I sat in my chair with my belly sticking out and an empty ramen bowl in front of me. We just finished our second dinner but still had dessert spots to try on our list. It was time to loosen the pants!
13 PLACES TO EAT IN IRVINE CALIFORNIA
Irvine, California is full of food options, especially some amazing Asian cuisine. During our trip, we ate way too much trying to get through our list. We especially loved how much Asian food there is after our stint of living in Portland. The Diamond Jamboree Shopping Center, which is one of the most popular spots, has Chinese, Korean, Japanese, and Taiwanese food all in one area.
To help you plan your visit, we’ve compiled a list of the best places to eat in Irvine, California.
1. 85°C Bakery (Bakeries, $)
This Taiwanese Bakery opened their first U.S. location in Irvine, and when they first opened, the lines wrapped around outside. Even when we visited, it was still busy, but much more manageable than the first time we visited. They serve coffee, cakes, pastries, and more. We ordered the sea salt coffee and tried a bunch of different pastries, and our favorite is the Taro Bread. (2700 Alton Pkwy Ste 123, Irvine; 949.553.8585)
2. A&J Restaurant (Taiwanese, $)
This is a Taiwanese chain and is our friends’ go-to spot for beef noodle soup. Don’t forget to order the scallion pancakes and cucumber salad in hot garlic sauce. (14805 Jeffrey Rd Ste D, Irvine; 949.786.3585)
3. Andrei’s Conscious Cuisine & Cocktails (New American, $$)
If you’re looking for a feel-good food spot, 100% of the profits from Andrei’s goes towards finding a cure for Retinitis Pigmentosa. We can’t speak for the food, but we went for cocktails and loved their barrel-aged Manhattan. (2607 Main Street, Irvine; 949.387.8887)
4. Bruxie (Breakfast & Brunch, $)
There are multiple locations for Bruxies. If you love sweet and savory, this is the spot for you. They have a variety of chicken and waffle sandwiches, which are way easier to eat with fork and knife. The waffle sandwiches didn’t taste as good as I remembered from the first time, but we still loved their custard. (14376 Culver Dr, Irvine, 949.556.4894)
5. Eats Kitchen and Bar (New American, $$)
I loved the convenience of having a restaurant right in Hotel Irvine, where we were staying. It was packed when we arrived. We usually don’t expect much at hotel restaurants because most times you sacrifice something for convenience, but we really enjoyed our drinks and food here. Their grilled shrimp and boozy bread pudding were our favorites. 👌 (17900 Jamboree Rd, Irvine; 949.225.6780)
6. Fukada (Japanese, $$)
This is a really popular spot right now. They serve deliciously simple udon, soba, and rice bowl dishes. We went for lunch and got a soba + unagidon combo. YUM! (8683 Irvine Center Dr, Irvine; 949.341.0111)
7. HiroNori Craft Ramen (Ramen, $$)
We ate here twice during our SoCal trip! The broth is really creamy and delicious and the pork is full of flavor. We also tried their fried chicken and rice bowls. If there was only one place you could eat at during your visit, I would recommend HiroNori. (2222 Michelson Dr #234, Irvine; 949.536.5800)
8. In-n-Out (Burgers, $)
If you haven’t gotten your In-N-Out fix yet, there are plenty in Irvine. They are also headquartered here. The funny thing is when we lived in SoCal, we rarely went, but there is no denying that at their price point, they have the best burgers. (4115 Campus Dr, Irvine; 800.786.1000)
9. Puesto (Tacos, $$)
We didn’t try the Irvine location, but if you’re in the mood for fancy tacos, go to Puesto. You can check out our full review of the San Diego location. Our favorites are the Tamarindo Shrimp Tacos and Mexican Street Bowl. (8577 Irvine Center Dr, Irvine; 949.608.9990)
10. Snow Monster (Desserts, $)
If you’re looking for photogenic desserts and drinks, stop by Snow Monster. We got the lightbulb glass with a cotton candy cloud, but they also have a 70-200mm lens glass. Both the Thai tea and lemonade were too sweet for our taste but the lightbulbs were too cute not to get. 😂 (4255 Campus Dr A124, Irvine; 714.582.6023)
11. Sweet Combforts (Desserts, $)
They take waffles to the next level by beautiful decorating it and putting it on a stick. They also have colorful shakes to check out. (2222 Michelson Dr, Irvine; 562.569.2530)
12. Temakira Hand Rolls (Sushi, $)
We don’t usually order hand rolls when we go out for sushi, but these ones were so pretty we couldn’t resist. We’re happy to report that they were also tasty. They have a ton of different options and specials that are always changing. (4237 Campus Dr Suite B164, Irvine; 949.387.9444)
13. Urban Seoul (Asian Fusion, $$)
If you’re looking for a hip spot that serves beer and fusion, check out Urban Seoul. The dishes are a mix of Korean and Mexican dishes that are served in shareable portions. We ordered a bunch to share, and we were happy with everything we ordered. If you’re not coming in a group, here is the order from our favorite to least favorite: Elote > Pork Belly Tacos > Loaded Fries > Gogi sliders > Kimchi fried rice. (2750 Alton Pkwy, Irvine; 949.553.0188)
MORE PLACES TO EAT
We left with happy bellies but there are still plenty of places we want to try next time.
- Bistango (New American / Tapas, $$$) – CLOSED SUNDAYS
- Boiling Point (Taiwanese Hot Pot, $$)
- Burntzilla Modern Eats (Hot Dogs, $)
- Caspian Hookah Lounge (Hookah Bars, $$) – persian food, live music, belly dance performances
- Class 302 (Bubble Tea, $) – self serve boba
- Clay Oven (Indian, $$)
- East Coast Bagel (Bagels, $) – decent bagel sandwiches considering they’re on the west coast.
- EMC Seafood & Raw Bar (Seafood, $$)
- Honey & Butter Macarons (Macarons, $) – Cute character macarons, they come out at noon, so we didn’t get to try them since our flight was around then.
- Le Diplomate Cafe (Bakeries, $)
- Mick’s Karma Bar (New American / Burgers, $)
- Mokkoji Shabu Shabu Bar (Japanese / Hot Pot, $$)
- North Italia (Pizza, Italian, $$)
- OoToro Sushi (Sushi, $$$)
- Panini Cafe – our friend who went to school here says they have the best kebabs.
- Red Bar & Lounge (Lounges / Cocktail Bars, $$) – sweet potato fries
- Scoops N Scoops Creamery (Ice Cream, $$) – nitrogen infused ice cream
- Shik Do Rak (Korean BBQ, $$)- all you can eat KBQQ
- Twenty Eight Restaurant & Lounge (New American, $$$)- CLOSED SUNDAYS
- Y.N.K. (Lounge, $$) – our friend’s favorite place to get cocktails.
MAP TO HELP YOU GET AROUND
WHERE TO STAY
We stayed at Hotel Irvine and even had dinner at the restaurant downstairs. The location is super convenient and we could get to everything really easily. Also, get access to Club 12. They have evening drinks and bites as well as breakfast.
17900 Jamboree Road
Irvine, California 92614
Let us know if you make it to any of these spots or if there are others we should add to the list.
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“Discovery consists not of seeking new lands but in seeing with new eyes” – M. Proust