GOOD EATS NEAR ORANGE COUNTY PERFORMING ARTS CENTER (COSTA MESA)
There's a Jerry's Famous Deli nearby, but I think you will be hard pressed to find anyone on CH to recommend it heartily. I haven't been for a while, but when I went many years ago it was serviceable.
'Pretty good' chinese - definition varies by people.
I am guessing you are not looking for fancy dining. If my assumption is correct, I like the Santouka Ramen place at the food court at the Mitsuwa MarketPlace best out of casual no frills eats. My second no-frills is the Lawry's carvey at the the mall if you like prime rib.
They also serve sandwiches at Hansen's ice cream, and there's a Ruby's at South Coast (the other side, the home stores).
For fancy dining, all reports for nearby restaurants are hit or miss. There's Pinot, Scott's, Charlie Palmer, Marche Moderne. You can find out more by visiting South Coast Plaza's website and look under restaurant. OCPAC is only across the pedestrian bridge from South Coast.
Old Vine Cafe also got good press here, but I've never been.
Update on my post about Tommy.
The pastrami and the Reuben are very good. The bread is perfect (rye or the french roll) and the meat is also good. Share the fries and then have the cheesecake. Big NO on the soup but we will be trying that Big Black & White cookie this Sat. because we have tickets to the show also...
Tommy Pastrami New York Delicatessen
18001 Beach Boulevard
Huntington Beach, CA 92648
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.