Let’s start by getting a few things out of the way. As a finalist on Top Chef 13, Amar Santana just blew up the Orange County dining scene like we’ve yet to see any single chef do. He’s from the Dominican Republic, started cooking in restaurant kitchens as a young teenager, studied at the CIA, trained in New York, and he last worked for Charlie Palmer before opening his eponymous New American flagship Broadway by Amar Santana in Laguna Beach. He just unveiled his second restaurant, Vaca, across from South Coast Plaza.
Also, “vaca” means cow in Spanish, and yes, they serve it many ways—by the pound in fact.
Vaca is so many things, but at it’s heart it’s an authentically Spanish tapas restaurant. Ole Spain Deli Shop in Santa Ana is great for a quick bite, and the folks at Pueblo at the OC Mix make killer tapas too, but they’re doing them they’re own way. If you want a true taste of Spain—what it’s like to eat in almost every low end or high end tapas spot (that isn’t Tickets Bar)—save your airfare and check out Vaca in Costa Mesa.
Welcome to Barcelona, California!
… Read more…