Orange County Business Journal

Fifi Chao is a chef, lecturer, author, educator, radio personality and publisher of Chao's Dinesty, a private subscription restaurant, wine and travel newsletter. She has been reviewing local restaurants for the Business Journal since 1990.

Recent Stories

2016 Nears Close With Entrepreneurial Flurry

Chefs, Owners Branch Out; Plus Fifi on Water Grill

More changes and circulating stories in the industry.

Changes at the New Ritz a Charm This Time Around?

Some Welcome Switch Following First Year

My readers know by now that I don’t do hatchet jobs on restaurants. My husband and I spend a lot of money trying out restaurants that you never hear about in these columns.

Chefs Hopscotch Around OC, Keeping Eats Fresh

Roger’s Gardens Cafe Opens to Crowds

The chef shuffle has been quite the popular dance lately.

Plenty of Taste Temptations Pop Up Around County

Food Hall to Join Growing List of Poke, Burger Spots

Trends are exploding all over the county.

Out With Old Tastes, in With New Across County

Laguna Niguel Loses Two; Bistango, Others Refresh

Savannah Chop House at Golden Lantern and Camino del Avion in the Ocean Ranch Village of Laguna Niguel is closed.

Generation or More Proves Eateries’ Recipes Timeless

Survivors Mix Consistency, Warmth to Stay at the Table

I did not realize until I started researching for this mini-tome that we had so many restaurants that have endured for at least 25 years in Orange County. I’d been to some of these in the reasonable past, but not all, so I was a busy gal catching up on the status of the others.

Italian With Drive to Cook Realizes Food Lover’s Dream

Family Ties, European Training Fuse at The Ranch

It’s part of my job to watch what a lot of chefs are doing. Some, of course, are more impressive than others. Watching a fine chef open a restaurant and keep on doing his job so well that the public, year after year, continues to embrace the concept and the food makes for a great candidate for Chef of the Year.

Fresh Eatery Arranges Its Plates in Agreeable Row

Ironwood Impresses With Unexpected Food, Facility

Ironwood in Laguna Hills opened only a month ago, and we have been busy introducing friends via word of mouth and by taking them there. It’s rare for me to keep wanting to return to the same restaurant—there are just too many places I need to try, and there’s only one of me. To say that Patrick and I are quite taken by Ironwood would certainly be an understatement, and we are enjoying our multiple visits a lot.

South County Gains in the Gastronomic Department

South County is getting more sophisticated on the dining front.

South County is getting more sophisticated on the dining front.

News Flows From All Corners of OC’s Food World

Novel Ventures; Cookbook Morsel; Retooled Irish Fare

After decades in South Coast Plaza’s Crate and Barrel/Macy’s Home Store wing, Nello Cucina is no more. Antonio Cagnolo shuttered the operation in late February, focusing on his three other restaurants: Antonello Ristorante, Quattro Caffé and Antonello Espresso Café.

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