15 Best Restaurants in Orange County, California

15 Best Restaurants in Orange County, California

With Orange County’s vibrant culture, it comes to no one’s surprise that its restaurant scene is just as lively. From classics that always know how to hit the right spot to new openings that are truly exciting, anyone who loves to dine out will surely find the area to be the perfect dining destination.

So if you’re looking for great places to try out in the OC, here are 20 of the hottest spots you should get reservations for, stat.

Best Restaurants in Orange County

Mix Mix Kitchen Bar

Everyone loves a good fusion cuisine restaurant as they will surely bring something different to the table. This is why Mix Mix Kitchen Bar is such an exciting place to visit as it combines Italian, French, and Filipino cuisine. It’s definitely a unique mix, so if you want to sample something different but not too unfamiliar, you’ll certainly find your match here. Yelp

Location: 300 N Main St Santa Ana, CA 92701, (714) 836-5158



If you loved Gabbi’s Mexican Kitchen, then you might want to check out Chaak as well. Also from the same folks behind the popular eatery, Chaak offers a different flavor as it’s focused on serving dishes from and inspired by the Yucatan peninsula.  The spot is lovely, too, ensuring that you’ll have a lovely time on your visit. Yelp

Location: 215 El Camino Real Tustin, CA 92780, (657) 699-3019


JA Jiaozi Authentic Dumplings

Dubbed as a sleeper hit by critics, Ja Jiaozi Authentic Dumplings is often compared to the globally famous xiao long bao purveyors, Din Tai Fung. The good news is, they hold up nicely to the competition and may even be more charming for those who aren’t too keen on global brands. Yelp

Location: 13776 Jamboree Rd Irvine, CA 92602, (714) 786-8999


Garlic and Chives

If there’s one place you can be sure to get the best regional cuisine in this country, it would be where the immigrants are. This is definitely true for Garlic and Chives, a certified Little Saigon hit. Situated inside the Mall of Fortune, also known as the heart of the Vietnamese Garden Grove, it shouldn’t be too surprising to find a sumptuous Viet eatery here.

Often compared to izakayas and pochas but with Vietnamese food, this small-plates restaurant often has a line so be ready to wait for a table. The food’s flavors will not let you down, though. Yelp

Location: 9892 Westminster Blvd #311 Garden Grove, CA 92844, (714) 591-5196


Burritos La Palma

For a country that loves Mexican food, there’s definitely a lot of great options available. What sets Burritos La Palma different, however, is that it really hit the right spot. Food critics, celebrities, industry experts, regular folks, and everyone else in between will tell you that their food is magnificent. Some even go as far as calling their burritos the best tacos in LA.

Confused? Give the place a visit and see for yourself what the fuss is about. You won’t regret it. Yelp

Location: 410 N Bristol St Santa Ana, CA 92703, (657) 266-0575


Kitakata Ramen Ban Nai

Hailing from Japan, Kitakata Ramen Ban Nai is one of those chains that make the public grateful for franchising. Their light broth and amazing noodles explain why they’re so popular they had to open three locations in Irvine. Yelp

Location: 14370 Culver Dr. SUITE C Irvine, CA 92604, (949) 932-0078


Taco Maria

With the numerous amazing taco shops in California, the competition is definitely stiff. Taco Maria, however, has nothing to worry about as its Chef Carlos Salgado manages to add a fresh twist to traditional recipes that feature heirloom products and pre-Hispanic ingredients to make his dishes extra special. Yelp

Location: 3313 Hyland Ave, Costa Mesa CA, 92626


Terrace by Mix Mix

Another offering by the folks behind Mix Mix Kitchen Bar is the Terrace by Mix Mix. They also offer a combination of Italian, French, and Filipino cuisine that will surely intrigue and excite your taste buds. Yelp

Location: 3333 Bear St #316 Costa Mesa, CA 92626, (657) 231-6447



It’s never easy for eateries to stay hip and relevant over the years, especially with the competition in the OC. However, this is not a problem for Vaca as their tapas, steak, paella, and wine have already created a dining destination in the locale. Yelp

Location: 695 Town Center Dr. Suite 160 Costa Mesa, CA 92626, (714) 463-6060


Louie’s by the Bay

There’s no shortage of magnificent eateries with stunning views of the water in Orange County but it doesn’t hurt to get to know one more option that’s worth visiting. Louie’s by the Bay will let you enjoy a sumptuous Italian meal with a 180-degree view of the Newport Bay so it’s definitely worth looking into. Yelp

Location: 2801 West Coast Hwy Newport Beach, CA 92663, (949) 720-1800


Lido Bottle Works

Despite being a drinks-focused restaurant by the beach, Lido Bottle Works also offers a complete experience with its friendly and tasty menu. Yelp

Location: 3408 Via Oporto Suite 103 Newport Beach, CA 92663, (949) 529-2784


Marche Moderne

This chic Orange County staple, Mache Moderne restaurant continues to be a top pick among locals and tourists alike for its exciting French with a modern twist cuisine and superb service. Yelp

Location: 7862 Pacific Coast Hwy Newport Beach, CA 92657, (714) 434-7900


Playa Mesa

Playa Mesa is one of those places that everyone agrees to be excellent. The fact that people are willing to troop out to their location early says a lot about the quality of their food. Yelp

Location: 428 E 17th St Costa Mesa, CA 92627, (949) 287-5292


Oliver’s Osteria

Dubbed as one of the best new Italian restaurants in the area, Oliver’s Osteria is geared towards greatness with its exciting beginnings. Aside from being helmed by Chef Erik de Marchi who was schooled in the IAL Culinary Academy of Italy and honed at the Angelini Osteria, you can certainly expect amazing things from this unassuming but grand eatery. Yelp

Location: 853 Laguna Canyon Rd Laguna Beach, CA 92651, (949) 715-0261



With a name and location as hip as Ironwood’s, it would really be a shame if it didn’t offer great food. It does, though, so it’s not surprising that it has always been one of Laguna Hills’ obsessions. Their food is made from scratch, so don’t even think that what they have to offer is overrated. Yelp

Location: 25250 La Paz Rd Laguna Hills, CA 92653, (949) 446-8772


Also, check out these 10 Best Vegan Restaurants in Los Angeles

Founder, Editor-In-Chief // A native Angeleno. John studied engineering at UCLA; founded Schmoozd, an offline social tech networking event in LA with 30,000 subs; ran a startup accelerator (StartEngine). Worked for several major brands like Toyota, DIRECTV, Hitachi, ICANN, and Raytheon. A mentor at Loyola Marymount University (LMU) Entrepreneur School, Dr. David Choi. And advises a dozen local LA startups building amazing tech in various industries; and invested in some. // Let's Connect: john@lastartups.com

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