Get Your Passport Ready
The culinary scene is ever expanding around Orange County. We live in a community where celebrity chefs are opening restaurants in our backyard. The surge in chef owned restaurants has added another level to our dining experiences. There is also a focus on the quality of cuisine that has become available to us in recent years. Local businesses, farmers markets and food education have made the diner conscious of the choices they now have available. Food trucks turning towards brick and mortar are offering greater options than ever before. We are more aware of the food that is available and the benefits of offering sustainable, fresh ingredients.
Not only are we becoming more eco-conscious in our dining, but our palates have developed. We are willing to jump out of the comfort of familiar foods and try new things. Today is the era of poutine, charcuterie and sashimi—all available within a block of each other. It has become the melting pot of the melting pots.
Take a tour around the world. One day we want Cuban food and the next it might be Mediterranean or a taste of India. Luckily for us, we have all of these available right here in our backyard.
Must Have Item: Ahi Kebob Best: Fusion
Zov’s offers some of the finest Mediterranean, Middle Eastern and Armenian cuisine. The fusion of flavors offers a unique and creative menu. Order one of their beers from around the world for a truly worldly experience.
Must Have Item: Garlic Naan with a tomato chutney Best: Lentils
ADYA is a pleasant surprise that expands my palate and my knowledge of Indian food. Not everything is packed with heat, but rather tons of flavor! If no one were looking, I could eat the tomato chutney by the spoonful! The lentils are also a must try. They are slow cooked, like eight hours, to perfection. Think Indian street food. Yum!
Must Have Item: An’s Famous Garlic Noodles Best: Trendy Asian-fusion
Red, red, everywhere. This trendy spot offers the chicest in decor and the tastiest in cuisine. Come find out why they refer to their garlic noodles as “famous.”
Must Have Item: Ecuadorian Ceviche Best: Al fresco dining worldly cuisine orange county
Bistango offers New American cuisine with an expansive wine list and an amazing rotating art exhibit. Stop by Bistango for some of the finest al fresco dining. Enjoy Ecuadorian Ceviche under the stars for the perfect evening.
Must Have Item: Chef’s Choice Best: Chef’s tasting menu worldly cuisine orange county
This is the kind of place where you visit, and there aren’t that many decisions to be made. Enjoy an experience of the finest cuisine that Orange County has to offer. Not that you could really pick the wrong dish, but it’s best to leave it up to the chef.
Must Have Item: Tandoori Chicken Best: Tandoori worldly cuisine orange county
When I think of Indian food, I think spice, spice, spice! Clay oven offers a variety of dishes, ranging from normal to super spice. So bring whomever you’d like because they have a dish for any palate.
DAPHNE’S CALIFORNIA GREEK
Must Have Item: Cali-Greek Bowl Best: Gyros worldly cuisine orange county
Amazing gyros, falafels and crispy shrimp! Choose any one of these and put in your Cali-Greek Bowl. Experience a bowl with a unique flavor profile. This the perfect meal for someone who might not always eat stuffed grape leaves. I love fusion cuisine, and the Cali-Greek Bowl offers just that. The combination of traditional Mediterranean mixed with coastal California inspiration makes this cuisine inviting for anyone. Daphne’s also has a really cool radio station app that you can download and listen to as you ride your bike over for a perfectly balanced lunch. For the stuffed grape leaf lover, don’t worry, they have you covered as well.
Must Have Item: Chicken Cracklings Best: Brunch worldly cuisine orange county
A little birdie told me to visit here one day…and I’ve been coming back ever since. The brunch is perfect, especially when you can still get it at noon. Their eggs benedict features prosciutto, the craft cocktails are procured from the finest bartenders, and they offer the ultimate foodie experience with their six-course dinner with wine pairings. You have to try the Chicken Cracklings to start your experience.
Must Have Item: The Kobe Best: Noodles worldly cuisine orange county
The staff is very knowledgeable. So you’ve never been here before? Be sure to let them know so they take care of you! Order a shot of whiskey and make sure to get the spicy sauce.
Must Have Item: Chef’s choice Best: Prix-fixe menu worldly cuisine orange county
An old house converted into an elegant, polished dining room, this is the place you bring anyone (or that special someone) you want to impress.
DIN TAI FUNG
Must Have Item: Fish Dumplings Best: Dumplings worldly cuisine orange county
One of Taiwan’s most popular restaurants, with locations stateside in Seattle and Los Angeles, this famed dumpling joint has made its way to Orange County at South Coast Plaza. Lunch lines are long, and there’s a reason why. These famous dumplings are like no other— steamed to a delicate perfection.
Must Have Item: Edamame Falafel Best: Upscale pooch patio worldly cuisine orange county
Offering an upscale feel with a laid back vibe, Zimzala provides farm-to-table ingredients for both their food and cocktails. Bring your pooch and sit on the patio for some fresh air and tasty fare.
TWENTY EIGHT RESTAURANT AND LOUNGE
Must Have Item: Tea Chicken Best: Chinese worldly cuisine orange county
Celebrity chef Shirley Chung offers inventive modern Chinese cuisine to Orange County. Order one of the interactive dishes that’s finished table side.
Must Have Item: Bondisaurus Pork Ribs Best: Eclectic mix of flavors worldly cuisine orange county
Bondi Grill is the first flagship restaurant of Hurricane’s, coming from the land “down under.” With its unique mix of Asian, South African and, of course, Australian cuisine, and living by the mantra, “no drama, no worries, ” they invite you to their neck of the woods to try their modern fusion style of food.
FIG & OLIVE
Must Have Item: Manchego, Fig & Marcona Almond Crostini Best: Place to stay skinny while still indulging worldly cuisine orange county
Featuring French-Riviera inspired cuisine, you won’t feel bad about digging in at Fig & Olive. All dishes are sans butter or cream—the key ingredient is olive oil. Order the Crostini appetizer, mixing and matching from a wide and varied list of gourmet ingredients.
Must Have Item: Ropa Vieja Best: Cuban food worldly cuisine orange county
If you can’t take a trip to Cuba this weekend, don’t worry, you can still get a taste at Habana. The classic Ropa Vieja is a must try, with its slow-roasted beef, black beans, rice and dried bananas. It’s conveniently located in The Lab, so some shopping afterwards is inevitable.
Must Have Item: Wild Mushroom Garlic Noodles Best: Industry night worldly cuisine orange county
This is not your typical Asian fusion restaurant. Influenced by numerous mystical regions such as Thailand, Korea, India and Vietnam, Starfish provides
a variety of foods to please everyone. Stop in on Monday night for their “industry night” and receive 50 percent off of your bill.
Must Have Item: Chopitos Best: Tapas worldly cuisine orange county
When I go out to eat I like to go with lots of friends and then plan on not keeping my hands to myself. We cross arms leaning across the table trying everyone’s food. We come together in the center of the table with a celebratory toast that we are all just happy to be friends. This is the perfect dining experience.