Irvine outdoor dining recs?

Hi OC onions, looking for some up to date outdoor dining ideas in/around Irvine. Prefer Chinese or Vietnamese or other Asian, but open to all cuisines. I don’t eat mammals (yes to poultry & seafood) so no steakhouses please lol!

Priority for two lunches: comfortable outdoor seating with shade/umbrellas (one of our party is in her 90s), in other words no perching on benches with a takeout carton on your lap! If we go outside of Irvine we’d probably prefer to go toward the coast rather than inland.

We don’t need that level of comfort for all the meals (although honestly I’d prefer it since I’m no spring chicken either), so I’m casting a wide net for suggestions, just please indicate whether it’s the granny lunches or the younger folks’ casual meals. Outdoors still a must, or takeout.

Highlight of my last trip was the “mango carriage” at Ever After Tearoom, fwiw, so don’t restrict your ideas to just meals per se – snack & dessert recs welcome!

Thanks in advance & please feel free to ask clarifying questions!

Off the top of my head, there’s Northern Cafe and Noodology for Chinese for casual meals. Phans55 and Photasia - not the best places for pho around but they have an outdoor area. Fukada for Japanese - they only do takeout and have tables outside where you can eat.

Haven’t tried it but Kuan Zhai has a small outdoor eating area.


thanks so much chowyumla, those all look yummy! I see one of the locations of Phans55 has rebranded as a high-end Phan’s Kitchen & Bar. Have you been there? What do you think?

Haven’t been to that one. I’m not sure if they have outdoor seating available.

thanks ipse! Angelina’s is on my radar for one of the meals w/o granny (it was nixed as too boisterous for her). Dunhuang looks a little too meaty for me. Inka looks yummy! What is it you like about Utopia? Is this one of those places where things are surprisingly more delicious than they look on the website? (that’s a sincere question! I have known of many such a place!)

It fits your criteria for an outdoor lunch spot, and the menu, while not extraordinary, has a bit of something for everyone (from breakfast egg-centric dishes to European pastries to pastas and salads to Mediterranean inspired dishes, sort of a Cheesecake Factory mini-me).

You could of course do better, but given your parameters you could certainly do a lot worse.

gotcha, thanks for the info!
I should update that we settled on previously proven places for the granny meals, so please continue to send recs for the other meals!