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South Coast Plaza area recs?

Michelle Apr 10, 2009 09:44 AM


Searched both the Los Angeles and California boards and nothing came up. We're going to an event at the Orange County Performing Arts Center and are looking for dinner recs in the area. I understand this is close to South Coast Plaza. Anyway, any type of food, just looking for something good, price not an issue, not interested in alcohol. Thanks for any advice!

  1. s
    schrutefarms Apr 11, 2009 12:03 PM

    I always have a great meal at Habana, in the Anti-mall, on Bristol a few blocks south of South Coast. Cubin, very cool, GREAT drinks, love it.

    5 Replies
    1. re: schrutefarms
      Michelle Apr 12, 2009 11:03 AM

      Thanks everyone, for all the recs and ideas in the area. We went to a matinee show, and then went to Marche Moderne for dinner afterwards. It was fabulous! We had requested one of the cabanas on the patio when I made the reservation, so the seating was very comfortable. There were 3 of us. For appetizers, we had the kobe beef carpaccio with crab, roasted peppers and anchovies, and the beet salad with the goat cheese. We shared all 3 and enjoyed them all. For entrees, we had the moules frites (a bargain in my book, the portion was so large I couldn't finish it!), venison, and tagine of lamb with couscous. This was a fabulous dish, with dates, asparagus, preserved lemon, charmoulah and harissa. Too full for dessert, unfortunately, but we enjoyed ourselves very much and just wanted to report back and say thank you!

      1. re: Michelle
        Servorg Apr 12, 2009 11:08 AM

        Thanks so much for reporting back (putting you in the very rare and much appreciated - 1% club) and glad to hear you all enjoyed your meal.

        1. re: Michelle
          josephnl Apr 12, 2009 01:29 PM

          Glad you enjoyed. I had the lamb tagine last week and was blown away by it. Truly delicious. Thanks for the feedback!

          1. re: josephnl
            david t. Apr 17, 2009 06:55 PM

            Marche Moderne never disappoints. But I'm surprised no one mentioned Charlie Palmer. Anyway, there are so many good to great dining options at SCP.

            And I really like Scott's seafood. It's a very traditional restaurant serving traditional seafood and steak and it does it well.

            1. re: david t.
              josephnl Apr 17, 2009 08:21 PM

              Charlie Palmer is a beautiful restaurant, with a superb service staff, a wonderful wine list, good but not great food, but prices which would be fine for excellent food, but not for the usually disappointing food that comes from the kitchen. I have dined there several times, each time hoping that I would be more impressed with the food (because everything else is so terrific), and each time I am disappointed. Their wine program is terrific, but they seem to have abandoned two of their most remarkable assets; their opening sommelier, Chris (I think that was his name) who was an extremely knowledgeable and personable employee is gone, and their wonderful concept of a daily updateable and uniquely informative tablet computer wine list, seems to have been put on the back burner...it was not in evidence during my last visit. It really is a shame, but this restaurant is a huge disappointment. It opened with enormous potential, but has not lived up to it. Perhaps they will improve, but CP himself does not seem to be putting any effort into making the needed changes, so I am not optimistic. It's truly a shame because they opened in a beautiful space with a very dedicated serving staff. I'd love to hear other's opinions.

      2. A5 KOBE Apr 11, 2009 11:45 AM

        Santouka Ramen just across the freeway. $

        My second choice would be Marche Moderne. $$

        Third is Hamamori. $$

        1. c
          Casualis Apr 10, 2009 07:06 PM

          If you feel like seafood, I would recommend Scott's. I love their seared ahi tuna with soy and wazabi glaze.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Casualis
            josephnl Apr 10, 2009 08:16 PM

            Scott's is a very dependable and very good, but not great, seafood restaurant adjacent to the OC Performing Arts Center. It is a place where you can have a good meal, get out on time for a performance, and park conveniently. It is very nice for what it is, but is not in a league with Marche Moderne which is frequently an outstanding dining experience.

            1. re: josephnl
              Casualis Apr 11, 2009 03:00 PM

              Oh, I completely agree. It is a nice restaurant and not a mind blowing experience. But it is conveniently located and not unpleasant.

              I don't know if I would like to go to MM before going to an event at the OCPA. Simply because I (this is a personal opinion and I am not saying that it applies to everyone) would not like to feel pressured by time when enjoying dinner there.

              1. re: Casualis
                josephnl Apr 11, 2009 08:07 PM

                Am exactly on the same page with you. We often go to Scott's before the theater for a dependably good meal and no stress re parking or getting out on time. Marche is much more of a fine dining experience where we like to take our time, and not feel rushed.

          2. j
            johnglowacki Apr 10, 2009 01:36 PM

            We have season seats for the jazz series at OCPAC, so we face this wonderful problem fairly frequently. Some thoughts:

            Onotria is wonderful. Leatherby's is very good and convenient. Marche Moderne is great but you'll have to allow time for the walk or drive between SCP and OCPAC. I have enjoyed Pizzeria Ortica for both lunch and dinner. I am not a fan of Savannah (which may be closed by the time you read this, although I heard it was still open as of yesterday).

            2 Replies
            1. re: johnglowacki
              attran99 Apr 10, 2009 03:19 PM

              Savannah is good only for their happy hour where champagne cocktails and appetizers are $5. Outside of that, I think the food is overpriced.

              1. re: attran99
                groover808 Apr 10, 2009 04:38 PM

                I went for their $10 entree special back in February, it was good for the price but not for retail. They're closed anyway. http://foodfrenzy.freedomblogging.com...

            2. m
              mikester Apr 10, 2009 10:06 AM

              Marche Moderne is excellent !

              Pizzeria Ortica is literally less than a block away from your event, it's been getting mixed reviews, you can search here on Chowhounds for them. Also, just across the street you have Mastro's, a great place for steaks but also the sides and apps are good. It's very "Vegas-glitzy" though, dark and swank, it may or may not be what you're after.

              Also, within the Performing Arts Center complex you have Leatherby's (now called Leatherby's Cafe Rouge), I recall hearing generally positive reviews, haven't been personally though:


              1. Servorg Apr 10, 2009 09:50 AM

                There have been some very good reports on the board for Marche Moderne at SCP. If you go to the link below and then scroll down you will see the various posts made about MM.

                Marche Moderne
                3333 Bristol St 3001, Costa Mesa, CA 92626

                2 Replies
                1. re: Servorg
                  attran99 Apr 10, 2009 10:08 AM

                  Going to have to second MM. It's fab!

                  1. re: attran99
                    tablefor1 Apr 10, 2009 12:02 PM

                    and third for marche modern. be sure to get something lemon for dessert!

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