An Experience to be Shared
“When I think of food, I think of my Grandma. Her cooking is still the best and most soulful I have ever had,” says Chef Ryan Garlitos, “Food also makes me think of a family squeezing six chairs around a table that seats four, and passing around bowls of broth and rice. I think of friends cramming ten people into a booth, and trying a cuisine for the very first time. When I think of food, I think of memories…I want Irenia to be a place that cultivates the creation of these memories.”
Since the start of his culinary career, Chef Ryan Garlitos has aspired to open his own restaurant named for and honoring his grandmother’s soulful Filipino cooking. Born and raised in Orange County, he honed his culinary prowess at such renowned and respected local eateries like Slapfish and Taco Maria.
In his exploration of Orange County’s culinary landscape he sought food that recalled the comfort of the Filipino dishes of his childhood. Finding none that satisfied his longing, he has since dedicated his career to bring distinctive Pinoy flavor profiles to the mainstream. With the help of his girlfriend, Sarah Mosqueda, he hosted his Pop-Up concept Irenia Supper Club in March of 2015. Together they hosted 10 dinners and even earned the 9th spot on Eater LA’s 21 Hottest Restaurants in Orange County, Summer 2015. It was clear there was a definite audience in OC clamoring for Filipino food. So they set out to find a permanent home for Irenia.
Irenia moved into historic downtown Santa Ana in June of 2016 and dropped the “Supper Club” from its name to become simply "Irenia", a restaurant serving modern seasonally influenced, Filipino inspired cuisine. Since opening, Irenia has been counted among Orange County's Top Ten New Restaurants of 2016 by both The Orange County Register and The Los Angeles Times. Chef Ryan Garlitos was also named 2016's Best New Chef by The Orange County Register's restaurant critic, Brad Johnson. In 2017, Irenia was listed among Jonathan Gold's 101 Best Resturant List in the Los Angels Times. Irenia held the 11th spot on Brad Johnson's 75 Best Places to Eat in 2018 and 2019. In June of 2019 Irenia received a nod from the Michelin Guide with a Plate Award for fresh ingredients, carefully prepared.