Orange County, California, does Thanksgiving a little differently. If you're a resident of this quintessential West Coast beach town, then you know the restaurants here are apt to incorporate seafood and steak into the traditional bird-and-stuffing feast. And if you aren't a local, then you sure are in for a treat. Orange County is chockfull of elegant resorts with incredible views of the Pacific and some top-rated chefs, too. Thanksgiving Day reservations are strongly suggested, if not mandatory.
Finish off the annual Dana Point Turkey Trot with a festive brunch at Monarch Beach Resort's AVEO Table, which is served until 4 p.m. At 6 p.m., the Mediterranean eatery switches to a prixe fixe or à la carte menu, featuring all the traditional fixings. The ambiance at AVEO Table is sophisticated, stylish, and devastatingly cool. Thanks to the mild climate, you can even enjoy your turkey on the panoramic patio.
Also on-site are the Monarch Bay Beach Club (a seafood bar that's basically right on the beach) and Bourbon Steak, both of which will be serving Thanksgiving fare this 2019 holiday. Kids' programming, such as kite flying, sand art, and turkey crafts, will be held at Monarch Beach Kids Club throughout the day.
The Ritz-Carlton in Laguna Niguel hosts an annual Thanksgiving dinner-with-a-view at its waterfront restaurant, RAYA. Here, you can expect a sophisticated menu of Turkey Day favorites with some of RAYA's fresh and coastal Pan-Latin flair mixed in. enoSTEAK also does a Thanksgiving dinner for those who prefer turf over surf (and a glass of California vino to wash it down).
Get used to seeing the tide roll in 25 feet below your dinner table in Orange County. There are too many waterfront restaurants to count, and Splashes at the Surf and Sand Resort in Dana Point is among the best of them. This Thanksgiving, the resort will serve a three-course prix fixe Thanksgiving menu for lunch only (noon to 4 p.m.). You can have it with a wine pairing for an extra $40, or order a pie to-go and have your dessert at home.
The only thing that could make your Turkey Day feast better is perhaps a boozy champagne buffet. Take your roasted bird with a glass of bubbly at Orange Hill, or opt for something much less conventional and order the sushi instead (this region was the birthplace of the beloved California roll, after all). Thanksgiving is as much about the beverages as it is about the meal at this hilltop venue. Its holiday offering even includes a cider bar.
Let Chef Yvon Goetz do the cooking for you this Thanksgiving at The Winery. Boasting breathtaking views of the harbor below, this is one of the most scenic places to sit down with a Cab Sav in Newport Beach. The 2019 Thanksgiving menu features locally-sourced pumpkin and ricotta ravioli or Scottish smoked salmon to start, a choice between five mains, and classic pumpkin pie or chocolate cheesecake for dessert.
Start the holiday off with slow-braised meatballs, crab claws, Scottish salmon, and pumpkin tiramisu at Silver Trumpet Restaurant. You might be fooled into thinking it's Christmas morning when you sink your fork into the chocolate French toast, too. The options at Silver Trumpet's Thanksgiving brunch are pretty much boundless (from build-your-own omelets to pork tenderloin). There will even be macaroni and cheese and pigs in a blanket for the kids.
Knott's Berry Farm is a Southern California mainstay. This amusement park churns out family-friendly entertainment every day of the year, but its Thanksgiving offering is particularly festive. Guests can enjoy a champagne buffet including turkey and Mrs. Knott's signature fried chicken at Mrs. Knott's Chicken Dinner Restaurant during lunch and Spurs during dinner. Park tickets are not required for the feast.