Irvine, California, known for its picturesque landscapes and vibrant culture, is also a paradise for food lovers, particularly during the holiday season. Hidden within this bustling city, two remarkable restaurants stand out, offering an array of flavors that cater to every palate. These hidden gems blend diverse international cuisines with a Californian twist, creating unforgettable dining experiences. Try these must-visit eateries in Irvine and thank me later!
Solstice Seasonal Kitchen & Bar
Solstice is a hidden gem in Irvine that stands out as a remarkable dining destination. Visitors often praise its exceptional food and warm ambiance.
This restaurant is especially noted for its easy parking, with a nearby structure offering validated parking.
Solstice offers a slightly upscale dining experience that justifies its pricing through the quality and presentation of its dishes, complemented by exceptional service.
Tomahawk Steak: Though it may appear smaller than expected, this dish offers a generous portion of succulent meat.
Grilled Branzino: Featured on their seasonal menu, this dish is best enjoyed with all its accompaniments. It can taste slightly salty when eaten alone.
Butter Cake: A seasonal delight, this dessert is a must-try for those who can spare room after their meal.
Ahi Tuna Poke Bowl: A refreshing and healthy option.
Short Rib Sliders: These sliders are a savory treat.
Chocolate Lava Cake: An essential for those with a sweet tooth.
Atmosphere: Upon entering Solstice, guests are welcomed into a trendy, modern, yet cozy environment. The interior design radiates chic sophistication, enhanced by natural light and a serene outdoor patio, perfect for Southern California’s sunny days.
The staff’s attentiveness contributes significantly to the pleasant atmosphere, making guests feel right at home.
It’s an ideal spot for various occasions, be it a casual brunch, a romantic date, or a special celebration. The portions are well-sized, ensuring a satisfying dining experience.
In summary, Solstice in Irvine is a must-visit for anyone seeking a memorable dining experience. With its combination of delicious food, welcoming ambiance, and attentive service, it’s a top choice for diners in Orange County. Whether it’s for a special occasion or a casual meet-up, Solstice promises an unforgettable experience.
Benny and Mary’s, a newly opened restaurant in Irvine, California, immediately catches attention with its unique charm and delightful menu. Situated off Von Karman, amidst towering business buildings, this standalone establishment offers a refreshing culinary experience.
Benny and Mary’s design exudes elegance and comfort, featuring dark velour-covered seating, rich wooden accents, tasteful chandeliers, art-adorned walls, and bookcases that enhance the ambiance. Music volume is just right and allows for undisturbed conversations, and the spacious layout ensures privacy between tables.
Cocktails: The menu boasts inventive drinks, like the “rye-fi” cocktail, a modern take on an old fashioned with allspice infused Bulleit rye and a mix of bitters. The “mai 24-karrot” combines bourbon, rum, carrot juice, and spices for a unique twist.
Appetizers: The fire-roasted carrots, served with a sweet and sour sauce, yogurt, and pumpkin seed granola, stand out as an unexpectedly delightful starter.
Main Courses: The vegan meatloaf, with its rich mushroom demi-glace and array of sides, offers a convincing meat-like experience. “Benny’s Chicken,” featuring a creamy mushroom sauce, is another popular choice.
Atmosphere: Benny and Mary’s atmosphere strikes a balance between luxury and relaxation. The dark, velvety seating and wood elements, combined with soft lighting and well-curated artwork, create a cozy and sophisticated environment. The thoughtful spacing between tables adds to the comfort, making it ideal for both intimate gatherings and casual dining.
Service at Benny and Mary’s is very, very good, with attentive staff like waitress Monica, who ensures a pleasant dining experience with her knowledge and efficiency. The assistant manager, Kevin, actively engages with guests, offering tours and sharing future plans for the restaurant, including a patio and a speakeasy.
While the restaurant’s prices reflect its high-quality ingredients and exquisite presentation, the menu’s seasonal variation promises new experiences with each visit. Benny and Mary’s has quickly established itself as a well-run and enticing destination, making it a must-visit for those seeking a unique dining experience in Irvine.
As your time in Irvine comes to an end, reflect on the delightful culinary discoveries at these hidden gems. Their fusion of global flavors and Californian flair has added a special touch to your holiday dining. Be sure to revisit these spots on your next Irvine adventure, and don’t forget to share these top dining destinations with fellow food aficionados!