ISO great food, atmosphere, but not too expensive in OC...
Looking for a restaurant to celebrate a birthday;;;;;;;;no Buca de Beppos or anything like that.
Great food......though is a must. For this large group, we've done Cheesecake, CPK, Opah, and brunch.
What's your budget? Where in OC?
Off the top of my head I think of Marche Moderne (South Coast Plaza), Da Bianca (inland Orange), Cucina Alessa (Newport and Huntington), Xanh (Fountain Valley), S Vietnamese (Westminster), Citrus City Grille (old town Orange), Gabbi's (old town Orange), Park Avenue (Stanton), Old Vine Cafe (Costa Mesa), Onotria (ditto), Sol Cocina (Newport, but haven't been there), Pizza e Vino (Rancho Santa Margarita)...
You know, that word "atmosphere" is special. It goes above ambiance and towards outer space. One place, Park Ave. in Stanton has Googie space age atmosphere and very good food. There is a large dinning room with high class atmosphere and then for really large groups they have a larger room in the rear. The little bar at the entrance will blow your mind. The steaks and chops are good and reasonably priced. .
Here is another post looking for "atmosphere" in OC