In Costa Mesa, a new Japanese restaurant called Sakanaya has replaced Mentatsu Ramen, an old stalwart in a city with more ramen than any other city in the county even without Mentatsu. Mentatsu closed earlier this month after more than a decade in business. The words underneath the new Sakanaya sign says: "Japanese small plate & wine", but the word they're probably looking for is "izakaya."
688 Baker St. Ste 7, Costa Mesa, CA 92626
In Laguna Hills, Athena Gyro is gone along with its gyros. Now there are tacos from a new Mexican place that took the spot. Cabo Kantina (yes, spelled just like that), however, doesn't just do tacos that include salmon, mahi mani, seared ahi tuna and lobster. Also on the menu are Argentinian empanadas and pizza, including one called Marguerita—yes, spelled just like that.
25381 Alicia Pkwy., Laguna Hills, CA 92653, (949) 716-9716; cabokantina.com
In Irvine, a new 7 Leaves Cafe has opened. It is, appropriately, the seventh 7 Leaves Cafe after Cypress, Fountain Valley, the two in Garden Grove, Tustin and Huntington Beach.
14845 Jeffrey Road, Irvine, CA 92618, (949) 536-5380
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On the luxe lonchera front, there's a new Middle Eastern food truck. It's based in Irvine and serves pitas, and it's called The Middle Eats — the best name for a luxe lonchera since Dos Chinos.
In Tustin, sushi is back in style in a location that used to be a revolving sushi joint called Sushi 5. After Sushi 5 shuttered seven years ago, the space became a series of failed Korean concepts. Now it's back to sushi with Sushi Damu, an all-you-can-eat sushi restaurant that charges $20.95 per person for lunch on weekdays, $24.95 per person for dinner and on weekends.
13962 Newport Avenue #D, Ste D, Tustin, CA 92780