Now that the private parties are out of the way, Rex Restaurant in Fashion Island officially opens to the public today. It's done in opulent Art Deco (etched glass, brass, a black granite dance floor), with separate rooms for dining and dancing.
The a la carte menu accents seafood. All pastries, breads and pastas are made on the premises, and dinner, served nightly, will average $40 to $45 per person, exclusive of wine. (Lunch will come in December.) Reservations: (714) 644-4400.
It's purple feet time at Prego in Irvine on Sunday as grape-stompers gather to give their all for the Irvine Barclay Theatre. Guests will pay $40 each ($20 for children) to crush grapes, sip wine, dance and dine on Italian fare. The party's from 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; tickets available at the restaurant, 18420 Von Karmen Ave. (714) 553-1333.
After 10 years as sommelier at Antonello in South Coast Village, Bob Spencer has departed. His replacement, Steve Ebol from Boston, has worked extensively with Italian wines and will incorporate more Italian vintages into the restaurant's wine list. (714) 751-7153.
Olga Hunt's Good Earth in South Coast Village has a new name: The Village Farmer. Look for a new menu--still healthy but more extensive. (714) 557-8433.