O.C.’s Top 10 New Restaurants 2013

Screen Shot 2013-12-19 at 8.47.21 AMLittle Sparrow (Photo by Eugene Garcia, OC Register)

1. Little Sparrow
An American cafe with the old soul of a European bistro. Rising star chef. Killer pastrami. Elegant pastas. 300 N. Main St., Santa Ana. 714-265-7640

Screen Shot 2013-12-19 at 8.47.58 AMArc (Photo By Eugene Garcia, OC Register)

2. Arc
Urban campfire cooking. Dark and comfy. Magical mushrooms. Artisanal steaks. The burger is beyond compare. 3321 Hyland Ave., Costa Mesa. 949-500-5561

Screen Shot 2013-12-19 at 8.48.04 AMTaco Maria (Photo by Cindy Yamanaka, OC Register)

3. Taco Maria

Highly refined Chicano cuisine. Brilliant wine pairings. Wood-fired grill. Chef’s counter. This is not a taqueria. 3313 Hyland Ave., Costa Mesa. 714-538-8444

Screen Shot 2013-12-19 at 8.48.09 AMJimmy’s Famous American Tavern (Photo By Eugene Garcua, OC Register)

4. Jimmy’s Famous American Tavern
David Wilhelm returns. Burgers. Cheddar cheese and beer dip. Crispy onion rings. Fireplace on the patio. 25001 Dana Point Harbor Drive, Dana Point. 949-388-8900

Screen Shot 2013-12-19 at 8.48.14 AMSue Ann’s Kitchen (Photo by Brad A. Johnson)

 

5. Sue Ann’s Kitchen
Fun nostalgia overload. Like being at a dinner party in 1972. Best crab cake on the planet. Layer cake heaven. 1450 Kraemer Blvd., Placentia. 714-961-137

Screen Shot 2013-12-19 at 8.48.19 AMWays & Means (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, OC Register)

6. Ways & Means Oyster House
Chandeliers and red leather booths. Bow ties and Naked Cowboys (oysters). Duck-egg crème brûlée. 513 E. Chapman Ave., Orange. 714-516-1800

Screen Shot 2013-12-19 at 8.48.24 AMUrban Seoul (Photo by Eugene Garcia, OC Register)

7. Urban Seoul
East-west mashup. Korean tacos. Chorizo fried rice. Kimchee quesadilla. Ice-cold beer. Get in line; it’s always a tight squeeze. Diamond Jamboree, 2750 Alton Parkway, Irvine. 949-533-0188

Screen Shot 2013-12-19 at 8.48.34 AMRice Paper (Photo by Brad A. Johnson)

8. Rice Paper
Vietnamese drinking cafe. Shrimp on a stick! 18-hour pho. Sizzling bloody clams. Bring earplugs. 10561 Bolsa Ave., Garden Grove. 714-554-8889

Screen Shot 2013-12-19 at 8.48.40 AMRitter’s (Photo by Brad A. Johnson)

9. Ritter’s
As New Orleans as it gets. Gumbo. Lobster pan roasts. Clams. Oyster po’ boys. Spicy! 1421 W. MacArthur Blvd., Santa Ana. 714-850-1380

10. Red O
Modern Mexican. Classy tequila. Live music (warning: loud). But why does the decor look so Moroccan? Fashion Island, 143 Newport Center Drive, Newport Beach. 949-718-0300

This article originally appeared in the OC Register. To read the original story and the 2013 OC Register Restaurant Awards, check out the current issueSubscriptions are required to read Register content in the week that it is originally published. If you don’t want to subscribe, you can simply buy a Day Pass — cheaper than a cup of coffee — for 24-hour access to the entire OC Register archive. I also invite you to follow me and join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter.

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