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2 Michelin Star Restaurants in Orange County, And Some Bib Gourmand Offerings Too

Sushi omakase Japanese traditional food

2 Michelin Star Restaurants in Orange County, And Some Bib Gourmand Offerings Too

Within the expanse of beautiful rolling hills and picturesque beaches, there are two Michelin-starred restaurants in Orange County we're going to cover. This rating by the Michelin Guide is awarded to restaurants with “high-quality cooking” that are considered “worth the stop”. The other Michelin distinction we'll discuss on this list is the Bib Gourmand badge. This distinction has been around since 1955 and honors restaurants that offer quality fares at affordable prices. The Bib Gourmand rating, named for the friendly Michelin-man mascot, holds quite the weight in terms of the Culinary Award big leagues.

Some other awards you might hear mention of on this list are the James Beard Award and the Food & Wine Ranking. These awards cover multiple categories for restaurants, and James Beard honors the “Best Chef” by region. In 2023, two restaurants in Orange County made the semi-finals for that category. While there are multiple rounds of judging, even getting a nomination is an honor in the James Beard Awards circuit. These awards look at the skill of a chef, the ethics and values of the restaurant, and the inclusivity of the kitchen when deciding its rankings. Let's learn more about the top-honored and Michelin Star restaurants in Orange County, California.

Michelin Starred Restaurants

These restaurants currently hold one Michelin Star. They have been awarded this place in the Michelin Guide for between 1-3 years, consecutively, or otherwise.

Hana Re

2930 Bristol Street, Costa Mesa, CA 92626

Sushi omakase Japanese traditional food
The Omakase experience at Hana Re is something you won't want to miss.


Hana Re is the first Michelin Star restaurant in Orange County on this list. Under the masterful eye of Chef Atsushi Yokoyama, you'll get to watch a true “chef's table” sushi performance. This is traditionally called “Omakase,” and entails an up-close look into the local ingredients, techniques, and final products of these skilled sushi chefs. Some of their featured dishes include a pike eel with plum sauce, squid sashimi, and gizzard shad sushi. These change seasonally depending on the ingredients. While reviewing, Michelin recommended the cuttlefish dashi and the almond panna cotta with strawberries. The full cost of the meal is around $250+ per person. This price may change depending on if you elect to do sake pairings.

Knife Pleat

3333 S Bristol Street, Costa Mesa, CA 92626

Mini Pavlova Cake meringue dessert with fresh raspberries, blueberries and mint. and soft inside.Summer dessert. French cake.
The desserts at Knife Pleat alone could help them keep their Michelin Star ranking.

©Sokor Space/Shutterstock.com

For the other Michelin Star restaurant in Orange County, California on this list, we present to you Knife Pleat. A collaboration between Chefs Yassmin Sarmadi and Tony Esnault, Knife Pleat is a smaller, yet elegant operation in comparison to some of this duo's other fabulous Los Angeles restaurants. With a French-inspired menu, Michelin recommends the confit duck thigh and the layered chocolate cake.

The current menu features delicious options like caviar with cauliflower custard, Maine lobster, and a pomegranate-almond sorbet. The prix fixe costs $295 per person. Wine pairing costs an additional $195, or there's a $108 non-alcoholic option.

Bib Gourmand

The restaurants in this section have received the “Bib Gourmand” rating from the Michelin Guide. This means they are considered quality food with an affordable price range. While it's not a star, it's still a really significant rating to receive from the Michelin Guide.

Heritage Barbeque

31721 Camino Capistrano, San Juan Capistrano, 92675, USA

texas bbq style tray with smoked beef brisket, st louis ribs, chicken and hot links
Try the brisket. biscuits, and numerous sides at Heritage Barbeque in Orange County, California.

©Joshua Resnick/Shutterstock.com

Heritage Craft Barbeque offers Texas-style BBQ in the beautiful setting of San Juan Capistrano, California. Michelin awarded this location a Bib Gourmand rating after trying its smoked brisket, with a side of cheddar jalepeño biscuits. Current menu offerings include tri-tip, a brisket taco, half of a chicken, and pulled pork, among other delicious meats. Get your sides of mac and cheese, chili, coleslaw, potato salad, and brisket beans. And don't forget to grab a cup of banana pudding for the road. Prices are very reasonable and they offer takeout and dine-in options at their Camino Capistrano location.

Fable & Spirit

3441 Via Lido, Suite. A, Newport Beach, 92663, USA

Porchetta, a traditional Italian specialty made from pork
Fable & Spirit's braised porchetta pork is one of its menu highlights.

©Josef Volsa/Shutterstock.com

Fable & Spirit is a modern eating establishment with roots in Irish culture and storytelling. Storytelling through history, and storytelling through food. They offer both brunch and dinner menus in their sweet restaurant in Newport Beach, California. From its dinner menu, Michelin raves for the harissa roasted cauliflower and the 12-hour-long braised porchetta with Calabrian chili. The latter comes with polenta, Romanesco, and chimichurri sauce. Or, try their citrus salad with blood oranges, crispy quinoa, and chevre, in a citrus vinaigrette.

There's Guinness brown bread, Hawaiian blue prawns, grilled bone marrow, and wood-fired pizzetta on the menu. Still need some more delightful options? Check out their numerous vegetable dishes, or larger plates like the cracked pepper bucatini with Manila clams, the chicken confit with pearl onions and chorizo, or the grilled prime rib cap with grilled asparagus. For desserts, Michelin recommends the brioche bread pudding with fresh blueberry compote. There's also a larger offering of specialty cocktails for a nice meal pairing.

Phở 79

9941 Hazard Avenue, Garden Grove, 92844, USA

Bowl of Vietnamese soup beef pho (pho bo)
The Phở at Phở 79 will heat you right up at an affordable price.

©Alexander Prokopenko/Shutterstock.com

Phở 79 has been open since the 80s and maintains its low price point with consistently high reviews. For starters, they have classic items like crispy egg rolls, and more unique items like skewered pork balls and shredded pork skin salad rolls. Michelin recommends their goi cuon. They have both rice noodle soups and egg noodle soups. There's even an oxtail soup and wonton soup. Many of their dishes come with protein, like pork and seafood. If soup's not what you're after, they have a number of steamed rice plates and several desserts. This place deserves its Bib Gourmand award! May it continue to serve great Phở for years and years to come.

Other Bib Gourmand mentions are due to Hiro Nori Craft Ramen, CHAAK Kitchen, Gabbi’s Mexican Kitchen, Khan Saab Desi Craft Kitchen, and Ramen & Tsukemen TAO.

The other James Beard nominated Orange County restaurant was Poppy & Seed in Anaheim, California. This restaurant is headed by Chef Michael Reed.

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