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Special Occasion Dinner OC

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4th Anniversary coming up, where to? Budget is maybe around $100 before tax and tip so somewhere like Studio at the Montage is out. Maybe somewhere new? Some places we've already been:

Marche Moderne
Mastro's
Old Vine
370 Common
Cucina Alessa
Pizzeria Mozza (Ortica and Ecco too)

At a loss for more options besides The Ranch and Napa Rose?

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  1. Easily Marche. $15 corkage. Start with a glass of champagne each. Be sure to get an order of langoustine each. Too good to share. Seriously.

    For something not on your list, Bluefin in Newport Coast. Sit at the bar. Order omakase with both cooked and sushi items. Very nice ambiance for a sushi restaurant.

    1. Stonehill Tavern at St. Regis may be above budget but their fried chicken meal for two would fit (but this may not be anniversary type food).

      Also, Charlie Palmer at South Coast Plaza is nice place, though I haven't been impressed with the food the last few times I went.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Searching4Dunny

        Yeah did the lunch back when it was $28 vs $20 and it was great, some type of seafood pasta as a first course then fish. So long ago, but I enjoyed it. I'll check out the menu for dinner.

        1. re: Searching4Dunny

          FYI Stonehill Tavern is closed on Monday and Tuesday. I was there for a conference and was very excited to try the fried chicken but didn't have a chance.

        2. Perhaps Andrea at Pelican Hill? Stunning space and the food is good. Probably at the upper end of your price range.

          1. Tabu in Laguna Beach. At $100 pp you are going to be right there, unless you like a lot of wine.

            There is no way I would recommend Napa Rose for a special occasion. I have read recommendations for the tasting counter, bu the place is huge and filled with large groups of tourists with kids in tow fresh out of the House of Mouse. Not my idea for a special occasion dinner.

            Other options you might consider are Golden Truffle and K'ya in Laguna (have cocktails at the rooftop bar before dinner). If you don't mind the din, you can also try Watermark in Laguna. For me, I thought it was overpriced and nothing special, but I have seen severl favorable mentions, so I thought I would toss that out.

            1. Sol del Sur?
              Broadway by Amar Santana?
              Anaheim White House?
              The Hobbit (if it's $100 each)?

              1. I highly recommend Marche Moderne. My husband and I had a celebration dinner there last fall and it was exceptional. The food was top notch and the service was attentive and friendly, but not overbearing.

                Two of the highlights were the Charcuterie and the Coq au Vin. We rounded out the evening with a couple of cheeses that were stellar.

                I know some people are troubled that it is in the South Coast Plaza Mall, but we parked on the same level as the restaurant, walked in, and were in another world. On the way out, it was an interesting feel walking past the closed shops and literally having the whole mall to yourself to window shop.

                1. I'm also thinking Playground even though I had dinner there last night....good stuff! Specifically the wagyu carpaccio, bacon and loganisa fried rice, and HEAVENLY sticky toffee pudding....