The Best Restaurants in Orange County, 2015

The Best Restaurants in Orange County, 2015
Photo by Dustin Ames

Looking for a few new places to add to your restaurant rotation? Sick of the same old ethnic digs? If you're on the prowl for a few new places to eat, here's our list of best restaurants for 2015, featuring everything from best seafood to best Mexi and best patio dining. This list joins our two already existing best things to eat and drink lists for 2015. Tomorrow? The best places to drink, but until then, bon appetit.

Best Restaurant Orange County 2015 - Taco María

Not the first or last time you'll see this photo
Not the first or last time you'll see this photo
Photo by Dustin Ames

We try to pass around this award every year--not only to spread the wealth, but also to acknowledge that chefs come and go and always up their game. But for probably the first time in Weekly history, we have a repeat winner. And the reason isn't because Taco María is the only restaurant to have appeared on 2014 best-restaurant lists for this paper, the Orange County Register, Los Angeles Times and Los Angeles, or because Food & Wine recognized chef Carlos Salgado as one of the country's 10 Best New Chefs earlier this year. It's because, despite getting invites from across the country from folks eager to taste the next generation of Mexican food, Salgado hasn't let fame go to his head; if he's in town, Salgado is hustling on the line alongside the rest of his crew. And who else in OC gets up before dawn every day to make masa from heirloom blue corn purchased directly from farmers in Mexico and is planning to launch a masa revolution by spreading its gospel? His aguachile? Entire restaurants have created less. Enough philosophizing--go eat!

3313 Hyland Ave. Costa Mesa, CA 92626. 714-538-8444. http://www.tacomaria.com/

Best Korean Restaurant Orange County 2015 - Kang Hodong Baekjeong Orange County's Korean District has been expanding quietly for years, but it came into its own when Kang Hodong Baekjeong opened a branch here to satisfy homesick Korean-Americans who don't want to drive to K-Town in Los Angeles. The grill at Baekjeong ("Butcher") is smaller than normal and circled by compartments containing hot kimchi, corn cheese, slowly cooking egg, and onions with peppers. And the servers must have eyes everywhere because they bustle through so quickly--replacing panchan, barley tea, beer and soju--you might not notice them.

5171 Beach Blvd. Buena Park, CA 90621. 714-739-9678 Best Italian Restaurant Orange County 2015 - Pizzeria Ortica

Put an egg on it!
Put an egg on it!
Photo by Edwin Goei

You won't find a better pizza than at this stylish alternative to Il Fornaio, located around the corner from the Segerstrom Center for the Arts. The DOP Margherita pizza, salame piccante and rapini are nice gateway plates, but the homemade tagliatelle and pappardelle pasta are truly inspirational, best served with a Friuliano or Sangiovese from the restaurant's extensive wine list. And don't forget to get a cocktail from Joel Caruso, who gets a shoutout elsewhere in this issue.

650 Anton Blvd. Costa Mesa, CA 92626. 714-445-4900. http://www.pizzeriaortica.com/



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