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Amazing dinner experience (good prix fixe, chef's table, etc.) in OC?

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Hello all,

Newbie here, but after two days on the board am learning TONS about some great places to eat (one of them right around the corner from me, apparently) that I've been ignorant of for years.

Looking for a date restaurant in OC (or LA, if it's really THAT much better!) with a great chef's table or similar "experience". Can't do the Hobbit, which I've heard mixed (but mostly good) things about. Price range up to around 200pp... any suggestions?? Oh, and (I know, I'll probably get shot for saying it) I'm not much of a fish person, if that would influence your thoughts!

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  1. Marche Moderne (MM) gets a lot of very positive play here on the LA/OC board. Have you been before? Probably well worth checking out.

    One prior thread on MM found here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/686646

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

    1. For $200pp you scan easily do the chef's counter at Tabu (my top OC place), though it isn't what I would consider a "date restaurant" unless the you two have been dating for a while. The regular tables are better for talking, but the place is small and a bit noisy, though since it is small it makes you feel more in the know. A far more romantic experience would be Stonehill Tavern. I am pretty sure you can get out of there for $200 pp with one of the smaller tasting menus, but you might have to go easy on the wine.

      For a lot less money there is Roy's at Fashion Island. They have a prix fixe menu deal for around $40 pp that I think is a good deal, though no where near as amazing as Tabu or Stonehill. For a fun, funky retro vibe there is also La Cave, which has pretty good steaks and good deals. There were running (have not checked recently) dinner specials before 7:00 or 8:00 for around $30 for the meal, plus free corkage before 8:00. Go to High Times and get an amazing bottle of read, something in $50-70 range and get the dinner special and you can have a $250+ meal for $100 off.

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      Roy's
      453 Newport Center Dr, Newport Beach, CA 92660

      Stonehill Tavern
      St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort, Dana Point, CA 92629

      La Cave Restaurant
      1695 Irvine Ave, Costa Mesa, CA 92627

      1. You might enjoy French 75 in Laguna Beach. I've done several tasting menus over the past few months and this was one of the best, although there is not a "chef's table". Very romantic old cottage-style place set back from PCH. Six course tasting was $55/$75 with wine and all were outstanding, particularly the Maine lobster with potato gnocchi (although you said no fish) and their rack of lamb and filet mignon were both perfection. Excellent service as well.

        Will second Tabu Grill, I love this place! Top notch in every way.

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        Tabu Grill
        2892 S Coast Hwy, Laguna Beach, CA 92651