Only have a few days in Irvine or have guests visiting? Make sure that you and your guests don’t miss out on some of the most delicious, Instagrammable, and unique dishes that this town has to offer with this guide to Irvine’s must-try dishes. From cool desserts to mouthwatering lunches, this list is made up of some seriously fun eats.
The Breakfast Republic’s Cluck Madame
Located across the street from UC Irvine, the Breakfast Republic is heaven for brunch enthusiasts. Their eggs benedicts are some of the best in town, especially their Cluck Madame, which puts a French twist on the classic with bechamel sauce and gruyere cheese. The super buttery and savory house potatoes that come on the side are perfect for dragging through the hollandaise sauce.
4213 Campus Drive, Irvine
Burnt Crumbs’ Spaghetti Grilled Cheese
Carb lovers unite! This sandwich merges two childhood favorites – the grilled cheese and spaghetti. Made with spaghetti, mozzarella and meat sauce, this sandwich comes with marinara dipping sauce for extra flavor.
8549 Irvine Center Drive, Irvine
Clay Oven’s Chicken Tikka Masala
Chicken tikka masala has gotten a bad rep on the foodie scene for being the most basic Indian food, but the one from Clay Oven is a must try. It’s richer, thicker and more tomato-y than the average chicken tikka masala and comes with juicy chunks of chicken. The sauce is so popular among diners that they even offer jars of it to-go.
350 Clinton Street, Costa Mesa
Hui Lau Shan’s Mango Sago
Hui Lau Shan is famous in Hong Kong for their mango desserts and the Irvine location is their first location within the U.S. Their mango sago is filled with refreshing mango flavor and comes topped with chopped mango sourced from around the world to ensure peak freshness and sweetness.
5365 Alton Pkwy, Suite M, Irvine
Meet Fresh’s Signature Ice Grass Jelly
This dessert is great for hot weather. It’s light, perfectly sweetened, and comes with a host of different textures. The best part about it is that it’s relatively healthy and low in calories, since it’s mostly made up of shaved ice and grass jelly. Note: Grass jelly is just the name; it isn’t actually made of grass and its taste is most similar to herbal tea.
2710 Alton Pkwy #105, Irvine
Tim Ho Wan’s BBQ Pork Buns
Tim Ho Wan’s Hong Kong location is the least expensive Michelin-starred restaurant in the world and Irvine is lucky to have their own store. Their BBQ pork buns, which feature a crumbly, almost cookie-like exterior and are filled with sweet and savory BBQ pork, are considered legendary. On the side of the store is a quick takeout section, making these buns easy to grab for meals or as a snack.
2700 Alton Pkwy, Irvine
Somi Somi’s Taiyaki Ice Cream
Quite easily the most Instagrammable dessert in Irvine, Somi Somi is a must try. Each taiyaki, a fish shaped waffle, is filled with either custard, Nutella, or red bean and then topped with soft serve ice cream and toppings ranging from strawberries to macaron shells and sprinkles. What keeps foodies coming back to this shop are their fun flavors like matcha, milk tea, sesame and ube.
2700 Alton Pkwy #125, Irvine
640 Spectrum Center Drive, Irvine
La Sirena Grill’s Shrimp Quesadilla
Hands down, the best quesadilla in Irvine. La Sirena Grill’s shrimp quesadilla comes jam packed with shrimp, cheese, onions and mushrooms all in a slightly spicy sauce. You can then top it with a variety of salsas and sauces from their toppings bar. It’s messy, it’s delicious, it’s unforgettable.
3931 Portola Pkwy, Irvine