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Oct 21, 2010 11:38 AM

Looking for Unusual restaurants in OC (orange county) HELP!

Okay I need help!

There have been some great posts on here about unusual places in LA but not much for OC.

I am planning my sisters 30th birthday party and it is a surprise party. I am looking for a place with a new vibe... urban, hip, or unique would be great. In the past we have done the fondue, moroccan, middle eastern, and asian. I'm willing to do some of these things again but am hoping to find something new.

Mostly, I am looking for something with an unusual or neat ambiance or atmosphere. I would love if it even had some kind of entertainment as well.

The guests coming are from all different backgrounds some can afford high price, some can not. I am looking for a place with not a pre fix menu unless its around the $40 or less range. Otherwise I would prefer a place that they can choose their own meals and offers various choices. I guess thats why I want the focus to be on how neat the place is rather than food experience. Of course it should still be good though.

Any HELP would be appreciated. I am drowning here!

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  1. Welcome to Chowhound, I see it's your first post. This community is more focused on food as the priority, rather than the atmosphere or the crowd, so take that for what it's worth.

    It's a tough thing to please everybody in a big group like that, so I'm going to suggest a place where there's lots of food options, even for vegetarians.

    Agora Churrascaria is a Brazilian "BBQ" restaurant. It's an upscale-ish looking room, and while there's no entertainment, the style of eating is fun, if a little on the gluttonous side. The kitchen grills various large cuts of meat on big skewers, and your waiters walk those from table to table, slicing them off tableside. You have a green / red card on your table, and the meat keeps coming until you flip the card over to the red side.

    There's also a buffet of food, some cold, some hot, in case you don't want just a grilled meat orgy. It is prix fixe, but you get a whole lot of menu choices. Lunch is more affordable. Dinner will top out your $40 range, before you even get to the booze.

    Agora Churrascaria
    1830 Main Street, Irvine, CA 92614

    6 Replies
    1. re: Professor Salt

      Do you think this is better than Fogo de Chao?

      1. re: justagthing

        Haven't been to Fogo, G. I can't give you a comparison.

        For the OP, Fogo is outside the requested area, so I hadn't even thought of it.

        1. re: Professor Salt

          Fogo de Chão is leagues better than Agora, but it's also in Beverly Hills and can be twice the price. Agora's probably the best option for Brazilian churrasco in OC, but...

          1. re: Das Ubergeek

            Thanks Das, I figured you would know. We are willing to pay the price, b/c I know there has to be a place better than Greenfields by me.

            1. re: Das Ubergeek

              Das, Fogo de Chao is $44 for Dine LA now. Is it worth the drive up there ? what does it have that Agora doesn't ? Thank

              1. re: collegedad35

                For that price it's probably worth it, as long as it's the same as the normal dinner. There are cuts of beef that aren't seen anywhere else... not just the usual sausage-parmesan chicken-picanha-garlic beef, but different cuts of beef, and higher quality.

                There are better churrascarias in the world, but probably not in LA. (Love to be proved wrong.)

      2. I think The Bazaar would be good.

        But if it must be OC, I guess Mesa. I was there last week, and the finesse in the food has slipped a little, but still very good. Mains are all $15-20. It is unique, with (fake) plants' leaves for the walls, gas fireplaces, and a retractable roof. I think it would be good for a 30th birthday.

        1. Habana at the Lab Anti-Mall would be a good choice. Fairly freeway friendly with a pretty wide variety and a good vibe. There are a number of African places in Anaheim, but most of them are pretty bare bones as far as atmosphere. Food is good though. If you want to drive out to Laguna, there is the House of Big Fish and Cold Beer.

          If you have not tried a yakatori place, Shin Sen Gumi is a lot of fun. Little bites of meat on skewers bbq'ed over Japanese charcoal. It gets pretty load and friendly there. House of Blues can be fun, though the food is not amazing, and there are all sorts of shows going on. Gospel Sundays are supposed to be fun.

          Shin Sen Gumi Hakata Ramen
          18315 Brookhurst St, Fountain Valley, CA 92708

          2930 Bristol St Ste A110, Costa Mesa, CA 92626

          1. For a 30th birthday party, good sized group you might want to try Star BBQ in Garden Grove. The best alternative is Cham Sut Gol, but its interior isn't nearly as nice. For a fixed price ($20ish?) it's all you can eat Korean BBQ. Tables are big for groups, everyone eats what they want. Lots of banchan served, salad, and there is a froyo machine up front. Also, plenty of beer and soju available, if that's your thing. Unless AYCE Korean BBQ isn't unusual for your group :)

            Cham Sut Gol
            9252 Garden Grove Blvd, Garden Grove, CA 92844