|We miss you, Memphis at the Santora :-(|
In honor of OC Weekly's 20th anniversary this year, behold the launch of
20 for 20 a bunch of listicles celebrating the best, worst, craziest, most influential, most most that's happened in OC during our existence. Stay tuned every week or so as we dive into our archives and teach. Enjoy, and second-guess on!
When I started reviewing restaurants for this infernal rag in 2002, I wasn't very impressed with OC's dining scene. Most places were retreads of restaurant trends already passé in Los Angeles five years earlier, or were some riff on Italian/Mexican/steaks/Japanese food. Oh, there were some good restaurants doing interesting things, but I wanted to only focus on hole-in-the-wall spots, as that's where the real culinary action was at the time.
Thankfully, OC chefs were just about to enter the golden age of dining we live in today, in which many young chefs set trends instead of following them. And some of those holes-in-the-wall also proved crucial, introducing tastes to OC that had never registered on county palates. Behold, then, a list of our choice for the county's most important restaurants over the past 20 years. Remember: We're speaking importance -- places that either set trends or influenced others with dishes, chefs or actions outside of the kitchen. Enjoy!More »