Orange County, California is the Southern California hotbed of fashion, entertainment, and society culture. Amongst the whirlwind of fashion and culture, Orange County has an active and thriving food culture. Below is a collection of the top ten hottest lunch spots in Orange County California.
1. Peter’s Gourmade Grill
Located in Tustin, California, Peter’s Gourmade Grill is home to delicious and decently-priced specialty burgers, sandwiches, and creative dessert fries. While Peter’s Gourmade Grill spares patrons of the gaudy decor so prevalent in chain restaurants, the red, black, and tan color scheme is a little off-putting. The seating, mostly dark wooden tables, isn’t inviting enough to coax anyone to stay for a multi-course meal; nevertheless, Peter’s Gourmade Grill provides a perfect spot for a filling midday meal. The specialty burgers—like the classy Mushroom and Swiss—will be on your mind all day.
2. The Sandwich Society
With the original location in Santa Ana and a newer location opening up in Tustin, California, The Sandwich Society is making a name for itself proving to Orange County that they are serious about sandwiches. The Sandwich Society takes the art of sandwich to the next level, offering a collection of artisanal hot and cold sandwiches, tasty salads, and homemade beverages—they even have breakfast options! While the storefront is mostly unassuming, the trendy wood-and-metal tables and wall-length chalkboard-menu draws you in and compels anyone to stay. The Sandwich Society operates until mid-afternoon—making it a perfect lunch spot for anyone in Orange County.
3. New York Pizza Factory
The New York Pizza Factory is a simple, no-nonsense pizza joint that is perfect for anyone looking for a lunch spot in Orange County. While the New York Pizza Factory is a simpler establishment, their pizza rivals chain pizza restaurants. New York Pizza Factory serves all the classic pizzas—from simple pepperoni to Buffalo chicken pizza pies. New York Pizza Factory’s hidden gem, however, is their French Bread Pizza Side. A beautiful marriage of Marinara sauce-slathered upon thick slices of toasted garlic bread, coated with layers of melty Mozzarella cheese and pepperoni—a twist on classic pizza. While the French Bread Pizza Side might not sound like a particularly filling meal, this is one of the best lunch spots in Orange County.
4. American Grub
American Grub is a hip, industrial-style restaurant in Tustin, California. American Grub offers sandwiches, burgers, and—perhaps unsurprisingly—classic American comfort food. A spacious, brick-laden dining room decorated with funky artwork and classy tableware that somehow straddles the space between industrial and chic farmhouse, American Grub invites people to pull up a chair and stay awhile. While they offer classic burgers and sandwiches, the Honey Fried Chicken that American Grub offers is undoubtedly some of the best fried chicken in Orange County.
5. Sichuan Impression
Sichuan Impression is a simple spot for delicious and spicy Chinese food, located in Tustin, California. While Orange County itself is a hotbed for non-Western cuisine, Sichuan Impression is particular in the way that it nurtures the old-school style of Chinese food that doesn’t shy away from spicy. The lofty, wood-paneled walls, dark-wood tables and chairs, and authentic artwork invites guests to take a moment to enjoy an authentic lunchtime experience. While Sichuan Impression is not a restaurant that caters to spicy-averse humans, exploring authentic cuisine originating in different cultures is an enriching experience for everyone.
6. Rock & Brews
Rock & Brews is a newer restaurant located in Tustin, California. A restaurant that is built and catered toward the rock ‘n roll crowd, Rock & Brews’ lofty ceiling is wall-to-wall plastered with giant posters of infamous rock ‘n roll musicians and bands. Surprisingly, Rock & Brews also boasts a children’s play area—making Rock & Brews a fun and trendy lunch spot for Orange County families. While Rock & Brews is a family-friendly location, it also houses a lengthy menu for alcoholic beverages. Along with their beverage menu, Rock & Brews offers a wide variety of food options—from seafood to classic burgers to pizza creations. Rock & Brews is a trendy Orange County lunch spot!
Rutabegorz is a health-centric small chain of restaurants located in Orange County, hosting a location in Tustin, the city of Orange, and Fullerton, California. While Rutabegorz is a health-centric restaurant, they offer a wide variety of menu items—including interesting seasonal items, tasty shareable plates, and staple sandwiches. The warm wooden tables and abundance of natural lighting provides a comforting, almost tranquil atmosphere for midday diners.
8. Ground House
Ground House is an eclectic burger restaurant located in Orange County. Both their Santa Ana and Irvine locations are counter-service restaurants situated in food hall-style bazaars. Despite the lack of unique restaurant decor, the Ground House burgers are stuffed with uniqueness—like the Magical Burger, topped with rainbow sprinkles and a rainbow bun. Ground House is a perfect place for a quick midday lunch stop.
9. Native Foods Cafe
Native Food Cafe is a California-style, vegan restaurant located in Costa Mesa, California. While Native Foods Cafe is technically a counter-service restaurant, the circular counter is situated squarely in the center of the restaurant—creating a fun, engaging atmosphere. Even though Native Foods Cafe is a purely vegan restaurant, they offer a wide selection of tempah, soy, and black bean-based proteins that are undeniably as tasty as any meat-based dish. Native Foods Cafe is a trendy restaurant in Orange County that offers an interesting twist that challenges anyone’s preconceived notions of vegan cooking.
10. HiroNori Craft Ramen
HiroNori Craft Ramen is one of the best ramen places in Orange County, California. A simple location that offers refined wood-paneled walls and high-top wooden tables with simple bar stool seats allows for the ramen dishes served at HiroNori to really shine. HiroNori Craft Ramen offers a delectable selection of meat and meatless ramen dishes with a variety of traditional toppings—even including simple and elegant rice bowls on the menu. Hiro Nori Craft Ramen is one of the hottest Orange County lunch spots.