Let all of your assumptions go when you come to Au Lac, a Vietnamese-inspired vegan raw food restaurant. The exterior of the restaurant is a typical hole in the wall. But the interior is surprisingly nice with ambient light, modern utensils, and happy diners. Hardly anything on the menu looks familiar. But seriously, everything looks fabulous and tastes great. Definitely try one raw food dish and one soy-meat dish. Cream Cheese is a delightful raw appetizer. Soy fish clay pot sensation treats you with soy fish with no sacrifice in taste. Last but not least, do dessert, or you'll regret it.
This restaurant proves that we vegan food can be incredibly delicious. The restaurant offers a wide variety of Thai and Chinese dishes. Try Pad Thai with imitation chicken, clay pot fish with eggplant, curries. Three factors make the soy "meat" like the real thing: look, taste and texture. Cheesecake is a must - you can't believe it is made of soy! And the staff's sincere friendliness will keep you coming back.
Thuyen Vien is a favorite for vegetarians and vegans in the area looking for delicious Vietnamese and Southeast Asian cuisine. All dishes are prepared without using meat, many utilizing imitation chicken, fish and beef. Herbivores will delight in the vegetarian pho, a dish usually prepared with meat broth and more meat inside. The garlic "chicken" is another favorite, along with egg rolls and Vietnamese crepes.
This is a popular spot for the early morning crowd who like to rev up their engines with great coffee and juices. Diners fill up on scrambled eggs, omelettes, scones, muffins or bagels. If you come for lunch you will find sandwiches, pizzas, soups and salads. This place is hugely popular with locals, many of which are regulars here.
Juice Joint Deli is a Juice bar that caters to delicious smoothies, shakes, sandwiches, juices and other Mexican edibles. They also create good breakfast and brunch meals apart from health juices and smoothies. A separate kids menu is available for your young ones. You can opt for customization of your sandwich, smoothie or juice as well.
Barley Forge Brewing Co. is located at the popular Camp in Costa Mesa, where visitors can mix both dining and shopping at this hip retail center. Behind the bar, the brewery offers small-batch, craft beers that are made with love and character. The core beers consist of a Witbier, a Dark Ale, an Amber Ale made with Agave, a Dortmunder, an IPA, a double IPA, a Hefeweizen made with mango and the Patsy is a Rye Stout infused with coconut. Of course, guests will find seasonal beers depending on the time of their visit, as well as limited-release editions. The kitchen serves a myriad of sandwiches from the grill as well as appetizers; the selections accompany the beers perfectly.
MAR is a raw fish bar where the kitchen serves a variation of dishes, from poke and teriyaki bowls to tacos and Ceviche. Located in the popular 4th Street Market, most of the menu focus is on the raw fish, however the chicken teriyaki and chorizo tacos are masterfully prepared. Order a glass of Black Rice Horchata or Blood Orange Lemonade and you have a unique lunch that is out-of-the-ordinary.
Blackmarket Bakery has a couple of locations in Orange County, this one in downtown Santa Ana and the other located at the popular Camp shopping district in Costa Mesa. The use of the word bakery is somewhat of a misnomer, since visitors can get craft beer, cider and sandwiches until late in the evening. The baked goods are phenomenal however; try the fresh breads like the Artichoke Asiago Loaf or the Challah (made only on Fridays), you will be glad you did.
At Mesa, modern American dishes meet California standards, where guests are constantly impressed with the novel items that come out of the kitchen. The upscale, plush restaurant presents mussels, Angus steak, Caprese Pizzetta, wood-oven pizzas and a warm bread pudding that is one of the best in Costa Mesa. The bar menu is also a major draw as it comprises variety of draft beers, cocktails as well as red and white wines. The spacious restaurant can also accommodate large groups and private events.
As its name implies, Native Foods Cafe is a purveyor of both vegetarian and meat based dishes for the health conscious consumer. The menu items meticulously detail the all-natural ingredients and the kitchen only uses non-GMO items. Gluten-free options are available and the menu does a superb job at describing dishes that may contain food allergens. Some of the dishes include the Sesame Kale Macro Bowl, the Bangkok Curry Bowl, Lemongrass Broccoli and a kid's menu that is just as impressive. Its location at the Camp is also another reason why to visit Native Foods, after you eat, you still feel light and filled with energy to go shopping.
East Borough is nestled among hip and trendy retail stores inside the popular Camp shopping area. East Borough's menu fuses dishes that vacillate between the French and Vietnamese kitchens, for instance, the Pho Baguette and Pork Loaf Pate Banh Mi are superb examples of this. Salads, noodles, rice and spring rolls round out the rest of the menu while the Vietnamese coffee and Salted Plum Soda serve as perfect drinks to accompany the spicy, savory and sweet flavors.