Given Irvine’s proximity to the Pacific, it’s no surprise that Irvine restaurants hew to the cuisines of Korea, Japan, China, Thailand, and other countries across the ocean. The ever-popular 85°C Bakery Cafe, for instance, infuses some Taiwanese flair into its fresh-made baked goods, which often sell out just moments after they’re removed from the oven. And at Urban Seoul, Korean classics combine with Latin American flavors for a menu stocked with bulgogi tacos and chorizo-kimchi fried rice. Of course, the area’s best restaurants aren’t constrained to Asian fare or even to Irvine itself. Nearby must-trys range from Fashion Island restaurants such as Great Maple to Laguna Beach restaurants like Nick’s Laguna Beach.

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