Happy Saturday!! I can’t believe that summer is almost over – my school year starts on Monday, so I’m soaking up these last days of summer by spending time with friends, family & exploring my area! If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen my adventure on Thursday – make sure to go check it out! Whether you are going back to school virtually, or in a classroom, I’m sure you are ready for some structure & activity added to your day – I know I am! I’m sitting at the beach writing this, and I got an idea for a blog series – sharing all of my favorite restaurants, shopping areas, beaches & more in Orange County where I live! Today, I’m so excited to share my favorite restaurants with you all.
My family doesn’t eat out very often – my mom is an incredible chef and she always cooks such healthy, delicious and fresh meals! When we do go out to eat, I have a few favorites: keep reading to hear my picks! (These aren’t in any particular order – I love them all!) I broke everything into different categories – enjoy!
1. Malibu Farm at Lido Marina Village – Malibu Farm is a restaurant overlooking the water in Newport Beach, and they serve the yummiest farm fresh food! All of the food is from local farms, and you can taste the quality in each bite!
My favorite things to order: either the fried egg sandwich, or the green eggs and ham. The kale apple juice & the rose lemonade are also amazing drinks!
2. Lola’s Cafe – Lola’s is a cute little cafe right near my church – it has cute farmhouse decor & you can buy the yummiest snacks, treats & other little goodies. My girlfriends and I have met up for breakfast before church camp over the past few summers, and it’s so good!
My favorite things to order: the kid’s cheese & egg breakfast sandwich, blueberry muffin, avocado toast & hot chocolate.
3. Ellie’s House – Ellie’s House is an adorable bakery/brunch & quick breakfast spot that my mom and I have loved going to! It’s temporarily closed right now, but they have so many coffee shop classics that are the best – plus, the decor & design on the inside is so fun!
My favorite things to order: a chocolate croissant, scrambled eggs, & a mug of hot chocolate
4. Nekter – Nekter has over 100 locations all across the country, but they are based out of Southern California. Before Covid hit, I would go to Nekter probably once a week to get juices or smoothies – one of my best friends and I would go get smoothies before golf practice last year! I love the variety of smoothies, juices, wellness shots, cleanses & other good, healthy snacks they have to offer!
My favorite things to order: a 16 oz. Pink Flamingo smoothie, a 16 oz Green Apple Detox, or a charcoal lemonade.
5. The Tea House on Los Rios – I have such fond memories of having tea with my Grandma, Aunties, Mamie & Gigi at The Tea House ~ they serve the yummiest breakfast/brunch/lunch type foods, and it’s a really fun tea experience! The classic tea sandwiches, scones, tiny dishes make it so chic & everything tastes amazing!
My favorite things to order: the Mission Tea package, which includes:
– Freshly baked currant scone with raspberry preserves and California cream
– Selection of one of delicious handmade soups or a garden salad with your choice of dressing
– Assorted Finger Sandwiches
– Fresh fruit accompanied by cream and brown sugar
– A selection of handmade delectable desserts
– Your selection of premium loose leaf tea
1. Las Golondrinas – My family has been going to Las Golondrinas for as long as I can remember – it’s a super casual Mexican restaurant, and the food is absolutely incredible! There isn’t any seating at the restaurant, so we usually pick out food up and eat it at the beach, by the pool or at home.
My favorite things to order: the classic bean + cheese burrito, mini bean + cheese burritos, & egg + bean burritos.
2. Ruby’s Shake Shack at Crystal Cove – Ruby’s Shake Shack is an iconic & must visit restaurant while in Orange County! Up on a cliff overlooking the beautiful beach at Crystal Cove, you have an amazing view & the food is a California classic!
My favorite things to order: a cheeseburger with french fries and a chocolate malt shake – the classic!
3. Tutto Fresco – Tutto has been a favorite of mine for years – I love classic Italian food, and the pasta here is hard to beat! They offer both indoor and outdoor dining, and everything is so yummy!
My favorite things to order: Camera pasta – I’ve been ordering this for the last few years and have no intention of changing it up anytime soon haha!
4. L’Horrendele – Nestled right in historic San Juan Capistrano, this small French restaurant is so cozy and classic – I have such wonderful memories of having dinner here with my grandparents and great grandparents – I truly feel like I’m in Europe when I’m here!
My favorite things to order: I’ve only been to L’Horrendele a handful of times, and I’ve ordered different things each visit. I did try my first Escargot here with my grandpa, and it was actually very good!
5. Ciao Pasta – Another Italian favorite of mine, also in San Juan Capistrano. My family & my grandparents have been dining here for years – I can’t even keep count of how many times I’ve been here! The outdoor dining patio is so dreamy – the strung lights and the plants all around give it such a cozy feel!
My favorite things to order: the arugula and prosciutto pizza, calamari & cannolis for dessert!
1. South Swell – I’m always a sucker for ice cream, and South Swell has the absolute best ice cream bars – you can choose what ice cream flavor, topping, sauce & other goodies goes on your bar, and it’s such a fun summer treat!
My favorite things to order: a vanilla ice cream bar, dipped in chocolate fudge sauce, covered in crushed up Reese’s cups.
2. Handels – another one of my favorite ice cream places, but it’s more of the traditional flavors – it reminds me of an old fashioned ice cream shop!
My favorite things to order: a small chocolate peanut butter brownie – chocolate ice cream with big chunks of brownies & a peanut butter swirl.
3. The Donut Parlor – a small gourmet donut shop right near my house that has quickly turned into a family favorite! For years, we would go pickup donuts before school every friday and eat them in the car. They have so many yummy flavors – from the classics to unique creations.
My favorite things to order: A chocolate old fashioned. I don’t think my order will ever change!
Thanks so much for following along on my first “guide to OC”! I hope you enjoyed this post – if you visit any of these restaurants, make sure to tag me so I can share!