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Best Service In a Restaurant Orange County 2011 - Old Vine Café

Old Vine Café

Old Vine Café

2937 Bristol St.

Costa Mesa, CA 92626


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Old Vine is no stranger to these pages, having won Best Restaurant in 2009—and it has broadened its ambitions since then, hosting wine nights and even leading culinary tours of Italy. But the attention of brothers Mark and Brandon McDonald to the homefront hasn't suffered: You still see Brandon every morning through night, guiding customers old and new through the menu, maybe suggesting an omelet or the seasonal four-course chef's menu, and with a memory of the café's hundreds of wines that borders on That's Incredible! territory. Mark is almost as present on the floor, even though he's manning the kitchen, trading jokes with customers and making sure their experiences are always spectacular. Such attention to detail doesn't come out of economic survival or even hipster irony, but rather the McDonalds' honest-to-goodness enthusiasm for great food. They are redeeming their surname in the food industry. $$$

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If by trading jokes with customers you mean talking down to customers with that "I'm a chef, do not dare think about making modifications to my meals" attitude, then you hit the nail on the head.

The McDonalds might have a busy brunch, but they are anything but the Best Of in the service category! The rest of the staff was great, and I liked the food, but after a few visits I will not be back.