Details

  • Mon-Thu 11am-9pm, Fri-Sat 11am-10pm
  • $$
  • Kid Friendly, Patio/Sidewalk Dining, Takeout, Wheelchair accessible
  • Dinner, Lunch
  • Beer/Wine
  • Free Parking, Parking Lot Available
  • Reservations Accepted
Renata’s is a cafe at war with itself, knowing they must hew to the sub-spaghetti-fettucine-lasagna cartel in order to ensure the rent; those dishes, while fine, are better made elsewhere and cheaper. So stick to the dishes unfamiliar to our American knowledge of Italian food. While polenta is somewhat known, it’s definitely not usually conceived of as Renata’s polenta romana, perfectly formed blocks of the stuff standing over a shallow pool of a creamy sauce spiked with what tasted like Chianti—spectacular. There’s also a pasta dish, name unfamiliar to the Italian-American restaurant canon, with chunks of pancetta crisped like chicharrones—amazing.

Related Stories (2)

  • OC Food Issue 2014: Wrap-tastic!
    1 year ago by Gustavo Arellano

    So we sat at Weekly World Headquarters, trying to figure out what the theme for this year's food issue should be: Mexican food? We kind of did that years ago. Sandwiches? Meh. Salads? Weak salsa. "What about wraps?" someone asked. "...

  • Renata's Caffe Italiano Offers a Roman Holiday
    4 years ago by Gustavo Arellano

    More than a decade ago, I had dinner at Renata's Caffe Italiano in Old Towne Orange while a student at Chapman University. I don't remember the circumstances, the occasion, or who I was with—all that stays with me is the memor...

Menu

View All

More Cafe Restaurants in Orange County

Newsletters

All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >