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The Best Lunch In Costa Mesa, CA | 6 Must-Try Places 

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Nestled in the heart of Orange County, this city is a gastronomic treasure trove, bursting with flavors waiting to be discovered. 

With its eclectic mix of eateries, it’s no wonder foodies flock here to satiate their diverse palates.

Have you ever wandered through the bustling streets of Costa Mesa, stomach rumbling, wondering where to grab the best lunch? Well, ponder no more! 

I’ve scoured the city, sampled the fare, and handpicked six restaurants that are nothing short of culinary gems. 

Trust me, each spot offers a unique dining experience that will make your taste buds dance in delight.

The 6 Restaurants For The Best Lunch In Costa Mesa

From tantalizing tacos to sumptuous sushi, Costa Mesa’s food scene is a symphony of flavors harmonizing under the Californian sun. 

These establishments aren’t just restaurants; they’re the beating heart of the city’s vibrant culinary canvas, serving as gathering spots for both locals and visitors alike.

So, are you ready to explore the culinary wonders that await in Costa Mesa? Grab your forks and let’s dive into the mouthwatering world of the six best restaurants that are sure to elevate your lunch experience in this dynamic city! 

Stay tuned because this is going to be a gastronomic adventure you won’t want to miss!

My Top Three Picks For The Best Lunch In Costa Mesa

Restaurant Top PickOur Rating
Eat ChowFrench Dip5/5
The Crack Shack – Costa Mesafried chicken 5/5
Pom & Olivebeyti lamb kebab4.5/5

The 6 Restaurants For The Best Lunch In Costa Mesa

The Crack Shack – Costa Mesa

196 E 17th St, Costa Mesa, CA 92627, United States // +19493835040

Oh, where do I even begin with The Crack Shack in Costa Mesa? This place is a spacious, modern haven for all the fried chicken enthusiasts out there, and let me tell you, it’s drawing crowds for all the right reasons!

Now, let’s talk about the food – oh, the fantastic food! Describing that initial crunch of crispy, hot fried chicken skin followed by the burst of juices from the perfectly cooked, moist chicken inside is a challenge, but it’s a flavor explosion you need to experience. 

Trust me, it’s a symphony of textures and flavors that will leave your fingers delightfully messy and your taste buds yearning for more.

And it doesn’t stop there. The Asado fries are a game-changer, marrying the simple joys of crispy French Fries with the bold, robust flavors of a loaded nacho platter. Talk about next-level deliciousness! 

Crispy fried chicken

Deciding between savoring the chicken oysters as they are or dipping them into a variety of sauces from the sauce bar was a delicious dilemma. 

If you’re in for a recommendation, Baby G’s BBQ sauce added that extra kick of flavor that had me coming back for more.

Ending the meal with the best milkshake I’ve ever had was the cherry on top. Those salted chocolate chip cookie crumbles shooting up the straw – absolute bliss!

The Crack Shack doesn’t just serve food; it offers an experience. The atmosphere is vibrant and lively, reminiscent of a summertime picnic, and the staff? Super welcoming and accommodating – they make you feel right at home.

This culinary gem has definitely earned its spot in my top five favorite restaurants in Costa Mesa.


2930 Bristol St, Costa Mesa, CA 92626, United States // +17145560176

Deciding to have a culinary journey at Habana in Costa Mesa is like finding a treasure trove of Cuban delights, right in the heart of LAB Antimall. 

The moment you step into this shabby-chic, candlelit space, with its enchanting garden patio, you know you’re in for a treat!

Let’s chat about the ambiance for a sec – it’s as cozy as it gets, with a backyard that’s perfect for those special days and occasions. Celebrating under the twinkling lights and lush greenery, sipping on a mojito, is a slice of paradise! 

And oh, the staff – they’re the epitome of friendly, ensuring your experience is nothing short of memorable.


Every dish we ordered was a dance of flavors, from the succulent steak to the appetizing trio that kicked off our feast. 

It’s true; it’s a bit on the pricier side, but every bite convinces you it’s worth it, given the impeccable service and the unique atmosphere.

And, can we talk about the drinks? They’re crafting some of the best mojitos and sangrias I’ve had – a true testament to Cuban mixology. 

Watching the bar staff prepare for the evening mojito rush is a spectacle – glasses lined up, brimming with simple syrup, lime wedges, and torn mint leaves, promising a refreshing experience.

Parking can be a bit of a challenge, but trust me, the flavors and vibes at Habana are worth every effort!

Eat Chow

1802 Newport Blvd, Costa Mesa, CA 92627, United States // +19496502469

Tucked away next to the charming Bel-Bambini baby boutique, you’ll stumble upon Eat Chow, a gem in Costa Mesa that serves casual American eats with a gourmet twist! Don’t be fooled by its unassuming façade – this place packs a punch when it comes to flavor and ambiance.

I was instantly drawn to the inviting patio, perfect for outdoor dining and soaking in the local vibes. Joined by a group of fellow food enthusiasts, we were all set to delve into a diverse culinary experience. The prompt and thorough service set the tone for an unforgettable lunch.

Each of us ordered something different to truly savor what Eat Chow had to offer, and oh, did they deliver!

French dip

The truffle fries were a crunchy, aromatic delight; the fried cauliflower – a symphony of textures; the French dip – a hearty, savory marvel; the curry salad – an explosion of bold flavors; and the salmon tacos – a refreshing, flavorful journey. 

Every dish was a testament to the creativity and passion infused into their menu.

The portions? Generous! The prices? Worth every penny! Each bite was a melody of flavors, leaving us all raving about our newfound favorite spot. 

It’s not just about the tasty food – it’s the good vibes and local feel that make Eat Chow a standout and one of spots with the best lunch in Costa Mesa.

Pom & Olive

1400 Bristol St C, Costa Mesa, CA 92626, United States // +17147541974

Located away in the vibrant streets of Costa Mesa is Pom & Olive, a comfy and relaxed spot that’s a sanctuary for lovers of authentic dishes like baba ghanoush and lamb shawarma. 

The outdoor seating invites you in, setting the stage for a meal that feels like a warm embrace.

Delving into the menu, we opted for the lamb shank stew and beyti lamb kebab, accompanied by a selection of appetizers. 

Every bite was a reminder of the superb quality they uphold – no preservatives here, just pure, unadulterated flavor. You can genuinely taste the dedication to authenticity and quality in each dish.

lamb shank

I have to give a shoutout to the service – it’s EXCELLENT! The friendly staff goes above and beyond, showcasing their genuine care for customers. 

It’s the kind of place where you feel a sense of community and warmth, a true extension of the hospitality you’d find in a family home.

And can we talk about efficiency? Our food arrived in the blink of an eye, leaving us wondering how such culinary masterpieces could be crafted so swiftly. 

The value you get for the price is remarkable – generous portions that don’t compromise on taste.

Memphis Cafe

2920 Bristol St, Costa Mesa, CA 92626, United States // +17144327685

Nestled in the heart of Costa Mesa, Memphis Cafe is a treasure trove of comfort food served in a setting that’s as hip as it is inviting. 

From the outside, the building might seem unassuming, but step inside, and you’re welcomed into a world where every detail tells a story.

There’s an artful blend of midcentury digs and a refreshing vibe at Memphis Cafe, steering clear of cliché Southern stereotypes. 

Adorned with charming decor and bathed in my favorite color schemes, the place radiates a warm, comfortable aura, without a hint of pretentiousness.


Now, let’s talk food! The “Cobra” chicken sandwich is a must-try. Add a fried egg on top, and you’re in for a crispy, delightful adventure – a dish your taste buds will undoubtedly thank you for.

Whether you’re here for breakfast, lunch, or just a casual bite, the funky style and friendly service add to the overall charm of the place. 

If breakfast is your game, the chicken and waffles are a home run, but honestly, every dish on the menu is a celebration of flavors!

So here’s a toast to relaxed, enjoyable meals at Memphis Cafe in Costa Mesa. Pick anything from the menu, kick back, and relish the deliciousness – every bite is a reminder to enjoy the good things in life. Cheers to flavorful journeys and memorable experiences! Definitely a spot for the best lunch in Costa Mesa.

Water Grill

3300 Bristol St, Costa Mesa, CA 92626, United States // +19492087060

Strolling into Water Grill at South Coast Plaza, you’re instantly engulfed in an ambiance of sophistication, with a raw-bar that’s as extensive as your seafood dreams. 

The menu, refreshed daily, brims with the treasures of the sea, promising a culinary journey that’s nothing short of regal. Trust me, the pan-fried Dover sole alone is an experience fit for royalty!

Now, let’s address the elephant in the room – the wait can test your patience, and service might seem a tad slow initially. 

But every moment spent under the enchanting sea decor and amidst tanks of soon-to-be-delicious sea creatures is a prelude to the feast that awaits. And yes, the ambiance can be a bit on the humid side, so dressing comfortably is key.


Onto the star of the show – the food! As a seafood lover, I found myself in paradise, with every bite sending waves of delight. 

The crabs, lobsters, shrimp, and fish, all cooked to perfection, flaunt their tender and flavorful profiles. 

The fresh clams, oysters, and other delightful sea critters? A symphony of tastes! And if you’re up for a grand experience, the seafood tower is a must.

While I found the accompanying sauces a bit on the plain side, the sheer quality and taste of the seafood stole the spotlight. I indulged in a cioppino that boasted a flavorful broth and was satisfyingly filling.

Parking is valet, so having some cash handy for tipping is a good call. And come armed with a hearty appetite – every dish is a culinary masterpiece waiting to be devoured.

Water Grill in Costa Mesa is a delightful symphony of tastes and experiences for any seafood lover and has one of the best lunch in Costa Mesa. 

The vibrant ambiance, extensive seafood variety, and the promise of a satisfying meal make it a spot you’d want to anchor at for a memorable lunch!

Foodies Also Ask About The Best Lunch In Costa Mesa

What makes the lunch scene in Costa Mesa unique?

Costa Mesa boasts a diverse and vibrant lunch scene, with a plethora of restaurants offering a wide array of cuisines. 

From sophisticated seafood spots to cozy cafes, the city is a melting pot of flavors, ensuring that there’s something to tickle every taste bud. 

The warm, welcoming atmosphere at each place adds a cherry on top, making lunchtime in Costa Mesa a unique culinary adventure.

Is Costa Mesa suitable for foodies looking for unique dining experiences?

Oh, without a doubt! Costa Mesa is a foodie’s dream come true. The city offers a myriad of dining experiences, each restaurant bringing something unique to the table. 

Whether you’re craving a casual, laid-back meal or looking for a sophisticated dining experience, Costa Mesa has got you covered.

Do restaurants in Costa Mesa offer outdoor seating for lunch?

Yes, many restaurants in Costa Mesa offer charming outdoor seating options. Whether you’re looking to enjoy a sunny day or a breezy evening, dining al fresco in Costa Mesa is a delightful experience.

Are there any must-try dishes in Costa Mesa for lunch?

Costa Mesa is full of culinary delights, but some must-tries include the “Cobra” chicken sandwich at Memphis Cafe, the seafood tower at Water Grill, and the flavorful lamb shank stew at Pom & Olive. Trust me, your taste buds will be doing a happy dance!

Wrapping Up: The 6 Restaurants For The Best Lunch In Costa Mesa

Ah, Costa Mesa! The city where culinary dreams come to life and every lunch outing feels like a new adventure. 

As we wrap up our jounrey lookin for the best lunch in Costa Mesa, it’s impossible not to be enamored by the vibrant tapestry of flavors this city brings to the table. 

Every nook and cranny of Costa Mesa seems to whisper tales of culinary wonders, leaving food enthusiasts spoilt for choice and always coming back for more.

What stands out about the Costa Mesa lunch scene is its extraordinary diversity. From the sizzling spices of international cuisine to the comforting embrace of American classics, this city is a true melting pot of gastronomic delights. 

Whether you’re a local or a visitor, every meal feels like an opportunity to explore a world of flavors, all within the bustling streets of this charming city.

The culinary prowess of Costa Mesa is further elevated by the welcoming atmosphere each restaurant offers. It’s not just about the food, although that’s undoubtedly spectacular, but also about the whole experience. 

The friendly smiles that greet you, the cozy ambience that makes you feel at home, and the playful and unique themes of each spot make dining here an unforgettable experience.

Let’s not forget the innovative twists that Costa Mesa chefs love to play around with! The city’s food scene is a testament to culinary creativity, where traditional recipes meet innovative ideas, resulting in dishes that are nothing short of artworks. 

Every bite is a celebration of fresh, high-quality ingredients coming together in a symphony of flavors and textures.

Of course, the outdoor seating options available at numerous spots further enhance the dining experience. There’s something incredibly relaxing about enjoying a delicious meal while soaking up the Californian sun and watching the world go by. 

It adds a dash of leisurely charm to the whole dining experience, making it even more special.

In conclusion, Costa Mesa is a treasure trove of culinary delights, offering a plethora of lunch options that cater to every palate and preference. 

Its diverse food scene, friendly atmosphere, and creative culinary approach make it a standout destination for all food lovers. 

Whether you’re seeking a casual bite or a gourmet feast, Costa Mesa welcomes you with open arms and a promise of a meal to remember. 

Here’s to many more delightful lunches in this vibrant city!

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