With the change of seasons always comes an exciting time in food – especially at your favorite restaurants. My new go-to in Orange is O SEA, located in the historic heart of Orange on the circle. Open since June 2021, this innovative eatery features a refreshingly modern, upbeat atmosphere and excellent seafood offerings which shine with the passionate personalities of its founder and general manager Mike Flynn and his team.
Mike’s dream “for a decade” came to fruition after a restaurant journey that took this clearly talented concept creator to popular seafood establishments across the country and back home to his native Orange County. O SEA is the perfect embodiment of his personal and professional passions: great fish, funky wines and catchy songs in a 112-year-old building.
In the few short months since opening its doors, O SEA has already established itself as community favorite for delicious seasonal fare: responsibly sourced seafood complemented by the seasonality and diversity of Southern California cooking so you get the freshest entrees and sides imaginable.
A high energy, yet refined menu marries bold global flavor profiles with high quality, affordable seafood. On a recent night out, my husband and I invited a couple who live in Old Town to join us for dinner at O SEA, thinking we’d be introducing them to its offerings. Turns out, our foodie friends were already regulars who raved about the menu, service and the carefully curated wine list that mirrors the same philosophy as the menu. Each varietal, by the glass or bottle, is approachable and fun – a Hungarian white “goes with spicy food,” while the ‘Love You Bunches’ sangiovese is “best served chilled.”
To give you an idea of the fun to be had here … there is no corkage fee here, the only caveat is that you must pour a tasting glass from the bottle you bring and send it to another table. The concept sparks conversation, reciprocal samplings and laughter that lends itself to a true sense of community.
Literally everything we tried was uber flavorful – from the wild British Columbian salmon ceviche served Peruvian style with coconut leche de tigre and habanero oil and the grilled wild Spanish octopus enhanced with creamy adobo and grilled summer sweet corn to the crispy Oaxacan hot shrimp.
Just thinking of the melt-in-your-mouth wild Eastern sea scallops and oysters on the half shell served with Thai red curry cocktail sauce, yuzu mignonette and tajin’d lime are enough to get my tastebuds watering. But what a treat to experience the incredible food and energetic atmosphere at once – O SEA is a standout for every season.