gas·tro·pub [gas-troh-puhb], noun: a bar that serves good food and high-quality alcoholic beverages.
Haven Gastropub, located in the Orange Circle, does just that. Serving up some of the most delicious food and plenty of beverage choices, Haven is not only an Orange staple, but is quickly becoming an Orange County staple. Opened in 2009, Haven is a perfect place whether you’re looking for a romantic date night restaurant, or a great bar to have a beer with a friend. It is open for lunch, dinner, and late night, and as a Chapman University graduate, Haven was a frequent spot for me.
To begin with, their beer list is out of control. They always have 10-15 beers on tap, changed often and most of which the average person isn’t familiar with (and therefore are excited to try), as well as over 100 beers in bottles available, including everything from IPA’s to Seasonal beers. Not a beer person? Haven not only serves up an impressive wine list, but has a great menu of crafted cocktails, like their “Hopcentric” made from Grapefruit Infused London Dry Gin, Bärenjäger Honey Liqueur, and Craft single IPA.
The food at Haven, however, is really what makes this restaurant special. Changed seasonally (with staples on the menu year round), Haven serves up everything from truffle mac ‘n cheese, to crisp braised pork belly, to bacon wrapped jumbo prawns. They have the perfect mix of basic, but delicious, entrée options, like their margherita flatbread and classic Haven burger, to entrees for the bold, like duck confit poutine (a vamped up version of chili cheese fries) and fried pigs ears (self-explanatory). To state what my favorite dish on their menu is would be impossible. On a cold rainy day, their French onion soup or truffle mac ‘n cheese would be a great option. If you’re out to have a beer with friends, sharing a dish of “chips” (potato chips soaked in beer and fresh herbs and served with a garlic aioli) or one of the “ruffage” options (a.k.a salad) is the obvious choice. Or, if you’re with a foody like my dad and I, you would be best trying one of their crazier dishes, like the aforementioned duck confit poutin (my favorite) or lamb sweetbreads. Their dishes are always fresh and delicious, and incorporate interesting and new ingredients. Sometimes it's a challenge to figure out what some of the ingredients are, such as “port salut” or “arbequina oil”, but fortunatly the educated servers will clear up any confusion! Also, because the menu changes seasonally, you will never tire of the menu options and will be surprised time after time when you realize your new found love for foie gras or wild boar sausage!
Clearly, you can see how much I love this restaurant!
Whether you’re a meat lover, vegetarian, foody, shy eater, or are just looking to try a new restaurant, Haven Gastropub should be your next stop!