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Any Favorites in or near Irvine?

j
jillyjack Oct 22, 2008 06:40 AM

New to Orange County and need to find the good restaurants.
I'd love to find creative, delicious food that pairs well with wine. Something along the lines of The Better Half in San Diego (Hillcrest).
Thanks in advance for your help!

  1. h
    holy chow Oct 23, 2008 10:32 AM

    In Irvine:

    Lucca Cafe http://luccacafe.net/index.html

    Chef Kathy has skills and ideas in the kitchen that really work. Pretence is down and food is king. Don't forget to buy salumi and cheeses to go, the selection is great.

    In Tustin:

    Pina's Bistro in Tustin (no website - none needed
    )Yorba and First St.

    Good homemade food by Pina herself. Italian served with love and charm by family members of Pina. This is the real deal; reservations recommended as there are only 10 tables.

    Black Sheep Bistro http://www.blacksheepbistro.com/

    This husband and wife team put out one of the best menus in OC and are largely overlooked. Again, pretence is gone, food is king.

    Those are the more "high brow" in the area, there are however, many more low brow places that are just as great most espcially in ethnic catagories.

    Sneak over to Tustin and find the land of great food.

    1 Reply
    1. re: holy chow
      k
      kdoc Oct 23, 2008 04:41 PM

      There actually is a website for Pina's:

      http://www.pinasbistro.net/home.php

      I like it, but I think it is a bit overpriced for what you get.

    2. j
      jillyjack Oct 22, 2008 05:40 PM

      Awesome. I really appreciate the help. Menu at Old Vine looked good - can't say I was too excited about the wines but the food sounded good enough to pony up the $25 corkage. I'll check out the other menus now - thanks again!

      1 Reply
      1. re: jillyjack
        d
        david t. Oct 22, 2008 11:53 PM

        I really like Zov's Bistro in Irvine. It's Meditteranean/Middle Eastern dining with a neighborhood restaurant/dating vibe, if that's possible.

      2. j
        Juji Oct 22, 2008 02:34 PM

        When I used to live in Irvine years ago, I really liked Prego for their half moon pasta stuffed with lobster in saffron sauce. Bistango was also good. I like El Torito Grill too, for the freshly made tortillas and creamy cilantro pepita dressing on their salads. I'm sure lots has changed, but I think those are all still pretty reliable.

        1. kc girl Oct 22, 2008 02:31 PM

          Not open for dinner, though I thought you'd enjoy at some time:

          (1) Picnic s Fine Food (deli/cafe) in Costa Mesa. Open 11 am to 5 p.m.
          Chef often on site to chat about cheese, wine, etc. (Closed Sundays and Mondays)
          http://www.picnicsdeli.com

          That small area around 17th Street south/west of Newport Blvd. has a few neat places to eat and/or shop.

          (2) Laguna Culinary Arts Cheese and Wine Shop/Deli
          (11:30 am to 7 pm Mon-Fri; and 11:30 am to 5 pm on Sat
          )http://www.lagunaculinaryarts.com/pages/cheese_wine_shop.php

          And, have you done a "search" on Chowhound board for Irvine restaurants?

          Oh, and Pascal's in Newport Beach
          (intersection of Jamboree/Bristol Street/MacArthur Blvd.
          )http://www.pascalnpb.com/about_us.htm

          There's many more good places!

          1. JAB Oct 22, 2008 10:32 AM

            I'll add Old Vine Cafe on Bristol as well.

            1 Reply
            1. re: JAB
              nomnomnoms Oct 22, 2008 10:47 AM

              i agree, old vine cafe is a fantastic place to go for wine-food. the have seasonal tasting menus with wine pairing for 65$/person.

            2. l
              lawdog262 Oct 22, 2008 08:26 AM

              Two suggestions at good starting points: Marche Moderne in South Coast Plaza and Onotria on Bristol.

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