It’s easy to overlook dessert, but at these Orange County restaurants, the chefs don’t skimp on the sweet stuff. The creativity keeps coming, making the last course as exciting as the mains. Here now are 22 spots to get dessert in Orange County, arranged from north to south. For a sweet finish, opt for one (or more) of these delightful options.Read More
Save Space for These 22 Orange County Desserts
The sweetest way to end (or start) a meal just south of LA
Budino al caramello at Bruno’s Italian Kitchen
The budino al caramello at Bruno’s Italian Kitchen is often overlooked, possibly because it’s less familiar than the more popular tiramisu. But like the spaghetti and meatballs, the basics remain the best here. The caramel pudding is creamy with crunchy bits of roasted hazelnuts and chocolate ganache.
Choco samosas at Khan Saab Desi Craft Kitchen
The choco samosas at Khan Saab Desi Craft Kitchen are the chef’s halal, South Asian version of the iconic choco taco. Crispy phyllo triangles burst with warm Ghirardelli chocolate, and a scoop of vanilla gelato adds a cool, creamy finish.
Tarte de queso at Top of the V
The rooftop restaurant and bar at the V in Anaheim serves a burnt-top Basque cheesecake with a creamy, creme brulee-like interior. The sweet finish pairs nicely with the view overlooking Anaheim.
Mango cake at Puesto Anaheim
The mango-shaped dessert is layered with coconut cake, jellified passion fruit, passionfruit cream, and mango mousse. It’s plated with a swash of dark chocolate that adds a bitter note and brightened with lime zest.
Coconut thạch dừa at Brodard Restaurant
The refreshing Vietnamese jelly dessert is not overly sweet. Shards of fresh coconut are encased inside young coconut juice, which is thickened with agar-agar. Coconut milk adds another creamy layer.
Sticky toffee pudding at Gem Dining
Served in three parts, the sticky toffee pudding at Gem Dining arrives with a cloud of cool smoke emanating from beneath. The dry ice keeps the ice cream cold and looks pretty darn cool. The shareable dessert takes a classic British favorite and reimagines it for social media savvy diners.
Strawberry lemon meringue pie at Tableau Kitchen and Bar
This “pie” is deconstructed and ideal for sharing. It looks nothing like the traditional version, but combines all of its best elements in an artsy way. A swash of torched meringue, fresh strawberry slices, and a Barbie pink-hued strawberry milkshake ice cream combine with a graham cracker crumble. It’s been a menu staple since chef John Park opened Tableau.
Louis XV at Knife Pleat
Dinner at Knife Pleat is prix fixe only, but at lunchtime, the a la carte menu includes the Louis XV. Layers of hazelnut crunch, chocolate cremeux, and gianduja glaze combine for a slice of chocolate bliss.
Chocolate mochi xiao long bao at Din Tai Fung
Din Tai Fung is known for its xiao long bao. But dumplings for dessert? Only if it’s the chocolate mochi xiao long bao. It’s slightly chewy with gooey warm chocolate encased inside. Request the cream top, which is essentially whipped cream in a teacup, for dipping.
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Chocolat at Populaire Modern Bistro
The chocolat dessert tastes like a grown up dirt cup. The pudding-like chocolat crèmeux sits atop a devil’s chocolate cake. The cocoa nib tuile adds a slightly bitter, crunchy candy texture, and the salted creme fraiche and drizzles of olive oil add depth in unexpected ways.
The chaffle at Seabirds Kitchen
The churro waffle hybrid is topped with vanilla ice cream, chocolate sauce, and chopped walnuts. Even though it looks like something served at breakfast, it’s a sweet finish to a vegan meal.
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Baba au rum at Moulin Bouillon
The rum syrup-soaked cake with chantilly cream and diced pineapple is topped with delicate choux pastry. It’s available at all Moulin locations and for good reason — it’s classically French, photo-friendly, and undeniably delicious.
Butterscotch Budino at Pizzeria Mozza
The butterscotch budino remains one of Nancy Silverton’s most popular signature desserts at Pizzeria Mozza. The silky burnt sugar custard is topped with whipped cream mixed with creme fraiche. Maldon sea salt flakes are sprinkled around the top, and rosemary pine nut cookies add just the right crunch.
Affogato at the Dock
An affogato is easy to overlook. Combining housemade vanilla ice cream with hot espresso and a crunchy biscotti for dipping, the Dock’s affogato hits the spot after a dockside dinner. It’s simple and satisfying.
Murray Farms cherry tart at Farmhouse at Roger’s Gardens
Chef Richard Mead’s cooking style at Farmhouse at Roger’s Gardens centers on farm fresh produce. Pastry chef Mark Stovall adheres to the mantra by celebrating fruit from Murray Farms. The cherry tart hits all the right comfort food notes and is served atop chocolate sauce with a generous dollop of sweet cream and toasted almonds.
Grapefruit mousseline at Marché Moderne
Co-owner and pastry chef Amelia Marneau playfully merges a French-style icebox cake with grapefruit mousseline, Grand Marnier, and grapefruit ice cream. The layered dessert melds technical skill and whimsy with a biscuit joconde noisette, Tahitian vanilla crème, grapefruit gel, and meringues that resemble the spikes of the Super Mario Bros’ nemesis King Bowser.
Oh beehive at Broadway by Amar Santana
The beehive-shaped torched meringue is decorated with gobs of honeycomb and edible flowers. Layered inside are lemon goat cheese mousse and honey ice cream.
Selanne’s monkey bread at Selanne Steak Tavern
The restaurant’s namesake monkey bread is bananas — hot brioche mini buns and gianduja chocolate topped with roasted banana ice cream, praline crunch, and a swirl of dulce de leche.
Banana pudding at Heritage Barbecue
It’s just simple banana pudding topped with some strawberries, but it’s the best finish after a barbecue feast at Heritage. The vanilla wafer sops up the banana custard but retains just enough crunch.
Honey mousse at Mayfield
The honey blossom mousse at Mayfield is layered with compressed kumquats and lemon curd, and tucked beneath a delicate honey shard. The dessert blends the flavors of California with those of the Levant region.
Soft serve at Truly Pizza
There are only two soft serve choices at Truly Pizza: chocolate or vanilla. Each is made with Strauss organic dairy, so the base is reliably good, but remember to always opt for toppings. Choose from extra virgin olive oil and sea salt, chocolate sauce, or grape nuts.
Strawberry and yuzu at chef John Tesar’s Knife Modern Steak
James Beard-nominated chef John Tesar recently rebranded his restaurant at the Laguna Cliffs Marriott Resort & Spa. The modern steakhouse serves a strawberry mousse dome for dessert, plated with dots of yuzu curd interspersed with strawberry meringue florets and a refreshing quenelle of basil ice cream.