Best Orange County, CA Restaurants

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    8. Sapphire Laguna

    Set in a charming, wood-clad cottage, this much-favored restaurant enjoys a creative bent in both food and decor. Inside, local art and pottery, handmade light fixtures, reclaimed wood flooring, and other decorative...

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    6. Stonehill Tavern

    Tucked away in the St. Regis Monarch beach, glamorous, sophisticated Stonehill Tavern is a far cry from the earthy tavern premise its name asserts. Rather, the Michael Mina enterprise revels in perfectly prepared New...

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    5. Studio

    A lovely, light-filled interior boasts accents of wood and stone within its Craftsman-inspired space and invites diners to enjoy window-scooping views of the ocean as they dine on revered French-Californian cuisine....

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    4. 9 Style Sushi

    Unless you are specifically looking for 9 Style Sushi you won't find it. It's tucked away on a side street near downtown San Clemente in a nondescript shopping center with a convenience store on one side and a...

    Photo courtesy of Kristi Marcelle
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    2. Old Vine Cafe

    Located in The Camp, a hipster anti-mall in Costa Mesa, Old Vine Cafe is a cozy cafe that serves fresh, seasonal food in a casual ambiance. The quality of the ingredients shines through in traditional and inventive...

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    1. Marché Moderne

    A gathering place for local power brokers and celebrating couples, this husband-and-wife-owned restaurant benefits from personalized attention and Florent and Amelia Marneau's love of food. The classy space,...

Local Expert Restaurant Recommendations

About Orange County, CA Restaurants

The restaurant scene in Orange County is an eclectic mix of small local restaurants beloved by surfers, casual dining with a view and upscale fine dining at area resorts.  Many offer nightly happy hour specials and entertainment on weekends.  The culinary scene continues to evolve as more restaurants source local produce and ingredients for their seasonal menus.

One thing you should not miss is a meal with a view. There are many restaurants with ocean and harbor views where you’ll often see a sea lion lazily swimming around or a pod of dolphins gliding by. In the Dana Point Harbor diners have front row seats for the show between the sea birds and the fisherman.  At the Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel floor to ceiling windows and an outdoor patio take in the sunset over Catalina Island.  Or try one of the restaurants on the local piers for a close up look at the surfers and marine life. 

And only in Orange County at South Coast Plaza does the dining scene rival the shopping scene.  Seasonal ingredients at Seasons 52, date night worthy dinners at Marché Moderne  and a monthly fashion show at Anqi are just a few of the dining highlights at the mega upscale shopping center.  

About Kristi Marcelle

Originally from Wisconsin, Kristi Marcelle found her passion for travel after studying and volunteering in Quito, Ecuador for two years.  She’s lived in Southern California for over ten years and is continually impressed by the natural beauty and the endless travel opportunities.  Orange County’s eclectic mix of beach towns and...  Read more »

Read more about Kristi here.

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