What’s Cooking In The OC: This Season’s New & Notable Restaurants

Davio’s, Irvine 
Located at the base of upscale Irvine Towers, Davio’s Northern Italian Steakhouse is quickly becoming a top favorite by local steak connoisseurs. Whether you are stopping by for happy hour or indulging in a three-course meal, the overall dining experience you have at Davio’s far exceeds any expectation you had in mind. Get ready to be taken on a culinary adventure East Coast style as you have your taste buds elevated through the workmanship of Davio’s Executive Chef, Istvan Toth. Born and raised in Hungary, Toth moved to New York City at nineteen after obtaining his culinary degree at Le Cordon Bleu Culinary School solidifying his love affair for cooking. Today his craft is recognized for continually creating new, innovative dishes with flavor profiles that prove he is in a chef standing all his own. From start to finish everything about this restaurant is first-rate from Davio’s culinary team to the elegant atmosphere. The airy 10,000-square-foot space is impressive from the second you walk in the door. A stylish bar and lounge area position guests to a front row seat for watching the house chefs prepare their dishes while a covered outdoor patio provides an ideal spot to grab a drink after work. As you take your place at the table, you catch your eyes gazing at the impeccably crafted items that are coming from the kitchen. Start your evening with the Marchi Sampler an assortment of Spring Rolls ranging from Chicken Parm to Philly Cheese Steak. For the main event, the Scottish Salmon or fresh Main Lobster Roll are both mouth-watering options that will have you coming back time and time again.

The Blind Pig, Rancho Santa Margarita
Created over a couple of beers and a dream, The Blind Pig, showcases an expansive seasonal menu of American cuisine with a wide selection of craft beers and cleverly named specialty cocktails. Featuring weekly specials from Wine & Whiskey Wednesday to Kill the Keg Thursdays this speakeasy-style eatery attracts crowds of all ages looking for a fun dining experience any night of the week. The culinary team onsite showcases menu items with locally sourced ingredients that set a new standard for comfort food. Their dedicated mixologists have concocted truly one-of-a-kind refreshments with a presentation that is as impressive as the explosive flavor. It is rare to find a restaurant that offers such inventive drinks and noteworthy entrees. The visionary minds at the restaurant are not afraid to blend ingredients that have never been combined before, and so far their ideas are paying off.
 
Ocean at Main, Laguna Beach
Featuring coastal California cuisine prepared by award-winning Chef Craig Strong, Ocean at Main is a must-visit for anyone passing through Laguna Beach. With the opening of the restaurant, Strong has returned to his native SoCal roots bringing his knowledge and experience to each dish.  From the first bite, it is evident why Ocean at Main is already the talk of the town. Dishes such as the Grilled Pacific Swordfish and Dungeness Crab Cavatelli are just a glimpse of the recommended selections you’re sure to love. No spectacular meal out would be complete without trying one of the restaurant’s sweet delights. You can’t go wrong with the Whipped Coconut Custard or Warm Apple Crisp, and the Seasonal Sorbet is a fruity refreshment perfect after a day in the sun.
Coastal Kitchen, Dana Point
There is no question that Orange County is home to some of the best waterfront dining in the World, but Coastal Kitchen is a standout all its own. Dating back to the 1920’s the property was once a commercial building and now an all-time favorite gathering spot offering the highest quality food in a friendly atmosphere making you feel right at home. Located off one of SoCal’s most beautiful beaches Coastal Kitchen boasts stunning sunset views, with signature dishes served in a laid-back setting, making this restaurant a triple threat. Coastal Kitchen owners Michael and Christina Grant strive to create a memorable dining experience for guests every day, treating each customer like family ensuring every meal here is a notable standout. Coastal Kitchen’s menu is an authentic melody of fresh Seafood and American fare that will have you transforming into a regular after your first bite. Toast to your visit with a Dutch Mule, mixed to perfection with Nolet’s Gin, Ginger Beer, and Grapefruit. Pair your libation with the Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes or Pan Roasted Grouper with Crispy Rock Shrimp; both are foodie favorites found here that will take your meal to the next level. Follow-up the evening with an order of the restaurant’s signature S’mores Pie, a recipe inspired by Grant’s children’s favorite treat. The combination of Graham Cracker Crust, Chocolate Mousse, and Meringue together are sure to satisfy any discerning palate.