What’s Haute: Orange County’s Restaurants, Salons, Spas, Boutiques and more

Code Restaurant Lounge
4221 Dolphin Striker Way
Newport Beach


Restaurateur and entertainment entrepreneur Moe Ghazi knew what he was up to with the creation of Code. He envisioned the space of the über-sophisticated, Newport Beach restaurant and lounge in such a way that the dining room would be elevated around a center stage, making for the perfect venue for a chic suppertime show. Live entertainment includes everything from dance contests and DJs to themed entertainment from some of the most memorable eras of our time. Kenneth Ussenko designed Code according to three distinct design ideas. The “Champagne” space greets guests with a wall of Cristal; the “Wine” room features a 1,200-bottle glass display in the dining area; while “Ice” accents the dance floor with a glistening ice wall. Executive Chef Christopher Felippa has been pleasing the palates of the local foodies with an electric fusion of pan Asian, American, and creative small plates menus. The sushi roll list of options is endless and tempting, but halibut sashimi, seared Maine scallops, and filet mignon have been some of the standout entrées earning nods from the professional critics. If the nighttime club scene is not your thing, no need to fret, Code is also frequented during daytime hours by Orange County’s power lunchers.

Charlie Palmer
Bloomingdale’s South Coast Plaza
3333 Bristol St.
Costa Mesa


When food and fashion meld together under one roof, the result is a dining establishment worthy of its luxury locale in one of the nation’s largest retail shopping malls, South Coast Plaza. Charlie Palmer’s has long been established as a go-to name in the world of fine dining, and since last May, it is the restaurant of choice for Orange County’s elite residents and visitors. The décor draws upon California’s legendary wine country for inspiration and employs reclaimed wine barrels in the flooring. Executive chef Amar Santana serves a menu with a progressive American flare with entrées like braised pork belly with persimmon, red wine poached tenderloin, kampachi sashimi with pickled celery salad, and black sea bass with melted vidalia onion and mushroom soy. Charlie Palmer’s Bloomingdale’s location serves as the perfect shopping break for those housewives  of Orange County who worked up an appetite during a heavy session of retail therapy.

Mastro’s Ocean Club
8112 E. Coast Hwy.
Newport Beach


Receiving Zagat ratings, Michelin Guide mentions and best steakhouse awards from weekly and regional publications, the Mastro’s Restaurants group has mastered the art of grilling up a great steak. In Laguna Beach’s Crystal Cove Promenade, Mastro’s Ocean Club departs from the traditional meat menu of its sister corporate locales in Arizona, Beverly Hills, Thousand Oaks, and Costa Mesa, instead focusing on fish. While oversized portions are becoming a passé thing of the past, Mastro’s still serves up plates piled high with delectable treats. Oysters rockefeller, big-eye tuna and vanilla-battered sole and lobster tails are some of the favorite menu items. The interior décor is set for social hour, with three, 20-foot long counters forming an oversized horseshoe-shaped bar packed with the posh trendsetters in the O.C.’s 30- to 50-year-old demographic. Live entertainment and nightly dance parties have created buzz throughout the region for the dining establishment.

Serandi Salon
1833 South Coast Hwy.
Laguna Beach


As the former art director at the St. Regis Monarch Beach salon, Sergio Andrioli knows a thing or two about high-end styles. Now the owner and creative innovator of his own salon, Serandi, he is at the forefront of hair design in Laguna Beach. Andriloi has been making a name for himself with Orange County’s elite for constantly pushing the boundaries of traditional cutting and styling techniques. Armed with a high fashion background, he is well versed in runway trends, working photo shoots and fashion shows throughout his career. And while continuing education may conjure up nasty images of state licensing requirements, for Andrioli, timely training throughout the year on new products and creative precision skills is essential for the success of “Team Serandi.” In business for just over a year, Serandi Salon has proven successful in its efforts to transform the hair culture of Orange County.

The Spa at The Balboa Bay Club & Resort
1221 West Coast Hwy.
Newport Beach


It is the ultimate way to spend the day, but not if you are a member of the general public. The Spa at The Balboa Bay Club & Resort is only available to members and guests of the luxury property, which is set on 15 acres of bayfront land. The Newport Beach spa claims to have unlocked the secrets to longevity, which includes honoring all aspects of the whole being. This could best be accomplished in the eucalyptus steam room or with luxury pampering treatments like the tri-crystal body glow or the best-selling ultimate caviar facial. A relaxation lounge with fireplaces invites clients to calm their mind and wrap up in the essence of tranquility. Therapies to cover all aspects of the physical body are on the service menu, including massages, skin treatments, and body therapies, as well as unique spa rituals which were designed to promote wellness and rejuvenation. Spa memberships are exclusively available for members of the resort.

On Que Style
2900 East Coast Hwy.
Corona Del Mar


Orange County fashionistas can now breathe a sigh of relief thanks to On Que Style, the specialty boutique in Corona Del Mar. With striking designs, rare and beautiful collections, and couture fashion, stylist Kirsten Prosser opened this retail destination to bring sexy back to the O.C. Prosser is mixing things up by giving the ladies who lunch fashion forward and funky styles to update their wardrobes. This walk-in-closet-style studio is not only considered by Orange County’s shoppers-in-the-know to be the ultimate place for finding vintage treasures and unique pieces from luxury labels, it is also the haute venue for special events like Champagne trunk shows and fashion fundraisers. The boutique is fashionably quaint, allowing for easy access to the owner, where picking her brain for tips on trends is welcomed and recommended. She is stunning, so what woman wouldn’t want Prosser to serve as her personal fashion police?

St. Regis Monarch Beach
One Monarch Beach Resort
Dana Point


The St. Regis brand is synonymous with luxury travel, so it comes as no surprise that St. Regis Monarch Beach is the only Mobil Five Star and AAA Five Diamond resort in the state of California. Situated on 172 acres of dramatic cliffs that loom above the coastline of the Pacific, the Tuscan-style property features 400 guest rooms and suites, including two 1,500-square-foot Monarch suites and two 3,100-square-foot presidential suites that are only accessible with a private elevator key. The enjoyment of the finer things is paramount here, and what better way to partake in life’s pleasures than with a game of golf or tennis? Robert Trent Jones Jr. designed the 18-hole course, while the Tennis Club is equipped with eight lighted hard courts. After working up a sweat, take a plunge into one of the three on-site pools, and then head over to the 30,000-square-foot Spa Gaucin for a mint foot treatment, chardonnay sugar scrub, or scalp escape. Whatever way you choose to indulge, St. Regis Monarch Beach was designed with an appreciation for the good life.

Montage Laguna Beach
30801 South Coast Hwy.
Laguna Beach


When it comes to retreats for the Hollywood elite, Montage Laguna Beach is not quite what one would consider an under-the-radar resort. Encompassing 30 acres high atop a 50-foot coastal bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, Montage is as picturesque to look at as from a distance as are the panoramic vistas from within the opulent suites. In keeping with the artistic style of Laguna Beach, the craftsman-style architecture of the property serves as an ode to the quintessential image of the laid-back Southern California lifestyle. The awards from the travel glossies and top nods from tourism execs are endless, making Montage a preferred locale for those who know how to relax in style. The 250 rooms feature feather-top beds with 400-thread count linens and 100 percent goose down pillows. When a spa day is just what the doctor ordered, the oceanfront Spa Montage offers 20 different treatment rooms to enrich body, mind, and spirit. Appreciation of the arts is a key component of Montage Laguna Beach, therefore the resort showcases a museum quality collection of fine art with pieces from Alfred Mitchell, William Wendt, Edgar Payne, and Jean Mannheim.

The Resort at Pelican Hill
22701 Pelican Hill Rd. South
Newport Coast


This luxury locale opened to rave reviews in late 2008 and has kept its name on the lips of elite travelers ever since. The architectural style of The Resort at Pelican Hill is based on the visions of Italy’s Renaissance architect, Andrea Palladio, delivering an ambiance of Old World traditions mixed with modern day amenities. The timeless curves of the Roman coliseum inspired one of the swimming pools, which is adorned with 1.1 million hand-cut glass mosaic tiles. Two championship golf courses, designed by Tom Fazio, a 23,000-square-foot spa, and several Italian-inspired dining venues grace the property. Located between Newport Beach and Laguna Beach, The Resort at Pelican Hill features 204 bungalows and bungalow suites, along with 128 villas. Executive chef Jean-Pierre Dubray from the Ritz-Carlton San Francisco is tending to the menus of all of the restaurants, to the delight of Orange County food connoisseurs.