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Studio Cafe

100 Main St., Balboa Peninsula, Newport Beach, (949) 675-7760

How do you make OC's premier "California Casual" restaurant even better? For a start, Studio Café has just started brand-new happy hour specials (Mon.-Fri., 4-7 p.m.), featuring $1 off their Beer of the Month and complimentary Studio Bar burgers (served from 5-6 p.m.). What—you want more? Okay, they're still serving their famous "Adios" blue drinks, some of the tastiest spirits around, and their liquor selection's now augmented by a new Martini Bar. Still not enough? How about the return of renowned chef Steve Palmer, who's reworking the entire menu. Throw in entertainment seven days per week—and starting in July, on a brand-new stage to boot—and the Studio Café is poised to maintain its place as Balboa's most happening night spot.

Services: Full bar. Reservations accepted. Hours: Sat.-Sun., 8 a.m.-3:30 p.m. & 5-11 p.m.; Mon.-Fri., 11 a.m.-3:30 p.m. & 5-11 p.m. Visa, MasterCard and American Express excepted.

Tapas Restaurant and Nightclub

4253 Martingale Way, Newport Beach, (949) 756-8194

Newport Beach's premier Spanish-themed restaurant, Tapas Restaurant and Night Club continues its stellar tradition of merging fantastic, authentic Spanish cuisine with some of SoCal's hottest salsa bands and flamenco dancers. Now featuring reggae on Wednesdays and club music on Thursdays, this award-winning restaurant still rests its reputation on its fantastic food, including three types of paellas and 20 varieties of tapas. This place is hotter than a Mexican chile pepper and never fails to provide a good time.

Services: takeout and catering available. Full bar. Reservations essential on Saturdays. Parking. Hours: Mon.-Fri., 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.; Wed.-Sat., 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. & 5:30 p.m.-1:30 a.m. All major credit cards accepted.

Tia Juanas

14988 Sand Canyon Ave., Irvine, (949) 551-2998

Inside, you'll find the longest bar in OC and more than 100 brands of tequilas on the shelf behind it. Tuesdays at Tia Juana's feature 50-cent tacos during happy hour (4-8 p.m.) and a live salsa band by night. Don't deny yourself the free happy-hour buffet every Wednesday through Friday or the $2 margaritas and well drinks. Thursdays are hot with salsa music and free dance lessons (also on Saturdays) with Rudy from 8 to 9 p.m. Fridays host more hot salsa bands, while Saturdays feature a DJ spinning—you guessed it—salsa, rock en español and disco. Party on!

Services: takeout available. Full bar. Hours: Tues.-Sat., 11-1 a.m. All major credit cards accepted.

Troquet French Bistro

3333 Bristol St., South Coast Plaza, Ste. 3001, Costa Mesa, (714) 708-6865

Want to relive the ambiance and classic culinary aroma of the French Riviera, or maybe just live the fantasy you envisioned while reading Peter Mayle's A Year in Province? Trouquet French Bistro offers the best of Provincial French cuisine with an American twist. Enjoy a cozy, romantic setting while feasting on Maytag blue cheese appetizers or scallops, followed up by a dinner of veal cheeks. Top off this dining extravaganza with either a chocolate soufflé cake or the heavenly prune Armagnac ice cream. Trés magnifique!

Services: full bar with an excellent wine list. Reservations suggested. Parking available. Hours: Mon.-Thurs., 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m. & 5:30-9 p.m.; Fri.-Sat., 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m. & 5:30-10 p.m.

Wahoos Fish Tacos

1862 Placentia Ave., Costa Mesa, (949) 631-3433; with locations in Aliso Viejo, Laguna Beach, Huntington Beach, Tustin, Lake Forest, San Clemente, Irvine and another one in Costa Mesa

It has been said that Wahoo's has the world's greatest fish tacos. That would pretty much be the truth, especially when said tacos are immersed in savory black beans, splattered with spices, and piled with shredded cabbage and grated Cheddar cheese. A favorite with local surfers for years, it's no wonder that this restaurant is multiplying at a lagamophic rate, covering Orange County and spreading into Los Angeles and even Colorado.

Hours: Mon.-Sat., 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; Sun., 11 a.m.-9 p.m. MasterCard and Visa accepted.
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