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Orange County Restaurant Week 2016 Top Picks
Orange County Restaurant Week

Orange County Restaurant Week 2016 Top Picks

Orange County Restaurant Week 2016 Top Picks

Orange County Restaurant Week

Orange County Restaurant Week

Orange County Restaurant Week 2016

It is Orange County Restaurant week time again! This year the number of participating restaurants is impressive, with over 100 restaurants participating. There are choices for all tastes and budgets. This is Tom’s Foodie Blog top Orange County Restaurant Week picks for Dinners.  


Prix Fixe meals are offered at participating restaurants that include appetizer, main course, and desserts from March 6th-12th.

  • Dinners are offered at $20, $30, $40,  $50 and Luxe dinners at $80.
  • Lunch is offered at $10, $15, $20 

Tom’s Foodie Blog Top Pick Criteria

Tom at Social Costa Mesa

Tom at Social Costa Mesa

I am very picky where I choose to eat for restaurant week since it only last 7 days. I have the following criteria in place when selecting the best restaurants.

a) Value – The offering represents a good deal to the consumer? Is the deal better than their normal menu?

b) Variety – Does the menu offer a variety of choices? For example I rarely include restaurants that only offer 2 choices per section. Unless they offer 4 courses.

c) Quality – Does the menu offer “Their Best” offerings? or is it the “Easiest” that they can make for large crowds. If I see a menu heavy on simmered chicken, short ribs and pasta, that tells me you are serving wedding food. 

e) Reputation of Restaurant – The X factor is the reputation of the restaurant. High quality restaurants participating will always get some extra attention. Keep an eye out for up and coming new restaurants looking to make a mark during restaurant week. 

Tom’s Pro Tip

Don’t be a dick, tip your servers well

$20 Dinner Picks

#1 Kutsi 

My $20 dinner pick is an amazing new restaurant called Kutsi, in Downtown Santa Ana. Chef Chris Tzorzin is presenting some of his restaurants absolute best menu items like the mole steak and chorizo clams. Kutsi is presenting one of the best dinner menus for the value. 

Kutsi Steak Mole

Kutsi Steak Mole


  • House made chips and salsa and fresh house made sangria


  • Tarasca
  • Chorizo Clams
  • Beet Salad
  • Mexican Sweet Corn


  • Seafood Relleno
  • Steak Mole
  • Tacos Callejeros Your choice of: Beef, Chicken, Shrimp, Fish, Carnitas.
  • Enchiladas Choice of Red, Green, Mole, or Suiza Sauce. Served with rice and beans. Chicken, Beef, Shrimp


  • Chocolate Tres Leches
  • Maria Bonita Pastel

Other Top $20 Dinner picks

$30 Dinner Picks

#1 Skyloft

This is the only restaurant that I am recommending that I have not eaten at multiple times; although, I was impressed by their variety and quality of offerings.  With al fresca dinning, this is a great choice for our warm Southern California Winters.

The Sky Loft Orange County Restaurant Week Ribs

The Sky Loft Orange County Restaurant Week Ribs – Image courtesy of skyloftoc.com


  • Jalapeno Cheese Cornbread

1st Course Choice

  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Shrimp Ceviche
  • Smoked Chicken Wings
  • Stuffed Avocado

2nd Course Choice

  • Herb Roasted Chicken
  • Small Jambalaya
  • 7oz Smoked Beef Brisket
  • Twisted Mac & Cheese
  • ½ Rack of BBQ Ribs

Dessert Choice

  • Chocolate Lava Cake
  • Lemon Curd Cheesecake

Other Top $30 Choices

$40 Dinner Picks

#1 Social Costa Mesa

Social Costa Mesa is still one of my favorite restaurants in Southern California right now, with their innovative Chef driven menu. Social’s Orange County Restaurant Week offerings are very generous and offer some of their best menu items. 

Social Costa Mesa - Spanish Octopus

Social Costa Mesa – Spanish Octopus – Cannellini Beans, Braised Greens, Smoked Romesco

Course 1 (choice of)

  • Beets and Burrata Salad – Shaved Fennel, Pepitas, Market Citrus, Honey Thyme Vinaigrette
  • Brussels Sprouts -Honey, Sweet Potato, House Tasso Ham, Hazelnuts

Course 2 (choice of)

  • English Pea and Prosciutto Toast – Whipped Burrata, Italian Salsa Verde, Pain de Capagna
  • Beef Tartare – Smoked Mussel Aioli, Salt and Vinegar Chips, Poppy Seeds, Sunflower, Capers

Course 3 (choice of)

  • Spanish Octopus – Pamplona Chorizo, Fingerling Potatoes, Gremolata, Chicharrones, Smoked Romesco
  • Wagyu Tri Tip – Shrimp & Tasso Maque Choux, Crispy Shallot, Smoked Tomato, Jalapeño, Radish

Course 4 (Choice of)

  • Butterscotch Budino
  • Profiteroles – Vanilla Bean Ice Cream and Hot Fudge

Other top $40 Restaurant Picks

$50 Dinner Picks

#1 Steakhouse 55

steakhouse 55 sign- Steakhouse is located in the Disneylan Hotel

steakhouse 55 sign- Steakhouse is located in the Disneylan Hotel

Starter (choice of)

  • Steakhouse 55 “Wedge” Salad
  • Tiger Prawns Cocktail
  • Onion Soup Au Gratin

Entrée Course (choice of)
All Entrée’s Served with Sautéed French Green Beans and Scalloped Fennel Potatoes

  • Grilled Center Cut Filet Mignon
  • Moroccan Spiced King Salmon
  • Black Angus Slow-Roasted Prime Rib
  • Maple Glazed Kurobuta Pork Chop

Dessert Course (choice of)

  • Vanilla Bean Creme Brulee
  • Chocolate Mousse Cake

Other $50 Restaurant Week Picks

$80 Dinner Luxe

#1 Hane Re

What Chef Atsushi create artfully creafted sushi. I have eaten at this restaruant and it is pretty amazing with attention to detail. This is a good deal at $80 for the quality and variety of food offered.

Hanne Re Orange County Restaurant Week.

Hanne Re Orange County Restaurant Week. Image courtesy of http://www.hanaresushi.com/

Other close second for the $80 Luxe Menu

About Tom Holmberg

Tom grew up in a cultural diverse neighborhood and a culturally diverse family, so he has learned to appreciate all types of food. "I am not a Chef, nor do I play one on T.V., but I have learned to appreciate food from years of eating and cooking." Tom also spent 10 years in the restaurant industry in various roles, from Prep Cook to server.

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