Answers from Our Experts (2)
It’s all about fresh seafood and the use of hand-picked, local produce when it comes to dining in the O.C. Take Studio at Montage Laguna Beach, for example. The Five-Star restaurant flaunts a personal forager who snags produce from its own garden to use in the kitchen. This comes as no surprise, seeing as locals make healthy food a priority and make trips to the farmer’s markets regularly. As a result, many similarly minded chefs in SoCal are constantly searching orchards, farms and ocean waters in California for the freshest seafood and produce to serve in their restaurants. Southern Californian surfers, in particular, are fond of Acai, a Brazilian berry high in antioxidants, or Acai bowls, which include other fruits and granola. Acai is said to provide energy, strengthen your immune system and help maintain good cholesterol levels.
In addition to quality ingredients, you’ll find a great deal of Mexican restaurants in Southern California. This is because California, as a whole, has Spanish colonial roots. Its original population consisted of Mexican ranchers and Spanish colonizers, which is why you’ll detect the influence in countless restaurants.
Orange County’s restaurant scene has matured and now rivals that of any other major city; albeit, the restaurants are more spread out geographically. Fare ranges from the very casual Slater’s 50/50 Burgers in Orange and House of Big Fish and Cold Beer in Laguna to the outposts of famed chefs, including Charlie Palmer’s at South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa, Mario Batali’s Pizzeria Mozza in Newport Beach and Michael Mina’s Stonehill Tavern at The St. Regis Monarch Beach.