Ultimate OC Restaurants, 2008
We begin 2008's poll by cutting & pasting from kingkong5's thread of last year and adding maxzook's twist:
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/467390 -- Ultimate OC Restaurants, 2007 Edition and
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/575758 -- PLEASE POST YOUR VOTES HERE: Ultimate Los Angeles Restaurants 2008, respectively.
The concept is simple: everyone is asked to list, in rank order, your top 10 restaurants in Orange County that you would recommend to houndly out-of-town visitors or to chowfriends for a special occasion. Since we worship at the altar of deliciousness, your ranking should be based 75% on food and 25% on everything else.
To join the fun, reply with a list of your top 10 choices; specifically, five restaurants in the OVER $25/person for food and another five restaurants for UNDER $25/person. Responses with more than five choices in a category will not be included; however, replies with fewer than five choices will be tabulated. Your entries will be weighted arithmetically: 5 points for your #1 choice; 4 for #2, and so forth. A simple list will suffice, but any & all explanation is welcome.
Over 20 OC hounds responded last year. The more replies we receive, the more useful are
the poll’s findings, so please reply. We’ll keep the polls open until December 31 & publish the results shortly after the new year.
Thanks so much for starting this OCAnn. I don't know if it was the economic downturn this year, but I wasn't as wow'ed by my dining choices so much this year as I have been in years past. Perhaps fewer "special occasion" places opened up in OC this year, at least fewer keepers. Of course, sometimes my special occasion celebration is "because it's Tuesday" so your mileage may vary.
1. Tsuruhashi - given the price/value ratio, we really enjoy ourselves here.
2. Sushi Wasabi - still one of the better omakases in the area. I could live on those blue crab handrolls alone.
3. Newport Seafood - yes it is run down and dirty looking, but our family celebrates special occasions here for the great food - delicious house special lobster and other chinese/vietnamese dishes.
4. Siam Taste of Asia - what wonderful Thai food in this small, hidden hole-in-the-wall restaurant. The owner is super friendly and talkative, but the restaurant is usually empty. Great food though, esp. the beef salad and the fried seabass with tamarind sauce.
Siam, Taste of Asia, 3520 W First St., Santa Ana. This restaurant is CASH ONLY. Next door to Favori restaurant, it's on First Street between Fairview and Harbor. They do a very good drunken noodle, btw. We ordered some for catering to a potluck party, I think it was a half tray. It was gone so fast, everyone loved it.
Limiting my responses to places I've been to in 2008:
1) Napa Rose - Tasting menu w/ wine pairings easily the best meal of the year for me
2) Marche Moderne - food is always great; the cramped indoor tables not so enjoyable
3) Tsuruhashi - miso marinated cow tongue + grill = happiness
4) Old Vine Cafe - there's a special place in my heart for their Creamy Cheese Grits
5) Shin Sen Gumi - its recently replaced Kappo Honda as my go to izakaya
1. Marche Moderne. Far better than its wonderful reputation, and still getting better.
2. Onotria. Underrated but wonderful.
3. Old Vine Cafe. Just went recently, but this was love at first bite.
4. Koi. So good I don't care about other sushi rests.
5. none -- we've been going to Marche Moderne "too" much.
1. Taco Rosa (Irvine location only).
2. Garduno's. [family italian in costa mesa)
3. Kamal Palace [Indian in Marina Pacifica; technically not OC, but its just one minute into LA].
4. Taco Mesa (Costa Mesa location)
5. Roma D'Italia (family Italian in Tustin)
1) Shin Sen Gumi
3) Old Vine Cafe
4) Marche Moderne
5) Brussel's Bistro
3) El Adobe de Capistrano - based on the lobster fajitas alone
4) Inka Mama's
5) Seafood Paradise - for Dim Sum