Fall Date Night Destination: Water Grill

Inside the Costa Mesa Hot Spot

What is date night without a memorable meal as its main event? While Orange County may be known for its many top tier restaurants, picking the right one for your night out is no easy feat. When I think of the ideal fall dining destination, I think of warmth, cocktails, and a full stomach. Of course, you want a spot that has all of the necessary components for a romantic evening: ambiance, atmosphere, an expansive drink menu, and an even more extensive dinner menu. Securing a reservation at Water Grill in Costa Mesa might be your ticket to the perfect fall date night for you and your food-obsessed counterpart.

Water Grill is located steps away from South Coast Plaza. It’s a stunning space that boasts an impressive selection of carefully crafted drinks, unique dishes, and mouth-watering desserts. With nearly endless options to decide on, you and your date will certainly leave satisfied.

Dining connoisseurs know plenty about the elements required for an impeccable overall experience. Water Grill knows this too. Attentive and warm service is essential and proudly provided; servers exemplify what excellent restaurant hospitality should look like. Dim lighting, rustic seaside decor, and fire pit lined walkways contribute to an inviting scene.

Narrowing down menu options can be a bit intimidating, but it’s easier when every offering is a good call. I know this because I tried more items than I’d like to admit, and all of them were equally delicious. The table bread is far from your typical. Asiago cheese is the accessory for the warm rolls set before you at the beginning of your meal. As you decide on your drinks, keep in mind their signature cocktails. Bristol Street is an ideal vodka option made with fresh strawberry and lemon juice, and poured over ice with tarragon essence. Campfire Sling is the perfect fall drink for whiskey lovers, made with maple syrup and chocolate bitters, and served over block ice with scorched orange oil.

With a drink in hand, you can finally decide on what plates you’ll be decorating the table with. For starters, the fried calamari is one of their newest additions and is as delectable as it sounds. Their crab cake is a pristine rendition of the well-known staple. While appetizers could easily fill the entirety of the space, it’s essential to leave room for the main event.

Known for its seafood, Water Grill has a broad range of choices for the ocean-fare fanatics. Raw bar options feel infinite, and the cooked selections are as equally gratifying. The sea bass served over butternut squash gnocchi, and sage brown butter is an undeniable standout. Another highlight, the wild Eastern sea scallops, are prepared over a bed of cauliflower puree, soy brown butter, and served with curried roasted cauliflower and pickled golden raisins.

Even if you’re feeling full from just the thought of all of the choices, sides are a must. Crispy polenta with melted fontina is a savory steal with a hint of sweetness. The roasted brussel sprouts with bacon and chestnuts are the best way to meet your daily vegetable intake (or at least attempt to).

A perfect fall date night wouldn’t be complete without a trip to the dessert menu, and what better way to top off an evening than with the caramel bread pudding, adorned with homemade salted caramel ice cream – a truly undeniable decadence that could easily become a favorite.

While we may not have real seasons in Southern California, we can still enjoy a meal that is reminiscent of fall and its cozy sentiments. Water Grill is the quintessential destination for a date night to remember and return to.


Water Grill

3300 Bristol Street, Costa Mesa | 949.208.7060


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