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ORANGE COUNTY-Best 5 over $25 and Best 5 under $25

OVer $25:

Marche Moderne
Old Vine Cafe
Koi sushi
Gabbi's

Apr 10, 2012
lawdog262 in Los Angeles Area

special dinner in Newport Beach

Congratulations on the safe return of your Marine! I would add Old Vine Cafe to the list if vino is important and you are not looking for a "scene." BTW, 6 years ago my wife and I had our rehearsal dinner at Antonello in a small private room, and they did a great job.

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Old Vine Cafe
2937 Bristol St, Costa Mesa, CA 92626

Oct 28, 2011
lawdog262 in Los Angeles Area

Newport Beach Birthday Dinner?

I just want to chime in on the Marche Moderne is not romantic angle. The dining rooming is definitely not romantic, but the cabanas on the patio are tres romantic. My wife loves the cabanas...

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

May 20, 2011
lawdog262 in Los Angeles Area

OC- What's not to be missed?!

I've been to Old Vine for dinner at least 20 times over the past two years. Its always been excellent, and keeps us coming back, and we have a hard time choosing between it and Marche Moderne for our favorite restaurant. Never been for breakfast and can't comment.

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

Old Vine Cafe
2937 Bristol St, Costa Mesa, CA 92626

May 12, 2011
lawdog262 in Los Angeles Area

WIFES BIRTHDAY...ROMANCE

My point is that even a restaurant with a reputation like Providence can screw up a special occasion, particularly for those who aren't regulars. i'm not going to trust the boards for special occasions again. i'll trust my own experience. BTW, I went to Providence for my anniversary specifically because of the extraordinary praise it got on this board for service and food. What I got out of that was having to convince my wife we shouldn't walk out about 1/3 of the way through dinner. Not really the romantic experience I was trying to create...

Mar 10, 2011
lawdog262 in Los Angeles Area

WIFES BIRTHDAY...ROMANCE

Went to Providence two or 3 years ago for our anniversary, and it was a disaster. I know it gets glowing reviews on this board, but the treatment we received couldn't have been farther from what is portrayed here. And the food was hardly destination restaurant fare. The highlight was the mojito gelee amuse bouche, which was admittedly tremendous. The lesson I took from this is that what makes the special occasion is the company you are keeping, and its better to put the evening into the hands of one of your tried and true places. Experiment on a new restaurant some other evening...

Mar 09, 2011
lawdog262 in Los Angeles Area

Vietnamese in Orange County

Great thread! How about some clay pot recommendations, please?

Feb 01, 2011
lawdog262 in Los Angeles Area

Irvine

Also sorry to hear you had a poor experience at Old Vine for breakfast. I've never been there for breakfast, but have gone for lunch once and dinner frequently for over two years, and its been excellent on every occasion. And I'll second OC Ann re: the burrata caprese.

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Old Vine Cafe
2937 Bristol St, Costa Mesa, CA 92626

Jan 20, 2011
lawdog262 in Los Angeles Area

great food by south coast plaza?

We found both Charlie Palmer and Ortica to be mediocre when they opened, and did not warrant return visits. Hopefully, they are better. Fully agree as to Marche Moderne, Old Vine Cafe (and their burrata caprese). Call the restaurants ahead to make sure they can accommodate pre-dinner.

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

Old Vine Cafe
2937 Bristol St, Costa Mesa, CA 92626

Nov 18, 2010
lawdog262 in Los Angeles Area

10 Year Anniversary. Need awesome reco for this Thursday eve!!

I see a lot of recommendations for Providence in this thread, just like I did two years ago when I was searching for an anniversary restaurant that would knock my wife's sock's off. Our experience there was terrible. Won't recount here, and won't discourage anyone from going there, but just be aware that even a sure thing like Providence doesn't work out for everyone. The lesson that I took from this is that it is better to go to one of your own tried and true restaurants for a truly special occasion, rather than roll the dice on an unknown. Just my two cents.

Oct 26, 2010
lawdog262 in Los Angeles Area

Cucina Alessa or Onotria this Friday and cocktails on Saturday

Been to alessa once, and enjoyed it but did not find it memorable. We go to onotria about once a year and love it. I have another suggestion - Old Vine Cafe. Casual and relaxed atmosphere, and very good.

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Old Vine Cafe
2937 Bristol St, Costa Mesa, CA 92626

Sep 30, 2010
lawdog262 in Los Angeles Area

Anniversary dinner . . . Providence or Mozza

I could never recommend Providence for an anniversary dinner. Went there for our fourth anniversary a couple years back and it could not have been more different than the restaurant described on this board. Service usually doesn't matter to me, but the waiter was abusive to us, the sommelier simply ignored us, and I was twice brought items that I had specifically told the staff I was allergic to. We can't get that anniversary back and we won't be back to Providence. In L.A., Melisse is a much more romantic experience...

Sep 29, 2010
lawdog262 in Los Angeles Area

Fine dining in LA/Orange County Area

Marche Moderne at South Coast Plaza is an excellent special occasion restaurant, and may be underrated even with all of the praise that it gets on this board. Ask for a cabana on the patio.

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

Sep 28, 2010
lawdog262 in Los Angeles Area

Birthday dinner recommendations - Orange County

Re: Marche Moderne. We've gone to MM frequently, and it has been excellent and still trending up. Recent meals have been so good that we don't see a need to drive to LA for rests. that are better by reputation; more often than not, their reputations have been overstated. We've found the food at MM to be excellent and the space, particularly the cabanas on the patio, is very romantic. We've found the service there to be professional and accommodating. My only negative comment is that the wine list still needs some work.

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

Sep 14, 2010
lawdog262 in Los Angeles Area

Still searching for a good OC restaurant

A few other places you might want to try - Old Vine Cafe (very near Mesa, but it is so unpretenious that it does not strike me as very LA), Basilic, and Onotria. Marche Moderne, mentioned above, is absolutely tremendous, extremely consistent and still getting better (IMHO, it would thrive in any city). We also like Bamboo Bistro in Corona del Mar quite a lot. I can't really speak to your L.A. comparisons because we opted out of doing LA rests. a couple years back after spotty results on special occasions at some of the real big guns like Providence.

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

Onotria Restaurant
2831 Bristol St Ste A, Costa Mesa, CA 92626

Basilic Restaurant
217 Marine Ave, Newport Beach, CA 92662

Bamboo Bistro
2600 E Coast Hwy Ste 160, Corona Del Mar, CA 92625

Old Vine Cafe
2937 Bristol St, Costa Mesa, CA 92626

Sep 07, 2010
lawdog262 in Los Angeles Area

Marché Moderne – Great Tasting Menu in a Shopping Mall

I've now lost count of the number of times that I've gone to MM. It is simply exquisite. Its an understatement to describe it as one of Orange County's best, because LA-centric folk will not be impressed. Its one of SoCal's best restaurants, regardless of price or cuisine. One of its strengths which I have not seen commented on is use of seasonal items, such as ramps or more recently zucchini blossoms (and MM's treatment of the latter was the best I've had in the United States). More importantly, this wonderful restaurant is still trending up.

Jun 21, 2010
lawdog262 in Los Angeles Area

Please help -- Need the best sushi restaurant in Orange County.

Koi in Seal Beach is excellent as well. Sit at Daigo or Taka's section

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Koi Restaurant
600 Pacific Coast Hwy Ste 100, Seal Beach, CA 90740

Jun 01, 2010
lawdog262 in Los Angeles Area

Ritz Restaurant, Newport Beach?

I have not been there "recently," but was there for a Mother's Day brunch about 5 years ago that was so bad that we never thought about a return visit. A very different place 5 years ago than 20 years ago, but absent a complete do-over in the past 5 years and stellar reviews, I would not remotely be interested in returning.

May 27, 2010
lawdog262 in Los Angeles Area

Stonehill Tavern vs. Studio at Montage

For my two cents, its the Studio. Get a table at a window overlooking the ocean. much more romantic than the Stonehill. full disclosure - i did not get engaged at studio, but my wife did give me the wedding ring she picked out for me there. its a lovely memory...

May 24, 2010
lawdog262 in Los Angeles Area

Seal Beach

we've lived in SB for three years, and the only two places we could really recommend are Koi sushi in PCH (outstanding; sit in Daigo;s section (sp?)) and La Crema for breakfast, pastries and coffee. We've heard consistently good reviews for Walts but have not gone.

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Crema Cafe
322 Main St, Seal Beach, CA 90740

May 10, 2010
lawdog262 in Los Angeles Area

Marche Moderne: Best French in OC? Oui? :-)

I've been to Pascal countless times over the past twenty some years, and keep telling myself that I should go back. MM howeever just keeps getting better and the ambience of a cabana on MM's patio is a heck of a lot nicer than sitting next to a portrait of Pascal. And nothing I have ever had as Pascal touches the Morel Mushroom risotto from Sat. night...

Apr 11, 2010
lawdog262 in Los Angeles Area

Any good Chinese or Indian restaurants in Long Beach?

Kamal Palace in Marina Pacifica is very good for dinner, although it lacks atmosphre.

Mar 11, 2010
lawdog262 in Los Angeles Area

Old Vine Cafe in Costa Mesa?

Old Vine is absolutely great. My wife and I became converts about 18 months ago, when some friends took us there. Since then, it has been a regular part of our rotation, and we go for dinner about once a month. My wife and I have a running debate over whether it or Marche Moderne is the best restuarant in OC. At least in our experience, it has created a unique role in the marketplace -- offering spot on pairings of inexpensive but still very good wines with tasting menus. The menu for lunch is almost completely different than dinner, and a much different but still great experience. As far as dinner goes, the burrata caprese with flash fried arugula ranks as one of the best salads I've ever had; the filet is wonderful, as is the stroganoff and all pastas. My wife regularly gets shrimp or prawns and compares these favorably to the ones she had at Providence. I should also point out what I think is an inaccuracy or omission in the prior posts -- there is a patio, but they do not serve alcohol on the patio. And although atmosphere and the like are the most subjective elements of a restaurant experience, I've never seen as many diners having so much fun as at OVC. Its not a place to take pictures of the food. Its a place to experience. I'd recommend it without qualification.

Mar 08, 2010
lawdog262 in Los Angeles Area

Nice place in Orange County for Pre valentines Dinner

Love the Old Vine, even more for its very casual atmosphere. Never been to a restaurant where so many people seem to be having such a good time...

Feb 09, 2010
lawdog262 in Los Angeles Area

Marche Moderne: Best French in OC? Oui? :-)

My wife and I pretty much have a rotation of three go to spots: Marche Moderne, Old Vine and Koi. I am sure that everyone's experiences are different, but we have not had any service issues and have always found the staff to be very attentive. The only "misses" I can think of are the truffle cappucino that accompanies one entree and a tuna carpaccio that was doused in Mayo (the latter on a night that Florent was not there). The major construtive criticism I have is that I'd like to see an improved wine list. But, for us, this has been a reliable and often spectacular destination.

That being said, I'd love to hear your recommendations for another French restaurant in the OC

Feb 09, 2010
lawdog262 in Los Angeles Area

POLL: Ultimate OC Restaurants, 2009

Over 25:

Old Vine Cafe
Marche Moderne
Koi (Seal Beach)
Onotria
Royal Khyber

[reflecting where we went this year, i.e, I have no doubt that Stonehill and others are better than Royal Khyber, but we didn't make it to Stonehill, etc this year. That being said, we didn't make it to thise because we kept going back to OVC, MM and Koi.

Nov 29, 2009
lawdog262 in Los Angeles Area

Help with OC Italian!!!

A couple of options not mentioned above: Luciana's in Dana Point has been great for more than 20 years. Nice romantic atmosphere. Also, Onotria in Costa Mesa, but it can be pricey (and I heard (unconfirmed) from a friend that it was recently sold).

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Onotria Restaurant
2831 Bristol St Ste A, Costa Mesa, CA 92626

Oct 28, 2009
lawdog262 in Los Angeles Area

Special Occasion Restaurant in the OC?

Great list. Old Vine is my favorite restaurant, but it is very casual (this is part of its charm) and not what I would really consider a "special occasion" restaurant (which to me conjures up Melisse, Gary Danko. etc.). Might add Stonehill to your list, but have only been there once (for a special occasion).

Jul 20, 2009
lawdog262 in Los Angeles Area

ISO outdoor dining in OC

Concur. I think MM's patio is the best outdoor dining in OC, particularly the cabanas which offer a bit of privacy.

Jul 16, 2009
lawdog262 in Los Angeles Area

Italian restaurant recommendation-Orange County

Concur with recs. of Onotria for high end Tuscan and Antonello for a private room (we had our rehearsal dinner at Antonello 4 years ago and they did a great job for us).

Jun 22, 2009
lawdog262 in Los Angeles Area