Credit: Ed Visions

17 Reasons 17th Street in Costa Mesa Is the Coolest Street in Orange County

With Boutiques, Cafes and Speakeasies, 17th Street Is Entertainment Avenue!

Connecting Westside Costa Mesa to Newport Harbor, 17th Street is the thread that ties the city together. It’s a one-stop shop for all your modern day necessities: morning coffee, local hangouts, eateries for any craving and heart-pumping workouts! It’s a hodgepodge of Costa Mesa culture that perfectly reflects the vibe of the city—trendy but not mainstream, health-conscious yet foodie-forward. Spend the day shopping, eating and fully embracing the Costa Mesa lifestyle with this list of our favorite spots on 17th Street. 

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Goodies

Credit: Rhea Carlisle

Everything $25 or less? No, it’s not too good to be true! Goodies is an interior stylist’s playground. Filled with unique housewares that effortlessly upscale any home aesthetic—think neutral stoneware, ceramics and wooden utensils—the goodies you’ll find here will turn your place into a space you’ll never want to leave. Goodies is for the host, hostess and homebody alike, plus the warm yellow design and lush succulent garden turn casual shopping into a full-on experience. Good luck leaving without a goodie bag!

 

Sidecar Doughnuts

Go ahead and hit snooze—at Sidecar Doughnuts, you don’t have to be first in line to get pastries straight outta the fryer. This artisanal, gourmet doughnut shop serves tasty treats made in small batches, so you are guaranteed a warm doughnut with a pillowy soft cake interior and crispy edges each and every time. Their butter and salt doughnut and Huckleberry ring are exclusive Sidecar fan favorites, but fair warning: There’s no turning back after trying them—no other doughnut will ever be the same.

Local Insight: Download the Sidecar app and your first doughnut is free! 

 

Rococo Boutique

17th Street Costa Mesa
Credit: Praisler

What began as a high-end clothing store for children in Laguna evolved into an opulent boutique for women in Monarch Beach and Costa Mesa. Comfort and quality reign supreme at Rococo Boutique, where us locals have come to rely on the store for carrying brands we know and love. You’ll find clothing, accessories and home items—think cottage core and bohemian styles—from beloved names like Chan Luu, Natalie Martin, Xirena and more. Owner Patty Praisler is committed to her customers and takes pride in finding the perfect piece for the right person. You can shop online and in person—or snag a gift card for someone special in your life. 

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The Harp Inn

17th Street Costa Mesa
Credit: The Harp Inn

There comes a time in every person’s life when sport makes you do crazy things. To wit: Arriving at your local dive bar to watch a 6:30 a.m. rugby match, simply because watching replays will not suffice. That’s where The Harp Inn comes in—always there for fans with daily sporting events. An Irish-owned pub, this watering hole is also known for its lively cover bands, offering everything from high energy rock and blues to new country. Come see local talent on Comedy Night, which is every Monday at 8 p.m., or test your knowledge at Pour House Trivia, Wednesdays at 7 p.m.

 

Catalina Fish Kitchen

Casual and kitschy sum up this hidden pearl—a fitting description for a fish and seafood joint. This is the kind of place where you can wrap a day on the beach, waltz in with sandy feet and nobody would blink an eye. Authentic old-school surf is the atmosphere here, where you can get down on a Big Wave Burrito or chill out with a Kona Bowl, all while watching surf memories broadcast on televisions throughout the restaurant. The beach theme is everywhere—from photos of surfers and seashells on the walls to menu items that feature the fresh catch of the day. We hear their smoked salmon is just about the area’s best.

 

Tres Muchachos

Brunch is a magical time of day, even if that time of day is all day, every day, and that’s one of many reasons Tres Muchachos makes our list. Locally owned and operated, this wine bar and kitchen has a rare wine list with some down-to-earth bites to match. As the name implies, you’ll see a lot of Mexican influence on the menu—grab some tostadas and guacamole to start, peruse the section devoted to tacos and don’t hesitate to order the Yucatan-style pork on Oaxacan black bean tamal. Some other influences stand out too, such as the vegan ratatouille chile relleno. With DJs on the weekend and occasional Hi-Time Wine Cellars collab events, you can’t go wrong here.

 

Fleur De Lys

There’s a friendly dog at the doorstep and a shop owner greeting you with a smile at this modern mercantile. Fleur De Lys has a little bit of everything—accessories and apparel, gifts and gadgets, beauty and wellness items and more. It’s a great place to find the perfect card for any occasion, as well as a selection of designer stationery you won’t find anywhere else. With an appreciation for craftsmanship, the owner even sources Blackwing pencils here (IYKYK). You can spend hours exploring the selection at the store, and while you’re at it, sign up for a VIP annual membership that gives you perks throughout the year.

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Surfside Sports  

If you surf, skate or snowboard, or just need a gift for someone who does, Surfside Sports is your ultimate outlet for all things board sports. This shop is a Costa Mesa revival, featuring all the local brands—RVCA, Hurley, Vans, Yucca Fins and more. While function is the feature here, fashion is also part of the experience. You’ll even find a collection of cool sunglasses, not to mention the largest selection of Stance socks in SoCal. The staff here is seasoned, so they’ll guide you through gear with a head full of knowledge, or you can check out a limited selection on their online shop.

 

Oak & Coal

Oak & Coal brings the fire to 17th Street! Named after the Japanese grilling method that adds a smoky flavor to meat skewers, Oak & Coal is a beloved local restaurant that honors the yakitori tradition. In Japan, meat skewers are typically enjoyed in a casual setting with a glass of wine or beer, so do it right and order something to sip on! While small, this modern restaurant offers an inviting ambiance for sharing food while connecting with friends and family.

 

Stella Jean’s Ice Cream

Credit: @israelpalacio

Among the chains around town, Stella Jean’s Ice Cream stands out like a diamond in the rough. This small-batch ice cream parlor churns up the dreamiest, creamiest ice cream flavors, from classic Milk and Cookies to adventurous concepts like Mango Sticky Rice. All batches and accouterments are made with locally sourced, real ingredients, right down to the plant-based, gluten-friendly waffle cones. With the same values as their neighbor and sister company Pop Pie Co., Stella Jean’s is all about sharing great treats with the neighborhood. 

 

Vibe Organic Kitchen

Plant-based, organic and all about eating the rainbow—you know the vibe! Vibe Organic Kitchen is a Newport Beach-founded restaurant on a mission to help people live longer, healthier and happier lives. Leave feeling better after enjoying their made-to-order pressed juices and smoothies. You won’t even miss meat with their vibrant selection of hearty bowls, veggie burgers and salads that are packed with protein. If you’re down to party, try the Fiesta Bowl, a Vibe favorite made with spicy jackfruit carnitas!

 

The Crack Shack

17th Street Costa Mesa
Credit: The Crack Shack

Named after its chicken mascot, The Crack Shack is “not your average chicken,” and the food is seriously addictive. Their Southern cuisine highlights both the chicken and the egg in mouthwatering sandwiches like the Double Clucker, with smashed avo, bacon and cheddar, and the Dirty Bird, which is both spicy and fried. Enter the coop and find yourself in a modern barnyard, replete with wood paneling and a cornhole setup. Play a round to work up your appetite! 

 

Pie Society Speakeasy

Credit: American Gonzo Food Corporation

We’re giving you the inside scoop on Pie Society Speakeasy. The door to this hidden bar is to the right of Pitfire Pizza’s back kitchen entrance. If you think you’ve found a tool shed, then you’re in the right place! While they open at 5 p.m., what you really want—the secret signature cocktails—are served at 8 p.m. Order the Sunny Day Negroni with gin, Campari, blackberry and cucumber in honor of every bartender’s favorite aperitif.

 

Tabu Shabu

Get ready to dip and dunk your food at Tabu Shabu! This traditional Japanese hot pot restaurant is an Eastside Costa Mesa hotspot. Steaming pots of savory spiced broths and premium meat selections, ready to be cooked at your table, make for an engaging and dynamic dinner—especially ideal for date night. Don’t be afraid to experiment with flavor combinations using house sauces and chili oil. They’ll serve you plenty of food, so ask your servers to make a noodle soup with the leftovers! Pro tip: try the porridge, and thank us later.

 

Breakfast Republic

Welcome to your modern-day diner. Trading in sticky leather booths for bright-yellow dining chairs and an inviting bar that serves craft beer and kombucha on tap, the restaurateur of Breakfast Republic puts the same effort into breakfast that most chefs do for dinner. Locals and visitors alike flock to this breakfast hub to indulge in selections from the innovative menu, such as breakfast bacon mac ‘n’ cheese, s’mores French toast and pancake flights.

Local Insight: Breakfast Republic offers seasonal specials, and you get a say in what you want to see next. Engage with their Instagram account (@breakfastrepublic) to vote for next season’s selections!

 

Milligram Coffee + Kitchen

Milligram Coffee and Kitchen
Credit: Milligram Coffee and Kitchen

Drive down 17th Street for a quick trip to Australia! This Aussie-inspired cafe is everything we could hope for on a Sunday afternoon. Milligram Coffee + Kitchen is an elevated concept that’s more than a grab-and-go coffee shop. With thick-cut toasts for brunch, wine by the glass in the evenings and even a charcuterie and cheese board on the menu, Milligram Coffee + Kitchen is designed for you to sit and stay a while. The minimalist interior is effortlessly sleek, and the tree-lined wood patio transports you to a tranquil paradise away from the hustle and bustle.

 

Greenleaf Kitchen and Cocktails

Greenleaf Kitchen and Cocktails 17th Street Costa Mesa
Credit: Ed Visions

Southern California’s obsession with health and wellness is real—and so is Greenleaf Kitchen and Cocktails! Embodying a balanced lifestyle, Greenleaf serves gourmet meals and craft cocktails that make healthy eating easy and enjoyable. There’s always something new to try on their rotating menu, but the grilled salmon with garlicky broccoli and cauliflower rice is always a winner. Relax on the string-lit patio or gather with the Costa Mesa community at the long indoor table. Oh, and don’t say we didn’t tell you: They serve breakfast all day, every day, and there’s also weekday happy hours from 3-6 p.m.

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Lover of the beach, food and fitness, Emily enjoys exploring all sunny Southern California has to offer! She has a passion for sharing about her favorite local gems and began writing for Locale in 2022. On the weekends, find her creating recipes for her food blog or out in Laguna!
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