Outdoor Dining Options Expand & Abound In Orange County

Emilee Geist

ORANGE COUNTY, CA — As restaurants deal with indoor-dining crackdowns during the coronavirus pandemic, many are heading outside to keep business going.

Orange County restaurateurs are getting creative this summer, offering special menus and carving out socially distanced spaces in their backyards, courtyards, sidewalks, parking lots and patios to design welcoming, al fresco-dining spots.

Check out the regions’s latest eatery innovations, along with some new seasonal menus …

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–Photo courtesy of A Restaurant

A Restaurant, 3334 West Coast Hwy., Newport Beach, CA 92663

A Restaurant in Newport Beach will launch its new, open-air experience Thursday with tables under a spacious, outdoor tent. The legendary eatery, that dates to the 1920s, will serve wine and seasonal cocktails, plus its menu of classics and contemporary specials, courtesy of newly appointed Corporate Executive Chef Alfonso Ramirez, alongside Chef de Cuisine Roberto Gomez. Meals and bottles of wine also are available to-go with curbside pickup. Open daily 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Reservations are required and can be made at (949) 650-6505 or via the website.

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–Pork riblets photo courtesy of The Blind Pig

Blind Pig Kitchen + Bar, 4975 Lakeview Ave., Yorba Linda, CA 92886

The Blind Pig is rolling out a new, rotating menu at its Yorba Linda locale from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. for outside patio guests. Full bar service also will be available. Among the offerings: Pork Riblets made with tamarind chipotle, togarashi pepitas, scallions; Pan Roasted Chicken Breast with andouille sausage succotash and citrus croutons; and Mahi Mahi with pistachio romesco, fried potatoes and parsley salad. See patio menu here. Orders also can be made for to-go or delivery. Guests are asked to wear masks when entering the premises and leaving their tables, and masks will be provided if needed. Reservations are encouraged. Info here.

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–Photo courtesy of CdM

CdM Restaurant + Bar, 2325 E. Coast Highway, Corona Del Mar, CA 92625

The restaurant features outdoor dining on a heated patio with such chef-curated menu options as Piri Piri Chicken, Whole Crispy Branzino, “Dirty Pasta” and Chicken Pot Pie Calzone, along with starters and small plates. CdM’s bar director, Ravin Buzzell, also has unveiled a showcase of fresh summer cocktails featuring seasonal ingredients of grapefruit, sage, lemon and blood orange. Take a peek at this video with Buzzell and his innovative concoctions. Find more info on the eatery’s menu and reservations on the CdM website.

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–Photo courtesy of Cha Cha’s Latin Kitchen

Cha Cha’s Latin Kitchen

  • 110 W. Birch St., Brea, CA

  • 13126 Jamboree Road, Irvine, CA

Both Cha Cha’s locations offer outdoor, patio seating. And on Tuesdays, patrons can celebrate with a special $50 Taco Tuesday feast for three to five individuals that includes half-pound each of steak, chicken and carnitas, a pound of tortilla chips, a pint of fresh tomato salsa and a pint of rice, black beans, plus chipotle cabbage. Guests can also add a margarita quart for $25 for the perfect pairing. Fresh guacamole, shortribs and shrimp are also available for an add-on purchase. The Taco Tuesday online special is only available to order through the website. To order, follow this link.

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–Photo courtesy of Daphne’s

Daphne’s

  • Quail Hill, 6711 Quail Hill Pkwy., Irvine, CA

  • The Market Place, 13250 Jamboree Road, Irvine, CA

  • 2360 Park Ave., Tustin, CA

Outdoor patios are open at three Orange County locations of Daphne’s, a Mediterranean-inspired chain known for its Greek-style fish, surf & turf and vegetarian plates, gyros, falafel, hummus and pita. New for the summer is a limited-time Strawberry Salad, featuring spring mixed greens tossed in honey vinaigrette dressing and topped with fresh strawberries, candied walnuts, feta, grilled chicken and served with warm pita and tzatziki sauce. See Daphne’s website for more information.

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–Photo courtesy of Descano

Descano, 1555 Adams Ave., Costa Mesa, CA 92626

Descano Restaurant, a modern taqueria in Costa Mesa, reconfigured its 1,500-square-foot patio to accommodate 50, properly distanced tables, along with outdoor heaters and umbrellas. Also on tap: a new summer menu. Courtesy of Executive Chef Sergio Ortega, who took inspiration from taquerias of his childhood in Morelia, Michoacan, the seasonal items include such entrées as Agave Glazed Salmon with mezcal lemon agave glaze, charred sweet peppers and onion, roasted potatoes, orange segments, cilantro and chile con limon, and a variety of unique margaritas, including the Strawberry Lemonade with El Jimador Blanco Tequila, strawberry basil shrub and lemon. Guests are asked to wear masks when entering or leaving the restaurant. See more info on the Descano website.

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–Photo courtesy of Five Crowns & SideDoor/Credit: Anne Watson.

Five Crowns and SideDoor, 3801 East Coast Hwy., Corona Del Mar, CA 92625

Opening Tuesday, Five Crowns and Side Door is expanding its service with outdoor dining on the backyard patio, with firepits and lights in a setting reminiscent of an English country garden. Order from a special “patio menu” with such options as Five Crowns’ prime rib, Jidori chicken, salmon, lamb chops, peach and tomato salad or English trifle for dessert or SideDoor’s “bites,” “plates” and “sides.” Guests must wear masks when walking through the property. Reservations are recommended and can be made online or via (949) 760-0331. Curbside pick-up and delivery options also available. See menu details here.

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–Photo courtesy of Khan Saab

Khan Saab Desi Craft Kitchen, 229 E. Commonwealth Ave., Fullerton, CA 92832

The downtown Fullerton restaurant, that serves an upscale, halal menu of Pakistani, Indian and Afghan cuisine, has transformed an outdoor space into “street bistro dining.” Guests can enjoy such menu favorites as the Sloppy Khan appetizer, Chicken Karahi or Tandoori Chicken and the non-alcoholic Mango Mojito mocktail. Lunch hours are 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m. and dinner hours 5 p.m.-10:30 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays, and 5 p.m. – 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. Takeout and third-party delivery also available. To make reservations, call 714-853-1081, or visit Khan Saab’s website.

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–Photo courtesy of Lucille’s

Lucille’s Smokehouse Bar-B-Que

  • 1639 E. Imperial Highway, Brea, CA

  • The Orchard at Saddleback, 23760 El Toro Road, Lake Forest, CA

  • 4050 W. Chapman Ave., Orange, CA

  • The District at Tustin Legacy, 2550 Park Ave., Tustin, CA

Lucille’s Smokehouses in Brea, Lake Forest, Orange and Tustin have added veranda-inspired outdoor seating. And to enhance the Southern-style ambiance, diners can score a “Sweet Sips & Biscuits” summer freebie, a complimentary glass of either iced tea or Lucille’s Original Sidewalk Lemonade, plus a basket of freshly-baked biscuits and apple butter. Follow along here for details.

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–Photo courtesy of Mess Hall Market

Mess Hall Market, 1705 Flight Way, Tustin, CA 92782

The chef-driven food hall in Tustin recently reopened with takeout and seating on a large, open-air patio. Service is Mondays through Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., with extended hours planned. (The Lost Bean coffee and tea shop opens at 7 a.m. Monday-Friday) Patrons can choose from such eclectic fare as Greek street food, lobster rolls, home-style Vietnamese dishes, Mexican-French fusion and grass-fed burgers, plus vegetarian options. Masks or face coverings are required, along with social-distancing protocols. For more details, follow this link.

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–The Roof photo courtesy of Old Vine

Old Vine Kitchen + Bar, 2937 Bristol St., Costa Mesa, CA 92626

Old Vine has reopened on-site dining with new outdoor patios and a revamped menu from Chef McDonald, featuring old favorites like Old Vine’s Caprese of Burrata, as well as a new, four-course, cocktail- pairing tasting menu. In addition to Old Vine’s backyard patio, guests now can now enjoy two, new, outdoor dining spaces: The Roof; and The Stairway Patio. Follow this link for hours and details. And brunch is coming soon.

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–Photo of Rich Girl cocktail courtesy of Olea

Olea, 2001 Westcliff Drive, Newport Beach, CA, 92660

The restaurant’s fresh, seasonal menu can be ordered for takeout or enjoyed on the outside patio. Offerings feature such starters as House Made English Pea Agnolotti and Fried Green Tomatoes with Fresh Burrata Alla Panna, sides like the Crispy Brussels Sprouts With Hurobuta Pork Belly and entree options including Farmers Market Vegetables & Organic Italian Farro and Grilled Scottish Salmon with Saffron Pearl Couscous and Baby Rainbow Carrots. Exotic craft cocktails also are on tap, such as the “Rich Girl,” named after the Hall & Oates song and made with yuzu and lime with vodka and rosé, shaken together, strained over a ball of ice and garnished with an edible basil flower. Olea’s home page here offers more info on hours and menus.

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–Photo courtesy of John Selecky

Promenade on Forest, Forest Avenue, Laguna Beach, CA

A downtown block in Laguna Beach was transformed last week into a pedestrian plaza, complete with socially distanced dining options, art, shopping and music — along with hand-sanitizing stations. Masks are required when not eating. The pilot program is expected to run daily through Sept. 7 from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Check out the video from its opening, and see entertainment schedule here.

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–Photo courtesy of Provenance

Provenance, 2531 Eastbluff Drive, Newport Beach, CA 92660

Provenance has its patio and garden open for a limited-time “Picnic in the Garden” service Thursdays through Sundays from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. through July 31 with a fine-casual atmosphere. See “picnic” menu here. From the bar, summer specials include a selection of adult beverages to-go in juice pouches. Sip on refined “Adult Lemonade,” made with vodka, ginger liqueur, yuzu juice, lemongrass, key lime and simple syrup, or the “Passionfruit Margarita” with Hornitos tequila, Cointreau, passion fruit juice, lime and simple syrup. Order at the bar, take a seat, and enjoy. All food is served on disposable containers. The restaurant’s website here offers more details on hours, specials and menus, or call (949) 718-0477 for reservations.

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–Photo credit: Rich Mora

The District at Tustin Legacy, 2437 Park Ave., Tustin, CA 92782

Dine on takeout from a District eatery, and enjoy a free outdoor movie at AMC Tustin 14 theater. Advance registration is required, with links listed here: Upcoming shows are July 23 with “Free Willy” and July 30 featuring “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids.” Tables open at 7 p.m., and movies begin at sundown. For more info, follow this link.

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–Photo courtesy of The Rooftop Lounge

The Rooftop Lounge, 1289 S. Coast Highway, 4th floor, Laguna Beach, CA 92651

Located atop the historic La Casa Del Camino Hotel, The Rooftop Lounge is again serving brunch Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in its outdoor setting. The all-new menu features such dishes as Breakfast Tacos (beef short ribs, green bell pepper, onions, avocado, black beans, fried egg and Cojita cheese) and Raspberry French Toast Crème Brulée (Texas toast dipped in crème brûlée batter, filled with fresh raspberries and served with maple syrup). For more information, follow this link or call (855) 990-0282.

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–Photo courtesy of TRADE Food Hall

TRADE Food Hall, 2222 Michelson Drive, Irvine, CA 92612

The Irvine food hall is open for takeout with ample outdoor seating available. Diners can choose from a variety of global-inspired food from such vendors as Greek masters Gyro King, Vietnamese-inspired Broken Rice and Jidori chicken restaurant Two Birds. Specialty cocktails can be purchased from Center Hub Bar. Masks or face coverings required, along with social distancing. Follow this link to see more on the eateries and their hours.

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This article originally appeared on the Mission Viejo Patch

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