Credit: Timothy Kwon

9 Orange County Restaurants With Cozy Vibes, Cocktails and Comfort Food

Need Rainy Day Plans? Savor a Meal at These Local Hotspots

Rain, rain, go away! This mantra seems to be on repeat lately, and California’s atypical less-than-perfect weather has got us in all the comfort food feels. ‘Tis the time of year when Orange County visitors and residents embrace the season of spring showers, passing up al fresco dining for fireside cocktails. With chilly evenings and the scent of wet pavement in the air, there is no better time to enjoy a warm, romantic dinner at one of Orange County’s best restaurants. So grab your raincoats and read on to see our picks for the best dinner and drink spots for a cozy night out this spring!

 

Tavern House Kitchen + Bar

Drink + Dish Pairing: Smoked Maple Mark + D’s Famous Buttermilk Fried Chicken

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Best Cozy Restaurants Orange County
Credit: Marie Westphal Morales

As sure as the wind ruffles the sails in Newport Bay, Tavern House Kitchen + Bar knows how to curate the perfect cozy meal. This waterfront restaurant sits on the harbor’s edge, boasting stunning views of the boat-filled bay. Snag a table by the window for a salty sea breeze, and prepare to indulge in dishes that’ll warm you up from the inside out!

We all need a little extra love on Mondays, and what better way to boost your mood than with Comfort Food Mondays? Meals are served home-style with a spread of all the classic comfort eats, like the D’s Famous Buttermilk Fried Chicken with mashed potatoes, heirloom green beans and thyme gravy and the juicy Prime Rib Dip with gruyere cheese, crispy onions, au jus and a side of fries. Of course, nothing says “cozy night out” like a hearty cup of French onion soup or clam chowder to pair with your plate, and diners can choose between a soup or salad with their main course (a two-for-$25 deal!). And because this waterfront restaurant in Newport Beach is all about serving the local community, they’re offering happy hour all night long on Tuesdays! Enjoy $2 off draft beer, $4 off select wines, $9 Tavern and Skinny Margaritas and a selection of happy hour eats starting at just $6. Of course, this seaside tavern also never says no to a good old-fashioned Wine Wednesday, so they’re treating guests to 50% off select bottles of wine from 4 p.m. to close. Cheers!

Location: Newport Beach

 

Chapter One

Drink + Dish Pairing: The Cold Fashioned and Bacon-Wrapped Meatloaf

Towering mahogany bookshelves, soft leather seats and antique tabletops are just some of the many features that make Santa Ana’s Chapter One a perfect spot for a night out. This cozy, vintage hotspot oozes charm and comfort, and the decadent dishes prepared by their staff follow suit. Serving up everything from comforting classics, such as their crispy pork belly Brussels sprouts, to delectable innovationslike the bacon-wrapped meatloafChapter One aims to deliver incredible food alongside a warm, inviting ambiance; it’s safe to say they deliver. Be sure to try one of their incredible whiskey cocktails as well, such as their signature Cold Fashioned, for a smooth and boozy treat.

Location: Santa Ana

 

Trevor’s at the Tracks

Drink + Dish Pairing: Jasmine Moon Cocktail and Turkish Fig and Fungi Flatbread

Located mere steps from San Juan Capistrano’s historic train depot, Trevor’s at the Tracks is undoubtedly one of Orange County’s most adored restaurants. With twinkling strings of lights hanging above their brick patio, live acoustic performances and incredible dishes and drinks, this spot is as cozy as it is beautiful. The tasty Turkish Fig and Fungi Flatbread is the perfect indulgence on those rainy nights and pairs well with the Jasmine Moon cocktail made with Mahina coconut rum, organic blue spirulina, elderflower liqueur, fresh lime and jasmine flower water.

Location: San Juan Capistrano

 

SideDoor

Drink + Dish Pairing: Sweater Weather Cocktail and Chicken Pot Pie

Best Cozy Restaurants Orange County
Credit: Timothy Kwon

When it comes to comfort food, nobody does it quite like the British. SideDoor pays homage to England’s oldest gastropubs by providing a warm, inviting space for the community to gather and indulge in elevated pub fare. While nearly all of their dishes are incredible, including their specially curated prime rib selection, nothing quite soothes the soul like their famous chicken pot pie. Made with roasted Jidori chicken, this dish is fluffy, satisfying and rich, making it perfect for those seeking the type of comfort food that can typically only be found across the pond. After dinner, be sure to stop by the bar to try one of their many signature cocktailsthe bourbon-based Sweater Weather being our personal favorite for those chilly evenings.

Location: Corona del Mar

 

A Restaurant

Drink + Dish Pairing: Saintsbury Pinot Noir and Filet Mignon

Restaurant_lastone
Credit: A Restaurant

With roots dating as far back as 1925, A Restaurant continues to provide indelible proof behind its motto: “Classic never goes out of style.” A steakhouse unlike any other, A Restaurant brings warm notes of burgundy and mahogany to its carefully curated ambiance, inviting guests to quietly pour over each dish and every cut until they find the one that perfectly suits their tastes. However, for those looking for guidance, you can never go wrong with their 8-ounce filet, the most tender and delectable steak they serve. Pair it with a glass of red from their extensive wine list and you are in for a cozy, opulent dining experience.

Location: Newport Beach

 

The Craftsman 1904

Drink + Dish Pairing: Party Ghost Cocktail and SRF Short Rib

Credit: Craft by Smoke and Fire

Tucked away within an authentic craftsman-style bungalow in the heart of Anaheim, The Craftsman 1904 oozes rich authenticity and early 20th-century nostalgia. Elaborate oil paintings, wooden tabletops and a warm fireplace are just some of the many intricate details that work together to create a cozy ambiance unlike any other, and to no surprise, the eight-course tasting menu lives up to the design. Whether you delve into the smoky, savory flavors of their smoked pork belly or dive fork-first into their decadent short rib, you are sure to be impressed and satisfied. But don’t head out before trying one of their many outrageously fun and inventive cocktails. Our pick is their Party Ghost cocktail, which comes with a cinnamon stick and lime wedge lit on fire!

Location: Anaheim

 

CdM Restaurant

Drink + Dish Pairing: Gilded Lily Cocktail and Dirty Pasta 

Credit: Courtesy of CdM Restaurant

If the crushed velvet booths and low-lit ambiance don’t lure you into this cozy chic bistro, the enticing aroma of freshly baked Parker House Rolls certainly will. CdM Restaurant’s artsy, trendsetting space boasts a full-service dining room and cocktail bar, while its underground speakeasy kicks things back to the 1920s. Nothing says cozy quite like the classics (aka pizza and pasta). Their Dirty Pasta is a house specialty, served with a sizzling pile of rigatoni, ground duck, sage, aromatics and ricotta salata! Their Fancy Pizza looks and tastes just as good as its name implies—topped with all the goods like Calabrese salame, habanero honey and creamy pesto. Dessert isn’t the final curtain call at this outpost, either! They’ve got an alluring selection of post-dessert mezcals, whiskey and sugar-filled delicacies to cure that “not quite finished” feeling.

Location: Corona del Mar

 

Benny and Mary’s

Drink + Dish Pairing: Once You Chai One and Grilled Cheese Dumplings & Tomato Bisque

Looking for a late-night foodie affair? Eclectic and sophisticated, Benny & Mary’s is an infectious abode and a culmination of worldwide flavors housed underneath a single roof. Between their whimsical vintage decor and whiskey bread pudding, Benny & Mary’s is the ultimate Friday night hotspot for a cozy meal in Orange County. Speaking of food, the Grilled Cheese Dumplings and Tomato Bisque is a timeless cozy-day combo that will fire up your tastebuds for the Lobster Aglio e Olio and Black Sheep Burger that really should follow. Their craft cocktails are truly a work of perfection, with quirky monikers like Once You Chai One and Along the Wash Tower (psst, check behind the bookcase for a sneaky way into their under-wraps speakeasy).

Location: Irvine

 

BLK

Drink + Dish Pairing: Old Fashioned and Lobster Mac

Second on our list is none other than BLK, one of Huntington’s coziest and most delicious restaurants. The soundtrack at BLK is the familiar sound you hear when you know the ocean is nearby, and BLK takes advantage by offering up a quiet candlelit escape from the bustling boardwalk. At BLK, guests can look forward to enjoying decadent dishes, such as their rich and creamy lobster mac and cheese, as well as locally sourced, high-quality entrees from both land and sea. Pair any of their delicious offerings with their smooth yet aromatic Old Fashioned cocktail and you get a cozy, candlelit dinner that is sure to be equal parts romantic and comforting. 

Location: Huntington Beach

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