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Apr 20, 2010 04:18 AM

great dinner near south coast plaza/costa mesa suggestions please?

hi, looking for a great meal, money no object, open to all suggestons-thanks

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  1. For the South Coast Plaza area’s finest dining, my highest recommendation easily goes to Marche Moderne, an elegant French Bistro located upstairs in the “penthouse” on the back side of the Plaza by Macy’s. Chef Florent Marneau and his amiable wife Amelia do a terrific job in bringing world-class French cuisine to a discerning, oft-demanding SoCal clientele. Recently voted the #1 restaurant in Orange County for 2009 by Chowhounds.

    Look for sweetbreads, pork belly and foie gras on the menu for lunch or dinner. Fish selections are always delectably fresh and artfully prepared. Florent is hands-on daily in the open kitchen and his presence is apparent in every bite. Amelia is a certified French pastry chef and her creations are marvelous. Their $20, 3-Course Lunch Spontanee is a super deal, saving you at least 50% over a la carte ordering.

    Marche Moderne will be celebrating its third anniversary by “going to Spain”. For ten days, starting April 22nd, they will be offering a special Tapas menu focused upon small plates from Spain. Check their website for the menu; it sounds tantalizing. I am anxiously looking forward to partaking in their celebration this week.

    Marche Moderne
    3333 Bristol Street, #3001
    Costa Mesa, CA 92626
    (714) 434-7900

    If your tastes favor Italian, you would be hard-pressed to find better than at Onotria, located about a half-mile south of the Plaza. Massimo and Veronica Navarette are a beautiful Italian couple to the core and happen to own and operate a beautiful Italian restaurant as well. They are very hands-on and even enjoy lunch at their restaurant almost daily. Chef Massimo, born and raised on a 200 acre Italian farm, fostered his passion and learned his trade from the ground up. To this day, he insists upon growing his own spices in his garden outside the restaurant.

    Billed as a wine country restaurant, the cuisine is faultless. Everything is exceptional and the suggested wine pairings on the menu are spot on. I am particularly fond of the Veal Shank over Soft Polenta, the Timballo of Pasta with Four Cheeses, the Spinach and Sage Crepes (by request) and the Rabbit. I often let Massimo create a tasting menu for me and deliver it to the table without question or concern. Yeah, I really trust him. Superior service. Superb ambience. Special people.

    2831 Bristol St.
    Costa Mesa Ca., 92626
    (714) 641-5952

    Marche Moderne
    3333 Bristol Street, Suite 3001, Costa Mesa, CA 92626

    8 Replies
      1. re: intrepid

        Marche Moderne is generally considered one of the top (if not The Top) restaurants in OC. If your tastes do not run toward French, I can put in a hearty recommendation for sushi at San Shi Go on the Balboa Peninsula. It is about 20 minutes from South Coast. Go and sit at the bar and let the chef go wild with the Omakase. With sake, you are looking at $100+pp. Anyplace else where I would consider dropping a lot of money are further out.

        San Shi Go Sushi and Asian Cuisine
        205 Main St, Newport Beach, CA 92661

        1. re: ocshooter

          thanks any good sushi much closer to south coast plaza? thank you

          1. re: intrepid

            You are in luck, intrepid! Hamamori is located upstairs in the Crystal Court at South Coast Plaza. Superb sushi by James of Wasa Sushi fame. Everything is exceedingly fresh and masterfully prepared and presented in a fabulous venue with a great view. Exude confidence and go for the omakase – chef’s choice and, please, don’t squeal if you see something still moving on your plate – it’s that fresh (~_^). One of Orange County’s top four sushi bars, the only one of which is nearby SCP. You certainly will not be disappointed.

            3333 Bear St., Suite 320
            Costa Mesa, CA, 92626
            (714) 850-0880

            Wasa Sushi
            13124 Jamboree Rd, Irvine, CA 92602

              1. re: degustateur

                I've considered Hamamori a few times, but have not been. I do like the other Wasa outlets, and have been to the Spectrum and Irvine many times, along with the El Toro shop while it was still Wasa. But the meals there have never come close to what I would consider close to San Shi Go. Is Hamamori the crown jewel of the Wasa clan, or just a prettier (and good) version?

                El Toro
                1876 Nadeau St, Los Angeles, CA 90001

                San Shi Go Restaurant
                1100 S Coast Hwy Ste 303, Laguna Beach, CA 92651

                11043 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90025

                1. re: ocshooter

                  Whereas Wasa remains his baby, Hamamori is James' crown jewel, his restaurateur’s dream come true. He invests most of his time and effort there and this is reflected in the quality of experience over his other establishments.

                  11043 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90025

        2. re: degustateur

          Ditto on Marche Moderne.

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

        3. Old Vine Cafe or Mastro's.

          Mastro's Steak House
          633 Anton Blvd, Costa Mesa, CA 92626

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

          1. Two excellent ones at SCP are the recently opened An Qi - from the Crustacean people in Beverly Hills - and Charlie Palmers. Check out their web sites.

            2 Replies
            1. re: stevedi

              Went to Anqi's happy hour debut, no good. Beautiful space, but food is mediocre and it's pretty "sceney".

              1. re: stevedi

                thanks not a big charlie palmer fan but thanks

              2. hi intrepid,

                definitely another vote for marche moderne. likewise onotria in 2nd place.

                now for fabulous sushi, but a little short of ambience, but nevertheless tops - sushi shibucho. shibutani-san's omakase for around $40 has to be one of the best valued meals anywhere. unbelievable.


                3 Replies
                1. re: jacknhedy

                  Hi intrepid and jacknhedy …

                  I feel compelled to chime in and offer a definitive second for Sushi Shibucho – jacknhedy are right on with their recommendation. I did not suggest it because it is about three miles from SCP and that seemed to be a concern of yours.

                  IMHO, Shibucho is Orange County’s premier sushi bar. It easily trumps Hamamori. Please note that I stated Hamamori is one of OC’s top four sushi bars. My full lineup is, in order: Shibucho, Sushi Wasabi, Kasen and/or Hamamori. The latter two are debatable, the first two are not.

                  intrepid, if at all possible, please visit Shibucho. My favored times to visit are Tuesday evenings for dinner (they’re closed Mondays) or Wednesday for lunch (get there at Noon). Go for the omakase. The Hakkaisan is their cold sake of choice.

                  Sushi Shibucho
                  590 W 19th St, Costa Mesa, CA 92627

                  Sushi Wasabi
                  14460 Newport Ave, Tustin, CA 92780

                  9039 Garfield Ave, Fountain Valley, CA

                  1. re: degustateur

                    I'll join the chorus of recommendations for both Marche Moderne and Shibucho

                    degustateur, I believe Kasen may have closed down; IIRC, there was a new sign up for some kind of Asian/Euro fusion place the last time I drove by.

                    1. re: I got nothin

                      thanks to all i ended up at gjelina in venice a favorite of mine good hearty chow thanks