Orange County’s Restaurant Scene is Spicing Things Up

Written By: Christian Potter and Locale Magazine Editors  7 of the Best Orange County Restaurants to Try this Month

Orange County has always been a hot spot for amazing shopping, fabulous events, and delicious cuisine. Now more than ever, though, Orange County has started to flourish with even more spectacular, can’t-miss restaurants. All of these new spots have one thing in common, though: they are putting a new twist on some of our local favorites and are making the dining experience truly enjoyable. Take a seat, order up a cocktail, and prepare to have your tastebuds tingle with anticipation.

Old Crow Smokehouse

Classic BBQ with a view. With the sun shining, and ample outdoor seating overlooking PCH—Old Crow Smokehouse is the place to be. As one of Orange County’s newest members, they are already creating big waves. Whether you order starter bites like the fried ribs, smoked stuffed poppers, or Old Crow corn dogs, anything you get will taste amazing. Pair your appetizers with one of their signature moonshine cocktails and you have yourself a perfect Saturday. Dishes like pork baby back ribs, the half chicken, and pan-seared smoked catfish are crowd favorites here.

21022 Pacific Coast Hwy
Huntington Beach, CA 92648

Ways & Means Oyster House

Ways & Means Oyster House has an awesome “On Deck” menu with a great deal every day of the week. Sunset Social Monday through Friday, 2 p.m. to sunset offers $6 vodka or gin martinis, $20 bucket of five house beers, and $40 “Bucket of Bubbles.” This is the perfect place for after-work drinks and appetizers. Ways & Means Oyster House has something to please everyone. With Taco Tuesdays, a large section of oysters, lobster rolls, and fish and chips—this is the place to be.

21022 Pacific Coast Hwy
Huntington Beach, CA 92648


Saint Marc Pub-Café, Bakery & Cheese Affinage

Located at the heart of the PCH, Saint Marc USA is one of Orange County’s trendiest restaurants. This family and pet friendly restaurant has enough airy open-space for everyone to join in on the fun. Saint Marc Pub-Café, Bakery & Cheese Affinage adds a modern twist on some of our dinner favorites: kobe chili cheese fries, homemade biscuits & gravy, gourmet grilled cheese, and add on some classic libations like the Hurricane and Dark & Stormy, which are fan favorites. Save room for dessert because Saint Marc USA has an excellent fondue set up, as well as ice cream cookie sandwiches and so much more.  

21058 Pacific Coast Hwy
Huntington Beach, CA 92648


Pour Vida

Chef Jimmy Martinez has perfected the tastes of Puerto Rican and Mexican cultures and created impeccably fresh dishes for every foodie fan. Pour Vida, located in the heart of Center Street Promenade, makes a mean Cadillac Margarita that’s able to pull any worker-bee out of the drama from their day. Pair your cocktail with some short rib or lobster tacos and you have the perfect meal. Hungry for more? Add some signature nacho fries and warm cilantro couscous to perfect your culinary adventure.

185 W Center Street Promenade
Anaheim, CA 92805


The Halal Guys

Craving American Halal Food? No need to look further, Orange County is now home to the best restaurant of its kind—a blend of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean flavors! The Halal Guys started as a quant little food stand in NYC and quickly rose to fame. Now expanding their chain across the country, there are lines out the door to bite into a juicy Gyro and Falafel Platter. Make sure to ask for some extra sauce because you will be begging for more! The Halal Guys have turned their small company into an American Dream. Stop by for lunch or a late night bite.

3033 Bristol St Ste E
Costa Mesa, CA 92626



The exquisite food and drinks at Vaca will take anyone from Orange County to Spain with every bite and sip. Grilled calamari, sea urchin scrambled eggs, and rabo de toro—a red wine braised beef oxtail with wild mushrooms—are just a few of the inspired dishes at Vaca. Don’t forget to order a paella; Vaca’s paella de carne brings pork belly, blood sausage, chorizo, beef cheek, duck confit and bomba rice to the plate in this must-try dish. Tie your meal together with a “Watch Me Whip” cocktail, full of Capurro Pisco, Becherovka, lime, cinnamon and pineapple. If you save room for dessert—hard, but not impossible—try their decadent bizcocho tres leches postre. You won’t regret it.

695 Town Center Dr Ste 170
Costa Mesa, CA 92626


The Loop: Handcrafted Churros

With options to either to dip a handcrafted churro into famed sauces like nutella and dulce de leche, have it served up glazed and ready to eat, or stuffed into a frozen treat, The Loop is serving up handcrafted twisted sweets any which way your heart desires! Opt for their Matcha Crunch churro—a matcha glazed churro coated in fruity pebbles—Yum!

9729 Bolsa Ave
Westminster, CA 92683


The Rye Truck

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, right? The Rye Truck is Orange County’s first, and recently debuted, morning bakery food truck sure to make your most important meal memorable. With hand crafted items like their seasonal Brioche Chocolate Sea Salt Bun, decadent cinnamon rolls and seasonal pop tarts, your mornings are sure to be sweeter with The Rye Truck. This mobile breakfast spot also serves Stumptown Coffee, ensuring you will be filled to the brim with energy all day.

Check out their schedule online:


Two Left Forks

It’s always a good time for fine dining, especially when given the option to dine in Dana Point on Pacific Coast Highway. Two Left Forks is a new addition to the South County culinary scene, and serves up beautiful dishes like their Crab Stack. Colorful mango, tomato and refreshing avocado paired with Sweet Thai Cilantro Vinaigrette in this summer-perfect dish. Enjoy their happy hour everyday from 4-5:30 p.m. Their 50/50 sirloin and ground bacon sliders and $5 craft draft beers are just a few of the happy hour menu items at Two Left Forks. You had us at bacon…

34212 Pacific Coast Hwy
Dana Point, CA 92629


The Scotchery

The Scotchery brings flavor and innovation to Orange County amid a boom in popularity of scotch and fine meats. Boasting premium meats, fresh seafood and an extensive selection of scotches; The Scotchery’s menu stands apart from the crowd. While some items change throughout the seasons, a favorite is the Snake River Farm Kurobata pork chop, which is brined for 18 hours. The dish is served with fresh horseradish, apple slaw and a Scotchery house Demi. All stocks and sauces are made in-house, which ensures guests a flavor profile that will deliver.

3751 S Harbor Blvd Ste C
Santa Ana, CA 92704

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