Nestled in one of Irvine’s countless business parks on Main, Tuscany Mediterranean Grill is a hidden gem in South Orange County’s growing fine dining scene. Matthew, who has 36 years of experience, and his staff attempt to give every customer a unique dining experience and break out of the mold of the familiar corporate dining regimen.
Equally adept at satiating bustling business lunchers and being the spot for the romantic date night, Tuscany fills our hunger for a relaxed, comfortable restaurant with fresh, well-prepared food that spares no details. “What goes in the food, is the most important thing,” Matthew said. “Since we are family owned, we eat our own food. We serve our customers exactly what we serve our family.”
Upon entering the humble exterior, it is immediately clear that Tuscany was made for lovers. From the chandelier lighting, to the fresh flowers, to the classical music playing softly in the background, the mood was set for romance. Sitting in a beautifully decorated corner table with a glass of Monte Antico Toscana, I am serendipitously transported to a little European café, somewhere in the Mediterranean. I was soon warmly greeted at my table by Matthew, who was on hand to welcome each of his guests like a laughing uncle welcoming his family in for Sunday dinner. If the food is anything like the service, I will not be disappointed.
The menu is varied and appealing with classic Italian and Mediterranean favorites, made with fresh, organic ingredients that are painstakingly chosen by Matthew himself. One appetizer is an incredibly tasty hummus made with a homemade garbanzo bean puree, tahini, fresh lemon juice, and olive oil. If you are a grocery store hummus eater, you are in for a real treat as this dish is a testament to what can be achieved when fresh, simple ingredients come together. A great start to a meal, but the hits just keep coming.
Soon the mains arrive, with a light, fresh angel hair arrabiata, with a spicy, but not overwhelming tomato sauce. Light on the belly, but not on the flavor, the angel hair adds a nice lightness to the spicy, “angry” sauce that balances very well. The penne dish featuring salmon was a twist on a traditional favorite. Next, came the champagne risotto with a champagne cream sauce that was enhanced nicely with asparagus, sun-dried tomatoes, and spinach. The chicken piccata with a lemon caper sauce and white wine reduction that followed features a fantastic flavor profile that represents classic, clean flavors that are the trademark of Tuscan cuisine.
At this point, I literally could be rolled out into the lot, but there was still one more trick up Tuscany’s sleeve: a wonderful Tiramisu, featuring a heavily whipped mascarpone. It was simply decadent. With its fresh take on classic Italian and Mediterranean flavors, ample portions, and beautifully decorated interior, Tuscany brings style and substance to South Orange County dining.
Note: Reservations are recommended, especially for the weekends as Tuscany offers “European style” dining, reserving only one seating per night, so customers can take their time and enjoy themselves, not feeling rushed. Tuscany does offer kosher style choices when requests are made in advance. To make a reservation or request catering, please call (949) 250-1838.