Here are summaries of recent Times restaurant reviews.
Z Pizza, 30902 Pacific Coast Highway, South Laguna. (714) 499-4949. Open daily from 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.
7th Heaven, 3333 Bear St . in the Crystal Court, Costa Mesa. (714) 668- 9464. Open Mondays through Fridays 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturdays 9 to 6, Sundays 10 to 6.
Z Pizza serves eccentric, internationally accented pizzas that have plenty of flash and flavors. Particularly engaging is a Moroccan style pizza with eggplant and pine nuts, and the Pissaladiere Nicoise, a cheeseless pie with anchovies and Provencal herbs. The chewy, fragrant crusts are mini-masterpieces all by themselves.
7th Heaven is a movable feast, a full-blown urban takeout emporium for grown-up tastes. Don't miss such specialties as Chinese lacquered chicken, jalapeno corn pudding or a dazzling array of trendy salads. There are abundant pastes and cheeses for the picnic basket. Desserts are terrific.
Scott's Seafood Grill, 3330 Bristol St., Costa Mesa. (714) 979-2400. Open daily from 11:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.
Scott's Seafood Grill made a killer impression on me the first time I ate there, but the year was 1976 and the city was San Francisco. That was then, this is now. Today, in a stunning new Coast Mesa location, the romance wears a bit thin. Good oysters, rich clam chowder and a good wine list make for pleasant beginnings but the fresh mesquite-grilled fish is often devoid of flavor, as one would expect in such a high-volume operation. Save room for the homemade desserts.
Stix, 28251 Crown Valley Parkway at the Center at Ranch Miguel, Laguna Niguel. (714) 831-7849. Open 11:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. weekdays, 11:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. weekends.
Stix is a mirror-lined new Chinese restaurant where the cooking offers few surprises but is straightforward and safe: no MSG, high-quality oils like peanut and sesame, you get it. The various kung paos, pan-fried dumplings and twice-cooked pork may lack the hotness and brio they have in Chinatown or Monterey Park, but added color and crunch make up for it.
Gustaf Anders, (South Coast Plaza Village), 3610 S. Plaza Drive, Santa Ana. (714) 668-1737. Open daily, 11:30 a.m. to midnight.
Gustaf Anders is a recent arrival from La Jolla, where it received critical raves from customers and critics alike. Here, in a beautiful setting, it fails to live up to its promise. Service is spotty and disorganized. The kitchen shows only occasional flashes of the brilliance for which Anders once was known.