When it comes to Orange County Restaurant week, we typically focus so much on local spots that it isn't always fair to more established brands. So for this year's roundup, we are an equal opportunity promoter. We selected four of each, offering a more balanced list of price ranges and cuisines. And remember, pricing doesn't include tax, gratuity or beverages (unless otherwise indicated). Chow down, people.
Charming locals (one-of-a-kind)
Splashes Restaurant - Laguna Beach
Offering the best views on our list, resort properties are always a good dining deal for getting more bang for your buck. Plus, the pastry chef's dark chocolate millefeuille is on both lunch on dinner menus. Note: their lunch has you select either an appetizer and entree OR entree and dessert. We know you'll choose wisely. 1555 S Coast Hwy, (866) 348-8940; www.surfandsandresort.com/splashes.
C4 Deli: The Cure for the Common - Santa Ana
We admit, we chose this for being one of the only places offering a brunch option. Served on Saturday, your $15 deal includes unlimited mimosas or champagne. Their $10 lunch/dinner option is an even better deal, including entree, side and non-alcoholic beverage; $15 to add select beer/wine. 200 N Broadway, (714) 263-1555; www.c4deli.com.
Juliette Kitchen & Bar - Newport Beach
The house burger is served during lunch service, but Juliette's $20 lunch deal also allows for either grilled swordfish or farro risotto. We consider this one of the better selections in general for three courses. Did we mention the lovely wine selection? 1000 Bristol St N, Suite 11, (949) 752-5854; www.juliettenb.com.
Yves' Restaurant & Wine Bar - Anaheim
A neighborhood favorite, Yves' is our pick for their souffle selection. Taking a good 20 minutes to properly rise, locating a quality version of this dessert in OC isn't easy. Bonus: Diners can choose between chocolate, Grand Marnier, Yves' special or white chocolate pecan. Be ready to make your selection when you order the rest of your meal. 5753-A E Santa Ana Canyon Rd, (714) 637-3733; www.yvesbistro.com.
Established brands (a.k.a. chains)
Del Frisco's Grille - Irvine
Oh yes, we found another brunch option! Their cheesesteak eggrolls are a bit addictive, so be sure to save room for a red velvet Belgian waffle. Plated with "Thick Butcher Block Bacon", our pork strips were indeed meaty. We sat at the spacious bar, where servers like Annie kept our iced tea glass full and offered to box up our leftovers without being asked. Only offered Saturday and Sunday, park in the adjacent structure for quick access. 772 Spectrum Center Dr, (949) 341-0376; www.delfriscosgrille.com.
Gyu-Kaku - Tustin/Huntington Beach/Brea
Book a reservation if you can because tables tend to fill up quick. Also, you may need to request the OCRW menu (we weren't offered it initially). While there is an additional AYCE special going on for about the same price, the choice appetizer, miso, salad, rice, three grill items and s'mores may very well fill you up. Oh, and you won't need to explain where you ate to anyone— the BBQ aroma will follow you home. www.gyu-kaku.com for your nearest location.
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King's Fish House - Laguna Hills/Orange/Huntington Beach
For those who celebrate Lent, we can vouch for this one. Avoid the New England chowder (because bacon) and the filet, and you're good to go. They've got options to upgrade your $40 dinner; worth it if you love your crustaceans. We were fine with our macadamia crusted wild Alaskan halibut, though. A duo of side dishes and guilty pleasure butter cake make it Friday-approved. www.kingsfishhouse.com for locations.
The Capital Grille - Costa Mesa
We get it. You want a slab of beef. Then head to the plaza's other steakhouse for a quality cut of meat, like this porcini rubbed, sliced tenderloin. You'll also find chicken and salmon dishes available for both lunch and dinner. If you're already at South Coast Plaza, stay for a spell. 3333 Bristol St, (714) 432-1140; www.thecapitalgrille.com.