Costa Mesa: Where Food, Arts and Culture Collide
Three Michelin Star restaurants. Six Michelin Guide restaurants. You might think that this luxuriously delectable destination is located in Napa Valley or New York. But you would be wrong. Costa Mesa is a surprising culinary treasure in Orange County, California.
About 40 miles south of Los Angeles, Costa Mesa is the cultural center of Orange County, with the trademark City of the Arts(r). Segerstrom Center for the Arts is the center of the campus. It houses OC’s spectacular performing arts and theater complex, home to Broadway shows, the best dance companies in the world, concerts, and many other activities. The campus is also the home to the new Orange County Museum of Art, which opened in October 2022. The city is home to many visual arts, including public sculptures by Joan Miro and Richard Serra, as well as Jean Dubuffet’s outdoor sculpture garden by Isamu Noguchi, and Orange County’s largest mural by Shepard Fairey. The city offers a free Costa Mesa Art Walk audio tour available on mobile phones at travelcostamesa.com/artwalk.
Costa Mesa is the only city in Orange County that has three MichelinStar restaurants. This makes it the perfect place for a Eatcation(r)! Most recently, Knife Pleat earned a Michelin Star in 2021, serving French-inspired cuisine inside South Coast Plaza.
Innovative shopping and dining centers like SOCO Collection & The OC Mix, The CAMP, and The LAB Anti-Mall are home to hidden gems and internationally recognized culinary talent. Atsushi Yokoyama, Hana re Sushi’s chef, has been awarded a Michelin Star. Carlos Salgado is a multiple-time finalist in the James Beard Award. These are two of Costa Mesa’s Michelin Star restaurants.
Costa Mesa is proud of its culinary innovation. Verdant, the new Orange County Museum of Art, just launched. It features a plant-forward menu, which rotates weekly and highlights local, seasonal produce from Southern California. Arc at The OC Mix was praised for being one of the first restaurants to reject modern cooking technology–even an oven. Arc cooks all meals over a live fire, whether it’s grilled over orangewood or baked in brick.
Collage Culinary Experience offers nine distinct dining experiences in a two-story, global space. It also houses the only U.S. location of the famous Singaporean restaurant Paradise Dynasty. The destination offers a rich and varied cultural experience through Ramen Row, Mitsuwa Japan Market, and Anjin, a Costa Mesa staple.
In addition to Costa Mesa’s celebrations of performing, visual, and culinary arts, you will also find South Coast Plaza, the West Coast’s largest shopping destination. With more than 250 boutiques, this luxury shopping center has one of the largest concentrations of high-fashion retailers in the world and the highest concentration of design and fashion retail in the U.S.
Located just minutes from Orange County’s famous beaches, Costa Mesa is a charming and surprising destination for the discerning traveler. It is the epicenter for great food, arts, and culture in Southern California. Visit travelcostamesa.com for more information.
The author of 5 books, 3 of which are New York Times bestsellers. I’ve been published in more than 100 newspapers and magazines and am a frequent commentator on NPR.