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Jun 25, 2010 12:08 PM

Fullerton / North OC Rehearsal Dinner Restaurant Recs?

Friend is having her wedding at the Fullerton Arboretum located near Cal State Fullerton. Any recommendations for a nice restaurant for the rehearsal dinner that is not too far away from the wedding venue? Thinking of the Fullerton, Brea, Yorba Linda or Anaheim area - with a maximum 20 minuted drive time. The rehearsal dinner will have approximately 20 guests, there is not preference on the type of cuisine, but a private room would be nice. Of course, since this is Chowhound, it goes without saying that we’re looking for quality food and good ambiance. Thank you in advance for your thoughts.

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    1. re: OCAnn

      Hi OCAnn. Type of food is not really a concern, as long as its good. As for budget, nothing too extravagant, but I'm sure the couple would pay to have a great ambiance and good food. Hope this helps.

    2. Hi ebgeebee,

      Three options for your friend’s wedding rehearsal dinner immediately come to mind:

      The Cellar
      305 N. Harbor Blvd.
      Fullerton, CA 92832
      (714) 525-5682
      Hidden down a dark flight of stairs in the basement of Fullerton’s historic Villa del Sol, The Cellar is an architectural marvel designed and built by the same team that created Disneyland’s Pirates of the Caribbean. It has an otherworldly feel from another time and place. The French-Continental cuisine and old world service are excellent, on par with Disneyland’s private Club 33. The house-smoked quail, seared scallops, New Zealand lamb and roasted duck are among the standouts. The Grand Marnier soufflé is a must for dessert. The cave-like ambience and romantic vibe are sensational. The Cellar offers one of the finest and most extensive wine selections in the County. Your dining experience would surely be one to remember.

      The Summit House
      2000 E. Bastanchury Road
      Fullerton, CA 92835
      (714) 671- 4111
      An English Tudor Manor situated high atop a hill, The Summit House affords one of the County’s most majestic views. Your dinner could take place in one of the smaller dining rooms at the rear of the restaurant or, perhaps, on the elegant outdoor terrace. The view from the terrace is absolutely breathtaking. The menu is largely traditional offering standards such as escargots, French onion soup, Caesar salad, John Dory and rack of lamb. Their signature dish is prime rib, offered in a variety of cuts and styles. Desserts are deliciously prepared and beautifully presented. Excellent vintage selection. Wonderful ambience and service.

      Taps Fish House
      101 E. Imperial Hwy.
      Brea, CA 92821
      (714) 257- 0101
      Now in its tenth year, Taps has evolved into one of OC’s premiere dining venues. Occupying the most prominent corner in downtown Brea, Taps offers an extensive menu of items from the surf and turf. The steaks are sublime as are their many offerings from the sea such as fresh-shucked oysters, crab and lobster. Taps has its own in-house brewery and consistently showcases an outstanding selection of ales and pilsners. They offer very fine list of wines as well. The smaller dining room located at the front of the restaurant would likely well serve your party’s needs. Great ambience, excellent attentive service.

      4 Replies
      1. re: degustateur

        I vote for Taps...I love their seafood offerings and find their service very good.

        1. re: attran99

          Degustateur and attran99 - Thanks for the recs!

          1. re: attran99

            Agree! I think that Taps would do a great job...but keep in mind that it's a very upscale brewpub, and although the ambiance is very pleasant, it's certainly not elegant. I think for food, service and value, Taps would win my vote.

          2. re: degustateur

            Excellent recommendations! I think the Summit House takes it for ambience, although the Cellar is a pretty interesting place.

            The Fullerton Arboretum is a fabulous place. Often people have events catered there as well.

            Summit House Restaurant
            2000 E Bastanchury Rd, Fullerton, CA 92835

          3. So, my recommendations are similar. The Summit House is closest to the Arboretum. Also close is The Cantina Lounge for good Americanised Mexican food; they have to areas that can accommodate 20 and the prices would be fair.

            The Cellar received a mention above; they often offer 3- or 4-course dinner at a set price $35 or $40) and may work with you. Very old school elegance, where most men wear coats.

            While I personally wouldn't choose Buca di Beppo (57 @ Imp Hwy) for a rehersal dinner, my in-laws (since they were paying) selected it for us. They have a variety of private areas.

            One last suggestion is to try the campus catering: OC Choice (657-278-4124). You have a some options on location: The old Mahr House, The Garden Cafe and even perhaps at the Arboretum itself--all on campus.

            Cantina Lounge Inc.
            2736 East Nutwood, Fullerton, CA 92832

            Summit House Restaurant
            2000 E Bastanchury Rd, Fullerton, CA 92835

            1 Reply
            1. re: OCAnn

              The old Mahr house is known on campus as the Golleher Alumni House. It is a beautivul setting and very close to the Arboreturn. A bit of useful arcania for anyone wishing to cater at the Arboretum--while on the campus it is very difficult to use an outside caterer, the Arboretum is not covered by the same rules and it is possible to use an outside caterer. I've been to many catered events at the Arboretum and it's a wonderful setting. It is important to make reservations well in advance, however, because it is booked up.

            2. I have always enjoyed Cafe Hidalgo in Fullerton. I have not been in a while, I moved out of Fullerton a few years back, but the food and drink was always good the prices were reasonable, and I like the building itself. They way the restaurant is set up, they should be able to put you in a private area.


              Cafe Hidalgo
              305 N Harbor Blvd Ste 111, Fullerton, CA 92832

              1. One additional thought...and a new one at that! Rich Mead, the terrific chef of Sage in Newport Beach has opened a new restaurant in Anaheim Hills called Canyon. We had dinner there last night and everything was, ambiance and service. Definitely worth considering. Also, if you want something more formal, no one has mentioned Mr. Stox on Katella in Anaheim. This is a wonderful venue, and indeed they have some terrific private party areas including a nice nice outdoor patio.Their food and service are always top-notch!

                Mr. Stox
                1105 East Katella Ave., Anaheim, CA 92805