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Nice place in Orange County for Pre valentines Dinner

Hey Folks --

We're going to be visiting Orange County on Saturday the 13th for a cirque du soleil show in Irvine. We already have plans to go to the Bayside restaurant in Newport Beach for brunch on Sunday, but I'm looking for a special restaurant for Saturday night. I don't know the area at all, so your help is appreciated! Budget is ~$200 for 2 people, but a high price alone isn't going to impress us. We're looking for the tastiest food that Orange County has to offer.

Thanks!

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    1. Charlie Palmer- Costa mesa- Elegant sophisticated food. I believe you can do a Chef's tasting menu here for around 80pp
      Marche Moderne - South Coast Plaza - Has a beautiful outdoor seating area that would be quiet romantic- Excellent food. Have had plenty of great meals here.
      Tradition by Pascal - Newport Beach/Costa Mesa - Small, cozy, intimate. Probably the best French Food in Orange County.

      1. I'm going to buck the "fancy continental" and suggest that you go for upscale Vietnamese. While my favourite is Xanh Bistro (see elmomonster's review this week in the OC Weekly, but know that he failed to mention the banana blossom salad of wonderfulness), S Vietnamese Fine Dining will do you a great meal in an upscale environment, despite the location outside the mall. (If you go to S Vietnamese, make sure to ask for the separate vegetarian menu, which is even better than the meat eater's menu.)

        It's something that LA really doesn't have much of... and both will get you out under $200 even with wine. (You'd have a hard time spending half that at Xanh, incidentally.)

        -----
        Xanh Bistro
        16161 Brookhurst St, Fountain Valley, CA 92708

        S Vietnamese Fine Dining
        545 Westminster Mall, Westminster, CA 92683

        1. I just tried Marche Moderne at SCP today, and I was quite impressed. I bet this will be a great place for your romantic dinner. If you want something different (and want to stay in Irvine), try Taleo for an elegant Mexican dinner. Or if you're ready to trek down PCH a bit for a lovely seaside dinner, try Ti Amo (Italian) or C'est la Vie (French) in Laguna Beach for quite the romantic dinner that shouldn't break your bank. :-)

          1. You've got a lot of good recommendations here; did you have any particular cuisine in mind?

            I'll throw in another restaurant to confuse you more: Old Vine Cafe in Costa Mesa.

            7 Replies
            1. re: OCAnn

              Yep, Old Vine is another great choice. For me it's more of a great escape for breakfast, but they certainly shouldn't disappoint for dinner.

              1. re: atdleft

                Love the Old Vine, even more for its very casual atmosphere. Never been to a restaurant where so many people seem to be having such a good time...

                1. re: lawdog262

                  Oh yes, that's the truth... But there's something quite magical about going to Old Vine in the morning when the sun is starting to break through the marine layer and most of the "noise" is being made by the giant wind chime outside.

                  But anyway, Old Vine is also a solid pick for dinner. I guess I just don't make it here often after 5:00 PM because by then there are so many other solid picks in the SCP area.

                2. re: atdleft

                  If you can tear yourself away for b'fast from here, you might try Break of Dawn:
                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/674426 | Break of Dawn - Laguna Hills

                  1. re: OCAnn

                    Thanks for the suggestion, Ann. Next time I can make it to South County, I'll have to stop by and visit. The menu looks appetizing.

                    1. re: OCAnn

                      Break of dawn is breakfast/lunch only, though they do have a special menu for dinner on Valentines's day itself.

                      1. re: ocshooter

                        Yes, I recommended the place for b'fast, not dinner. =)