Bars in Santa Ana

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Although he specializes in American comfort fare, Executive Chef Diego Velasco wields a packed cabinet of culinary styles and spices, elevating meetings and cocktail parties to a higher gastronomic plane with custom menus crafted from many fresh, locally sourced ingredients.. Midday meals get a savory infusion from the corporate-catering lunch menu, which includes a signature sandwich tray ($54 for 16 half-sandwiches)—a selection of up to four of the various bread-bookended taste-fests, which include a brisket po boy. The hot lunch buffet ($14.95/person for 15–50 guests, $13.50/person for 50+ guests) offers a flavorful cornucopia of meatloaf, ribs, and cornmeal-fried catfish. Appetizers by the dozen grace the à la carte menu and include the grilled scallop lollipops with saffron aioli ($26), and the mashed-potato pancakes with American caviar ($22), a laid-back affront to the snobbishly monocled Caspian variety. Chef Velasco's epicurean enthusiasm runs rampant throughout the entree offerings, which include buttermilk fried chicken, and grilled leg of lamb accented by pineapple-mint vinaigrette.

201 N Broadway
Santa Ana,
CA
US

Each Auld Dubliner location must meet the stringent level of authenticity required by co-owner and Gaelic strongdrinker David Copley. A native of Limerick, Ireland, Copley might share a dirty poem if you ask nicely, but he's more likely to tell you that every part of his pub's polished wood, brass décor, and menu of toothsome Erin edibles was designed and crafted in Ireland and transported piece by piece to its new American home. Tuck right into pub classics such as shepherd's pie with ground beef and lamb ($12.95) or the for-more-than-St.-Patty's-Day corned beef and cabbage ($12.95). Other fare that comes with a shamrock stamp of approval includes the traditional boxty (a potato pancake), stuffed with delights such as Irish bacon and melted cheddar ($13.95) or Atlantic salmon with shallots and tarragon ($15.95). For a finish as sweet as a "yes" from Molly Bloom, the Irish-whiskey crème brûlée adds a twist to the traditional dessert.

2497 Park Avenue
Tustin,
CA
US

On the charming patio of Luna Rossa Ristorante, the flame of a heater flickers in the center of the al fresco space, which is low-lit by lights strung overhead that cast a golden glow on the crisp, white tablecloths. Frequently enlivened by live music, the patio and dining room open to diners during lunch and dinner to serve a menu of elegant Italian cuisine. Sourcing ingredients such as fresh buffalo mozzarella straight from Italy, Chef Mauro Di Rofi, from Rome, Italy, prepares tender spaghetti that mingles with mixed seafood in a spicy red sauce, classic Neapolitan pizzas topped with tomato, mozzarella, and anchovy, homemade pasta with smoked salmon, and rich crème brûlée.

2449 Park Avenue
Tustin,
CA
US

At Café Tu Tu Tango, edibles and art merge with far more dynamism than your average still life. Paintings and brick pillars surround the tables, where pizzas decked in pears and brie flank the miniature campfires of tabletop s'mores. Murals and mosaics fill the space beneath counters, and plush sofas on the patio replace the chairs and moss-covered motorcycles of traditional outdoor seating. Even the napkins "are a rainbow of jewel toned colors," reports The Food Channel's "Raves & Faves" feature, which labels the restaurant's design "pure local artist eclectic." The review documents the café's other artistic quirks, including the dessert menu's catalogue of painted depictions, the commissioned artists who compose their opuses live in the space, and the range of performers who parade through the restaurant, from belly dancers to balloon artists.

The kitchen makes its own chicken and beef empanadas alongside six types of skewers, which spear meats such as salmon, shrimp, and steak. A classic sangria recipe complements bites of roasted pears or mango-duck quesadillas, and seven specialty pizzas bake in a brick oven. To top off an original lunch date, groups can visit nearby attractions such as Disneyland and the Anaheim Convention Center.

20 City Blvd W
Orange,
CA
US