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Apr 25, 2009 12:22 AM

Callin' up Das Uber.........

Trust you implicitly...Always take your suggestions, so here I ask for a relaxed, yet delish place to celebrate 50 - in the OC as close to Irvine as possible. Looked at Black Sheep. The paella sounds fab. What other places would you reccommend? NO Asian. My friend wants to go to Waters in Woodbridge. I say we try elsewhere. Always after good food before atmosphere. Cost is always a concern as well.
What about Habana??? Found mixed reviews.

If other chow'ers have a suggestion, please let me know. Will go on a week night.


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  1. Closest to Irvine, but not Asian... uff da. Depends on what part of Irvine, I guess. That's just about the southern end of my experience...


    Black Sheep
    Zov's (they've "revamped" since downhill reports and I haven't been yet)

    Taco Rosa (the higher-end version of Taco Mesa, with waiter service and fancier food).
    Javier's at Spectrum (hey, I actually like it, but check costs)

    Newport Beach:

    Sabatino's (check the availability -- it's not a big place)
    Tradition by Pascal
    Taco Rosa
    Cucina Alessa
    Javier's Cantina

    Hope this helps -- feel free to provide more guidance if I'm missing the mark here.

    12 Replies
    1. re: Das Ubergeek

      Thanks - I'm leaning towards Black Sheep but, would like one other alt. So- I like the menu and prices at Taleo (or, maybe Taco Rosa) Your suggestions are great, as usual. Thank you!!! :) KQ

      1. re: Kitchen Queen

        You can get discount gift certificates for Taleo at I have not used their service, but have had friends that have and they have recommended it to me. It looks like they have a $25 gift certificate for $10, with a minimum food purchase of $35. So, you would end up paying $20 for $35 of food. Sounds like a pretty good deal.

        I've been thinking of trying it out on Taleo.

        1. re: bigipps

          Thanx for the tip, bigipps. I'll share if I go there.

          1. re: Kitchen Queen

            Be aware that most of those "great deals" are very severely limited -- maybe it's days of the week, or hours, or times of the year, or particular specials, or maximum/minimum party size... they can be great but you MUST read ALL the fine print.

            1. re: Das Ubergeek

              THX again. You and the board are a big help. Going to try and sway her towards Black Sheep. Really after that Paella and a sangria! :)

              1. re: Das Ubergeek

                Good point. It does look like the deals could be one of those "too good to be true" things, so a close read of the terms is definitely in order!

                1. re: Das Ubergeek

                  i think the deals are not related to the restaurants so even if you bought them some restaurants will not accept them. all i can say is caveat emptor, it may just be a shady operation to fleece both you and the restaurant.

                  1. re: kevin

                    I've actually used the certificates at multiple restaurants without any issues (Taleo included). Like Das said, there are some rules like minimum purchase or restrictions on certain days or hours, but every place I've gone to have been more than happy to take them. Plus as the month goes on, they discount them, like right now, certificates are 80% off with a coupon code effectively making a $25 certificate normally $10, now $2. Some of the restaurants are blah, but I've been able to try some new places for a bit less than retail, since you still need to tip on the pre-discount amount.

                    Places I've been to with a coupon:
                    Jason's Downtown
                    OC Pizza
                    La Sirena Grill

          2. re: Das Ubergeek

            Hey DU

            You are seriously giving me a good sense of nostalgia.

            Moved to Baja ten years ago from the OC (actually I do not like that designation) and to find that you are recommending so many places that were favorites make me very happy.

            1. re: Das Ubergeek

              Pina's Bistro is pretty darn good in my opinion, but it gets very pricey, i'm always shocked by the prices, due to the atmpshere, location, etc.

              Sushi Wasabe also in Tustin for omakase style sushi.

              Shibucho in Costa Mesa.

              Tulsa Rib Co. in Orange.

              Hollingshead's Deli on Orange.

              Ralph's Subs in Orange.

              1. re: kevin

                These are all good restaurants but Kitchen Queen asked for no Asian and also some of these places are not exactly 50th birthday material.

                What's great at Ralph's Subs? Never been.

                1. re: Das Ubergeek

                  I guess they don't apply.

                  Ralph's subs is a sub shop, loads better than any subway/quizno's et all, and for some reason the breads they use and cold cuts are not like an LA or even OC sub, but more like something i presume you'd get in atlantic city or the jersey shore or perhaps philly which is to say a good thing. it's near where mariscos espertantza is at, actually i tried to find the mariscos a couple times, and then ended up at either Ralph's or the Greek Garden Deli (which does make an awesome gyro plate, it's even quite soigne for the surroundings, and the owner/counter lady is a definite looker). anyhow, ralphs is in the mini-mall with the Chuckie Cheese's for lack of a better landmark.

            2. KQ - DO NOT do Waters in Irvine. Food is horrible. It's a destination for retirement home buses full of our elders that have lost their ability to taste and smell.

              The only reason to go is to feed the big koi that hang out under the patio dock. The restaurant knows it, and won't refill the bread basket unless you're willing to buy more bread.

              5 Replies
              1. re: Professor Salt

                Thank you P.S. I've been to Waters many times over the last 15 or so years. I agree w/you. Used to be the seagulls and other flighty things ON the decking but, any restaurant that charges $$ for their bread....well, need I say more. If yur a local what would U suggest. Been to Black Sheep?

                1. re: Kitchen Queen

                  I haven't been to Black Sheep, so can't comment.

                  The no Asian / cost concern in Irvine knocks a lot of places out of the running. What's your budget per person, before drinks?

                  Perhaps Lucca off of the Shady Canyon exit @ the 405 might be a candidate.

                  1. re: Professor Salt

                    I don't really drink so maybe 1 glass of wine for each of us if any. I love Asian but, my friend is not so adventurous. She likes Italian, Mexican, salads, some fish and chick, bread and butter. Neither of us eat red meat or pork. Thought Black Sheep would be off beaten track a little with their American style paella. And the price is ok for me. (No more than 20 -25$ I am a poor grad student)

                    Love the menu at LUCCA. Not much for pasta but the butternut squash ravioli sounds devine and the antipasti table with all those veges. Yep. Good option. Thanx. And, the food is as good as it's stated?? Seems like a small bistro/deli type place. More my style as well. :) KQ

                    1. re: Kitchen Queen

                      It's been a long time since my last visit to Lucca. At the time, the food was pretty solid all around, but can't say what's going on recently, KQ. Perhaps someone else can give a more recent report.

                      1. re: Professor Salt

                        Thnx to you and D.U. I think I can make a choice- I'll send a report. Not going 'till 12 May. I like the menu at old Vine but, not my friend! Thanx anyway.

              2. Old Vine Cafe in Costa Mesa

                Old Vine Cafe
                2937 Bristol St # A102, Costa Mesa, CA

                1. Just had dinner at Black Sheep. Yum.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Das Ubergeek

                    Hey D.U. thanks for this. And, would love to go BUT, mentioned this to my friend and she had been several times. She doesn't like the place - paella didn't turn her on and the thought of all that lamb caused great stir so, I made reservations at Lucca. Called there yesterday and made a reservation for Tues @ 6:30P - if you (and, Pro Salt) want to come crash our 50th celebration-always love to have extra partiers. I'm going to start with the Barely Buzzed Beehive cheese option and a glass of ?? ...Look for the gold balloons. :)

                    1. re: Kitchen Queen

                      Thanks for the invite, KQ, but I worked last night. How was your party? Did the food work out?