More than just a Crustacean Sister.
In the world of cuisine, story can be much more than the fare placed before you. If you're lucky, the story can begin the moment you enter the doors. Such is An Qi Bistro. A rare little find in Costa Mesa, CA and a unique and tasty take on what is officially known as Asian tapas and fusion. When you enter into this restaurant, the entry wall is covered with a rather hauntingly beautiful painting that epitomizes the calm of a woman. Past that, the one thing you begin to recognize is there is a passionate red emanating throughout the room. As you enter into the dining area you pass a bar that has a counter-to-ceiling display of frosted glass and premier bottles of top-shelf liquor. Turn to your right and you have entered a world that no longer seems like your typical restaurant. Every corner is decorated with an earthy, yet artistic design that blends both a modern feel with traditional Asian artifacts. Sliding screens, bar-top tables, cozy rounded booths that allow you to see everything that is happening while feeling tucked away just enough to be a voyeur.
Our server Karen comes over to greet us but not before Matt, the British Manager, stops by to say hello. A charming and very easy spoken Englishman then leaves us in the capable hands of Karen, who smiles and explains (with finesse) the specials, the drinks, and a rather prolific account of what is worth trying. We start off with bottled still water, an Indochine and a Viet-No-Jito, and may I just say - delicious! Each cocktail had its own twist (and kick). We give in to the sushi/hand-roll special, the Hiramasa Crudo, and Mussels. First comes the Hiramasa Crudo which arrives looking like a colorful play on food art with avocado "silk", beet, crudo with a sweet & sour tangerine sauce. The taste was fresh and crisp. The sushi special wasn't out of the ordinary, but it ended up being the small variation of adding fried onion crisps that made piece #2 so enjoyable. The hand-roll was coupled with Unagi and was bursting with flavor. Our third starter was mildly sensual with it's play on steamed black mussels swimming in a cream Thai-like coconut base - something about the mussels basking in the sauce made its flavor undeniably endearing.
Karen returned to take our order. Ono with one "humongous" Prawn as she put it and the Filet Mignon Confit. I teetered between the Mongolian lamb chops and the filet and in the end, the happy cow won. I ordered a glass of Pinot Noir in the interim.
Soon after, our main course arrived. The filet mignon was good and the wasabi tater tots were good enough (though to be fair, I'm not a wasabi fan altogether) but what was absolutely, without fail, exceptional was that Ono and Prawn dish. The prawn was, as described, enormous, and more succulent than any other. Perfectly cooked with citrus and oils, it just cut through the knife with ease and landed in ones mouth with even more precision and delight. Eventually, dessert was bound to be invited in and so we ordered the Elderflower Parfait and the Chocolate Twist. I ordered a glass of Port and soon enough my mouth was basking in the refreshing and oddly beautiful medley of fresh petals of elderflower, rose water meringue, pomegranate caviar, sweet & sour tangerine, and an ever-so-light jasmine sorbet. This was heaven in every conceivable way. The chocolate twist was good but it couldn't hold a candle to the elderflower parfait.
An Qi is a surprisingly beautiful tale that indulges ones senses - each and every sense ignited. I would recommend it to most anyone. Though it's sister restaurant is well known in Los Angeles, An Qi blows Crustacean out of the water in taste and authenticity. Go take a walk on the Red side ... awaken something exotic and sensual and open your mouth to invite in a healthy ahhhh.
A Feast for the Eyes and Taste Buds!.
If you live in LA, you must make the trip down to Orange County to try this restaurant! If you live in Orange County, why are you there right now? And if you live somewhere else, hop on a plane or whatever you need to do in order to get your butt over to South Coast Plaza!
Clearly, I’m a huge fan of AnQi, and I can’t tell you how happy I am that I’ve discovered it. I’m a long time fan of Crustacean in Beverly Hills, but 99% of the reason I go is for the garlic noodles (as I’m sure is the case with most other patrons as well, although everything is delicious). The problem is that dining at Crustaceans can be quite an ordeal when you just want Mama’s special garlic noodles. From first glance, AnQi also has all the elements of a super trendy restaurant, but at the same time it’s laid back and inviting. My boyfriend was able to dine in his shorts and flip-flops which is not something he could have gotten away with in Beverly Hills. Walking up to the restaurant, we felt as though we’d been transported to Las Vegas (sadly, we had not been). AnQi has that trendy, upscale Vegas vibe written all over it and we were immediately in love. You completely forget that you’re in a mall, and in fact, you’re even in Bloomingdales!
Unfortunately, on the evening that we visited we weren’t that hungry, but we just couldn’t resist. We ordered a selection of their Asian tapas to share and everything was incredible! Of course, we also got the garlic noodles which were just as good in Costa Mesa as they are in Beverly Hills. Our waiter informed us that Mama goes down twice a week and makes them her special kitchen just as she does in LA. I can’t wait to make it back down there again, and this time I will make sure to bring an empty stomach.
Absolutely amazing. I decided to try out anqi a few days ago. I knew when I walked in I loved the space and the feel but it is a restaurant so we are here for the food right? So we were seated quickly our server came and greeted us in a timely manner. He told us about the specials for the evening and they all sounded so good so we decided to go with the filet potstickers (awesome) lobster ravioli ( the best ravioli I have ever had) a ceviche special that was so fresh tasting. For our mains we had the wagyu short rib and copper river salmon both of which were extraordinary. We finished with a chocolate dessert they nicknamed elvis. This meal was the best meal I have had in orange county. I asked the chefs name and our server told us chef daniel barron I sent compliments to him and the an family and I will definitely be back soon thank you anqi, an family and chef daniel for bringing this to orange county we needed it.
Glamour in the OC. My office and I stopped in this hidden treasure for a happy hour and had a fabulous time! Don’t let the exterior surroundings fool you. Anqi is a glamorous find in the OC. The chic atmosphere and sophisticated crowd make you feel like you’re in one of Hollywood’s hotspots, not south coast plaza. A dazzling bar, fine food and delicious drinks make this place an all around must. I will definitely be returning soon!
Awesome Happy Hour & Staff. AnQi is a great place to visit in Costa Mesa. I recently went for their Happy Hour with a group of coworkers and they really took great care of us. The food options were great that the staff recommended for us. I personally liked the Filet Potstickers the best. The Chorizo corndogs were good too! The ambiance is very serene and the space is HUGE! I would like to go back for dinner and try some of their other items they are known for like the Garlic noodles and Crab.
Citysearch Editorial Review. Even though Orange County is home to plenty of Vietnamese cuisine joints, if you’re looking for its most upscale venue just stop next door to Bloomingdale's in Costa Mesa’s South Coast Plaza. This sophisticated Euro-Vietnamese gourmet bistro from Crustacean Beverly Hills chef Helene An offers some nostalgic touches--think running streams covered with glass walkways, lacquered wood, romantic Asian screens and orchids. But adding contemporary drama is a huge backlit bar, eye-catching organic sculpture, artful handcrafted cocktails--and a runway for fashion shows. The noodle bar menu features traditional beef or chicken pho, seafood dumplings, sushi and various noodles. Dinner is more far-reaching, dishing up family recipes like pan-roasted lobster and An’s famous garlic noodles, as well as creative Vietnamese-fusion dishes like filet mignon summer rolls, mango-chili glazed shrimp, caramelized rack of lamb, and chocolate lava with sour cherry, Japanese eggplant jam and creme anglaise.
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