Going to Irvine for a concert. Anything good to eat?

I know Irvine has a ton of good chinese food, but not really looking for that. Open to other suggestions but particularly interested if there is any good izakaya in the near vicinity (ie. doesn’t have to be in Irvine).

We can drive down either on the 5 or 405.

Not Irvine, but in Tustin there is an Okinawan restaurant called Habuya.
It is the only Okinawan restaurant that I know of in Southern California.

I recommend the peanut tofu, pig feet & ears, soki soba. Make sure to wash it down with Okinawa’s beer & spirit: Orion and Awamori.

Careful, they are closed on Sundays.



What kind of food/restaurant do you have in mind (sit-down, take-out, etc.)?

Yes sit down with booze

Thanks will look into it.

My go-to’s in the Irvine area include North Italia, Bosscat Kitchen and Houston’s. Or you could stop at The Mix in Costa Mesa for (time permitting) oysters at Shuck and dinner at Taco Maria, Pueblo, or ARC.


Is North Italia the same as the one in El Segundo?


Perhaps Izakaya Hachi in Costa Mesa if you’re looking for an Izakaya? Across the freeway from South Coast Plaza. Parking’s not that good there though.

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Fried oysters + biscuits hack


If you’re coming from LA and taking the 405 there is a Shin Sen Gumi off Brookhurst. There is a ramen place and izakaya right next to reach other. It’s in the same plaza as Paderia bakery. Great malasadas.


Yep. French dip sandwich for the win.


Are chain restaurants like Houstons and Gulfstream really the best Irvine has to offer?

Unfortunately. Irvine has good Chinese and a lot of chains. If you’re coming down the 5 consider stopping in Anaheim for Zait n Zataar. Great Lebanese and 15-20 minutes away.

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+1 for Bosscat

Or go to Forn Al Hara and get a zatar, lamajun and finish off with the best kunefe in so cal

If you’re not looking for Chinese food, unfortunately yes, for the most part. With the exception of Chinese food, Irvine’s restaurant scene seems to follow it’s master-planned sterility. If there are any notable non-chains there, I’d love to hear about them.

One non-chain restaurant that did come to mind in Irvine is Bistango. It’s a bit of a scene, but the food is solid.

Bosscat is not a chain. Neither are any of the restaurants that I mentioned. in The Mix in Costa Mesa. Yes, I know the non-chains I recommended are not in Irvine.

I thought about that, too. Both are great, and the izakaya part is in our regular rotation. The kids call it “the sticks place”. Funny how the izakaya side is now usually more busy than the ramen side. It used to be the other way around. That may change with cooler weather, though.

Yes. That and the Thai Steak Noodle Salad are my go-to’s. I’ve actually made the salad (sub rotisserie chicken) at home from Bon Appetit’s recipe, and it’s pretty spot-on.

Tackle Box recently opened in SoCo/The Mix, although they are only open until 7pm.

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Thanks for the suggestions everyone. I think we’re going to hit up Shin Sen Gumi for some yakitori and maybe finish up with some malasadas per @js76wisco suggestion.

Wait, how’s Honda-ya compared to Shin Sen Gumi? The location is a bit more convenient as it’s closer to the concert venue (5 Point Amphitheater)

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There’s also Kappo Honda across the street from Shin Sen Gumi which is owned by the Honda Ya people