From vegan restaurants to hair salons and everything in between, here are the Orange County hot spots that caught our eye in 2021.
From Angelina's Pizzeria Napoletana to Alessa by Chef Pirozzi, here are 13 places which transported us to Italy with authentic cuisine.
With ingredients imported from Italy and produce sourced from local farms, the pizza at Angelina’s is borderline artwork. From the menu to the aesthetics of the restaurant, everything at this pizzeria was carefully curated to take you to Italy. Alessa by Chef Pirozzi is a Laguna Beach favorite, and it’s pretty clear why. Offering outdoor dining and four delightful menus (lunch, dinner, dessert and drinks), the Italian eatery is a go-to for authenticity.
From Moulin to C’est Si Bon, here are the five bakeries whose goods had us hooked.
A trip to one of Moulin's five Orange County locations can satisfy a craving for a stroll down the Seine with a morning pastry in hand. The brainchild of chef-owner Laurent Vrignaud, the beloved bakery brings guests the most authentic Parisian experience possible with the best in pâtisserie, plus classic dishes like le croque monsieur. C’est si Bon, like its name’s English translation, “is so good.” Since 1979, C’est si Bon has been a neighborhood staple in Newport Beach and for good reason. Bread may be the star of the show, but the shop offers plenty of other goodies as well, ranging from sheet cakes and tarts to cookies and truffle cups.
From AVEO Table + Bar to Farmhouse at Roger's Gardens, here are five places where you can make the most of your Sunday Funday.
Book a gorgeous seaside brunch at AVEO Table + Bar at the newly rebranded Waldorf Astoria Monarch Beach Resort & Club. Enjoy dishes like smoked Scottish salmon with heirloom tomatoes and capers, and red velvet pancakes with cream cheese Chantilly paired with a plethora of freshly squeezed juices. Pull up a seat in the open-air dining room at Farmhouse at Roger’s Gardens and indulge in brunch staples from chef Rich Mead. Deviled eggs, seasonal frittatas and French toast delight while a bottle of bubbly or an order of the beloved Farmhouse Bloody Mary will have you feeling festive.
From Crystal Cove State Park to Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, here are our six favorite places to celebrate nature.
Crystal Cove has trails for hikers of all experience levels, from beginners to experts. The myriad beachside canyon paths offer a peek into the backcountry and its flourishing fauna and wilderness. Rare species, including mule deer, long-tailed weasels, bobcats and red-tailed hawks, await on the 40 miles of trails in Laguna Coast Wilderness Park's 7,000-acre oasis.
From Bear Coast Coffee to BLKdot Coffee, here are 12 coffee shops that imbibers couldn't get enough of.
Founded by Jeff Clinard in 2014, Bear Coast Coffee has grown from a pop-up to a beloved brew house with locations in Dana Point and San Clemente. Grab a cup of coffee at its waterfront shop in San Clemente and head across the street to walk the pier while sipping a warm beverage accented by its in-house sauces and flavorings, from lavender-infused caramel to nutmeg-accented vanilla. With four locations sprawled across Irvine, one in Laguna Beach and another coming soon to Long Beach, BLKdot’s cult following is spread across Orange County thanks to its slow-dripped Vietnamese craft coffee.
From Dolce Picnics to Hello Picnic OC, here are five posh picnic services to enlist when you want to celebrate something special.
The result of yet another pandemic-induced pivot, sisters Jillian and Tara Torcaso combined their professional backgrounds in corporate event planning and business to bring Dolce Picnics to life. Named after the phrase “la dolce vita” (a nod to the duo’s Italian heritage), Dolce Picnics offers 15 preset themes—or the option to create an entirely bespoke design. Whether you’re looking to spruce up date night, plan a special anniversary, host a baby shower or just escape the confines of your home, pop-up picnic rental and event planning service Hello Picnic OC has you covered. Full setup and breakdown services are included with each picnic rental, as are tables accommodating up to 14, flowers, all tableware and decor (the boho and luxury themes being fan favorites), and more.
From Afters Ice Cream to Bacio di Latte, here are 15 places to satisfy your sweet tooth.
Afters is anything but your typical ice cream shop. Here, creativity and culture blend together in a unique array of flavors like Jasmine Milk Tea, French Toast Churro and Cookie Monster. Bacio di Latte gelato is as authentic as it gets. Two Italian brothers bring you recipes and raw materials straight from Italy to Newport Beach.
From Monarch Beach Golf Links to Pelican Hill Golf Club, here are five gems golf lovers flocked to in O.C.
If links-style golf is something you enjoy, Monarch Beach Golf Links is well worth the visit. It’s hidden in the middle of a luxury residential area, but it’s open to the public and still has some amazing views of the Pacific shoreline. If a luxurious golfing experience is what you’re after, play a round at Pelican Hill. 36 holes, split into a North Course and South Course, both of which offer spectacular ocean views.
From Café Gratitude to Gracias Madre, here are seven places that give new meaning to plant-based.
Nothing tastes as good as healthy feels and that’s exactly how diners feel after eating at Cafe Gratitude in Newport Beach. Executive chef Seizan Dreux Ellis’ commitment to being grateful for food, the earth and human company is illustrated through his food made with only the freshest ingredients. Gracias Madre is a go-to for plant-based eaters who have an appreciation for great Mexican food. Start dinner off with the guacamole and chips, followed by the coconut meat tacos and guava cheesecake for dessert.
From Knife Pleat to Louie’s by the Bay, here are 10 go-to date places that promise to impress.
Indulge in South Coast Plaza’s finest French fare at Knife Pleat, the star-studded favorite from Michelin-starred chef Tony Esnault and restaurateur Yassmin Sarmadi, his wife. The pair are serving up delicious delicacies from crisp kampachi crudo to Tsar Nicoulai golden caviar. Enjoy views of the Newport Bay at Italian steakhouse Louie's by the Bay, where head chef Daniele Cambria is dishing up classic cuisine. Twirl your fork into cheesy cacio e pepe or share a 32-ounce bone-in tomahawk, doused in roasted garlic and rosemary glassato.
From DKW Styling Salon to East Eighteenth, here are six salons to turn to for a style refresh.
The brainchild of entrepreneur Danielle Kari White, inventor of Natural Beaded Rows hair extensions, Laguna Beach styling spot DKW Styling Salon specializes in giving you the long, luscious hair of your dreams and provides top-notch color services to ensure your tresses match your new locks. Megan Kiefer, the former owner of The Salon at Elyse Walker at Lido Marina Village, stepped out on her own in 2018 to open Costa Mesa’s uberchic East Eighteenth salon. Top-of-the-line Olaplex, Kerastasé and Shu Uemura products, among others, are featured in a range of cut, color and styling services from Kiefer and her well-curated team.