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Great OC Gastropubs to Try?

atdleft Jun 17, 2010 09:10 AM

I need help on one more memorable OC meal for me and my dad before he shuttles me off to the airport next week. And this time, since I've been hearing plenty on the gastropub scene here, I want to try one. But which one?

I've heard good things about Haven in Orange, so that was the frontrunner for me at first. But then a friend reminded me of SideBar (at Five Crowns) and Crow Bar & Kitchen in CDM, and now I'm wondering if I should do another lunch by the beach.

What should I do? And do you have other suggestions for me?

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Crow Bar & Kitchen
2325 E Coast Hwy, Corona Del Mar, CA 92625

Five Crowns
3801 East Coast Highway, Corona Del Mar, CA 92625

Haven Gastropub
190 S Glassell St, Orange, CA 92866

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  1. OCAnn RE: atdleft Jun 17, 2010 09:46 AM

    Where've you been this time around and what are your favourite spots?

    The reason I ask is if you're thinking lunch and haven't yet tried Break of Dawn in Laguna Hills, it's really worth a visit.

    And I will steer you elsewhere for pub food. If you like Japanese food, you might try the Honda-ya in Tustin.

    And not a gastropub, but if you want beach, then I'd recommend Brussels Bistro in Laguna Beach for awesome mussles.

    1 Reply
    1. re: OCAnn
      atdleft RE: OCAnn Jun 17, 2010 01:36 PM

      My dad's house is near South Coast Plaza, so this area is my "home base". I was able to hit Laguna on Monday to try Watermarc, and I'll see if I can swing down south again to try Break of Dawn before Ieave next week. And if I can't make it this time, I'll certainly put Break of Dawn at the top of my "To Eat List" when I'm back here around late July!

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      Break of Dawn
      24351 Avenida De La Carlota Ste N6, Laguna Hills, CA 92653

      Watermarc
      448 S Coast Highway, Laguna Beach, CA 92651

    2. j
      jaykayen RE: atdleft Jun 17, 2010 10:39 AM

      Haven and Side Door are are completely different. Side Bar is at Cut.

      Haven is a little bit sexy, and the crowd is mixed, with some serious beer cred.

      Side Door is cozy, with older clientele, and less inspired cooking, but very good service.

      I think if you order right at Haven, they have the edge on food.

      4 Replies
      1. re: jaykayen
        atdleft RE: jaykayen Jun 17, 2010 02:01 PM

        Oh no, I was talking about SideBar at Five Crowns in CDM (Newport).

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        Five Crowns
        3801 East Coast Highway, Corona Del Mar, CA 92625

        1. re: atdleft
          Midlife RE: atdleft Jun 17, 2010 03:11 PM

          To help clear up any confusion............ the place at Five Crowns is called Side DOOR.

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          Five Crowns
          3801 East Coast Highway, Corona Del Mar, CA 92625

          1. re: Midlife
            atdleft RE: Midlife Jun 17, 2010 04:02 PM

            Sorry about that. I double-checked, and it is SideDoor. I saw SideBar earlier, and I was thrown off.

        2. re: jaykayen
          georgempavlov RE: jaykayen Jun 18, 2010 06:44 PM

          I think he means Side DOOR, which IS at 5 Crowns

        3. JAB RE: atdleft Jun 17, 2010 10:40 AM

          Sidebar recently came out on top in Orange Coast Magazine for what that's worth.

          1. f
            Food_Coma RE: atdleft Jun 18, 2010 04:02 PM

            I've been to Haven Gastropub quite a few times - food is the best. I just had the chicken n' waffles dish and LOVED it. I already read in Draft mag that it's one of the best in the country, so the beer being great is a given. I'm a cocktail & wine kind of gal, so I love that they have so many options of wine by the glass and a full bar. When I order a martini, they brought me a Ketel martini... that's their well... I would recommend this place. So much energy, unlike other places that are a real snooze.

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            Haven Gastropub
            190 S Glassell St, Orange, CA 92866

            1 Reply
            1. re: Food_Coma
              georgempavlov RE: Food_Coma Jun 18, 2010 06:47 PM

              I would agree that Haven is the best of the three OC Gastropubs mentioned. And you gotta love a joint that offers a Zweigelt (Austrian red wine) as the recommended pairing for their burger!

            2. ocshooter RE: atdleft Jun 18, 2010 07:32 PM

              I have not been to Side Door, so I can't comment on that, but the other two are fairly different. Crow bar is more about small plates and bottled beer. A friend looked over the menu and he tried a Belgian Ale that was voted top beer in tough the world. Haven is more about entrees (there are plates to share), and they have beers on tap and a full bar.

              The crowd is a little more upscale at the Crow Bar, it is on PCH in CDM, while Haven has a pretty mixed crowd. I really like Haven, when I can get seated, but Crow Bar is worth a try as well.

              1. atdleft RE: atdleft Jun 20, 2010 01:55 PM

                Thanks for the help, everyone! I think I know what I need to do. And when I come back to OC later this summer, I promise to take some more time (and save up more $$ in the mean time) to visit all these great places. Who knew I could now eat so well in OC? :-)

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