BY RAYMOND MENDOZA / STAFF WRITER
Irvine's Diamond Jamboree is a haven for foodies and entertainment seekers of all ages.
For many patrons, it's a one-stop shop for food, shopping, and entertainment that can keep one occupied from morning until night.
Diamond Jamboree, a 114,000-square-foot shopping plaza built in 2008, draws major crowds of UC Irvine students and families with 15 shops and 22 eateries.
Diamond Jamboree is seen by many as the coolest place in Irvine because it offers a variety of stores in a close radius, according to customers.
Kate Montano, a Tustin resident and head server at Kula Revolving Sushi Bar, said the concept of a revolving sushi bar is what draws many customers.
Montano said the restaurant gets crowded on weekends and holidays and that it's perfect for individuals looking for a cheap and fast option for lunch or dinner, since each plate of sushi is $2.
Gareth Evans of Newport Beach said the Kula Revolving Sushi Bar is his favorite lunchtime attraction.
"The quality of sushi is excellent, great section, very convenient to get in and out really quickly, and the prices are affordable," Evans said.
Santa Ana residents and friends Caroline Conrad and Clarice Hemenway said that Diamond Jamboree has a cultural appeal that offers younger shoppers a long list of activities. Hemenway said the shops have interesting items and that she especially likes the Japanese imported beauty products.
But Hemenway said the biggest attraction for her and Conrad is the food. Hemenway called the watermelon soup at the Capital Seafood Restaurant "super bomb" because of its amazing flavor.
As the sun sets and most stores in the plaza close, singers gather at Plush Karaoke until 2 a.m., making it one of the hottest spots in the plaza.
According to manager Issac Lin, Plush Karaoke is a hot spot for college students, teens and adults because the location allows for a safe environment, thousands of karaoke songs in seven different languages, and inexpensive prices.
Lin said most adults enjoy taking advantage of the happy hour food prices on the weekends and $30 unlimited draft beer deals.
Lin said its not uncommon for patrons to crowd the doors when the karaoke bar opens at 7 p.m. and that the VIP room regularly gets booked up two weeks in advance.
Bruce Hoang, a senior manager at the Santa Ana location of Tallan Inc., said that Plush Karaoke is a perfect location for team building because the fun atmosphere of karaoke puts everyone in a state of relaxation.
Hoang said he frequents many of the other restaurants in the Diamond Jamboree and considers the plaza to be the biggest hot spot in Irvine.
For Edward Wong of Lake Forest the plaza is a place where he can go to run errands and have fun with friends at any time of the day.
Wong said he's been visiting Diamond Jamboree for the last seven years and has nursed a longstanding addiction for 85C Bakery Cafe because of his love of bread and the specialty drinks available - including the sea salt coffee and sea salt green tea.
"I've been coming out since it opened. I used to go to University of California, Irvine so I've been coming here quite a while," Wong said. "You can get everything you want here."