Outdoor Dining in Orange County

So I am arranging a business dinner in March (just me and one other person), Orange County being the most likely location. This is huge for me given that I have not dined at a restaurant, inside or outside, since March 2020. I absolutely will not do indoor dining (not even sure if Orange County is open for indoor dining) and I’m also still uneasy about outdoor dining as well, even though I am fully vaccinated.

So does anyone have any suggestions? Budget is not an issue. Normally all I would care about would be the food, but since I’m still uneasy about Covid (vaccinated or not), at this point in time, a nice safe outdoor environment is top priority so long as the food is not awful.

Suggestions?

The Ranch Restaurant in Anaheim.
THE RANCH Restaurant & Saloon

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Go to Marche Moderne , had a great outdoor dinner there in October

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I went to the Ranch in November for my parents anniversary. If you are concerned about sitting indoors and haven’t dined at a restaurant since March the Ranch might not be for you.

Much of the “outdoor” seating area is indoors in a big room with all of the large doors and windows opened. The spacing was less than ideal. Many of the the tables were pretty close together.

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The Farmhouse at Roger’s Gardens might be a good option given your concerns.

Playa Mesa is great. The chef (Roland Rubalcava) came from Taco Maria. We had brunch there last week (chile verde benedict is amazing), and they have a great dinner menu. They have outdoor seating, and they have some indoor tables that are up against huge open windows.

The patio at Sushi Ii in Newport Beach. Ocean view ain’t too bad either and food is top tier.

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Anyone have any post-Covid intelligence at Harvest at The Ranch in Laguna Beach or The Loft at the Montage? I’m doubting that I’ll want to drive back to L.A. after dinner, so thought I would stay down in O.C. and it’s always nice to be able to tumble back to your room after dinner, although the downside is that hotel food is rarely the best.

The Montage seems grossly overpriced – saw on TripAdvisor someone complaining about a $1,000 a night room and shabby hallways – so not sure if it would be worth the splurge, but maybe if the outdoor spaces are fabulous. I’ve been basically cooped up inside for a year due to Covid and walking beautiful grounds (with a N95 mask on, which are suddenly, now that I’m vaccinated, available to the public) sounds rather enticing.

@A5KOBE Sushi Li sounds fabulous, including the ocean view, but alas I don’t think my guest is a big sushi person.

We have decided on Michael Mina’s Bourbon Steak at the Waldorf Astoria (fka St. Regis) in Laguna Niguel.

If nothing else, it sounds like a nice setting. By the pictures, the interior of the restaurant looks kind of generic hotel ugly, but of course we will be dining outside and the reservations clerk said that what they set up for outdoor dining is very nice. I’m psyched about tip-toeing back into the world, and will report back.