.. restaurant review | old vine cafe ..

Old Vine Cafe | Costa Mesa, CA | 01.21.10

I had such a great time at dinner yesterday (Old Vine Cafe). The company was lovely, the service was impeccable, and the food was delicious.

I ordered the seasonal tasting menu with wine pairing (and they were very generous with their wine portions). We got to hear about why they chose a particular wine with each course, and I really enjoyed that. It wasn't done in a pretentious way at all (e.g., you'll taste the smokiness in the wine and that's meant to highlight the smokiness of the chorizo, etc). Their food and wine combinations were impeccable. The wine definitely enhanced what I was eating, and I can't really say that very often.

The food was good, not amazing, but definitely worth coming back for. I didn't die over any one course, but it was still pretty delicious. One complaint:  the chicken and dumpling soup (first course) was too salty, especially the dumpling. I think in that case, it was accidentally over seasoned and not sufficiently taste tested. The second course was a nice take on a ravioli. It was seasoned well and the crispy pasta was texturally appetizing. The leg of lamb casserole was comfort food at its best. The meat was tender, and gamey in a good way. I would have liked a starch with it; maybe some pureed turnips or potatoes on top, like a shephard's pie. The dessert was yum!! I wanted to lick my plate. It was definitely sweet, but the portion was just right. I loved the dessert wine with it...so chocolaty and velvety!

I've always enjoyed the breakfasts and lunch offerings, and I'm happy to report that dinner did not disappoint. I especially enjoyed having a 2.5-3 hour dinner. You can really enjoy, drink, and savor the food/wine if you do a multi-course meal. The conversation was also excellent, and that was in part, aided by the restaurant's ambiance. We had a table in the corner, and with the rain and wind outside, it was very cozy.

I'm excited to try their a la carte menu next time!

| Menu |

Rating | O O O and a half


  1. Great Review! You should be a food critic. =)

  2. Hehe, thanks. I would love to be a food writer, because then I'd get to eat all the time! However, I'd have to work on being much more critical.


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