(credit: Irvine Spectrum)

The Irvine Spectrum Center is more than a shopping center for area residents. It’s a social scene, a place to hang out with friends and family and grab a bite to eat. Lately, the bites have been getting better with new and varied restaurants opening alongside local favorites.

(credit: Yard House)

Yard House

71 Fortune Drive
Irvine, CA 92618
(949) 753-9373
Yardhouse Irvine

Yard House is the go-to restaurant for all ages. The menu is vast and varied with a standout draft beer selection and the quality and price of the food makes it a popular venue for business lunches, girls’ night out and everything else in between. Happy Hour is a steal with a large selection of half priced appetizers. The restaurant is on the loud side which makes eating with kids here stress free.

(credit: Cucina Enoteca)

CUCINA enoteca

31 Fortune Drive
Irvine, CA 92618
(949) 861-2222

Sister restaurant of the wildly-popular CUCINA urbana in San Diego, newly-opened CUCINA enoteca brings a fresh California-Italian dining experience to Orange County. The location provides ample people-watching opportunities and the menu has especially interesting antipasti, salads and pizzas. Wine is sold at retail price plus $8 and on Sundays there is no corkage fee for wine over $20 a bottle.

(credit: dearanxiety/Flickr.com)

Javier’s Cantina & Grill

45 Fortune Drive
Irvine, CA 92618
(949) 872-2101

Javier’s consistently delivers high quality Mexican specialties in a relaxed ambiance. Intricate design details give the restaurant an authentic feel and the spacious dining areas are always full with diners on work lunches, shoppers and families with kids of all ages.

(credit: Paul Martin’s American Grill)

Paul Martin’s American Grill

31 Fortune Drive
Irvine, CA 92618
(949) 453-1144

Paul Martin’s is an American bistro that focuses on fresh, local ingredients and high quality service. The restaurant has a sleek modern décor, some of the best cocktails around and is highly recommended for business lunches. The restaurant is tucked away in a corner near CUCINA enoteca and is easy to miss if you aren’t looking for it.

(credit: Capital Seafood)

Capital Seafood

85 Fortune Drive
Irvine, CA 92618
(949) 788-9218

The newly opened location of Capital Seafood brings traditional Chinese cuisine one step closer to the rest of Orange County. Lunch is traditional dim sum served from carts and the dinner menu highlights upscale Chinese dishes and seafood.

Kristi Marcelle is a travel writer and regular contributor at Ciao Bambino. She loves planning travel adventures with her family, a good glass of wine at the whining hour and the Green Bay Packers. Follow her on Twitter @kristimarcelle