Choosing a place to spend one’s evening can sometimes be a challenge. First, there’s the difficult choice of selecting what to eat, which can be a downright contentious issue when it comes to couples or family dining. That said, Diamond Jamboree, located at the intersection of Alton Pkwy. and Jamboree Rd., which labels itself “Orange County’s International Eatertainment Destination,” provides a cross-section of colorful options. Most of the numerous restaurants in this mini-mecca of munchables have a variety of ways of turning the dining experience into a fun experience. Then, after – or before, depending upon your dining schedule – visitors get their fill of food, Diamond Jamboree provides a few options for how to turn the evening into a party.

BCD Tofu House. Photo by Scott Feinblatt

In Irvine Weekly’s recent article about Irvine’s Escape Rooms, we featured the Square Room Escape,which is located on the second level of DJ. Square Room Escape has two challenging rooms – one medium and one advanced level – which will provide groups of 3-6 people an opportunity to test their thinking skills in order to navigate and negotiate their ways out of the perplexing “Sorcerer’s Study” and “The Phantom Soldier.” We recommend this one for starting your evening because you’ll probably want to toast to your victory after you free yourself.

In the mood for something hot? HaiDiLao Chinese Hot Pot might be just what you’re looking for. Apart from the fun that traditionally goes hand-in-hand – or uncooked food-into-hot-broth – with dining at a Chinese hot pot restaurant, this third U.S. / SoCal location of the Chinese company’s chain possesses a solid reputation for both its delicious menu options and its high class / entertaining guest service. Watch in amazement as your chef hand-crafts your noodles for you in mid-air! Were you planning on dressing up for this evening out? No problem, at HaiDiLao, you’ll be pampered with a bib, and in the event that you were planning to get rowdy with your soup, their servers will likely provide you with a safety bag for your cell phone!

The Kickin Crab. Photo by Scott Feinblatt

Ever eaten while being watched by sharks? At The Kickin’ Crab, not only will the staff make eating Cajun food into a party – they’ve got the shrimp; they’ve got the crab; they’ve got the sacks in which to shake your chosen items to spicy zestiness – but their walls are lined with kitschy decor. Naturally, there are fishing nets and ornamental lighting strung about the place, but there are also several species of man-eating sharks that will be watching you from overhead … perhaps to make sure you clean your plate!

Kona Loa Coffee. Photo by Scott Feinblatt

All this talk of spicy foods has made us thirsty. After indulging in some spicy food, Kona Loa Coffee is a great place to regroup before proceeding onto the evening’s next event. However, if hanging out in Kona’s charmingly warm environment while sipping a cup full of ground gourmet coffee – or any of their wide variety of hot and cold coffees, lattes, mochas, macchiatos, smoothies, etc. – then maybe you should sample one of their exotic specialized foods – we recommend the Musubi.

Okay, now that we’ve given you a few dining options for starting your evening, let’s head on over to the Plush Karaoke Lounge for some wining. Plush Karaoke has the distinction of being the only karaoke bar in Irvine. Plush offers 16 private rooms and features an extensive selection of karaoke tunes in many languages, including: English, Korean, Chinese and Japanese. Packages vary, but include all-you-can-sing / drink hourly rates. If you’d like to spend your entire evening singing and drinking until no one can understand the lyrics anymore, be their guest – they’re open till 2 a.m. to 2:30 a.m. every night!

Perhaps after drinking beer a while, you’d like to sit down for something to fill your stomach. At Kura Revolving Sushi Bar, you can sit down and watch the pretty colors move all around you, as numerous sushi items make their way through the restaurant on a tantalizing conveyor belt. Naturally, you can keep the party going by drinking some warm sake while you feast.

Photo Courtesy of Pho Saigon Pearl

A couple of additional colorful dining options we’d like to recommend before we start winding down with our dessert options include the exotic Pepper Lunch, which offers sizzling, colorful steak platters, kimchi rice and LOADS more designer platters. The Classic Beef / Chicken Pepper Rice is recommended for newbies. Next up, no plaza full of predominantly Asian eateries would be complete without a Vietnamese category. Enter Pho Saigon Pearl! With five locations throughout SoCal – including four in O.C. and two in Irvine – Pho Saigon Pearl will satisfy those with discerning tastes and those who are on a budget. Their pho has many fans, and their doors are open late if you’ve saved them for your last stop of the evening.

85°C Bakery Café. Photo by Scott Feinblatt

All right, you wanted dessert? You got it! For sheer decadence, it is hard to compete with 85ºC Bakery Café. If you walk into this place looking for a quick snack, don’t be surprised if you leave with a large sack full of pastries. They’re all there … just waiting for you! So, grab a tray and a pair of tongs as you prepare to navigate your way through the numerous plexiglass cases, each filled with eye-popping, mouth-watering pastries. Did we say it’s hard to compete with their decadence? Well, allow me to clarify that there are different categories of decadence. For example, Afters Ice Cream has ice cream creations that are difficult to look upon without uttering, “Oh my God … !” Don’t believe us? Seek out their Milky Bun. Just thinking about it … “Oh, my God … !”

On the other hand, if it’s a dessert beverage that will help you cap off the evening with aplomb, why not wash everything down with a nice sweet tea with boba from Lollicup? They’ve got your milk teas; they’ve got your shaken teas; they’ve got slushes; they’ve got snows. Wanna add some Egg Pudding or Aloe Jelly to that drink order? They’ve got you!

Ajisen Ramen. Photo by Scott Feinblatt

As difficult as it may be to imagine, the list of dining options in the conservatively-sized Diamond Jamboree center is not exhaustive, and there are more businesses throughout the center which await your eyes and your stomach. For shopping, there’s Crystal Chalet (jewelry) and various beauty-related businesses, there’s the enormous H-Mart Asian Supermarket, and, for the morning after, there are several medical and therapeutic businesses rounding out the center’s variety. So, if we’ve hit a nerve with any of our descriptions, or if you are still undecided on how to spend your evening, we suggest that you get thee to Diamond Jamboree and discover the missing link that surely awaits you there!

Diamond Jamboree 2700-2750 Alton Pkwy, Irvine, CA 92606

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