By Christopher Trela & Catherine Del Casale | NB Indy
More than 400 people packed a ballroom to applaud the county’s best restaurants, chefs, bartenders, cuisine and cocktails in 24 categories at the annual Golden Foodie Awards on Sunday, Sept. 27, with dining spots in Newport Beach and Laguna Beach well represented among the winners.
Guests walked the red carpet, enjoyed creative cocktails, and naturally dined on gourmet samples from a variety of restaurants, including many of the nominees.
Celebrity master of ceremonies Simon Majumdar from the “Food Network” proved an energetic host.
Newport Chef Cathy Pavlos picked up two awards, for best vegetarian restaurant with Provenance and best Mediterranean for Lucca in Irvine. “Vegetables are now center of the plate,” she told the audience.
Chef Pascal Olhats won an award for best French restaurant for his new Pascal’s in San Juan Capistrano. He continues his Café Jardin at Sherman Library & Gardens in Corona del Mar, which serves French-inspired coastal cuisine, and for years ran Pascal’s restaurant in Newport and Brasserie Pascal at Fashion Island.
“I’m very happy to have won this great award,” said Pascal. “Thanks to all my staff who made this happen, to my wife for her full support, to all my friends who voted for us, to all the foodies of Orange County, and to my faithful customers!”
Selanne Steak Tavern in Laguna Beach picked up its first Golden Foodie Award, for best wine list, beating out two Newport Beach favorites: The Winery Restaurant and Cucina Enoteca.
In addition to the regular wine list, Selanne offers The Black List, which includes high-end, hard-to-find global wines. “Our wine list focuses on California cult wines and other highly rated world-class selections designed to complement the fine steaks and seafood offerings,” said Leo Fenn, who helms the restaurant’s wine and beverage lists.
Another Laguna Beach restaurant, Maro Wood Grill, for the third time in three years won for best dessert. We’ve been to Maro, and can vouch for the accolades given to the banana bread pudding, but their burger is also one of the best in OC.
Selanne was also nominated for best steak, but lost to The Ranch Restaurant in Anaheim.
Laguna Beach chefs Ryan Adams of 370 Common and Craig Strong of Studio at the Montage, were nominees for chef of the year, but lost to Chef Andrew Sutton of Napa Rose.
Other Newport nominees included SOL Cocina for best cocktail, Bluefin for best sushi, Cafe Beau Soleil for best French, Sushi Roku for best Asian cuisine, Pizzeria Sapori for best pizza, Dory Deli for best burger, Bluewater Grill for best seafood, and Moulin Bistro for best new restaurant.
Among the Laguna Beach nominees was Chef Lee Smith of Montage for pastry chef of the year.
For a complete list, visit newportbeachindy.com/off-the-menu-special-golden-foodie-awards.