Knife Pleat in Costa Mesa, CA: The Michelin Star Restaurant You Can’t-Miss

A Unique French Dining Experience in South Coast Plaza

Tucked away in the penthouse of South Coast Plaza is a culinary gem that goes by the name Knife Pleat. This restaurant, a brainchild of renowned chef Tony Esnault and restaurateur Yassmin Sarmadi, is a testament to the evolving landscape of French cuisine.

Knife Pleat is more than just a restaurant; it’s a dining experience that perfectly captures the essence of contemporary French cuisine while paying homage to its traditional roots.

Located in Costa Mesa, California, Knife Pleat has a unique charm that’s hard to miss. The restaurant operates from Tuesday to Saturday, with specified hours for lunch and dinner.

With its sophisticated yet welcoming ambiance, Knife Pleat provides an ideal setting for anyone seeking a unique dining experience, whether a business lunch, a romantic dinner, or a casual catch-up with friends. The carefully curated menu offers a range of delectable dishes that will transport you straight to the heart of France.

The Dynamic Duo: Tony Esnault and Yassmin Sarmadi

Tony Esnault and Yassmin Sarmadi are not new names in the culinary world. However, before Knife Pleat came to life, this power couple had significantly impacted the Los Angeles food scene with their previous restaurants – Church & State and Spring.

These establishments earned critical acclaim and were featured in Jonathan Gold’s 101 Best Restaurants list in the Los Angeles Times.

The successes of Church & State and Spring caught the attention of South Coast Plaza, who invited Esnault and Sarmadi to open a new restaurant in their shopping center. This opportunity led to the birth of Knife Pleat, the couple’s most ambitious venture to date.

Knife Pleat is the culmination of their collective experiences, knowledge, and passion for French cuisine, brought to life in the vibrant city of Costa Mesa.

Golden Osetra Caviar, Knife Pleat
Golden Osetra Caviar” by Jun Seita is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Knife Pleat: The Michelin Star Recipient

Knife Pleat is not just an ordinary restaurant but a recipient of the prestigious Michelin Star. The star is a testament to the restaurant’s exceptional culinary offerings and Esnault’s artistic approach to food.

Knife Pleat’s menu is a delightful exploration of contemporary French cuisine, with each dish showcasing a perfect balance of technique and creativity.

The restaurant’s setting complements the exceptional food perfectly. With its elegant ambiance, open kitchen, and well-appointed interiors, Knife Pleat offers a truly unique dining experience.

The menu showcases a range of creative culinary creations like the perfectly crisped sea bream, delicately resting in a subtle beurre blanc sauce. The dining experience is further elevated by their exceptional dessert – a frosted meringue shell that reveals an enticing combination of rhubarb sorbet and strawberry gelée when gently cracked.

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Delightful Dining Experiences at Knife Pleat

Knife Pleat is dedicated to offering a variety of dining experiences to cater to the diverse preferences of its patrons. From Tuesday to Saturday, diners can choose between an a la carte or three-course prix fixe lunch. In addition, this offering provides flexibility for those who want to customize their meal or prefer a carefully curated set of dishes.

In addition to the lunch options, Knife Pleat also offers a weekday dinner from Tuesday to Thursday. This dining experience features a three-course prix fixe menu that changes periodically, keeping the offerings fresh and exciting.

The weekend tasting menu is available on Fridays and Saturdays for those looking for a luxurious culinary treat. This six-course menu is a journey through the best of what Knife Pleat offers.

Lastly, for those who enjoy the quintessentially British tradition with a French twist, Knife Pleat offers a unique Saturday tea experience. Available every Saturday from 11:30 am to 1:45 pm, this experience is a luxurious affair that includes a variety of savory delicacies and sweet pastries.

The savory menu includes a selection of sandwiches and bites such as Persian cucumber with fine-herb cream cheese on Pullman bread, truffle brie on brioche, caviar deviled egg, beet-cured salmon on rye-caraway bread, and a chicken tartelette with celery, apple, and curry.

The pastry menu offers an assortment of delightful treats like a cream puff with lemon curd, rhubarb tart, chocolate with hazelnut praline crunch, Parisian macaron, petite madeleines, pound cake, and financier​.


Knife Pleat is a gem nestled in the heart of South Coast Plaza. Offering a fusion of traditional and modern French cuisine, it captivates its guests with its artful and sophisticated culinary creations.

The meticulous attention to detail, from the ambiance to the dining experiences, reflects the passion and dedication of Chef Tony Esnault and restaurateur Yassmin Sarmadi.

Their past successes in the Los Angeles culinary scene have been seamlessly transferred to Orange County, making Knife Pleat an essential destination for any food enthusiast.

The restaurant’s ability to adapt and offer various dining experiences, including weekday a la carte lunch, weeknight prix fixe dinner, Saturday tea, and a weekend tasting menu, is a testament to its commitment to cater to every palate and occasion.

This commitment, combined with the restaurant’s Michelin star rating, contemporary French cuisine, and location in the heart of Costa Mesa, California, makes Knife Pleat a culinary destination that leaves an indelible impression on its guests.

The restaurant’s dedication to excellence makes it a shining beacon in the Southern California food scene and a must-visit venue for anyone who cherishes fine dining.

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