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Smith’s Picks: Some of My Favorite Eateries in Irvine

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Irvine is home to a number of amazing restaurants. There are fast-casual options as well as many fine dining restaurants in town. Below are a few of my favorites…

Tomikawa Sushi Restaurant
(Cypress Village Shopping Center, 14191 Jeffrey Rd)

Tomikawa is located in the northern part of Irvine, off Jeffrey and the I-5 freeway. The restaurant serves delicious fresh sushi and sashimi. Although there are many sushi restaurants in Irvine, what sets Tomikawa apart is their amazing happy hour which is served daily (even weekends!) from 3-6pm. I recommend the Gyoza and Ultimate Salmon Roll, along with some sake. They also have an “All You Can Eat” special if you are extra hungry.

Ike’s Sandwiches
(The District, 2487 Park Ave)

Ike’s Sandwiches is one of my go-to lunch spots, offering a variety of unique sandwiches to choose from, many named after celebrities. My favorites include the Paul Reubens Pastrami Sandwich, Madison Bumgarner Steak Sandwich, and the Wedge Meatball Sandwich. Be sure to get the popular Dutch crunch bread. And, I recommend the caramel apple lollipop for dessert!

Left Coast Brewery
(Sand Canyon Plaza, 6652 Irvine Center Drive)

Left Coast is one of the few breweries in Irvine. The brewery hosts live music events, trivia nights, and happy hours, as well as sports watch parties for our local soccer team, the Orange County Soccer Club. In addition to their freshly brewed beer, Left Coast Brewery offers a variety of cocktails and food. I recommend the Blonde Marvel beer and smokehouse salad with steak. The brewery can get a bit crowded around dinner/happy hour time due to its close proximity to many office buildings.

Puesto
(Los Olivos Shopping Center, 8577 Irvine Center Drive)

Puesto is a popular Mexican restaurant that serves delicious food and margaritas, with a really nice ambiance. The restaurant has two locations in Irvine (Los Olivos & Park Place Shopping Centers). It’s a great pick for a nice dinner date or to enjoy happy hour with friends. On Tuesdays, they offer all day taco deals. On weekdays, happy hour is from 3-5pm. I highly recommend one of Puesto’s signature margaritas and a specialty taco. My personal favorite is the Quesabirria short rib taco. Both locations offer a good amount of bar seating if you want to just drop in for a quick meal on your own after work. However, if you plan on enjoying dinner with someone else, you definitely need to call ahead to make a reservation, especially on Taco Tuesdays!

Shik Do Rak
(Arbor Village Shopping Center, 14805 Jeffrey Rd)

Shik Do Rak is a traditional Korean BBQ restaurant located in the Arbor Village Shopping Center, off Jeffrey and Walnut. The restaurant serves authentic Korean food, specializing in dishes you can cook right at your table on a grill. You can’t go wrong with the traditional brisket and bulgogi. I also recommend the pork belly which is delicious! There are a number of great Korean BBQ restaurants in Irvine, but Shik Do Rak never disappoints.

Sandwich Society
(Mess Hall, 1705 Flight Way)

The Sandwich Society is another one of my favorite lunch spots. It is located in the Mess Hall Market at Flight Center in Tustin next to the District. They serve a variety of fresh, delicious specialty sandwiches. I recommend the popular Cubano or the pork belly sandwich. There is plenty of indoor and outdoor seating at the Flight Mess Hall.

Little Sister
(Irvine Spectrum Center, 896 Spectrum Center Drive)

If you haven’t been to Little Sister at the Irvine Spectrum, you need to go ASAP! This popular Los Angeles Pan-Asian restaurant has opened a new location at the Irvine Spectrum, at the far end near the Apple Store. Little Sister specializes in dishes that blend and balance the spices and flavors of Southeast Asia with French techniques and Dutch and British colonial influences. I highly recommend the spring rolls as an appetizer. For the main course, I suggest an order of the “shaky, shaky beef.”

Chocolate Bash
(Irvine Spectrum Center, 756 Spectrum Center Drive)

Chocolate Bash is a chocolate-themed dessert shop that has recently opened at the Irvine Spectrum, near Dave & Buster’s. The shop serves a variety of desserts — including crepes, waffles, cakes, ice cream, and chocolate-covered fruits. I highly recommend the classic chocolate-dipped strawberries.

There is plenty of outdoor seating so you can enjoy your dessert and then continue shopping. 

 

Joel Smith

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