Eight Orange County restaurants received top awards at the Southern California Restaurant Writers Awards celebration, held Sunday at the Celebrity Theatre in Anaheim. The Golden Sceptre award, for outstanding achievement, went to Pavillion, Four Seasons Hotel, Newport Beach; Antoine, Le Meridien, Newport Beach; The Cellar, Fullerton; The Dining Room, Ritz-Carlton, Dana Point; JW's, Anaheim Marriott, and Antonello, Santa Ana. Winners of Golden Bacchus awards for superb wine lists and service included The Cellar, Five Crowns in Corona del Mar and Mr. Stox, Anaheim. The awards recognize restaurants from Santa Barbara to the Mexican border.
Newport Beach Stuft Noodle owners Robert and Mary Douk have just opened their Dove Canyon, Rancho Santa Margarita, restaurant, a romantic spot with a dramatic view of the Saddleback Mountains. The restaurant is open for lunch Monday through Saturday and dinner nightly. It's at 31911 Dove Canyon Center. Reservations: (714) 589-8115.
Considering the image of the temperamental chef, what happens when three chefs open a restaurant? In the case of Romeo Cuccina in Laguna Beach, it helps that the three are brothers: Ignazio, Vincenzo and Antonio Romeo. Their new restaurant, open nightly for dinner, boasts its own full bakery. The menu will change frequently, but current offerings include timballino, a light pastry shell filled with rigatoni, sun-dried tomatoes, porcini mushrooms, mozzarella and bechamel sauce ($15 for two). 249 Broadway, Laguna Beach; (714) 497-6627.