33 Best Orange County Restaurants (in 2023)
Orange County restaurants stack up considerably against the top restaurants in all of California. Whether you’re looking for a quick bite to grab after your surf sesh or want a 5-star candlelit establishment to celebrate something big, Orange County has it all!
As a Southern California local, I’ve eaten at hundreds of OC restaurants. In this guide, I’ll recommend 33 of my favorite places to eat in Orange County.
Table of Contents
- 33 Best Orange County Restaurants
- Summit House Restaurant
- The Capital Grille
- Puesto Anaheim
- Butcher’s House Brasserie
- Anaheim Packing House
- Bosscat Kitchen & Libations
- Gabbi’s Mexican Kitchen
- Farmhouse at Roger’s Gardens
- Felix Continental Cafe
- Seasons 52
- The Beachcomber
- Mastro’s Steakhouse
- The Filling Station Cafe
- Nick’s San Clemente
- Fly N Fish Oyster Bar and Grill
- Baci di Firenze Trattoria
- Orange Hill Restaurant
- El Ranchito
- Sugar Shack Cafe
- Eddie V’s Prime Seafood
- Original Pancake House
- Hidden House Cafe
- The Hangout Restaurant & Beach Bar
- Napa Rose
- Wilma’s Patio Restaurant
- El Adobe de Capistrano
- Sandy’s Beach Shack
- Antioine’s Cafe
- Spaghettini Italian Grill and Lounge
- Ruby’s Diner
- FAQs About Where to Eat in Orange County
Disclosure: Travel Lemming is an independent reader-supported blog. You can support us by purchasing via the affiliate links on this page, which may earn us commissions. See our Advertising Policy for further explanation. Thank you!
33 Best Orange County Restaurants
Summit House Restaurant
🍽️ Steakhouse | ($$ to $$$$) | Website | 📍 Google Maps | 📞 (714) 671-4111
Take your loved ones out to celebrate a special event at Summit House Restaurant, one of the best restaurants in Fullerton. Centrally located on a hill overlooking the town, this steakhouse is also incredibly photographable.
An indoor fire keeps customers nice and toasty during the winter months at this inn-style eatery. The Summit House Restaurant is only open for dinner. It often fills to capacity, especially on the weekends. So I recommend making a reservation beforehand to guarantee a table.
The Capital Grille
🍽️ Fine Dining | ($$$ to $$$$) | Website | 📍 Google Maps | 📞 (714) 432-1140
The Capital Grille is a great choice if you’re looking for some top fine dining by the beach. Located in one of the most famous malls in Southern California, the South Coast Plaza, this fancy OC restaurant is the perfect spot to head for elaborate work parties or to celebrate a milestone anniversary.
I recommend starting with the lobster bisque, then delighting in the filet mignon, and finishing with The Capital Grille cheesecake for lunch. If visiting for dinner, you must try the fresh oysters to start and the pan-seared sea bass with miso butter for an entree.
🍽️ Modern Mexican | ($$ to $$$) | Website | 📍 Google Maps | 📞 (714) 294-0362
Puesto Anaheim is one of the best places to visit either before or after Disneyland. This modern Mexican restaurant/bar is right across from one of the most famous theme park in California and is one of the coolest places to hang out while waiting for your older kids to finish enjoying their time in the amusement park.
You can typically find an open seat or two at the bar during the week or you can make reservations ahead of time to sit down for dinner. I recommend the potato taquitos and tacos de verduras for the vegetarians and the ceviche verde and carnitas tacos for meat eaters.
Butcher’s House Brasserie
🍽️ French | ($$ to $$$) | Website | 📍 Google Maps | 📞 (714) 714-0662
This Costa Mesa French steakhouse is guaranteed to be one of your new favorite places to eat in Orange County. Located only a few blocks from Huntington Beach, Butcher’s House Brasserie offers both outside brunch seating and dimly lit indoor seating for a more romantic experience after hours.
You must try the omelets and duck confit for brunch and the grilled eggplant and New York steak for dinner. Butcher’s House is also a popular spot for hanging out and grabbing drinks on the weekend. Order the Lillet Blanc Spritz or Sangria while catching up with old friends.
🛎️ Need a Hotel? Avenue of the Arts Costa Mesa is one of the highest-rated hotels in the area and a great choice for where to stay in Orange County.
Anaheim Packing House
🍽️ Food Court Fusion | ($ to $$$) | Website | 📍 Google Maps | 📞 (714) 533-7225
Besides Disneyland and an Angels baseball game, the Anaheim Packing House is one of the most popular things to do in Orange County. This trendy food court is the site of many Instagram photos, thanks to its aesthetically-pleasing hanging botanical display.
Be sure to venture into the packing house hungry because there are plenty of food options that are sure to satisfy your appetite. My top choices include Cajun Specialties, Adya Indian Flavors, the Black Sheep grilled cheese bar, Popbar gelato, and Pie Hole.
🍽️ Cuban | ($$ to $$$) | Website | 📍 Google Maps | 📞 (949) 419-0100
Habana’s is a great place to try Cuban food, especially if it’s your first time. Enjoy lunch in the sunny courtyard or opt for an indoor meal in the colonial-style two-story interior. Habana is one of the best restaurants in Orange County for Central American food and should be on every foodie’s list.
Vegetable empanadas, papaya salad, and plantain crusted chicken are mouthwatering options for brunch and the paella, tamal de halibut, and rum pepper shrimp are great options for dinner.
Note that Habana has locations in Costa Mesa and the Irvine Spectrum; if weekend reservations are booked at one, check the other!
Bosscat Kitchen & Libations
🍽️ American | ($$ to $$$) | Website | 📍 Google Maps | 📞 (949) 333-0917
This modern yet rustic OC restaurant is the perfect option for meat and liquor enthusiasts in Orange County. With two locations in Orange and Irvine, Bosscat Kitchen & Libations offers double the mouth-watering goodness.
The old-timey, whiskey bar interior is itself worth the visit and the delicious food is a happy plus. The mushroom + quinoa burger satisfies non-meat eaters and carnivores devour the 12-hour beef short rib and the butcher-cut pork chop.
Where do we even start with the drinks available at Bosscat Kitchen & Libations? Choose from over 100 whiskeys, deliciously crafted cocktails, and beer and wine aged to perfection. Bosscat Kitchen certainly gives top California breweries a run for their money.
Gabbi’s Mexican Kitchen
🍽️ Mexican | ($$ to $$$) | Website | 📍 Google Maps | 📞 (714) 633-3038
Next time you’re in Orange, you must check out Gabbi’s Mexican Kitchen! Equipped with a full bar, this restaurant highlights the rich culinary flavors from Mexico and incorporates modern gastronomy with Indigenous Mexican cuisine.
Gabbi’s supports local farmers, with the freshness evident in the crisp taste of the guacamole and ensalada de citricos. You also can’t go wrong with any of the house tacos, from carnitas to pollo, vegetables, and camarones. These tacos are up there with the best restaurants in Los Angeles.
Not in the mood for tacos? Pozole verde and enchiladas suizas are my other favorite dishes.
Farmhouse at Roger’s Gardens
🍽️ American | ($$ to $$$) | Website | 📍 Google Maps | 📞 (949) 640-1415
This Corona Del Mar barnhouse-style eatery is one of my top beach restaurants for the aesthetics alone. The outdoor seating, oak walls, and surrounding forest foliage make Farmhouse at Roger’s Gardens one of the top restaurants in Orange County.
I order the gorgonzola and granny smith apple salad every time I visit the Farmhouse, as well as the cauliflower steak. Meat eaters love the grilled albacore tuna sandwich and grilled soy dijon rubbed pork tenderloin.
Felix Continental Cafe
🍽️ Cuban | ($$ to $$$) | Website | 📍 Google Maps | 📞 (714) 633-5842
One of the top Cuban restaurants in the city of Orange, Felix Continental Cafe offers authentic cuisine the whole family will love! Felix’s has been open for business for over 40 years and has certainly mastered their craft.
If you find yourself at Felix Continental Cafe for breakfast, give the Tex Mex or huevos rancheros plates a try. For lunch, I recommend the masas de puerco frita, and for dinner, the carne con papas or the picadillo criollo. Don’t leave without trying the traditional Cuban flan de Caramelo dessert.
🍽️ American | ($$ to $$$) | Website | 📍 Google Maps | 📞 (714) 437-5252
Seasons 52 boasts a fresh grill and 52 different wines by the glass. Wine connoisseurs flock to this Costa Mesa restaurant for the chance to taste a different wine each time. The fresh produce means the menu changes with the season too, offering the freshest possible entrees.
There’s something for everyone at Seasons 52, including various flatbreads, tacos, burgers, and sandwiches. I also highly recommend satisfying the sweet tooth with a bite of either the pecan pie mini or the flight of mini indulgences.
🍽️ American | ($$ to $$$) | Website | 📍 Google Maps | 📞 (949) 376-6900
After you spend an epic day surfing in California, take a stroll over to Crystal Cove’s Beachcomber cafe to indulge in some after-activity grubbing. Sit right on the beach at Beachcomber and have mimosas with a side of saline ocean air for weekend brunch.
Early morning breakfast is my favorite time to visit this waterfront American restaurant for the big stack of pancakes and the fresh fruit crepes but lunch and dinner are also popular times to eat here. Seafood meals are the name of the game at Beachcomber, would you expect anything less from a beach eatery?
Try the grilled shrimp tacos, ahi poke bowl, or the miso glazed butterfish for the best possible Crystal Cove restaurant experience.
🍽️ Steakhouse ($$$ to $$$$) | Website | 📍 Google Maps | 📞 (714) 546-7405
With over 10 locations in California, it’s safe to say that Mastro’s Steakhouse is a hit! Visit the two Orange County locations, either Costa Mesa or Newport Beach, depending on what’s closer to you.
This fancy Orange County restaurant has a “proper attire” etiquette, meaning no sandals, beachwear, gym clothes, or sweats allowed. Mastro’s Steakhouse is the best place to eat in Orange County for folks who appreciate the finer things in life.
If you’re feeling like living large, order the bone-in filet, rack of lamb, herb roasted chicken, or 8 oz filet.
The Filling Station Cafe
🍽️ Cafe | ($$ to $$$) | Website | 📍 Google Maps | 📞 (714) 289-9714
The outdoor patio seating at The Filling Station Cafe is ideal during a nice Southern California morning. Not to mention, this Orange County restaurant is pet-friendly, meaning you don’t have to leave your furry loved one at home!
It’ll be worth your while to check out the brunch menu at The Filling Station. The fresh flavors of the veggie omelet and fresh fruit pancakes won’t disappoint. Sandwiches, burgers, tacos, and quesadillas might hit the spot too if you’re more in the mood for an eclectic menu around lunchtime.
🍽️ American | ($$ to $$$) | Website | 📍 Google Maps | 📞 (714) 738-9339
This Fullerton restaurant has it all, from fresh green juice (pictured above) to fresh seafood, street tacos, wood-fired pizzas, and specialty cocktails. What started as a coffee and desserts-only establishment has since blossomed into an assorted mix of fusion dishes from around the world.
Rutabegorz sources its produce locally to ensure fresh flavors. Seasonal favorites include the strawberry sensation salad, Bill Murray curry wrap, and the Southwest quinoa bowl.
Nick’s San Clemente
🍽️ American | ($$ to $$$) | Website | 📍 Google Maps | 📞 (949) 481-2200
One of the fancier restaurants in San Clemente, Nick’s is the perfect place for business professionals and restaurant-goers who like the finer things in life. While there is patio seating available at Nick’s San Clemente, dogs aren’t allowed and my dog and I were turned away.
Upon my solo return, I did try Nick’s kale + quinoa salad and a glass of the Synthesis cabernet and enjoyed both. Other popular menu items include the pan-seared Scottish salmon, center cut filet, and the chicken piccata.
Fly N Fish Oyster Bar and Grill
🍽️ Bar & Grill | ($ to $$$) | Website | 📍 Google Maps | 📞 (949) 673-8400
One of the best places in Newport Beach for some freshly-caught seafood, Fly N Fish Oyster Bar and Grill is a must next time you’re in the area. Only a few minutes from Huntington Beach, this seafood restaurant offers indoor seating right on the beach so you can watch surfers do their thing while delighting in some tasty clam chowder.
I recommend visiting Fly N Fish during happy hour, Monday-Friday from 3-6 pm when half a dozen fresh shucked oysters are only $11 and select wines by the glass are only $9. Full-price menu items that can’t be beat are the fresh Mahi Mahi and the fresh swordfish.
Baci di Firenze Trattoria
🍽️ Italian | ($$ to $$$) | Website | 📍 Google Maps | 📞 (714) 282-2220
There’s certainly no shortage of delicious eateries in Anaheim. Located right on the Santa Ana River, Baci di Firenze Trattoria is the ideal restaurant to visit when you’re craving Italian food but don’t want to pay ridiculous fine dining prices.
There are plenty of vegetarian and non-vegetarian options for dinner, including eggplant parmigiana, risotto Maria, filetto Gabriella, and spinach pappardelle with seafood. This deliciously affordable Italian restaurant is located in the Anaheim Hills neighborhood, one of the best places to stay near Disneyland.
Orange Hill Restaurant
🍽️ Steak House | ($$$ to $$$$) | Website | 📍 Google Maps | 📞 (714) 997-2910
One of the most romantic destinations in California, Orange Hill Restaurant is the perfect place to affirm your love by candlelight. Feast by the fire overlooking the Orange County hills at Orange Hill Restaurant, one of the best viewpoints in the area.
Known for “prime steaks and primo views,” Orange Hill Restaurant is a hotspot for wedding receptions and banquet dinners and enforces a strict, non-casual dress code. For dinner, I suggest trying the Zinfandel braised short rib, crispy whole snapper, or Icelandic salmon.
🍽️ Mexican | ($$ to $$$) | Website | 📍 Google Maps | 📞 (949) 498-5000
One of my personal favorite Mexican restaurants in San Clemente, El Ranchito is mouthwatering and delicious and allows dogs on the outside patio! They offer plenty of vegetarian options, huge margaritas, and outdoor heaters during cool California nights.
I always order the veggie fajitas at El Ranchito but the enchiladas, chile relleno, and taquitos are also to die for. El Ranchito is the perfect place to eat to replenish the energy you spent surfing or swimming all day at San Clemente State Beach, one of the coolest Southern California beaches.
Sugar Shack Cafe
🍽️ Cafe | ($) | Website | 📍 Google Maps | 📞 (714) 536-0355
One of the most famous restaurants in Huntington Beach, Sugar Shack Cafe is a must while visiting this Southern California beach town. Located right on the main Huntington Beach drag, it’s impossible to miss this delicious breakfast eatery.
Breakfast burritos at Sugar Shack Cafe are the most popular menu item among hungry surfers and other crowd favorites include omelets and other egg meals like steak and eggs and ham and eggs.
Huntington Beach is one of the best things to do in Orange County for prime surfing, watching the U.S. Open of Surfing competition, and basking in the local surf culture of the town. You won’t want to skip Huntington Beach or Sugar Shack next time you’re around.
Eddie V’s Prime Seafood
🍽️ Seafood | ($$$$) | Website | 📍 Google Maps | 📞 (949) 720-9925
Put on your best dress and head on over to Eddie V’s Prime Seafood for a fine dining evening to remember. One of the nicest restaurants in Orange County, Eddie V’s is a Newport Beach staple that offers only freshly-caught seafood.
Start with some West Coast oysters before ordering either the Chilean sea bass, Norwegian salmon, or South African lobster for your main meal. For dessert, I recommend the bananas foster butter cake or the classic creme brulee.
Why not fully indulge in the nice evening out with one of Eddie V’s delicious cocktails like the smoked old fashion or the mango mule?
Original Pancake House
🍽️ Breakfast | ($ to $$) | Website | 📍 Google Maps | 📞 (714) 535-9815
Who doesn’t like pancakes? Anaheim’s Original Pancake House is a town staple that’s been around since before Disneyland was built. As you may have guessed, pancakes are the name of the game at this breakfast eatery and come in all sorts of fun flavors.
Enjoy apple, lemon, buttermilk, strawberry, pecan, sourdough, potato, banana, chocolate, and more pancake flavors at this highly-rated breakfast restaurant.
Hidden House Cafe
🍽️ Coffee House | ($ to $$) | Website | 📍 Google Maps
I rarely go to San Juan Capistrano without paying Hidden House Cafe a visit. While this is the only non-restaurant eatery on our Orange County eateries list, it’s so good it had to be included.
The lattes and cappuccinos are out of this world delicious and the hand-baked warm goods like the almond croissant (pictured above) are addicting, to say the least. You’ll find digital nomads working inside most days of the week and family members catching up on the outdoor patio during the weekends.
The Hangout Restaurant & Beach Bar
🍽️ American | ($$ to $$$) | Website | 📍 Google Maps | 📞 (562) 431-4888
This Seal Beach restaurant is truly the hangout spot in Southern California. Located just north of Newport Beach, The Hangout Restaurant & Beach Bar offers classic American cuisine with a special southern flare.
Located directly across from the Seal Beach pier, this restaurant is normally flooded with surfers, eager to replenish their energy with fat breakfast burritos or biscuits and gravy. This beach restaurant is also open for lunch and dinner and offers a variety of meat and seafood options as well as vegetarian-based meals like a Fuji apple salad.
🍽️ Californian | ($$$ to $$$$) | Website | 📍 Google Maps | 📞 (714) 781-4636
It’s impossible to visit Disneyland without trying out some of its award-winning restaurants like Napa Rose located in the California Adventure Grand Californian Hotel & Spa.
The upscale Californian dishes at Napa Rose source fresh, local ingredients and an extensive wine list in an elegant setting. Be sure to make reservations beforehand, as this restaurant often fills to capacity on the weekends.
📚 Related Reading: My Top Disneyland Tips
Wilma’s Patio Restaurant
🍽️ Breakfast | ($ to $$) | Website | 📍 Google Maps | 📞 (949) 675-5542
I grew up going to Willma’s Patio Restaurant on Balboa Island with my family and cannot recommend it enough. This breakfast joint has the biggest pancakes I’ve ever seen, perfect for visitors who like to share their plates.
The enclosed outdoor patio is one of my favorite places to relax in the late morning and listen to the muted sound of the beach breeze. Huevos rancheros, omelets, and Belgian waffles are other popular menu items at Wilma’s that are even offered at night!
El Adobe de Capistrano
🍽️ Mexican | ($ to $$$) | Website | 📍 Google Maps | 📞 (949) 493-1163
One of the best beaches in California, San Juan Capistrano, is home to a quaint downtown area with cute eateries, shops, and the historic Mission San Juan Capistrano. El Adobe de Capistrano is an adorable adobe Mexican restaurant that’s no stranger to wedding receptions and large family parties.
Some authentic Mexican food menu items include enchiladas, seafood chile relleno, lobster tacos, and chicken fajitas. This gem dining establishment is also a popular Orange County brunch spot with artisanal cocktails, a tasty breakfast burrito, and other brunch house specialties.
Sandy’s Beach Shack
🍽️ American | ($ to $$) | Website | 📍 Google Maps | 📞 (714) 374-7273
Sit right on the beach at Sandy’s Beach Shack, one of the most popular restaurants in Huntington Beach. I recommend sitting on the outside patio to watch the beachgoers stroll by. Dogs are also allowed on the outside patio.
I ordered the artichoke flatbread (pictured above) but Sandy’s Beach Shack is also a popular destination for creative cocktails, Sunday brunch, and other great food options like shrimp kabobs and salmon tacos.
🍽️ Cafe | ($ to $$) | Website | 📍 Google Maps | 📞 (949) 492-1763
Another top San Clemente eatery, Antionie’s Cafe is within walking distance of the beach and is the perfect dining option for picky eaters. This American-style cafe offers a variety of dishes, cocktails, and desserts to suit everyone’s palette.
Most of the American food at Antionie’s Cafe has a French twist, like the specialty crepes, avocado tartine, florentine benedict, and croque madame. This beach cafe is also an ideal spot to sip on mimosas with the gal pals or get caffeinated with some award-winning drip coffee before hitting the Pacific Ocean waves.
🍽️ Sandwich | ($ to $$) | Website | 📍 Google Maps | 📞 (714) 633-3900
Bruxie takes chicken and waffles to a whole new level. The signature waffle sandwiches at this Orange County restaurant are innovative, delicious, and huge enough to satisfy even the most intense appetite.
If it’s your first time at a Bruxie restaurant, you must try the classic waffle sandwich, or switch it up with the “kickin’ Nashville hot” sandwich or the buffalo chicken waffle sandwich. Other specialty waffle sandwiches include the roasted turkey club and rusted mushroom and goat cheese waffle sandwiches.
Before you leave, be sure to try one of Bruxie’s house custard shakes. These thick original shakes come in a variety of flavors like Oreo, strawberry, and Nutella.
Spaghettini Italian Grill and Lounge
🍽️ Italian | ($$$ to $$$$) | Website | 📍 Google Maps | 📞 (562) 596-2199
Enjoy fine dining pasta right on the beach at Spaghettini Italian Grill and Lounge. This Seal Beach establishment is only a short drive from both Huntington Beach and Newport Beach and doubles as a small Orange County music venue.
This eatery is especially popular for Sunday brunch when they do a live, 5-hour jazz radio broadcasting. Listen with ease as you sip on a liqueur cappuccino or a bloody mary, or while you snack on a house-made coffee cake.
Lunch and dinner are also popular times at Spaghettini. From creamy pasta dishes to tender meat plates, you’re guaranteed to love your Spaghettini experience.
🍽️ Diner | ($ to $$) | Website | 📍 Google Maps | 📞 (949) 675-7829
Ruby’s Diner at the end of the Newport Beach Pier is a beach landmark. I’ve been going to this diner ever since I was a little girl and the Oreo shakes, fries, and burgers are so good, I go back every time I’m at Newport Beach.
As one of the most recognizable diners in Orange County, Ruby’s Diner is a classic American establishment that evokes a sense of nostalgia. Conveniently located at the end of the beach pier, this is the perfect restaurant to visit after a long day of surfing or suntanning.
The rich, creamy milkshakes at Ruby’s Diner are to die for and the juicy burgers are other fan favorites. This diner is up there with other top La Jolla, San Diego restaurants.
FAQs About Where to Eat in Orange County
Does Orange County have good food?
Orange County has some of the best food in California. Top Orange County restaurants include The Capital Grille at the South Coast Plaza, Orange Hill Restaurant, and El Adobe de Capistrano among others.
Where do celebrities eat in Orange County?
Celebrities eat at fine dining restaurants in Orange County, preferably ones with outdoor seating or restaurants that offer delicacy foods like beef noodle soup, sandwiches with Guinness brown bread, or roasted bone marrow. Such places include Mastro’s Steakhouse, Summit House Restaurant, and Napa Rose.
What are the best restaurants in Orange County?
Ruby’s Diner, Nick’s San Clemente, Rutabegorz, and Knife Pleat with Chef Tony Esnault are the best restaurants in Orange County.
What is the best food in Orange County?
Food at a Chinese restaurant or sushi bar is among the top Orange County food. Other top meals include fresh seafood, carne asada tacos, pan Latin cuisine, steak tartare, and Peking duck.
Thanks for reading my complete guide on the top Orange County restaurants. Comment which is your favorite restaurant below!
Help us help you travel better!
Your feedback really helps ...
What did you like about this post? Or how can we improve it to help you travel better?