Best Italian Restaurant Orange County 2013 - Cucina Alessa
Once one of those "hidden gems" curious diners would stumble upon if they were lucky, Cucina Alessa has become the county's titan of Italian cuisine. At the two-story Huntington Beach spot, closed-eyed moans of delight greet dishes that fuse tradition with modern-day badassery. The zucca, a butternut squash ravioli smothered in brown butter and topped with fried sage leaves, is a standard known to cause even the most proper of diners to seriously consider licking the residue off their plates. The hearty lamb pappardelle is perfectly al dente, with tender, flavorful meat. And the shrimp-and-asparagus seashell pasta with lobster cream sauce is one of those dishes you daydream about for days after consumption. Just make sure to not fill up on the complimentary fresh bread and pesto sauce—a rookie mistake, but one everyone will forgive you.