Irvine Spectrum Center restaurant wows with patio expansion.

You’ll feel transported at Javier’s new expanded patio.

Lush palms, birds of paradise and banana trees – 754 plants in total – envelop oversized outdoor booths. Rock formations and vibrant, bronze fire sculptures define an extraordinary attention to detail. Above, more than 100 artisan-woven ropes drape from wooden beams connecting to the central bar.

And it’s enormous. At 5,600 square feet, it’s nearly double the size of the previous patio.

It’s all part of the restaurant’s major reinvestment in outdoor dining that was unveiled in late January.

“Customers gasp when they enter,” says Silvia Sosa, general manager of the Irvine Javier’s and daughter of the restaurant’s namesake. “They say the experience is like being transported to Latin America – great food, service and amazing music.”

Since 2004, Javier’s has been a flagship eatery at the Irvine Spectrum Center.

It’s always been known for extraordinary design – soothing water features, metal accents and meticulous stonework. The Orange County Register coined its look “laid-back luxury.”

Palms, birds of paradise and banana trees encircle Javier’s expanded patio.

Still, Sosa and the family had been planning a reinvestment to implement a signature architectural style and design.

“We have a very distinct style and vision for this restaurant,” she says. “We wanted to give guests the feeling they are surrounded by nature.”

Javier’s new patio comes on the heels of comprehensive renovation across the open-air shopping center.

“Javier’s and the entire Sosa family have been a wonderful part of Irvine Spectrum Center for 17 years,” says Blake Windal, general manager of Irvine Spectrum Center. “Their reinvestment really matches the quality and luxury experiences Irvine Spectrum Center is known for.”

In 2018, Irvine Company completed a $250 million renovation of the center to enhance the customer experience.

“It is places like Javier’s and dozens of other restaurants that make Irvine Spectrum Center the heart of our community,” Windal says. “It’s woven into the fabric of Irvine, and people come here for every aspect of their lives – for shopping, going on dates or family nights out.”

The story of Javier’s: All in the family

Javier Sosa and family when the kids were young.

If the family portrait wasn’t a tell, Javier’s is a family affair. Patriarch Javier Sosa started the restaurant in 1995. His daughter, Silvia, now runs the Irvine Spectrum location. Sons Javier Jr. and Omar run the Newport Coast and Century City restaurants, respectively. La Jolla, Las Vegas and Los Cabos locations round out their offerings.

In many ways, it’s a family destiny.

Javier began working at Tortilla Flats Laguna Beach in 1969. He met his wife there and soon ran all three of its Orange County locations. Running a restaurant became a family endeavor.

“Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined this success,” Javier recently said. “And I have Irvine and Orange County to thank. It’s the world for us. The people here have been so loyal and so good to us. Thank God. I have no complaints.”

Today, all three children help Sosa run the family business. From left, Omar, Javier, Silvia and Javier Jr. at Javier’s at Irvine Spectrum Center.