Costa Mesa, CA, USA

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Costa Mesa Restaurants Serve Up Award-Winning Takeout and More

Posted on December 31, 2020 | 9:40pm

Costa Mesa is home to some of the most celebrated chefs and restaurants in Orange County and, despite unprecedented circumstances, they were still able to shine this year. We’re honoring the innovation and accolades of Costa Mesa restaurants in 2020, and looking forward to 2021.

Photo courtesy of Sarah King Photography

Fine Dining Takeout

As dining rooms closed, restaurants pivoted towards takeout. Some of Costa Mesa’s finest restaurants created special takeout menus. Michelin-star Taco María offers a rotating menu that has included a Wagyu burger, house made sauces and tamales during the holidays. At Vaca, you can still order your favorite tapas to go, along with new family-style meals and cocktails. The Mastro’s Steakhouse selection includes favorites like the double-cut pork chop, lobster mashed potatoes and butter cake. The menu also includes “Butcher Block To Go,” featuring raw restaurant quality meat to cook at home.

Photo courtesy of Water Grill

Water Grill Market Sale

Water Grill’s pop up market features some of the freshest seafood, steaks, and produce. Meal kits and pre-made cocktails are also available. The concierge shopping service, where only the staff handles the products, is now open every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. 

Photo courtesy of Terrace by Mix Mix

Terrace by Mix Mix and Hamamori Collaboration

Chef Ross Pangilinan, of Terrace by Mix Mix, and Chef James Hamamori teamed up for a series of “culinary adventures” this year. Each pre-fixe meal included multiple courses from each chef. We hope to see more culinary adventures in 2021 from these two great chefs.

Photo courtesy of The CAMP

Concerts @ The Camp

One of our favorite innovations this year! Concerts @ The CAMP is a drive-in live concert series where you can listen to live music from the comfort and safety of your car. You can pick up meals from on site restaurants like Folks, Blackmarket Bakery and Old Vine Kitchen & Bar. Keep an eye on our calendar for future Concerts @ The CAMP.

Accolades

Taco Maria named one of LA Times 101 Best LA Restaurants 2020 for the second year in a row.

Water Grill named one of Brad A. Johnson’s Best Seafood Restaurants in Orange County.

Crudo at The Hall: Global Eatery and Knife Pleat named as two of the Orange County’s Best New Restaurants by Orange Coast Magazine.

View our full list of Costa Mesa restaurants that are open for takeout and delivery.

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Posted in Food

Thanksgiving Dinner Ideas to Dine in Costa Mesa (or Take Home)

Posted on November 10, 2020 | 12:28pm

Not sure what to cook for Thanksgiving? Treat yourself, and your family, with Thanksgiving dinner from one of Costa Mesa’s great restaurants. Several favorites are open for dine in service, while others are offering amazing family-style menus for you to take home. If you’re coming to Costa Mesa, take advantage of our holiday gift by staying 2 nights and getting a $100 South Coast Plaza gift card! 

Update: Orange County has been moved to the Purple Tier. Indoor dining is no longer permitted. Please check with restaurants about their updated Thanksgiving dining options.

Café Sevilla

Celebrate Thanksgiving with a Spanish flair at Café Sevilla. Enjoy 3 courses for adults ($49.50) or 2 courses for kids 10 and under ($24.50). Choices include butternut squash soup or baby mixed winter greens, roasted turkey breast and Blackforest ham or duet of salmon and shrimp and, for dessert, pumpkin pie or chocolate and Licor 43 ganache tart. The full dinner menu is also available.

Water Grill

For the first time, Water Grill will be open Thanksgiving Day from 11:00am-8:00pm. The 3-course Thanksgiving menu begins with signature clam chowder or mixed greens, followed by Diestel Farms roasted turkey, cranberry relish, sourdough-apple stuffing, Yukon Gold mashed potatoes and gravy. Dessert is your choice of pumpkin cheesecake or caramel bread pudding. The Thanksgiving menu is $68 for adults and $25 for children 12 and under. The a la carte menu is also available. For reservations, call 949.208.7060.

Photo courtesy of The Vaca Group

Vaca and The Hall: Global Eatery

It’s a Top Chef Thanksgiving with Amar Santana. Take home a whole roasted turkey, Yukon gold mashed potatoes and gravy, sausage cornbread stuffing stuffing, maple glazed yams with pomegranate, green beans with toasted almonds, cream of mushroom soup and a pecan pie tart. The Thanksgiving family feast serves 8-10 ($495) and can be preordered at Vaca or The Hall: Global Eatery by November 23.

The Capital Grille

Dine on slow-roasted turkey, French green beans, cranberry-pear chutney and Brioche stuffing, along with Sam’s mashed potatoes to share ($45 for adults; $15 for children 12 and under) at The Capital Grille. The Thanksgiving menu, along with the full dinner menu, is available 11:30am-9:30pm on November 26. A family-style take home dinner ($125) for 4-6 people is also available for preorder, with pickup November 24-25.

Silver Trumpet

Silver Trumpet Restaurant at Avenue of the Arts hotel is offering a sumptuous Thanksgiving buffet spread!

Seating available every 2 hours. Gourmet carving station, a la carte menu, sides, dessert and more. $45 per adult, $21 per child (12 & under). Tax and gratuity not included. For reservations, please call (714) 442-8593.

Seasons 52

The Thanksgiving plate at Seasons 52 ($25 for adults; $15 for children 12 and under) includes antibiotic-free roasted turkey and gravy, Yukon mashed potatoes, mashed butternut squash, French green beans, herb stuffing and cranberry relish. For dessert, enjoy a mini pumpkin pie. Seasons 52 is open from 10:00am-9:00pm on Thanksgiving. A family meal for 4-6 is available too, with a choice between field greens or Caesar salad and six mini indulgences ($150). The take home meal must be preordered by November 25.

Greenleaf Gourmet Chopshop

Don’t want to deal with a whole turkey? Greenleaf Gourmet Chopshop is the way to go. The Thanksgiving Feast features slow roasted turkey breast with garlic and rosemary. Sides include whole grain stuffing, mashed potatoes, their popular roast “garlicky” broccolini, roasted cauliflower and arugula salad, biscuits with apple butter and pumpkin pie. It serves 6-8 people ($175). Greenleaf also offers individual Thanksgiving meals ($21). Preorder from now until November 24.

Photo courtesy of Toast Kitchen & Bakery

Toast Kitchen & Bakery

Make Thanksgiving dessert extra special with the Toast Kitchen & Bakery annual Pie and Pint Sale. From now until November 22, you can preorder a nine-inch pie and a pint of ice cream. The homemade pairs ($39) include taro blueberry pie with blueberry pie ice cream, chocolate banana cream pie with Thai tea ice cream, POG pie with strawberry shortcake ice cream, strawberry rhubarb pie with Sakura ice cream or apple pie with mulled wine ice cream. Orders are available for pickup on Wednesday, November 25 from 8:00am – 7:00pm. 

Whether you want to stay home or get away, Costa Mesa restaurants have you covered this Thanksgiving. If you’re planning on visiting, make sure to check out our holiday hotel deals. Be sure to ask about our QR code, located at the front desk, for the latest events. 

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Posted in Food, Misc

Treat Yourself with a $100 South Coast Plaza Gift Card from Travel Costa Mesa

Posted on October 31, 2020 | 8:00pm

Travel Costa Mesa wants your holidays to still be bright this year. We’re going to Light Up Your Holidays with a $100 South Coast Plaza gift card when you stay 2 nights in the City of the Arts®! South Coast Plaza is the premier shopping destination on the West Coast. They’re also dedicated to your health and safety. You can find something special from one of 250 boutiques, of course. However, we think a trip to South Coast Plaza isn’t complete without trying, at least, one of their 30 restaurants. We’re sharing some ideas for you to treat yourself to some amazing food. 

Photo courtesy of Sarah King

Tapas and Cocktails at Vaca

Since Vaca is located across the street, between Segerstrom Center for the Arts and The Westin South Coast Plaza, you may not realize that it is actually part of the South Coast Plaza restaurants. The Spanish-inspired cuisine, from Top Chef finalist Amar Santana, is a Costa Mesa favorite. We recommend going for tapas and cocktails for an authentic experience. You can’t dine at Vaca without trying the Canellon de Pollo Ahumado ($18)–a smoked chicken cannelloni with foie gras sauce and a sherry reduction–and their signature Vaca Tonic ($13). Pair them with the Pan Con Tomate ($9) or the Ensalada de Remolacha ($13) with watercress, roasted beets, caña de cabra, saffron poached pears and a caramelized sherry-honey vinaigrette for an unforgettable meal.

Photo courtesy of Mike Shubic of Mike’s Road Trip

Sushi at Water Grill

Another adjacent South Coast Plaza restaurant, Water Grill is known for their extensive selection of fresh seafood. We think it’s a great place to stop in for some unbelievably good sushi. The Trojan Roll includes wild bigeye tuna, wasabi vinaigrette, yuzu tobiko and traditional ponzu sauce ($20). Pair it with the Smoked Hamachi Nachos ($17)–with Japanese yellowtail, Asian pear, yucca chips and toasted marcona almonds–or the King Crab California Roll ($27)–with wild barents sea red king crab leg, avocado, fried leeks and brown butter nikiri. In the mood for a cocktail? The Bristol Street ($14.50) is vodka-based with fresh strawberry and lemon juice, infused with tarragon essence.

Lunch at Terrace by Mix Mix

One of our favorite options for lunch at South Coast Plaza is the Express Lunch Menu ($25) at Terrace by Mix Mix from chef Ross Pangilinan. The three-course meal changes daily, so it’s a great opportunity to try a variety of dishes. Another popular option is their bone-marrow pizza ($19–with shallot marmalade, mornay sauce and red wine jus–and the marinated tomatoes ($9) with burrata, oregano, basil and sherry vinaigrette.

Photo courtesy of Sarah King

Breakfast or Lunch at The Hall: Global Eatery

The Hall: Global Eatery, also from chef Amar Santana, is inspired by European food halls. It includes a patisserie, a Mediterranean grill and poke. The patisserie serves coffee, pastries and sandwiches. If you’re in the mood for the Mediterranean grill, we suggest trying the shawarma fries ($12) or the bowl ($11), which comes with your choice of starch, protein, five sides and sauce. Poke bowls ($14) also come with five sides, two scoops of protein, sauce, topping and a base of rice or salad.

Photo courtesy of Knife Pleat

Tasting Menu at Knife Pleat

If you want to indulge at one restaurant, it’s hard to beat the tasting menu at Knife Pleat ($175) on November 6 and 13. Chef Tony Esnault’s 6-course menu begins with vegetable consomme and foie gras, followed by pasta, fish and meat courses and dessert. You can view the entire menu here. The tasting menu dinners regularly sell out, so we recommend making reservations as early as possible.

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Why Costa Mesa is Perfect for Solo Travel

Posted on September 30, 2020 | 8:24pm

You’re independent and ready to travel. You want to go someplace fun, safe and close to home. Hop in the car and head to the heart of Orange County. Whether you’re coming for a weekend getaway or a mid-week retreat, Costa Mesa is the perfect destination for your next solo trip. Before you make plans, be sure to check out our hotel deals.

Relax at the beach

Fall may be here, but the weather is still warm enough to head to the nearest beach. If you want to stay active, start off at one of our beach-adjacent parks and hike or bike to the beach. Otherwise, Orange County beaches are just a short drive for our hotels. Nothing says getaway quite like a day at the beach. We recommend getting a Sidecar donut to take with you.

Go on the Costa Mesa Art Walk

Costa Mesa is the City of the Arts® and no stay would be complete without seeing some of the art the city has to offer. Enjoy your solitude by getting outside and socially distancing on the Costa Mesa Art Walk. Stroll along our self-guided path to see the unique sculptures, as well as the area around Segerstrom Center for the Arts and over to South Coast Plaza. It’s all about you, so take your time. 

Shop at SOCO & The OC Mix

From Michelin star dining to boutique shopping, SOCO & The OC Mix is a must for a solo trip to Costa Mesa. Make some you-time by shopping small boutiques like Local Fare, The Mixing Glass or Bona Spera. Sit outside to sip award-winning Portola Coffee Roasters. Grab takeout from Michelin star Taco Maria. The indoor/outdoor space is great for exploring the shops before relaxing at a quiet table.

Dine at The CAMP

There are tons of amazing restaurants in Costa Mesa. We recommend visiting The CAMP at least once during your stay. The eco-friendly campus is home to great dining. Old Vine Restaurant & Bar has delicious food and extended patio seating, including OVKB The Roof. Stopping by for Sunday brunch? Definitely try the Baked Caramel Apple French Toast. When you’re done, walk across the street to The LAB Anti-Mall for more unique shops, restaurants and Instagram-worthy pics.

Stay safe at our hotels

Our Costa Mesa hotels make your health a priority. They’ve put into place new safety and cleanliness standards, so you can have peace of mind. Some hotels––such as Avenue of the Arts, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel, and Ayres Hotel––have restaurants with patio dining open. No matter which hotel you choose, be sure to ask the front desk for the Travel Costa Mesa QR code for our event highlights for that week!

Come to Costa Mesa for a mid-week break or a weekend adventure. There’s plenty to do safely while you’re here. Want more ideas? Visit our Create Your Escape page for a solo itinerary, hotel deals and more. 

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Posted in Food, Hotels, Music & Art, Play, Shopping

Costa Mesa Drive-In Concerts, Fair Food and More

Posted on August 31, 2020 | 3:35pm

The drive-in is making a comeback in the age of COVID. Drive-in movies and concerts have been featured in cities all over the country, including Concerts @ The CAMP here in Costa Mesa. This fall promises new, exciting drive-in and drive-thru experiences at OC Fair & Event Center. Find out how you can visit Costa Mesa and enjoy these events from the safety of your car. Masks are required throughout California, also remember to remain at least 6 feet away from those outside of your household and wash your hands frequently. That way, everyone can stay healthy and have fun.

Woman holding funnel cake at the OC Fair.

OC Fair Food Drive-Thru

What’s summer in Orange County without OC Fair funnel cake? The fair may have gone virtual this year, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get your favorite food. From August 28-October 31, the OC Fair Food Drive-Thru is hosting five food vendors: Hawaiian Chicken Bowl, Hot Dog on a Stick, Dippin’ Dots, Cathy’s Cookies and Juicy’s Funnel Cake. The drive-thru is open Friday and Saturday from noon to 8:00pm and Sunday from noon to 6:00pm. It’s drive-thru only; no parking is available. Entry is free. For more information, including menus and pricing, visit the link above. 

Photo courtesy of Autosonic Concerts

Drive-In Concert Series

Visit September 25-27 for the Autosonic Drive-In Concert Series. Each night features two 60-minute concerts with local and national bands. Performances are at 6:30pm and 9:00pm. The concerts offer contactless, QR-code entry and a variety of parking options. Tickets range from $75-$199 per vehicle, up to 4 people. Since you bring your own food, we recommend checking our restaurants page and grabbing a bite from your Costa Mesa favorites to make the night extra special. Bands include Which One’s Pink? (Pink Floyd cover band) on Friday, Queen Nation (Queen cover band) on Saturday and Dead Man’s Party (a Oingo Boingo and Danny Elfman tribute band) on Sunday.

Urban Legends Drive-Thru Haunt

Celebrate Halloween in Costa Mesa with the Urban Legends Drive-Thru Haunt, from the creators of Winter Fest OC. Drive through an immersive, storytelling experience with three unique show zones, special effects, monsters and more. Urban Legends Drive-Thru Haunt is open Wednesday-Sunday from October 1 to November 1. Tickets start at $49.99 per vehicle. The event is for 10-and-over. Due to special effects, pets are not allowed.

OC Fair & Event Center is still a “center of fun,” even if things look a little different right now. Make the most of social distancing with these drive-thru and drive-in events. Coming for Labor Day weekend? Check out our latest hotel deals, hotel safety protocols and our latest COVID-19 information. For the latest socially-distant events, visit our calendar.

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Posted in Events, Food, Misc, Music & Art, Play