Checklist, Please?

Patio dining is especially apt during the summer, when kind weather allows diners the opportunity to chow down alfresco. The following restaurants offer their own beautiful take on the pluses of eating outdoors, whether they be crisp skies, luscious greenery or the bounty of flesh displayed by unashamed boys and girls. Food? Who cares with scenery like this?

•FELIX CONTINENTAL CUISINE, 36 Plaza Square, Orange, (714) 633-5842. The finest Cuban cuisine in Orange County. The finest (last?) traffic circle in Orange County. The finest neighborhood to take relatives out on a balmy Sunday morning to prove to them Orange County still has buildings more than 50 years old. The finest patio dining in Orange County. Period. •CAFÉ TU TU TANGO, the Block at Orange, 20 City Dr. W., Orange, (714) 769-2222. The food is so-so, and the drinks are insultingly expensive. But Café Tu Tu Tango's expansive patio situates itself in that nexus of the Block where the finest himbos and skanks pass by. There's no greater meat market than Café Tu Tu Tango outside of Albertson's. •BURRELL'S BAR-B-Q, 305 N. Hesperian, Santa Ana, (714) 547-7441. The Santa Ana barbecue institution is nothing more than a home located in a neighborhood of homes. Their patio: picnic tables located approximately where the back lawn would be. But when you plop down with a slab of ribs and a side of potato salad, ants emerging from the lawn to begin their fruitless trek toward your eats, what else could you possibly ask of life? •LAS BRISAS, 361 Cliff Dr., Laguna Beach, (949) 497-5434. Okay, so everyone knows about Las Brisas and fills its patio come weekend even if it's not summertime. But everyone does it for a reason. Besides its terrific take on Mexican seafood, Las Brisas overlooks the Pacific on Laguna Beach's craggy cliffs on a bluff where God no doubt imagines the ideal seaside dinner. •RAMOS HOUSE CAFÉ, 31752 Los Rios St., San Juan Capistrano, (949) 443-1342. Just some of the aural wonders this bistro offers to its patio patrons: the chug-chug of trains barreling down the nearby tracks, the metallic ringing of the mission bells, wind chimes gently clanging against one another, birds chirping without care. And the food? Excellent.


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