The Summer Eat Sheet
It seems everyone who goes to the Anaheim Packinghouse food hall comes away loving the Indian food at Adya. Now, Chef/Owner Shachi Mehra is bringing her contemporary take on Indian classics like tandoori, naan, samosas, chicken tikka and rich curries to University Center, across from UCI. We suggest sampling a variety of dishes, but especially the pavs, which are billed as Bombay-style sloppy joes, and come in vegetable, potato and lamb varieties. There will also be imported and craft beer and wine, as well as non-alcoholic Indian drinks including mango lassi, and classic Masala Chai.
4213 Campus Dr.
Angelina’s Pizzeria Napoletana
Recently ranked as offering one of the 20 best pizzas in the county by the OC Register at its Dana Point location, the locally owned restaurant opened in late April at Los Olivos Marketplace. Known for its Neopolitan-style pizza, which is baked in a 900-degree wood-burning oven, Angelina’s also offers delicious pasta courses, as well as prime bone-in rib eye, fish and free-range chicken breast. We’re excited that the Irvine location (unlike Dana Point) will open at 7 A.M. for breakfast, seven days a week.
Los Olivos Marketplace
8573 Irvine Center Dr.
EMC Seafood and Raw Bar
We’re expecting this place to be an instant Irvine hot spot, and one of the prettiest of the new restaurants coming to the city. Featuring a large patio and cool, coastal design, the 7,600-square-foot spot replaces the Elephant Bar, which was a fun, if dated, place to grab a drink at the bustling center owned by Regency. The original EMC in L.A.’s Koreatown is known for its happy hours, drinks and a raw bar. Likely opening as this goes to press, we expect crowds to love the fresh and relatively inexpensive oysters, soft-shell crab sliders, grilled fish, lobster, and a $118 seafood tower.
14400 Culver Dr.
It’s hard to believe that The Lab has been around in Costa Mesa for some 20 years, and that Habana, the cool Cuban-style restaurant and bar has been there the whole time. So many consider it quite a coup that the hipster-friendly spot will open its second location at Irvine Spectrum this summer. We just hope the patio is half as romantic as the candlelit one in Costa Mesa, which is one of the best al fresco spots in all of OC.
71 Fortune Dr.
Kang Ho Dong Baekjeong
A popular Korean barbecue spot with locations in LA and Buena Park, Kang Ho-Dong Baekjeong is named after its owner, a celebrity and restaurant mogul in South Korea. The restaurant is joining EMC Seafood and Raw Bar at Heritage Plaza, and is also replacing a friendly and familiar spot, Denny’s. OC Weekly readers named Baekjeong the Best Korean Restaurant in Orange County, and the alternative weekly’s food critic (and everyone on Yelp) raves about how juices from searing pork cooking on the tabletop grill flow into a well of beaten eggs, “turning the mixture into the world’s best scrambled eggs.” For Korean barbecue aficionados, take note: it’s not all you can eat, as many expect.
14160 Culver Dr.
The new spot at the Spectrum recently opened, and already looks to be a crowd-pleaser for those who can’t decide what to have when going out to eat. The contemporary restaurant that now occupies a prime location across from Yard House and near Del Frisco’s Grille features “upscale American cuisine” along with a selection of sushi and other international choices. The large patio will surely be a favorite for after work gatherings, while the open kitchen (it’s behind glass), indoor/outdoor bar and giant aquarium are attractive amenities for all. The children’s menu is much more extensive than most, offering several kid-friendly choices ranging from chicken tenders to shrimp tempura, and each served with two sides (buttered noodles, sweet potato fries, etc.).
623 Spectrum Center
Irvine may soon have a battle for the hearts and palates of Szechuan/Sichuan cuisine fans, as the 6,000-square-foot Meizhou Dongpo opens at Culver Plaza Shopping Center, replacing the closed Marie Callender’s. Meizhou Dongpo is known as an upscale and contemporary chain of restaurants that have been serving millions of in over 100 locations across China since 1996. The menu offers familiar items such as kung pao chicken, pan seared scallops and house spicy beef, while roasted duck carved tableside is a specialty. For the many Irvine fans of top-rated Chong Qing Mei Wei Szechuan (as well as some who may have been intimidated by the spot in Orange Tree Square Center on Walnut and Jeffrey), the new restaurant looks to be a must try.
Culver Plaza Shopping Center
15363 Culver Dr.
Phans55 Vietnamese Bistro
This favorite for pho and other Vietnamese dishes, which has been part of The Plaza high-rise condo towers at Jamboree and Culver for several years, is opening a second Irvine location at Los Olivos Marketplace. The chic and contemporary original restaurants (there’s also one in Fullerton) offer traditional and chef-driven dishes. One thing that sets the menu apart is the quality of the often-organic produce and natural meat used, including hormone-free, grain-fed Sanderson Farms poultry, sustainable Thunder Ridge beef and all natural White Marble Farms pork.
Los Olivos Marketplace
8673-8697 Irvine Center Dr.
The curious stood in a long line at the grand opening of Los Olivos Marketplace to sample the gourmet tacos from a pop-up cart in the parking lot. We were instantly intrigued by how the tortillas are grilled atop a layer of cheese, which melts and then crisps up, forming another layer to the taco. Imagine the taste of the almost burnt fried cheese you can’t resist on your grill at home on each taco. Thrillist named the San Diego-based Puesto one of “the most important restaurants in San Diego” last summer, which makes us even more eager to eat there when the Irvine site opens at the end of this summer.
Los Olivos Marketplace
8577 Irvine Center Dr.
Texas de Brazil
If you’ve been to a Brazilian churrascaria restaurant like Agora, also in Irvine, then you know the drill at Texas de Brazil, opening where On the Border used to be on the Irvine side of The Marketplace. After visiting the expansive salad and appetizer bar, you turn your place card to green and wait for handsome carvers to approach with giant skewers of beef, chicken, lamb, pork and sausage. They’ll slice off some for you to try, and keep coming back until you signal them to stop. Brazilian friends suggest not to miss Picanha, a cut that’s sliced in thin sheets and eaten with rice and beans, and Alcatra, a style of sirloin.
13772 Jamboree Rd.