If you’re looking for the best restaurants, Orange County visitors, then here’s some good news: Southern California has some of the finest dining establishment in America. Whether you’re in the mood for steak or seafood, pasta or sushi, the O.C. has you covered. Here are three of our absolute favorites.
You can’t go wrong with Splashes Restaurant, in Laguna Beach. The bar is mere steps from the sand, there’s a massive wine list, and the seafood is as fresh as you’re ever going to find. Standouts are the crisp octopus appetizer with the white bean puree, the creamy lobster bisque, and the seared scallops with the black beluga lentils. It’s on the pricey side, but hey, you’ve got to treat yourself every once in a while.
If you’re a straight-up carnivore, then the Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse or Morton’s are always solid choices. However, we like to support locally owned establishments, which is why we’re partial to Hanna’s Restaurant and Bar, located in Rancho Santa Margarita, off the Santa Margarita Parkway. Start with a cocktail. Their 007 Martini will leave you shaken, not stirred, in the best possible way. For dinner, split the Tomahawk Ribeye with your date, medium-rare. It’s delicately seasoned and broiled at 1200 degrees. For dessert, it’s a toss-up between the toffee cheesecake with the pecan crust and the chocolate lava cake with espresso gelato.
Our third choice is the Din Tai Fun Dumpling House, in Costa Mesa. This very well might be the best Chinese in Orange County, and they have vegetarian and vegan options. We recommend the pork and crab soup dumplings as a starter. The noodles with minced pork sauce is a savory treat with a slightly spicy kick, or the fluffy red bean buns are delightful as well. For dessert, save room for the taro bun or the red bean rice cake.
We’ll be back next time with some more suggestions that will make eating out an event to remember. With so many fantastic options, visitors to Orange County are sure never to go home hungry.