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POLL: Ultimate OC Restaurants, 2009

Hi folks, here's OC's version of the 2009 Ultimate Restaurant poll.

Please rank your top 10 restaurants in Orange County that, as succinctly stated by previous pollster Mr Grub, "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."

Please reply with a list of your top 10 choices:
- five restaurants in the OVER $25/person for food and
- another five restaurants for UNDER $25/person (also food only).

For details & instructions, please see Max's post/thread for LA proper:
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/665207 :: PLEASE POST YOUR VOTES HERE: Ultimate Los Angeles Restaurants 2009
...I'll be tabulating the same way but will keep the OC poll open until 12/31/09.

The more replies we receive, the more useful the poll’s findings are, so please reply. I'll publish the results shortly after the new year.

And as an fyi, here are the results of past polls:
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/585999 :: Ultimate OC Restaurants, 2008; RESULTS
2007 results were lost in cyberspace
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/356299 :: Ultimate Orange County Restaurant Poll Results 2006
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/76035 :: Ultimate Orange Country Restaurant Poll Results 2005

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  1. > 25

    Marche Moderne
    Stonehill Tavern

    < 25

    Marc Burger
    Vien Dong

    1. I only have a below $25 list now, because I am poor.

      <$25, places I recommend to out-of towners.

      1) Veggie Grill
      2) Fukada
      3) 85c (kind of cheating since it's a bakery, but whatever)
      4) Santouka
      5) Pizza e Vino (if they're not from LA, Phoenix, or NYC)

      Honorable Mentions:

      1) Grande Bakery for being the absolute best panaderia in town, imho, even better than a lot of the places in L.A. that I've been to. Hands down, one of the best panaderias, short of Porto's. Nobody ever talks about this place, but it is the bomb.

      1 Reply
      1. re: choctastic

        Well, okay, it's not nearly Porto's level, now that I think about it. But it is definitely the best panaderia in OC.

        I also liked the panaderia in what used to be Gigante Market in Anaheim.

      2. I don't dine in OC much except for Japanese, but:

        Over $25:
        Sushi Shibucho
        Yakitori Shin-Sen-Gumi

        Under $25:
        Hakata Ramen Shin-Sen-Gumi

        I'm sure that, if I ever got around to going to some other places, this list would look much different.

        1 Reply
        1. re: mrhooks

          Nice to see you making the rounds in OC mrhooks!

        2. >25
          Marche moderne
          Charlie Palmer
          Cucina Alessa
          Xanh bistro
          Bear flag fish Co

          1. Under $25
            - Veggie Grill
            - Fukada
            - Ngu Binh
            - Santouka
            - Taqueria De Anda

            Over $25 (Been going to LA for my pricier eats, need to explore more in OC)
            - Tsruhashi
            - Taps

            Going to hit up Mastro's soon, so should be on my list next year!

            1 Reply
            1. re: groover808

              Over 25:

              Old Vine Cafe
              Marche Moderne
              Koi (Seal Beach)
              Royal Khyber

              [reflecting where we went this year, i.e, I have no doubt that Stonehill and others are better than Royal Khyber, but we didn't make it to Stonehill, etc this year. That being said, we didn't make it to thise because we kept going back to OVC, MM and Koi.

            2. < $25:
              Crow Bar
              Mariscos Puerto Esperanza
              Mulitas Y Tacos Ruben (taco truck)
              Santouka Ramen

              > $25
              Napa Rose
              Sushi Wasabi
              Marche Moderne

              1 Reply
              1. re: mikester

                To my < 25 category I would like to add:

                Veggie Grill

              2. < $25
                Hwang Hae Do (for their yooksu bulgogi)
                Past Memories
                Com Tam Tuan Kieu

                Corner place (Does Cerritos count as OC?)

                3 Replies
                1. re: peppermonkey

                  Sorry, Cerritos is not part of OC.

                  1. re: peppermonkey

                    Hwang Hae Do also has decent naengmyun specials in the summer, or they used to anyway.

                    1. re: choctastic

                      still have them during the weekdays at lunch as well as the 4 dollar soju bottles which i will always have to get even though it's early

                  2. Over $25
                    1) Marche Moderne
                    2) Napa Rose
                    3) Maki Zushi
                    4) Old Vine Cafe
                    5) Tradition by Pascal

                    Under $25
                    1) Mariscos Puerto Esperanza
                    2) Banh Mi & Che Cali
                    3) Shin Sen Gumi (Ramen)
                    4) Newport Seafood
                    5) 25 Degrees

                    Napa Rose Restaurant
                    1600 S Disneyland Dr, Anaheim, CA 92802

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

                    Newport Seafood Restaurant
                    4411 W 1st St, Santa Ana, CA 92703

                    Maki Zushi
                    1641 Edinger Ave # 101, Tustin, CA

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

                    Mariscos Puerto Esperanza
                    1724 N Tustin St, Orange, CA 92865

                    Tradition by Pascal
                    1000 Bristol St N, Newport Beach, CA 92660

                    1. Under $25
                      25 Degrees
                      Santouka Ramen
                      El Toro Bravo
                      Bahn Mi Che Cali
                      Fuji Yama (only with Shun-San or Kazuo-San)

                      Over $25
                      Mastro's Ocean Club
                      Nana San
                      Sushi Shibucho
                      Maki Zushi (only with Yoshi-San)
                      Gabbi's Mexican Kitchen

                      1. Over 25-
                        Marche Moderne
                        The Ritz
                        Sushi Wasabi
                        Zushi Maki

                        Morton's (lunch Burger)
                        Roma D' Italia
                        China Garden
                        Avilia's El Ranchito (santa ana)

                        1. Over $25
                          1) Mastro's Ocean Grill
                          2) Canneletto
                          3) Javiers
                          4) Tabu Grill
                          5) Bungalow

                          Under $25
                          1) 25 Degrees
                          2) Enriques
                          3) Fuji Yama (only with Shun-San or Kazuo-San)
                          4) Caliente

                          1. >25
                            1. marche moderne
                            2. shibucho
                            3. blue fin
                            4. shin sen gumi
                            5. basilic

                            1. thai nakorn
                            2. santouka
                            3. nory's peruvian
                            4. mariscos puerto esperanza
                            5. vien dong

                            1. >25
                              marche moderne
                              the golden truffle
                              sushi shibucho
                              tradition by pascal

                              mariscos puerto esperanza
                              shin sen gumi

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: degustateur

                                Wondering about this....I haven't eaten here for a long time and some reviews indicate that the quality has gone downhill. Any input? We'll be in OC from Paso Robles Jan 1/2 and I'd love a place similar to eat on Friday night.

                                Golden Truffle
                                1767 Newport Blvd., Costa Mesa, CA 92627

                                1. re: dockhl

                                  Quality is virtually assured when owner/chef Alan Greeley is in the house. He's generally there during lunch Tuesday thru Friday and usually not there Friday evenings or Saturday. They're closed Sunday/Monday.

                                  Call and reserve first. Go for the prix fixe and allow Alan the creative license to blow you away. A large part of his business involves exclusive catering engagements. Going prix fixe avails you to off-menu surprise and greatness. In 10 years, I've yet to be disappointed.

                                  I should mention that over 90% of my visits have been for lunch.

                                  1. re: degustateur

                                    Hmmmmmmmmmm...........I hadn't thought of going there for lunch on Friday sincce we'll just be driving down then but maybe I should! Since we are staying near SC Plaza (Hyatt) I'll ned to find us a place for a light dinner, then. Thanks so much !

                                  2. re: dockhl

                                    Duh..........it didn't show that I was responding to the inclusion of the Golden Truffle ! Still good?

                                2. > $25
                                  1 Nello
                                  2 Old Vine Cafe
                                  3 Mastro's
                                  4 Sushi Shibucho
                                  5 Marche Moderne

                                  1 Thai Nakorn
                                  2 Cafe Hiro
                                  3 In-n-Out
                                  4 Molcasalsa
                                  5 Stadium Tavern (for B'fast)

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: OCAnn

                                    I'm changing my #5 from MM to Napa Rose.

                                  2. >$25
                                    Marche Moderne
                                    Maestro's Ocean Club
                                    Napa Rose
                                    Maki Zushi (Yoshi-San)
                                    Cucina Alessa

                                    Thai Nakorn
                                    Dosa Place
                                    Mariscos Puerto Esperanza
                                    Pho Thanh Lich
                                    Zon Baguettes

                                    1. Over $25
                                      Tabu Grill
                                      San Shi Go on Balboa
                                      Wasabi in Tustin

                                      Under $25
                                      Coyote Grill
                                      Thai Nakorn
                                      Honda-Ya (either one)
                                      Laventina's Big Cheese

                                      1. Only the unders (the economy man!)
                                        Mas' islamic
                                        El farlito (the original on Bradford, down town Placentia)
                                        Sushi momo

                                        1. > $25
                                          Sushi Wasabi
                                          Marche Moderne
                                          Tradition by Pascal
                                          Old Vine Cafe

                                          Cafe Hiro
                                          Tulsa Ribs
                                          Mariscos Puerto Esperanza
                                          Thai Nakorn

                                            1. re: jaykayen

                                              Adding Sushi Momo for the <25 category, so that would be my 2nd choice under Honda-Ya.

                                            2. In the under $25 category I vote for Taco Mesa. The bacon wrapped shrimp is divine; served with roasted vegetables & herbed rice--best value in OC at...$10!

                                              1. Hi folks...we have two weeks left, so if you haven't already, please chime in! =)

                                                1. under $25
                                                  Rialto Cafe (lunch)
                                                  Pascal Epicerie
                                                  Sushi Momo
                                                  Pizzeria Ortica
                                                  Olive Pit Grill

                                                  over $25
                                                  Brasserie Pascal
                                                  Old Vine Cafe

                                                  1. Hi OCAnn,

                                                    Thanks for taking the time to wrangle this for us this year. :) Here's my vote:

                                                    Over $25
                                                    1. Marche Moderne
                                                    2. Maki Zushi
                                                    3. Tsuruhashi
                                                    4. Shin Sen Gumi Robata Yakitori (not Ramen)
                                                    5. Shibucho

                                                    Under $25
                                                    1. Kappo Hana
                                                    2. Thai Nakorn
                                                    3. Vien Dong
                                                    4. Japonaise Bakery Cream Pan
                                                    5. Veggie Grill

                                                    Thanks~ :)

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: exilekiss

                                                      Haha, 4 of our 5 over $25s are the same. If only I'd been to Marche Moderne...

                                                    2. > 25

                                                      Tabu Grill
                                                      French 75
                                                      The Ritz

                                                      < 25

                                                      Coyote Grill
                                                      Mollie's Country Kitchen
                                                      Mi Casa
                                                      The Galley

                                                      1. Over $25
                                                        1. Marché Moderne
                                                        2. Xanh Bistro
                                                        3. Mastro's Steakhouse
                                                        4. Old Vine Café
                                                        5. Da Bianca

                                                        Under $25
                                                        1. Break of Dawn (just plain awesome)
                                                        2. Thai Nakorn (Thai)
                                                        3. Vien Dong (Vietnamese)
                                                        4. Tana (Ethiopian)
                                                        5. Wadiya (Sri Lankan)

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                                          Based on my meal yesterday at Break of Dawn I give it another very, very enthusiastic vote (it it's not too late to vote). Just a great restaurant with exceptionally friendly and efficient service.

                                                        2. >$25
                                                          Mastro's Ocean Club
                                                          Sage (Newport Beach, not the Coast!)

                                                          Mi Casa
                                                          Ruby's Deli (not the diner)
                                                          El Toro

                                                          1. The polls were supposed to close 12/31/09, but I will accept whatever was submited before this. Poll is officially now closed; results to be posted in the next couple days.

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: OCAnn

                                                              I can't wait to see this list, we're visiting OC this weekend :)

                                                            2. The results are here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/679834 :: POLL RESULTS: Ultimate OC Restaurants, 2009

                                                              (with apologies to ijack for not having them in time for your weekend visit)