Stella's
Stella's

Stella's

  • Dining Style: Fine Dining
  • Website: http://www.stellasitalian.com/
  • Phone: (949) 234-1679
  • Hours of Operation:
    Lunch: Tuesday - Friday: 11:30am - 2:30pm
    Dinner: Sunday - Saturday: 4:30pm - 10:00pm
    Happy Hour in Lounge - Tuesday - Friday: 2:30pm-7:00pm, and
    Saturday & Monday 4:30pm-7:00p.m., Sunday 4:30 pm until close
  • Payment Options: AMEX,MasterCard,Visa
  • Cuisine: Seafood, Italian
  • Executive Chef: Marco Mariselli
  • Dress Code: Smart Casual
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
  • Additional Details: Banquet/Private Rooms, Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Delivery, Entertainment, Fireplace, Full Bar, Happy Hour, Late Night, Non-Smoking Restaurant, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Personal wines welcome, Personal wines welcome (corkage fee applies), Private Room, Takeout, View, Wheelchair Access, Wine
  • Catering: Stella's provides full off-site catering for any event.
  • Private Party Facilities: Our patio is available for private parties for lunch and dinner. A minimum number is required for a completely private affair depending on the day and time. The patio offers an ideal setting for Saturday and Sunday afternoon affairs as the restaurant is closed and the ocean views are spectacular. Please call for more information.
  • Private Party Contact: Marco Mariselli 9492341679
  • Entertainment: We feature a live saxophonist Tuesday through Sunday.
  • Special Events: Sign up for our email club on our website to receive information about wine and cheese tastings, special entertainment and events.

Getting there

  • Cross Street: PCH & Crown Valley Parkway
  • Parking: Private Lot
  • Parking Details: We are in the shopping center and there is parking in front, on the South Side, and in the back of the restaurant.
A word from Stella's
Stella's is the embodiment of serious Italian cuisine - original recipes and techniques alongside the freshest organic products, housemade cheeses, and carefully selected Italian flavors. Stella's is the perfect place for friends and family to gather - be it at the bar with a chilled martini, an appetizer in the lounge, or dining alfresco while tasting your way through the wine list and menu. Whatever your pleasure or mood, Stella's can make it happen!
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Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerNeigborhood Gem
Stella's reviews from OpenTable diners
34 reviews since July 26, 2014
Overall Rating4.2
  • Food4.3
    Service4.3
  • Ambiance4.1
    Noise LevelModerate
90% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
neighborhood gem (24)fit for foodies (16)special occasion (16)scenic view (14)romantic (12)great for outdoor dining (8)good for groups (7)vibrant bar scene (7)notable wine list (6)hot spot (6)late-night find (2)great for lunch (1)great for brunch (1)Show More
  • Exceptional!
    JohnVIP
    Dined on 11/19/2014
    We are very fortunate to have such a quality restaurant in Dana Point. The Italian chef formerly was at Antonello and Nello in South Coast Plaza. Now we don't have to drive far to get great, authentic Italian cuisine. Pizza baked in their wood-fired oven is unbeatable. It's a friendly place and six nights a week Gary King will serenade you with his saxophone. What more could one ask for?
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Italian done right
    ChrisC
    Dined on 11/14/2014
    I brought my wife & her Sis here this past Friday to celebrate her birthday. We got seated in the bar area in a nice cozy booth. I was a bit hesitant about the noise level, but as it turned out it wasn't an issue. Daniel , our server, was spot on in taking care of us thruout our meal, never missing a beat. The food from the carpaccio, seafood pasta, vitello marsala, and salmon, was perfectly cooked & full of flavor. A strolling sax player provided music without it becoming too loud or overbearing. All & all, it was a perfect evening out, my wife, her sister & I really enjoyed ourselves.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • execellent as usual
    MarathonMom
    Dined on 11/9/2014
    Hands down - our favorite Italian food. Always fantastic food!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Disappointing
    OpenTable Diner Since 2007VIP
    Dined on 11/1/2014
    We were visiting the area, read other reviews and thought this would be a great place. We were very disappointed. The crab cake appetizer was served warm, not hot. The special pumpkin ravioli was swimming in sauce and tasted more like undercooked pasta than pumpkin. The Saxophone player used recorded music as his background for the songs he played off a 275 song playlist. It was actually difficult to hear the sax over the music. No ocean view could be found anywhere.
    Special Features:
    good for groups
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Good
    OCMomoftwo
    Dined on 10/12/2014
    We have been a fan of this place for a long time. Unfortunately the other night things were a bit off. First they made the decision not to offer pizza or garlic bread that night. It was disappointing because their pizza is the only thing my son eats there and my daughter was really upset about not being able to get garlic bread. The service just seemed to be off that night, not up to the level we are used to. We will still go back as it is one of our favorite places.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Great dinner!
    Nicko
    Dined on 10/5/2014
    First time going there, the food, the service, the ambiance were all great! Would go back! We sat on the covered patio and could see the ocean and feel the refreshing ocean breeze! There was a gentleman in the patio playing a saxaphone! He plays at a nice level, not too loud so you could still speak at your table and hear them. He even goes around with a book of songs and you can pick songs for him to play. We were there on a Sunday evening at 5:00 p.m. and we were the only people there at first, but by the time we left the place was full! You know if a restauant is full on a Sunday night it is good.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, hot spot, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Grazie
    OCdiner
    Dined on 9/27/2014
    Wonderful, warm welcome while making reservations, checking in and handling special birthday details. This has always been a reliable restaurant -- great food, nice ambiance, warm friendly service. Some tables in the main dining room even have an ocean view. The jazz combo that plays during the evening is very charming. Traditional Italian menu with attention to freshness, creativity, delicious tastes. The happy hour offerings are a great value and excellent quality. I highly recommend Stella.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, late-night find, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • What a find!
    ShoshanaVIP
    Dined on 9/10/2014
    My friend and I celebrated our birthdays together at Stella's, and we immediately decided to make it a tradition! Of course we'll be back throughout the year too. I ordered the puff pastry starter (chef's special) and the lobster ravioli which was out of this world. Excellent horn player, wonderful service and delectable dishes.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, neighborhood gem, scenic view, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Run far run fast
    RWHintheOCVIP
    Dined on 8/29/2014
    I would put this place in the same group as Denny's, Norms, and outback. Terrible steaks, cooked poorly, served us sour cream and called it horseradish. Horrible overpriced wine list.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Not typical Italian restaurant.
    Localfrequentdiner
    Dined on 8/23/2014
    Old world charm with California decor and contemporary menu.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, scenic view, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Classic Italian
    Iz79VIP
    Dined on 8/10/2014
    Classic Italian tucked into the corner of a shopping center. Stella's has an "old school" ambiance and a beautiful ocean view. Hearty portions of good Italian food. Friendly service. Definitely worth a try.
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion, scenic view, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • BelleDiningVIP
    Dined on 8/9/2014
    Authentic Italian dining experience, the food was wonderful, the service was fantastic, and an overall great experince.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Stella's. Dana Point
    DPdiner
    Dined on 8/9/2014
    Enjoyed a meal with friends on Saturday night. Warmly greeted, server was attentive and was not disappointed by the menu or the meal
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • cathycreates
    Dined on 8/8/2014
    Felt like a little bit of Italy tucked into a strip mall.... with an ocean view from it's very cozy and cute enclosed patio. Wonderful sax player providing a romantic ambiance, amazing waiter - it would be our "go to" place if we lived in the area!
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion, scenic view, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great Food
    MorganAshleyVIP
    Dined on 8/2/2014
    We got here a little late but the food was terrific. Our waitress was in a constant hurry. Took 10 minutes to come over and greet us. Asked what we wanted to drink, I told her I wanted to wait until I was ordering and she responded with " ordering a drink will help you choose?" a little pushy for me. Also, when the bill came she asked if we could hurry and pay so she could leave. She rushed my experience and the atmosphere of this place isn't like that. They have awesome live music and such a cool atmosphere that she was the only bummer about this place. I will totally come back, just ask not to be seated in her section.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Amazing as always
    Agnleonrfp
    Dined on 7/27/2014
    I have dined at Stella's on numerous occasions, and have NEVER been disappointed. This place is a real culinary find.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, great for lunch, late-night find, scenic view, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Ratings-Only Reviews
    Based on 18 ratings-only reviews submitted since July 26, 2014
    • Overall Rating4.3
    • Food4.4
    • Ambiance4
    • Service4.3
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • The following 308 reviews are from the Stella's reviews archive.
  • Agntn
    Agnleonrfp
    Dined on 7/20/2014
    The salmon promo door is outstanding. The service is excellent.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, great for lunch, late-night find, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Surfing2
    Dined on 7/18/2014
    Romantic atmosphere. Had a booth is corner sitting on benches with pillows overlooking the ocean. Food was above average. Waiter was very attentive and came by many times to ask how everything was. A bit expensive for a neighborhood spot, but worth the price based on food and atmosphere. Would recommend Stella's to couples looking for a very romantic spot to enjoy good food and remarkable views. Live music as well that was just loud enough so you could hear it but not too loud you could not have a conversation with other members at the table.
    Special Features:
    romantic, scenic view, neighborhood gem, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great dinner with friends
    JackJill
    Dined on 7/10/2014
    The server was very professional, he understood, and easily explained, the menu preparation and was very good at recommendations. His detail of the off menu appetisers and dishes was mouthwatering. The food was excellent. My guests and I enjoyed our dinners very much.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, special occasion, great for lunch, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Love Stellas!!
    ksb48VIP
    Dined on 7/6/2014
    My daughter and I took her dad out for a birthday celebration. We love Stellas, especially the live music and cozy atmosphere. We will return....
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, kid-friendly, fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, late-night find, scenic view, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • FABULOUS
    MarathonMom
    Dined on 6/28/2014
    Every meal - every time - from the service to the food we've never been disappointed.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Birthday Celebration
    ksb48VIP
    Dined on 6/20/2014
    Every year our (now 12 yr old) daughter pics Stellas as the place to celebrate her birthday. We love the food...she had ravioli and ceasar salad, I had Eggplant Parm and a side of Broccoli Rapini, hubby had Penne with rapini and sausage. We shared the ahi appetizer and they gave her a complimentary dessert for her birthday. She loves the CA Tartuffo dessert and it came with a candle. We tried a new Sangiovese bottle of wine and it was delicious and served at the perfect temperature (not warm). We will definitely return and Thanks to Gary (for his birthday song) and the staff at Stellas for making a little girl's birthday celebration special.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, kid-friendly, fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic, special occasion, great for lunch, scenic view, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2009
    Dined on 6/15/2014
    I have eaten at Stella's several times. The garlic flatbread is a great appetizer. Their mushroom risotto is the best, but you have to request if because it is sometimes a special, but never on the menu. The chocolate espresso martini is amazing. All of this seems to depend on who is in the kitchen and behind the bar because the quality and portions of the food and drinks are inconsistent.
    Special Features:
    great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Excellent food, if a little pricey
    OpenTable Diner Since 2008
    Dined on 6/13/2014
    Fantastic meal, although more expensive than expected ($200 with 1 shared starter and 1 shared dessert for 3 people, inc one bottle of wine). That said, the ocean view was also an unexpected bonus, even if it was slightly spoiled by the garbage dumpsters on the far right. Sax player was tasteful and pretty unobstrusive. Will definitely return when budget permits.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, late-night find, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Never disappoints
    JanetLB
    Dined on 6/12/2014
    We celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary at Stella's. We come every year, so it has become our favorite. This year we brought 9 family/friends with us. Beautiful view of the ocean, lovely Italian style covered patio dining with fireplace, excellent service, delicious food (everyone enjoyed their entree and was impressed), enjoyed one of my favorite wines, Justin. But one of my favorite things about Stella's is Gary King, the strolling sax player. He always makes the evening well worth the drive. The owner came by to wish us Happy Anniversary and gave us a complimentary, delicious cannoli, for dessert! We'll be back next year, or before!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, scenic view, neighborhood gem, vibrant bar scene, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Stella's IS Serious
    CoachJudyVIP
    Dined on 5/18/2014
    Since moving to California six years ago I've been in search of good, authentic Italian food. Stella's fills the bill and then some. The food and service were excellent and the prices reasonable. The wait staff is friendly, attentive and knowledgeable and the music provided by the saxophone is not "in your face" by any means (something I always hate at restaurants with music).
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion, great for lunch, scenic view, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Fabulous Food
    Neighborhoodfind
    Dined on 5/17/2014
    The lobster/shrimp ravioli was fantastic, as was the vitello marsala. The waiter recommended La Crema Pinot and it turned out to be delicious. We will definitely return.
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly, fit for foodies, special occasion, scenic view, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Great find
    MJSoCal
    Dined on 5/17/2014
    We were looking for something we had not tried before, and were thrilled with the result at Stella's. Food was fabulous, and a really impressive menu of options. Servers (from bar to table) were very cool. Will defiantly go back to try more of the stuff on the menu.
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly, fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Family friendly
    MMlmVIP
    Dined on 5/10/2014
    Maybe it was because it was the day before Mothers Day, but there were lots of big groups and children. Noise level a bit high as large groups get noisy. Food was good basic Italian, good portions. Wine glasses could be improved.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Local Gem
    retbarman
    Dined on 4/25/2014
    My neighbor recommended we try Stella's for Happy Hour. We made a dinner reservation for 8:30 and showed up 1 hour early and were promptly show a table. By the time we reached the table we were hungry just from the wonderful aromas wafting through the restaurant. Our waiter was knowledgeable and friendly, the service timely, and the food wonderful. owner stopped by the table to make sure all was well. Couldn't ask for more.
    Special Features:
    Neighborhood Gem, Vibrant Bar Scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Stellas is our go to place
    ksb48VIP
    Dined on 4/25/2014
    We went to celebrate our anniversary with our 11 year old....she loves the fresh Caesar salad and pasta. I had linguini with clams and hubby had angel hair with shrimp. My pasta was a little heavy on the sauce and It was thicker than I like...hubby's pasta overcooked a bit but shrimp perfect. We love the ahi appetizer and daughter has CA Tartuffo every time we come. They brought us a free anniv dessert with candles and lemoncello (nice touch). We love Stellas and will return...we love our waiter...he has been there forever and is top notch and Gary is always a great musical addition to a good night of food and wine.
    Special Features:
    Great for Brunch, Kid-Friendly, Fit For Foodies, Great for Outdoor Dining, Romantic, special occasion, Scenic View, Neighborhood Gem, Vibrant Bar Scene, Notable Wine List
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Easter
    OpenTable Diner Since 2010
    Dined on 4/20/2014
    We had an early afternoon reservation. Oso Bucco was fabulous and Lobster Ravioli with a full lobster tail on top was killer. Mike priovided great service at just the right pace. Perfect!!
    Special Features:
    Romantic, special occasion, Scenic View, Neighborhood Gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
  • Wonderful Italian Gem!
    luvnlife
    Dined on 4/19/2014
    What a wonderful experience at Stellas's. The service was great the food excellent and the atmosphere was busy but not too loud for a quiet dinner with that someone special. The chef made Pasta Putanesca even though it was not on the menu.
    Special Features:
    Romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Looks can be deceiving
    PJRNVIP
    Dined on 4/13/2014
    What this shopping mall restaurant lacks on the outside, they make up for on the inside! Great food, intimate ambiance and even century sightings. Magic Johnson stopped in for take out the night we were there. One note: there is a bit of a cheesy saxophone player, but he leaves you alone if desired. It's just not our thing.
    Special Features:
    Romantic, special occasion, Neighborhood Gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Celebration for our 6th grader
    ksb48VIP
    Dined on 4/4/2014
    Stellas is her favorite place to go for celebrations. She loves the Caesar salad, plain pasta and mostly CA Tartuffo. We love the Ahi appetizer and I had the linguini with clams and hubby had the ravioli. We always enjoy Stellas.....and will return soon!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, vibrant bar scene, great for outdoor dining, kid-friendly, romantic, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Love Stella's for our lunches!
    gkiwi
    Dined on 4/1/2014
    The ladies of our Small Group love to gather at Stella's for a quarterly lunch. The food is excellent and the service is great!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, scenic view, neighborhood gem, great for lunch, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • We think Stella's is an excellent
    Samson
    Dined on 3/15/2014
    We think Stella's is an excellent restaurant, with everything we look for when dining out.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, scenic view, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Don't be fooled by the website
    Fab0314
    Dined on 3/14/2014
    I was looking for a great place with amazing food and ambiance for a special Birthday, and read on the website they had gorgeous ocean views and outdoor seating. The outdoor seating was covered in a plastic tent so it wasn't outdoor, the place was pretty old and the crowd there equally as old, low energy and the "ocean views" entailed some ocean view along with a perfect view of a huge Gelson's marquee and restaurant parking lot along with 3 large trash bins. That was not at all romantic or pleasant. The decor was outdated with christmas lights all over. The service was good and the food was also good, but it was an expensive dinner for a mediocre strip mall place. This was a disappointment and ruined the Birthday evening I hoped to have.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Stellas is always a treat!
    ksb48VIP
    Dined on 3/1/2014
    We love coming here for date night. Gary's music adds such a nice feel to the evening. We love that the red wine is properly chilled when served now...the food is fresh, hot and always delicious. I had the eggplant parm for the first time and LOVED it...hubby had the ravioli and loved his too. We shared the ahi appetizer....size is large and it's delicious. It's like sharing a fresh salad with generous ahi portions. The chianti was delicious and we will definitely return.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, great for brunch, romantic, scenic view, late-night find, neighborhood gem, hot spot, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Dined here for my husband's
    OpenTable Diner Since 2010
    Dined on 2/25/2014
    Dined here for my husband's birthday and the service and food were impeccable! Will most definitely return!
    Special Features:
    notable wine list, romantic, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.