my experience) is very consistent, the meat is excellent (steaks and lamb), they make great drinks, and the service and ambiance are terrific. We eat there a lot, and have rarely had a disappointing experience. It would definitely be my second choice of the three for food, but for ambiance and romance, one of their nice booths is tough to beat.

              Lucca would, for me, be a very distant third. I have been there only once, and the food was mediocre at best. Even worse however was their attitude to my guest who is a vegetarian. Their menu offers almost nothing vegetarian, and when asked to simply prepare a pasta primavera, they were so unaccommodating as to be unbelievable. I had not inquired re the menu in advance, because I had never before been to an Italian restaurant which could not easily take care of a vegetarian guest. To me, this restaurant is a big loser!

              So...in my opinion, if it's food you're after, Bluefin is the clear winner, but if romance and ambiance are a higher priority, I don't think you will be disappointed with Bistango. One last thought...have you considered Charlie Palmer at Bloomingdales. We had an excellent dinner there last week. It's a beautiful room with excellent service and good food.

              1. I really like Bistango. Food is consistent, service has always been awesome for us, and their Grand Marnier souffle is DELICIOUS!

                1 Reply
                1. re: yummfood

                  Agree completely. We eat at Bistango a lot, and are never disappointed! Even the bar food...pizzas and tapas...is great.