Ok, back to the subject of dining out...
If you are in the south Orange County area... one of the places I would highly recommend would be Tabu Grill in Laguna Beach, the next place I would recommend would be Mirabeau Bistro in Dana Point. The menu is French, and the restaurant itself is quite charming and kind of romantic.
Here is a copy of my post on the Chowhound.com message board from last year from my first trip to Mirabeau:
May 8, 2005
"Had the pleasure of dinner at Mirabeau French Bistro in Dana Point last night. The restaurant is on PCH and Crown Valley, hidden in an upscale strip mall where there is a Gelson's. Decor-wise, it's a lovely, elegant restaurant, with a fireplace outside where you can eat with a view of the ocean (you can also eat in the main room inside, but that gets a little noisy). When my friend and I arrived, the place was bustling and a little short on the wait staff that night. So much so that the co-owner/chef David Pratt was our waiter that evening (no kidding)! David Pratt's resume includes Picasso's at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, Olives, and Masa's in SF. David was amazingly attentive (given that the restaurant was so busy) and distractingly good-looking.
Their breads and pastries are made there every day by co-owner and chef Kate Averill, with an equally impressive CV: the Ritz Carlton in SF, Olives, and was nominated for Pastry Chef of the Year, 2001.
While they have a nice wine list, my friend brought in wine (an incredible Meyer 02 cab, and a 96 Duval Leroy Brut-fantastic!). Mirabeau has a corkage fee of $11 per bottle with a 2 bottle maximum, but only if the wine is not on their wine list.
OK, now the food: As we drank our champagne, they brought us a small baguette of bread with crust reminding me of a hard biscuit but nice and soft inside, served with a little pot of hummus. For appetizer we ordered the Tomato Tart ($10): a round puff pastry on the bottom topped with carmelized onions, tomatoes, olives, basil and goat cheese....AMAZING! (that pastry was so flaky, soft and perfect, and great with the champagne).
As a main course, I ordered the steak "onglet" $20 (apparently the onglet is the portion of the cow that supports the diaphragm and there is only one onglet per cow). I ordered it medium rare with roquefort butter, and it came with herbed "pomme frites" that were fresh and twice-cooked. Needless to say, I was in heaven (and it all went so well with the cab!). Big portions! I was already full, but kept on eating.. it was too good to stop. My friend ordered the Rib-eye ($26) and that was incredible as well. For dessert, we ordered (I forget the actual name of it), but it was like a little pecan pie and was the perfect end to the meal.
I am already planning my next trip there where I will order a nice glass of sancerre and the Sole Meuniere (sauteed with lemon, parsley butter sauce and fried capers).. and will get the Chocolate Souflee with Mint Chip ice cream. Can't wait to go back. "