Welcome to Mission Viejo. Hopefully you'll love the lake and the library and the fact that you can find almost everything you desire within 25 miles or less. Diho Siam serves acceptable Chinese food at the corner of Marguerite and La Paz; if you go up to Irvine to Jeffrey and the 405, you'll find at least one or two good Chinese restaurants in the shopping center with the Washington Mutual. Little Saigon in Westminster is worth exploring because it's so close; more Vietnamese people live there in one area than any other place in the U.S., I believe. You can also branch out to begin trying Japanese and Thai restaurants, and you won't be disappointed by the variety. I know, I live in Mission Viejo and love it. I was born in NYC and have lived there and in Philadelphia and have traveled around a bit, so my viewpoint is Eclectic. Happy hunting.
You don't have to schlep all the way to LA County for good chinese food. There are some excellent chinese restaurants in Little Saigon area as well. Go to Seafood Cove on Westminster Ave in Garden Grove for a chinese food fix.
Try Thai Nakorn, also in Garden Grove, for Thai.
Garden Grove should only be 30 minutes away as long as you don't try the 405 between 3:30 and 6:30pm on weekdays.
Also excellent dim sum at China Garden in Irvine. The service is terrible. But, you know, it's a chinese restaurant.
Peking Dragon is a very popular place and the food quality is good. If the new Mission Viejo-ers are fans of typical rather Americanized Chinese food, they will enjoy it. They'll also enjoy Lakeside (Alicia Pkwy @ Olympiad) and Crown (Marguerite Pkwy @ Crown Valley), which I believe are somehow related. Better food is at China Moon (Crown Valley & Niguel Rd, in Laguna Niguel), and some here tout the restaurant in the Travelodge (I think it is) on Rockfield, near Lake Forest (in Lake Forest).
But, those looking for higher level, more 'authentic' Chinese cuisine DO have to go North, at least as far as Jeffrey, to get it. The Asian population in that area has brought with it an influx of very good restaurants that do compete well with everything except possibly the best of the Monterey Park area. As they'll come to learn quickly, a 15 or 20 minute drive to dinner is more normal than not in these parts...... no matter what you're seeking.
If they have schlepped all the way to Orange County from New York, what's a little schlep to the San Gabriel Valley, where they will find, aguably more and better Chinese restaurants than they ever experienced in New York.
Just scroll down this board, and the archived versions for plenty of tips.
re: Chino Wayne
I agree. SoCal life demands one get used to driving everywhere. And if your family is really that interested in finding good Chinese food, it's worth the ~80-minute drive from Mission Viejo to the San Gabriel Valley.
As far as non-Chinese recs not too far from MV:
Sushi Shibucho (near Triangle Square / Nike Town)
Troquet (South Coast Plaza, 3rd floor near Nordstrom)
Antonello (South Coast Plaza Village)
And I think there are some others that are good, but I haven't been to yet (Pascal, Golden Truffle, Aubergine, et al.)
There are slim pickins in Mission Viejo for Chinese. The closest place for good Chinese is a few miles up the 5 FWY in nearby Irvine. Some good restaurants can be found in the Jeffrey and Walnut area, as well as Irvine Center and Culver.
Sam Woo Seafood and Dim Sum
Sam Woo BBQ
Nice Time Deli