Most everything here is cooked on a wood-fire grill and comes away with a distinctive smoky flavor, from the meatballs and quail to the charred bacon (served with quite possibly the OC’s best wedge salad).
But all that’s changed over the last five or so years -- thanks to an influx of new and innovative restaurants, the rising profiles of established spots, and a growing sense that the OC’s now a bona-fide culinary destination in itself.
Below, check out 35 places well worth the trek down the 405.
If you’re in the mood for something “ultimate” ask them to top it with with a fried egg to make it “Mermaid Fries.” The Anteater Burger!
Slapfish is all about school spirit and created a specialty burger that can only be found at the Slapfish Irvine location.
This grill-your-own Japanese BBQ place has drawn looong wait times for years, thanks to top-quality meats -- from the classics (boneless short rib and rib-eye) to the deliciously experimental (salted beef tongue, intestines, and liver). Pie-Not serves up traditional Australian pies, each taken up a notch with top-quality fillings (sirloin steak, lamb, chicken, vegetari-ugh-an) with a flaky crust and a no-silverware-allowed caveat.