#Lifestyle : Top Restaurants That Opened In Orange County In 2016.

As 2016 comes to an end, one thing is for sure: Orange County’s dining scene continues to improve, with new places opening up. Both those who enjoy going out and trying new places, or those that consider themselves true foodies, can use this list of new restaurants below as a checklist of new eateries to try. These are the best restaurants that opened in 2016 in Orange County.

(credit: @damoneats)

440 S Anaheim Blvd.
Anaheim, CA 92805
(714) 502-0255

URBANA opened on in August of 2016, and is the most colorful restaurant inside the Anaheim Packing House. Owner Javier Cuadra patterned with Chef Ernie Alvarado serve Michoacán street food with fresh, high quality ingredients, while their cocktails are hand crafted, using fresh pressed juices in their Tequila & Mezcal inspired menu. Their most popular dish is the Tacos Dorados, a potato filled crispy tacos topped with house made salsa roja, cabbage, pickled red onion and micro cilantro.

(credit: Lily Stein Photography)
(credit: Lily Stein Photography)

AVEO Table + Bar
Monarch Beach Resort
1 Monarch Beach Resort N
Dana Point, CA 92629
(949) 234-3915

Opened in the newly re-imagined Monarch Beach Resort, AVEO Table + Bar offers a selection of fresh coastal Mediterranean fare. The restaurant and bar’s bright and open space emanates a distinct coastal luxury feel with floor-to-ceiling windows while guests may also dine on the outdoor terrace and enjoy panoramic views of the sea. The restaurant’s cuisine highlights the best of the Mediterranean, with dishes inspired by local influences and an emphasis on organic and sustainable ingredients drawn from new and longstanding partnerships with local fishermen, ranchers, farmers and food artisans. One if it’s signature dishes is The Spanish Paella made of: prawns, clams, mussels, Spanish rice, sweet peas, chicken, chorizo, sausage and saffron

(credit: Coastal Kitchen)
(credit: Coastal Kitchen)

Coastal Kitchen
34091 Pacific Coast Hwy
Dana Point, CA 92629
(949) 449-2822

Coastal Kitchen opened in June and embraces the relaxed southern California vibe through quality dishes of sustainable seafood, farm-fresh salads, artisanal sandwiches and premium dry-aged steaks in a comfortable and friendly atmosphere. The restaurant, which features large wood tables, deep navy upholstery and nautical decor, opened in the Lantern District of Dana Point where Chef Palma has added his personal touches to the seasonal seafood menu​ ​with ​popular dishes such as the Cioppino, made with pan-seared scallops, sautéed​ ​shrimp, jumbo lump blue claw crab, manila clams, PEI mussels, grilled Batard bread and topped with fresh herb.

(credit: Anchor Hitch)
(credit: Anchor Hitch)

Anchor Hitch
27741 Crown Valley Pkwy
Mission Viejo, CA 92691
(949) 226-8949

Anchor Hitch, a seafood and rawbar restaurant that specializes in California coastal cuisine, opened in May on the top level of Kaleidoscope Mission Viejo. The menu is inspired by Chef Michael Pham’s global influences with the food he grew up eating in Southern California, highlighted by the team’s love for impeccably-sourced seafood. Coming out of the kitchen are original, artistic plates like the decadent Uni Pasta, crafted with fresh egg noodles, sous vide poached egg, uni cream and top-quality Santa Barbara uni.

(credit: Kona Grill, Inc.)
(credit: Kona Grill, Inc.)

Kona Grill
Irvine Spectrum Center
623 Spectrum Center Dr.
Irvine, CA 92618
(949) 535-1010

Kona Grill, the fast-growing American grill concept, opened its first California restaurant in April in the Irvine Spectrum Center. Serving guests a global menu which features contemporary American favorites, award-winning sushi, and specialty cocktails, Kona Grill offers food made from scratch using the freshest ingredients. Guests can sit in their large patio dining space or marvel at their custom-designed aquarium and an expansive bar while enjoying their signature Macadamia Nut Chicken with a pineapple-papaya marmalade.

(credit: The Public House)
(credit: The Public House)

The Public House
138 West Commonwealth Ave.
Fullerton, CA 92832
(714) 870-0039

Evans Brewing Company opened its first restaurant and tasting room The Public House, in October in the SOCO District of downtown Fullerton. Complimenting the company’s craft ales and lagers, Chef Amanda Platt features an inventive variety of pub food made in their kitchen, featuring brick-oven hand-pulled flatbreads, house-ground ribeye and pastrami blend hamburgers, artisanal sandwiches and more. Adorned with artwork highlighting the brand’s Orange County and California roots and a broad spectrum of live music, The Public House is warm and inviting restaurant for a beer and elevated pub food.

(credit: Corinne Mosqueda)
(credit: Corinne Mosqueda)

400 N Broadway
Santa Ana, CA 92701
(657) 245-3466

Irenia Supper Club started as a pop-up concept by couple chef Ryan Garlitos and Sarah Mosqueda, hosting roughly one Filipino focused dinner a month at different locations in Orange County. After gaining much successes, they dropped “Supper Club” from its name and opened their first brick and mortar location, serving modern Filipino cuisine in June of 2016. Named for Chef’s grandmother and taking cues from classic Filipino dishes, chef Garlitos has created some deliciously imaginative plates. Their most popular dish is the Pork Belly Adobo, slow roasted pork belly, adobo jus, mung beans, braised mustard, turnips and spring onion.

(credit: 100eats)
(credit: 100eats)

The District, Union Market at the District
2493 Park Avenue
Tustin, CA 92782
(657) 208-2088

Hatch, which opened in Spring at the Union Market Tustin at the District, is the brainchild of Chef Andrew Singh and Chef Steve Takashi. After the option of choosing a protein and building their own sliders, or selecting one of the options from the menu, guests can pair their meal with an ice cold craft beer or a refreshing tiki cocktail. Try The Hatch slider or the Soft Shell Crab Slider, made with a Furikake bun, fried softshell crab, togarashi aioli and greens.

(credit: Ways & Means Oyster House)
(credit: Ways & Means Oyster House)

Ways & Means Oyster House
21022 Pacific Coast Highway
Huntington Beach, CA  92648
(714) 960-4300

Ways & Means Oyster House opened in the beginning of the year at the brand-new oceanfront shopping and dining complex Pacific City in Huntington Beach. Created in the tradition of world-class oyster bars from around the globe, Ways & Means menu features an assortment of ocean-fresh oysters on the half shell, daily specials such as whole Maine lobsters and seasonal small plates of sustainable seafood and a variety of craft cocktails. Along with fresh seafood, guests can enjoy waterfront views from their extensive outdoor patio and shop for nautical and beach-inspired decor, kitchen tools and gifts at its Ways & Means Home Store.

(credit: Café Gratitude)
(credit: Café Gratitude)

A, 1617 Westcliff Dr. #112
Newport Beach, CA 92660
(949) 386-8100

Cafe Gratitude, the plant-based casual eatery, opened an upscale iteration of its sister restaurant in February 2016 in Newport Beach. Named simply Gratitude, the finer dining restaurant offers a gourmet plant-based cuisine from Executive Chef Dreux Ellis and an inventive bar program from Beverage Director Jason Eisner. Think formal white tablecloth combined with larger vegan dinner plates like its most popular dish Liberated pad Thai kelp noodles made with Thai almond sauce, carrots, red bell pepper, shredded kale, teriyaki almonds and sunflower sprouts.

(credit: Darin Meyer)
(credit: Darin Meyer)

Farmhouse Restaurant
2301 San Joaquin Hills Rd.
Corona Del Mar, CA 92625
(949) 640-1415

Located at Roger’s Gardens in Corona Del Mar, Farmhouse opened in September and serves a unique farm-to-table menu by Chef Rich Mead. Located in a garden center, the location, the food and the ambiance of the restaurant combine to make this a unique venue. The food, wines, and beverage program are derived from the relationships Chef Mead has created with farmer friends as he has been a proponent of the field to fork movement in Orange County. One of their menu highlights is the Herb Roasted Jidori Chicken, served with roast carrots, Brussels sprouts, cipollini onions and Weiser Farms pee wee potatoes

(credit: Manfred Lassahn)
(credit: Manfred Lassahn)

Pete’s Sunset Grille
21500 Beach Blvd.
Huntington Beach, CA 92646
(714) 845-4775

Unveiled at the start of the summer at the Hyatt Regency, the freshly renovated beachy restaurant, Pete’s Sunset Grille is located on the former site of the famous Mallory Surf Board Factory. Perfect for casual dining, family fun and beachy eats the menu features specialty dishes from surf destinations around the world. Guests can try “Pete’s” Famous Fish Tacos and an array of beach-inspired cocktails.

(credit: heather d./yelp)
(credit: heather d./yelp)

Other Notable Mentions

Other great restaurants that opened in Orange County in 2016 include the American traditional Bluegold restauanrat in Huntington Beach, EMC Seafood & Raw Bar, with great oysters and seafood, as well as The Recess Room.

Article by Jarone Ashkenazi is a freelance writer who covers: restaurants, bars, dating, relationships, sports and other lifestyle topics. More of his work can be viewed at http://www.jaroneashkenazi.com. Connect with him on Twitter: @JaroneAsh.

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