Come Get Your Fill With New Eats Right Around the Corner
Written By: Shanin Thomas New OC Restaurants
Orange County is continuously stepping up the culinary scene. These 10 new restaurants filled with successful chefs, unique stories, and driven owners have menu items that can not be found anywhere else. From coastal California cuisine all the way to southeast Asia ingredients, these restaurants are taking ‘farm-to-table’ and other concepts to the next level. Each restaurant has an abundance of fresh ingredients, full bars and tasty cocktails, and servings that will satisfy your eyes and your taste buds. Pick your view, mountains or ocean, then your vibe, relaxed or energized because none of these locations will disappoint.
Five young boys meet on an elementary school playground in Fountain Valley and become lifelong friends. Each of the young men pursue their own endeavors while keeping in mind of their common childhood dream – to own a restaurant in their hometown. That dream has finally come to life in Fountain Valley with the opening of The Recess Room. Open only for dinner, the menu is culinary forward with well-known chefs and careful picking of veggies from local farmers markets. A 500-square-foot garden sits behind the restaurant for immediate access to fresh rosemary, mint, and much more as additions to unique cocktails. The Recess Room is not just about the food, but about memories. The goal is to take you to a place you haven’t been in a long time – a place to break from routine and remember your childhood.
18380 Brookhurst St
Fountain Valley, CA 92708
The Ranch at Laguna Beach was built on the first homestead of Laguna Beach with a half-acre garden, room for large events and weddings, and beautiful mountain views. The Harvest, the restaurant that sits on the beautiful ranch, just opened in October with a comfort and coastal California cuisine. Unlike other restaurants in Laguna Beach, The Harvest give guests an opportunity to relax in a fine dining experience. The ranch atmosphere ties into the menu by seasonal produce that are picked directly from the garden – the Harvest truly embodies the term ‘farm-to-table.’ Chef Charles Imbelli and his experiences have brought a distinct and heavenly menu to go right along with the lively atmosphere. Guest favorites are not only delicious items on the menu like a smoked bourbon bacon cinnamon roll, but the peaceful, mountain vibes that come with it.
31106 S Coast Highway
Laguna Beach, CA 92651
Get ready, because this oyster bar has much more to offer than just seafood. The Oyster Bar in Anaheim comes with some good ol’ Southern cooking! The Louisiana comfort food is dazzled with the concept of ‘live action seafood cooking’ and what may look expensive is actually basic. Steam kettle cooking allows for the oysters to be cooked to perfected within the creamy sauce which is then poured over a bed of rice. The ‘farm-to-table’ concept is maintained by supporting local farmers, while the self-sustaining building called the ‘ARTIC,’ and cooking style is energy efficient and environmentally friendly. The Oyster Bar’s casual environment and live DJs bring a crowd in for happy hour and game days with its great location near Angel Stadium and the Honda Center.
2626 E Katella Ave, Ste 206
Anaheim, CA 92806
Pacific City in Huntington Beach has received an entirely uncommon concept from Blackhouse Hospitality—a restaurant within a restaurant. Bluegold and LXSO are two separate restaurants with their own kitchen, bar, menu and staff. Bluegold offers a large and open atmosphere with views of the ocean and a cuisine of culture from earth and sea. Flavors range from all over the world as well as cooking techniques. LXSO, on the other hand, is more intimate. The LS stands for ‘little sister,’ a spin off of a brand of restaurants in Manhattan Beach. LXSO represents a love letter to the culture and heritage of Vietnam with a southeast Asian feel. To add to the unique concept of a restaurant within another, LXSO also offers afternoon tea with finger sandwiches, pastries and exotic drinks.
21016 Coast Hwy, Ste D200
Huntington Beach, CA 92684
If you like spicy Korean chicken, Bonchon is the place for you! This cooked-to-order fried chicken is a franchise that has exploded into Costa Mesa with Asian fusion and Korean specialties. The one-of-a-kind signature chicken has slowly, but surely risen to fame all over the globe. Born in South Korea and raised in New York City, the fried chicken comes with a variety of different flavors. Take a meal to go or dine-in at a casual neighborhood restaurant because “the best guarded secret sauce” is addictive! Delicious sides like dumplings and fried mac and cheese enhance the fan favorite. Who knew a simple culture twist on fried chicken could be so tasty? This yummy franchise is coming soon to Orange County, finally!
1534 Adams Ave, Ste B
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
Newport Beach’s newly remodeled restaurant is the perfect addition to Balboa Island. The Royal Hen, once known as Amelia’s, offers a unique menu and environment for locals and island visitors. Owner, Tim Goodell, has opened 27 other restaurants in his career and seems to be onto something good in Newport Beach. This contemporary pub offers upscale dining and specialty cocktails. But don’t worry, there is nothing on the menu for over 29 dollars and appetizers start as low as five! Although a royal hen is not actually on the menu, foie gras macaroons, chicken cracklings, and the signature cocktail rooster leave guests delighted and untroubled. The pub even plans to reveal their very own brunch menu after the first of the year. After only three weeks, The Royal Hen has become a hit on Balboa Island with a great ambiance, attention to detail, and unique eats.
311 Marine Ave
Newport Beach, CA 92660
From the heart of Orange County comes delicious, modern Mexican food and cocktails. Owners Chef Danny Godinez, Fernando Franco, and Jose Cerrudo look to elevate to traditional Mexican cuisine with an unforgettable experience and welcoming culture. Every meal is served family style, or Comida De Centro, to build a sense of community. This romantic and intimate dining experience was made for foodies as each dish is naturally delicious and healthy. The menu is filled with traditional dishes like homemade tortillas, mole, and chorizo and servers are ready to assist with interpretations as each is named after a state in Mexico making it authentic to the region. El Mercado Modern Cuisine is the perfect environment for conversation and cocktails or picturesque date night.
301 N Spurgeon St
Santa Ana, CA 92701
Los Angeles has finally shared its treasure of Koreatown with the OC! EMC Seafood & Raw Bar opened its third and largest location in early June offering unlimited Asian fusion cuisine. Named after the main investors Ellis, Michael and Charles the raw bar has a ton of fresh choices like oysters and a seafood tower. EMC brings in a large crowd for Sunday brunch that includes an all you can eat buffet with meat carving station and bottomless mimosas! However, any customer is highly encouraged to try the creamy uni pasta. If pasta doesn’t excite your taste buds, a freshly dressed and seafood tossed salad, crab sliders, crispy garlic clams or lobster ravioli drenched in rich cream may suffice. EMC Seafood & Raw Bar’s large menu on top of unique drinks is unlikely to disappoint.
14346 Culver Dr
Irvine, CA 92604
The first Water Grill was open in 1989 and it has been the most iconic seafood destination in Los Angeles since. South Coast Plaza has recently and fortunately become home of the first Water Grill in Orange County. King’s Seafood Distribution is the defining characteristic and back bone of the Water Grill as they handle and distribute seafood from all over the world four times a week. Because of this, the menu changes slightly twice daily based on the fresh seafood and its availability. For example, a shipment of scrumptious nantucket bay scallops from Massachusetts, which are very hard to find on the west coast, has been delivered at its highest quality. The design of the restaurant is also a must see! Old wood, lighting, and other details allow guests to enter the idea of a ship at sea with yummy lobster, oysters, and crudo galore.
3300 Bristol St
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
Ironwood is a similar concept of San Clemente’s Vine Restaurant and Bar but with a brand new look and personality created by the owner, Russ Bendel, Chef Jared Cook, and business partners Kyle Simpson, Gabe Whorley, and Kevin Franke. The fresh ingredients from the shared garden of both restaurants compliment the wine country cuisine and décor. Although only open for dinner, the menu includes items that are made from scratch and unique with personality only to Ironwood. Home to the infamous giant meatball with house made pasta and pomodoro sauce and must try starter crispy meyer lemon and honey duck wings accommodate guests celebrating any occasion or group size. With views of the Saddleback Mountain range, a full bar, open seating, and heated outdoor patio seating, Ironwood is warm, inviting, and approachable.
25250 La Paz Rd
Laguna Hills, CA 92653
These 10 New Restaurants in Orange County Will Make Your Mouth Water