With over 280,000 residents, Irvine is one of the most populated cities in California. It’s home to prestigious universities, a vaunted public school system, and thousands of businesses offering a wide array of quality jobs. Irvine is also a diverse city, and home to people and families of all backgrounds and ethnicities. And lucky for us, this diversity is reflected in the established yet consistently evolving food scene.Irvine is now a culinary destination, with its restaurants attracting hungry visitors from across Southern California. In this issue of the Irvine Weekly, we pay homage to the achievements of our local chefs. Welcome to the Best of Irvine: Food and Drink issue.

From bottomless mimosas and Fruity Pebbles French toast, to savory crepes and nitrogen ice cream, we’ve covered our bases when it comes to the cuisine of Irvine. We reveal our favorite tacos, burgers and brunches, among other categories, along with cocktails, vegan-friendly spots and desserts. Some restaurants appear across multiple genres because their offerings are too expansive to box into just one list.

There’s no shortage of international flavors in Irvine: Mexican, Italian, Korean, Mediterranean, Brazilian, French, Latin, Japanese, Chinese, Vietnamese, Cuban … the list goes on.

(Irvine is even home to a Hello Kitty-themed speakeasy!)

With sought-after cuisine often comes long lines, so we give you insight into which Irvine restaurants are “Worth the Wait.” It’s often easier to wait for your meal when you know it’ll deliver the goods.

Most Irvine restaurants have origins and stories that go beyond the food they serve. To give you a taste of this unique character, we spotlight the history and mission of Andrei’s Conscious Cuisine, which operates as a nonprofit to support the Andrei Olenicoff Memorial Foundation. We also shed light on the women’s Fantasy Football League of Houston’s, that brings a level of competition to the workplace only regulars, to this point, are aware of.

It’s no easy task to choose the best of what Irvine has to offer, and we recognize the subjectivity of our efforts. But hey, taste in food is inherently subjective, so if you think we snubbed your favorite eatery, let us know! There’s plenty of room in future issues of Irvine Weekly for additional coverage of this city’s exciting and ever-changing culinary landscape.

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