One of the fringe benefits of attending UC Irvine is the excellent selection of restaurants in the surrounding areas of Irvine and Newport Beach. While many of these great restaurants are placed in prominent venues such as Fashion Island or the Irvine Spectrum, others are less noticeable.
One prime example of a hidden jewel near UCI is Wildfish, a superb seafood and steak restaurant in The Bluffs shopping center.
You wouldn’t expect such a high-class eatery to be located near Krispy Kreme, Baja Fresh and Carl’s Jr. But don’t judge this restaurant by its neighbors.
The classy interior of Wildfish belies its physical location; one step inside will make you forget the banal shopping center outside. Expect a friendly host or hostess to get the door for you and welcome you into what appears to be another world.
The dim, romantic lighting of the perimeter combined with the festive, central bar (with several televisions hung above) created an atmosphere that is at once fun and elegant.
I would advise making reservations because the friendly hostess had us seated at a booth within two or three minutes of our scheduled time, which I have found to be something of a rarity at similar restaurants.
The excellent service certainly did not end at the front door. Our waiter was friendly, helpful and attentive the entire night, answering questions about the selections and offering recommendations when requested.
Per our server’s suggestion, we began with the crab cake, covered in a buttery, chive remoulade sauce ($13). It was incredible and my only complaint is that I wish there had been more of it.
For the entr