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Saffron Seafood Chowder at Public74. Photo: Samantha Hammer
Saffron Seafood Chowder at Public74. Photo: Samantha Hammer

By Samantha Hammer

27211 Ortega Highway, San Juan Capistrano

Award-winning chef Gerry Kent and Chad Dickey, both successful restaurateurs, partnered and opened Public74 in 2014 offering a true gastropub dining adventure that changes with the seasons. Locally grown produce, fresh, sustainably caught seafood and the highest quality meats are daily mainstays.

“I’m a sucker for good food, Kent said, adding that he enjoys pushing the envelope to open up new dining experiences for Public74 customers.

The Kobe from Wellington, a guest favorite, is a 10-ounce, medium rare American Kobe beef burger, served on a warm brioche bun with wild mushroom duxelle, leeks, warm wilted spinach, fontina cheese and a side of fries. This is definitely not your run-of-the-mill burger.

Also try the Saffron Seafood Chowder, a hearty, dairy-free dish with shrimp and a selection of other fresh seafood of the day, stewed in herbs, vegetables, white wine and saffron, served over roasted potatoes with a side of grilled sourdough bread.

Vegetarian options, appetizers, fresh soup of the day and children’s meals are available daily. And for those looking to soothe a sweet tooth, house-made dessert options include the decadent Chocolate Creme Brulee and Getting’ Figgy Bread Puddin.’

The restaurant interior is rustic with a contemporary industrial design, enhanced by the use of reclaimed building materials.

Wines from around the world, high quality spirits and hand-crafted beers are among the daily offerings.

Local musicians, from reggae and jazz to acoustic sounds, can be heard on Fridays and Saturdays starting at 7:30 p.m.

PAYMENT ACCEPTED: Cash and credit cards
HOURS: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday. 11 a.m.-11:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

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