Despite living half a world away from the restaurants that her family founded in India over the years, Anju Kapoor chose to continue the family legacy in 1984 by opening Mayur Cuisine of India. Today, the chefs still remain committed to the bold flavors of Northern Indian cooking. Orders of chicken, fish, and vegetables arrive straight from the clay tandoor oven, which is also used to bake naan. Spicy lamb vindaloo, spinach cooked with homemade cheese, and eggplant in a brown-curry sauce help round out the menu's selection of regional Indian cuisine. Sea bass, quinoa salads, and rack of lamb provide nontraditional additions to the menu, as well. Sundays offer a survey of Mayur Cuisine's signature dishes with a prix fixe champagne brunch.
Like the menu, the ambiance at Mayur Cuisine of India is vibrant yet refined. Although an ornate wooden deity sculpture channels ancient traditions, the space also features a handful of more contemporary touches, including large framed images of peacock feathers and napkins made from periwinkle fabric.
When Amelia Seton opened her restaurant in 1961, she filled the menu with favorite dishes from her native Sorrento, Italy, as well as with catches off Balboa Island. Now helmed by multiple generations of Setons, Amelia's Seafood & Italian Restaurant serves dinners of clam bisque and Amelia's recipes for calamari and bouillabaisse. Pastas such as angel hair and linguine twirl beneath alfredo and lemon-butter sauces with meatballs and chicken breasts, and the kitchen prepares veal and chicken in traditional parmigiana, marsala, and piccata styles. Back in Sorrento, Amelia's extended family still runs her brother's restaurant, which stays connected to Amelia's Seafood & Italian Restaurant via tin-can telephone.
The owners of Ohana House have spent years living in Hawaii and coastal California, and they love the fresh flavors and healthy nature of ocean-side cuisine. Their menu reflects that. While unwinding in the relaxed eatery, diners can relish dishes such as wok-seared shrimp with citrus zest, smoked pulled pork with grilled pineapple, or sesame-crusted goat cheese salad with wasabi-buttermilk dressing. There's also a kids’ menu with pintsize portions.
Before filling up a plate at Hokkaido Seafood Buffet, take a moment to meander past the seemingly boundless rows of fresh crawfish, jumbo crab legs, and oysters, or to marvel at chefs as they toss steak and chicken on fiery teppanyaki grills. Stroll past the sushi station to admire sushi masters as they nimbly slice fresh fish and crispy vegetables into colorful specialty rolls, then saunter by simmering trays of pan-Asian specialties such as fried rice and crunchy spring rolls. The vast buffet abounds with more than 150 hot and cold items, many of which were made with seafood purchased directly from local fisherman.
Out in the spacious dining room, diners linger over last bites of creamy cheesecake and juicy strawberries in cushy booths, sipping imported beers and colorful cocktails. The bright space is decorated with nautical decor, including orange life preservers and impressionist pieces painted by local sea monkeys.
Sitting pretty in the Saddleback Mountains, Ayres Hotel & Spa Mission Viejo indulges its patrons with modern suites and lavish amenities. Free high-speed Internet and a complimentary cooked-to-order American breakfast prevent the need to pilfer passwords and thrust eggs and bagels into barren coat pockets. Sink into the soothing arms of a king-size Ayres Dream Sleeper bed to enhance your REM cycle’s productivity. A bottle of sparkling wine and an appetizer from the hotel’s restaurant ($10 value) stand at the ready to keep neglected hunger pangs from consorting with troublemaking hunger gangs. With a late 2 p.m. checkout, customers can ease into the day or get a head start on the coming night’s slumber.
Ana Maria Montoya Kishihara first landed on American soil in the early 1980s, bringing along her two young children, the traditional Peruvian recipes of her mother and grandmother, and a dream to start her own restaurant. She opened up Inka Grill in 1996, stocking its kitchen with fresh ingredients and setting up a wood-fired rotisserie to roast juicy Peruvian chicken dishes. Today, Ana’s daughter has taken over the family business, whipping up the authentic the Criolla recipes passed down from the three generations of women before her.
Amid the smoky rotisserie and bubbling pots of stew in the Inka Grill kitchen, chefs whip up fresh fish ceviches, savory steak stir-fry saltados, and flavorful seafood paellas. They pair heaping scoops of rice and beans with their rotisserie chicken, a poultry that reporters from Orange County Weekly lauded as “so juicy from tail to sternum you can barely tell the dark from the white.” Servers tote sizzling platters to the dining room, where vivid paintings of Peruvian children adorn the walls and a soft flute plays traditional Peruvian songs, i.e., Wham! covers. The staff pours glasses of the traditional chicha morada corn drink and presents cans of imported Inca Kola to quench the spice of their ultra-spicy green aji sauce, which the chefs have lightheartedly dubbed “Gringo Killer”.