Eating is about the experience. Vibrant colors, strong aromas, subtle flavors, and the presentation all make up a delicious dish. The month of July is National Culinary Arts Month, recognizing professional cooks and chefs who bring innovative unique cuisines from the kitchen to our tables in Huntington Beach. There are many restaurants in Huntington Beach with talented chefs that you can support during the month of July and any time of the year. Here are a few Huntington Beach restaurants with talented chefs to check out:
Located in the Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort & Spa, Watertable unites rustic and refined to appeal to guests' evolving palates. Watertable got named in Open Table's Diner's Choice Top 100 Restaurants in North America and featured in USA Today, Locale Magazine, the LA Times, and many more. Chef Manfred Lassahn is the mastermind behind Watertable and continues to evolve the dining concepts throughout the resort with his innovation and passion. Throughout his career, Chef Lassahn has served as executive chef at various high-profile Hyatt properties including the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza, where he was recognized as Hyatt Hotels' Chef of the Year.
Recently named as Top Chef of Huntington Beach, Executive Chef Gilbert Laurie brings over 23 years of hospitality experience, extensive knowledge, skills, and fresh creativity to Pacific Hideaway. As Executive Chef, Gilbert is responsible for curating colorful, modern menus, inspired by Pacific flavors of Southeast Asia and Latin America while overseeing daily operations at the popular coastal restaurant located inside Kimpton Shorebreak Resort.
Chef Gilbert Laurie joined Pacific Hideaway in 2017 as Sous Chef and was quickly promoted to Executive Sous Chef. Prior to his role at Pacific Hideaway, he spent 11 years leading Opah Seafood Grille, where he aided in the successful growth of the restaurant group and provided leadership and direction.
Chef Gilbert Laurie began his journey as a culinary student and apprentice at a private club in Newport Beach. Seeking new inspiration, Gilbert ventured to Valencia, Spain where he worked at a two-star Michelin restaurant for one year before returning to Orange County. With his business knowledge combined with Latin and Californian coastal background, Chef Gilbert Laurie is dedicated to creating a vibrant and one-of-a-kind dining experience that pairs perfectly with the ocean breeze.
Tanner's restaurant at the Pasea Hotel & Spa strives to capture the pure nature of beach life. Chef Carlo Narabal cooks up the best in fresh, contemporary coastal cuisine inspired by the diversity of Southern California and blending with it the flavors of renowned surf cultures from around the world. Narabal focuses on locally grown and seasonal ingredients paired with international flavors to create unique dishes.
Happy Hour & Daily Specials are available Monday through Thursday from 4 PM to 6 PM.
East meets west Tin Vuong, chef-partner at Bluegold and LSXO, built on the fundamentals he learned at the California Academy of Culinary Arts to become one of Orange County's most celebrated chefs. Vuong and partner Jed Sandorf made a splash with Bluegols, a coastal eatery featuring elevated farm-to-table cuisine with a global approach. He uses a variety of cooking methods - including wood, charcoal grills, and steam kettles - to create an evolving menu heavy on flavor and fresh ingredients. The true star of Bluegold may be the hidden LSXO (Little Sister Extraordinary) restaurant with its speakeasy vibe and "straight-up, homestyle Vietnamese cuisine" served with an OG rap soundtrack.
A slice of Rome Franceso Zaza is the gregarious personality behind ZeroZero39 Pizzeria, which serves some of the best pizza in Orange County. Five years ago he and his wife Carlotta arrived in Surf City USA (their favorite holiday spot for a decade) with a culinary dream: to open the first pizza al taglio (classic Roman-style pizza) in Southern California. The rectangular pies feature fresh ingredients on a focaccia-like crust made with ultra-fine double-zero flour-the inspiration for their name. Zaza learned the secrets of a Roman pizza from a chef in the Eternal City and imports tomato sauce from Italy. "The dough is the most important thing because it must do a slow rise for over 70 hours," Zaza says. Gourmet pies are displayed behind glass-like sidewalk pizzerias in Italy. "We always said it would be a good business to have a Roman-style pizza cafe downtown," Zaza says.
Celebrity status Andrew Gruel, the founder and executive chef of Slapfish Restaurant, launched his Huntington Beach-based business as a food truck serving locally sourced seafood, then parlayed that award-winning venture into a chain of restaurants in Southern California and around the country (with more to come). Ultimate Fish Tacos, Lobster Fringers, and Chowder Fries are why Gruel-who directed a national sustainable seafood program with Aquarium of the Pacific - is a familiar face on the Food Network.
Riding the wave Toby Reece surfed the south side of the Huntington Beach Pier as a kid, dreaming of one day opening his own restaurant. He's living the dream with Ola Mexican Kitchen in Pacific City, with business partner, Tony Andrews. Ola's relaxed vibe and menu of upscale Mexican cuisine are inspired by the pair's surfing safaris south of the border (ola means "wave" in Spanish). You'll find authentic dishes like queso fundido, fresh ceviche, and an array of tacos-from lobster to carnitas. For refreshing innovation, try the beet and watermelon salad with a craft margarita. Or, El Beisbol, a baseball-cut mignon dry-rubbed with Mexican spices and served with tender nopales (Opuntia, or prickly pear cacti).
Globally good classically trained in French cuisine, Paul Coa, with partner Minh Pham, fuses Asian and American comfort food flavors at Burnt Crumbs in Pacific City. The duo first hit the scene in 2010 with the launch of the Burnt Truck. A few years later, they followed with the Burntzilla restaurant, before unveiling their gourmet sandwich concept, Burnt Crumbs. Their culinary inventions like the Crispy Pork - a ciabatta sammie with crispy pork, salsa verde, and chili lime aioli-and adventurous offerings like Spaghetti Grilled Cheese (spaghetti with meat sauce and mozzarella pressed between sourdough bread and served with a marinara dipping sauce) are a happy mouthful.
If you’ve been to Old World, more than likely you have met Chef Rita. She fits the stereotype “dirndl style” exactly! You have either poured your heart out to her, bought a good German beer from her, or had a shot of Jägermeister, or as Rita calls it “Yaygee”, with her. If you have been here more recently, you’ve tried her home-style cooking as she is now our chef!
Rita was born & raised in Dorog, Hungary. She has a twin brother & an older sister. She won the immigration lottery to the USA in 1996 and in 1998, she was hired at the Old World German Restaurant as a bartender. She was barely able to speak English, but she picked it up very quickly with the good ol’ help of American TV thanks to the 90s sitcom comedy, URKEL to be exact. In the beginning, as a bartender, while people would be telling her their life problems, she would simply smile & nod & let them carry on, all the while not really knowing what the heck people were telling her. Fast forward a few months & the next thing you know she was your full-blown therapist telling people the brutal truth, the reality of their life & helping them out. If you know Rita, you know what we mean. She can be extremely blunt & to the point & she is right 99% of the time. After running the bar for over 23 years & being one of the fastest bartenders in the Wild West she threw her towel in, AKA dirndl, & put on her cooking apron. She felt it was time for the world to be introduced to real home cooking. Her craft of cooking is the real deal. She has a natural knack & makes the best food. Literally, everything this woman makes leaves you wanting more! Papa Joe is so obsessed with Mama Rita’s cabbage rolls and goulash that we had an inside joke that Papa Joe would be calling “Rita or “Ree-Tah” down at the first floor up towards the balcony of her home on her days off asking if she has any cabbage rolls for him to eat. She has been the face of Old World for nearly a quarter of a century & now she is happiest preparing savory dishes satisfying people’s tastebuds. Rita has two beautiful teenage daughters & met her French soulmate, Eric, here in Old World. Together they reside on the Old World property. Rita, Arpeni & Cyndie’s kids have all grown up side by side in the village. Before becoming Mama Rita at Old World, this was the name the kids all referred to her as. Then Chad, the online store manager, took it to the next level wanting to introduce the world to the new Mama Rita Home-Cooking line. The name stuck & now Old World would not be the same without her. She is constantly thinking of new recipes to indulge her customer's tastebuds with. Friendships here at Old World are lifetime. The Old World Family is very thankful to Mama Rita for providing food, libations & therapy for 23 years! Egészségére! That’s Hungarian for prost, which is German for cheers.