Each year, the highly anticipated OC Restaurant Week (March 1-7) arrives with every one scrambling to figure out which restaurants to visit in this one week. Each year, new restaurants are added, making it even more difficult to choose. I always tell people that the purpose of OC Restaurant Week is for you to acquaint yourself with restaurants you may have been meaning to try, but somehow, found yourself not want to commit because of one reason or another. This is the time to do it! Participating restaurants will offer lunch and/or dinner prix fixe menus ranging between $10-$20 (lunch) and $20-$50 (dinner). With over 100 restaurants to choose from, how in the world will you pick?
Well, here’s how! I am going to give you my top picks and you can decide whether to just go with my suggestion, or pick one of your choosing. Don’t forget to let me know how your experience went after your dine! I will also be linking previous posts of the restaurants whenever possible so you can take a look if you wish.
Each year, we celebrate one of my girlfriend’s birthday at an OCRW restaurant and this year, she picked Chef Cathy Pavlos’ Provenance. I’ve visited many times for lunch, but this will be the first time I will be having dinner there. The restaurant boasts an incredible garden which supplies some of the ingredients you will find on your plate. The menu is impressive with many choices on the $40 dinner prix fixe, including New Zealand lamb chops and wild Californian snapper.
One of the restaurants I never miss out on is The Ranch Restaurant & Saloon in Anaheim. This year, I will be visiting with friends who have never been before. This is one of my favorite restaurants in Orange County with impeccable service and a hearty, but upscale dining menu by Chef Michael Rossi. I see the Confit of Muscovy Duck Leg is making its appearance once again — guess what I’m ordering? This is one of the best OCRW menus offered each year because they do not shrink the portion size whatsoever. What you get during this week is exactly the same as you’ll see when you return to the restaurant at a later date. Here’s our experience from last year’s OC Restaurant Week.
Bruno’s Trattoria in Brea offers up an incredible menu with eight appetizer choices and six entrees for your selection. Included are the delicious arancini to start, followed by the stellar pappardelle Bruno. The $30 dinner menu also includes a dessert. This menu is an absolute steal! I suggest going with at least three friends so you can order a good variety of dishes to try. You can read about my experience at Bruno’s from a few years ago here.
If you haven’t stopped by The North Left yet, this is the perfect opportunity to do so. Their 5-course dinner menu for $50 looks splendid, and with three choices in each course (except dessert) to choose from, even three people will be able to eat the entire menu! I love both Chef Ryan Adams and Chef Aron Habinger so this is definitely one of my picks even though I’m not sure I’ll have the time to visit myself. Read about my last experience here.
And last but not least, Vitaly is a little cafe at The Camp in Costa Mesa. I love the atmosphere and gelato, but even better are the piadina (Italian flatbread sandwich) which they make on site. But did you know they offer more than just these little eats? Owner Maurizio Cocchi has added Italian favorites such as lasagna and gnocchi to the dinner menu. The $30 dinner prix fixe is a 3-course meal ending with two scoops of their house-made gelato. I spent a lovely afternoon with Maurizio making piadina — you can read about it here.
So there you have it! Happy eating and don’t forget to let me know where you go and which were your favorites!