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Bacchus Opens With a Wave of Old Magic

September 23, 1993|ANNE MICHAUD | Anne Michaud is a staff writer for The Times Orange County Edition

Bacchus is opening this weekend on the site of the old Magic Island restaurant in Lido Village. True to the location's mystical history, general manager James Date is planning a "haunted room" with performances by a medium and a special effects expert, straight from Madame Toussaud's in London.

The restaurant opens with charity benefits Friday and Saturday from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. Both nights will feature a buffet introducing Bacchus' eclectic Mediterranean menu and free wine. The price is $40 per person.

On Friday, about 30% of the proceeds will benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and Multiple Sclerosis Society. On Saturday, the same portion will go to Laguna Art Museum.

Bacchus will be open for dinner Friday, Saturday and Tuesday, from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. The menu includes dishes from Greece, Spain, France, Italy and Morocco, Date said.

A special appetizer is the Bacchus Tapas special, a collection of hot and cold Mediterranean delicacies for $9.95. Entrees, which run from $12.95 to $17.95, include Filet au Roquefort (tenderloin of beef marinated in olive oil and herbs, grilled, and topped with Roquefort cheese) and Salmon Romesco (herb-roasted sea bass on a cream polenta with Catalan sauce of tomatoes, almonds and hot peppers).

Bacchus is starting small, with 52 seats in the main dining room and 13 in the haunted room. The haunted room will offer a fixed menu, Date said, probably for around $35 per person.

3505 Via Oporto. (714) 675-8712.

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You will find grapes to stomp this weekend, to commemorate the autumn harvest in Italy, at Prego Ristorante. Guests are invited to roll up their pants legs and stomp, while a horse-drawn cart brings fresh grapes every half hour.

All proceeds from the event, which runs from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Sunday, will benefit the Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation at Children's Hospital of Orange County. Tickets are $40 for adults in advance, or $50 at the door. The price is $10 for children under age 10.

The day includes live Italian music and room for dancing, as well as a buffet: antipasti, pasta and entrees such as roast suckling pig, leg of lamb, oxtail and osso buco. Wine, coffee and desserts will also be served.

For ticket information, call the Research Foundation at (714) 532-8692.

18420 Von Karman Ave., Irvine.

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Steven Kwok, who was head chef at Five Feet in Laguna Beach for six years, has opened a new restaurant, China 88, also in Laguna.

Kwok left Five Feet more than two years ago, but there appears to still be some hard feelings. A representative from the office of Michael Kang, who owns Five Feet, telephoned to say that there is no connection between the two restaurants.

For the past two-plus years, Kwok worked as head chef for Stix in Laguna Niguel.

China 88 features what it calls a continental Chinese cuisine, a blend of contemporary and traditional styles. Prices range from $3.95 to $14.50 for entrees. Dishes include two-flavor shrimp (shrimp in spicy tomato garlic and honey-mustard-pineapple sauces) and crazy chicken (sauteed in a wok with cucumber, spicy three-pepper sauce and lemon).

China 88 is open for lunch Monday through Friday, 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.; dinner nightly beginning at 4:30 p.m., closing at 9:30 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

1100 South Coast Highway. (714) 494-7688.

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