RANCHO SANTA MARGARITA, CA – Nothing says summer like feasting al fresco, so if you’re looking for a new place to dine, Alza Italian Kitchen has recently opened in South County.

“Alza means to raise or uplift and that is exactly what we have set out to provide with a warm and inviting, yet lively, neighborhood restaurant,” said co-owner Jenna McIlvene of the family-owned and operated restaurant.
The restaurant has a large patio with fire pits, as well as plenty of indoor seating at the bar and in the dining room. It will serve lunch, brunch and dinner with Italian comfort foods such as stuffed mushrooms with parmesan, cream cheese and thyme, creamy arrabiata of penne with choice of chicken or Italian sausage tossed in a creamy marinara with a hint of spice, and pescatore linguine with jumbo shrimp, scallops, and clams in white, red or parma rosa sauce.

Hungry? Sign up for The Eat Index, our weekly food newsletter, and find out where to eat and get the latest restaurant happenings in Orange County. Subscribe here.
Weekend brunch selections include breakfast pizza with Canadian bacon, potatoes and sunny side up eggs; breakfast panini on ciabatta herb bread; and Alza Benedict with prosciutto wrapped asparagus, poached egg and Hollandaise, on a toasted English muffin. Brunch, from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, is a chance to indulge in sangria and bottomless mimosas.

But for those who like to unwind on weekdays there’s also happy hour Monday through Friday from 3 to 6 p.m. with specials on glasses and bottles of wine, craft beer, cocktails and half-off appetizers. On Wine Wednesdays, Alza offers half-off bottles of wine and $5 glasses of house wine all day. The list of bottles highlights selections from Napa and Italy.
There will also be live music Friday from 6 to 9 p.m.; Saturday from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.; and Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Alza has also begun to connect with the community. Its Tuesdays for a Cause is a fundraising initiative for local charities. At those events guests can build their own pasta dinners and 20% of sales will benefit a designated nonprofit organization.

McIlvene invites everyone to give Alza a try, whether it’s a break from cooking a weeknight dinner or a really special occasion.

“We have dedicated ourselves to providing guests with a great experience from lunch with family or friends, to date night, or a special celebration at brunch,” she said.

Find it: 22411 Antonio Parkway, Suite C170, Rancho Santa Margarita, 949-709-8059,

Open: from 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 9:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday; 9:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday.

Read More…