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

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.

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.

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.

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.

Restaurateur of the Year Built 2nd Career on Memories

Italian Food at Home, Trips To Italy Inspired Eateries

Cathy Pavlos, co-owner and chef of Lucca in Irvine and Provenance in Newport Beach, has earned her place as one of Orange County’s most admired chefs. She is our 2016 Restaurateur of the Year.

Supper Club Gets Love From Culinary Friend and Fifi

Brasserie Just Ahead Of Admirer’s ‘Farmhouse’

It’s refreshing to see restaurateurs help advertise each other’s new venues. In this case, Rich Mead, highly regarded for his former Sage restaurants, sent out positive commentary on Jack Jasper and his Campus Jax restaurant—full name Campus Jax, a mindful kitchen, brasserie & Supper Club.

Favorite Dining Choices to Help Start 2016 Off Right

Plus Fifi’s Rundown Of Departures, Newcomers

As I start the new year, I think back on good food I’ve had and what I look forward to now.

Dine in Holiday Style With the Best Seasonal Trimmings

Eateries Put as Much Time Into Decoration as Food

This is the time of year when all sorts of nostalgia takes over. We used to stop by and see the decorations at some of the upscale restaurants—there are now so many.

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