1. Taps Fish House & Brewery
What better way to start Sunday Funday than with the best brunch in Orange County? And where would that be? According to our voters, it’s Taps Fish House & Brewery in Brea and Irvine.
The meal includes your choice of Taps’ award-winning beers or sparkling wine, succulent offerings from the carving station, and fresh oysters on the half shell and shrimp on ice, according to the Taps website.
Then there are the smoked salmon, artisan cheeses, fruits, freshly baked breads and breakfast pastries. Want waffles and pancakes? They are made to order. Save room for Bananas Foster and a visit to the chocolate fountain.
Besides the extensive brunch offerings, Taps has a distinct ambiance, reminiscent of a Chesapeake Bay crab house. The restaurant calls itself a true fish house that participates in the “celebration of seafood” by bringing to the table flavors from all over the world, including the Pacific Rim, the South Pacific, the California coast and Baja California.
The fish and steaks are hand-cut daily, and the brewery offers 30 to 35 traditionally brewed Belgian, English and German ales and lagers, all made on-site by brewmaster David Huls. The wine list has received the prestigious Wine Spectator Magazine’s Award of Excellence for the past five years.
Brunch prices and hours vary, and reservations are recommended.
2. The Black Marlin
560 El Camino Real, Tustin
Brunch at The Black Marlin in Tustin is something to be savored. The restaurant doesn’t serve a buffet, but offers individual plates you can’t find anywhere else.
Besides the classic eggs, bacon and pancakes, The Black Marlin has five types of eggs Benedict, from the traditional to the more exotic, like the Walk the Plank, featuring crab and shrimp, and the Lox Benedict, with sliced cured salmon and spinach.
The French toast comes with a special sauce made with Jameson whiskey that general manager Matt Luckey says is to die for.
Hankerin’ for a carnitas omelet? This is your place. Fish lovers can nibble on a Neptune’s Cobb Salad, with scallops, shrimp and salmon.
Top it off with a signature gin fizz or a Bloody Mary.
Luckey says the idea behind a plated menu is that not everybody has a large enough appetite to make the most of a buffet.
“This way you’re not paying for what you’re not getting,” he said.