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Madeleine Mongolian BBQ

2394 Newport Blvd., Costa Mesa, (949) 650-1421

Sporting an easy-to-find Costa Mesa location and a friendly, family-style atmosphere, Madeleine Mongolian BBQ offers meat-lovers some of the tastiest Mongolian- and Chinese-style barbecue dishes around, along with excellent chicken and shrimp meals, and even great options for vegetarians. Whatever you do, though, try the marvelous, exotic Pho noodle soup—you won't regret it!

Hours: Mon.-Sat., 11 a.m.-9 p.m.; Sun., noon-7 p.m.

Margaritaville Mexican Cantina

2332 W. Coast Hwy., Newport Beach, (949) 631-8220

Jimmy Buffet would be proud of what his lyrics have inspired: a trail of red-blooded—and -nosed—Americans anxious to get "wasted away again" and again. And Margaritaville is the perfect venue in which to do it, where you'll find every flavor of margarita imaginable: banana, mango, strawberry, watermelon, etc. And if they don't have the flavor you want, they'll make it. The menu features Mexican and American food, and there's live entertainment every night. The room is always festive and lively, especially on weekends when party-goers throng on the dance floor, getting lugged-up on their favorite "frozen concoction."

Services: takeout, delivery and catering available. Full bar. Reservations accepted. Hours: daily, 11:30-12:30 a.m. All major credit cards accepted.

Marks Restaurant

858 S. Coast Hwy., Laguna Beach, (949) 494-6711

Nestled within the art community of Laguna Beach, Mark's Restaurant has established itself as one of the premier dining experiences in Orange County. With his culinary talents, executive chef Martin Gonzales has created a moderately priced menu that offers a wide array of California cuisine with featured daily specials. The restaurant serves dinner Monday through Saturday in a beachy, naturally lit setting with palm trees, crispy-linened tables and an ocean-breeze-filled outdoor patio.

Services: takeout and catering available. Full bar. Hours: Mon.-Fri., 5-10:30 p.m.; Sat., 5-11 p.m.; Sun., 5-10 p.m. All major credit cards accepted.

Memphis Soul Cafe and Bar

2920 Bristol, Costa Mesa, (714) 432-7685

Just when you thought there wasn't a hipafied, West Coast-cool restaurant around, this café opened. Specialty cocktails, ambient electronic music, and a mid-century vibe is what awaits inside. The menu offers an excellent choice of Southern, regional America with a Southern slant. The grilled pork chop with a cherry glaze and an okra gumbo is a brilliantly prepared delicacy. A seafood special is offered daily. On the lunch menu, try the turkey-breast-and-pesto sandwich with the house salad, or the catfish po'boy.

Services: takeout available. Full bar. Reservations accepted. Hours: breakfast: Sat.-Sun., 10:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.; lunch: Mon.-Fri., 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m.; dinner: Mon.-Thurs., 5-10 p.m.; Fri.-Sat., 5-11 p.m.; Sun., 5-9:30 p.m. All major credit cards accepted.

Mitae Ramen

750 St. Clair, across from the Lab, Costa Mesa, (714) 545-3331

The place for a cool lunch on a hot summer day, Mitae Ramen offers a tantalizing selection of ramen, Chinese dishes and California rolls at an exceedingly reasonable price. This OC classic, a favorite among Costa Mesa locals, features delicious home-style cooking and generous portions. The restaurant's specialties include Hiyashi Chyula (fresh, cold vegetables with noodles and vinegar dressings), cold tofu salad, chicken salad, and a delightfully tangy hot chicken teriyaki with curry rice. Of course, it's the ramen this restaurant is known for, and in that department, Mitae Ramen is unbeatable.

Services: takeout and parking available. Hours: Mon.-Sat., 11:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m.

Mums Restaurant

144 Pine Ave., Long Beach, (562) 437-7700

We're talking upscale and posh ambiance at Mum's, a restaurant that also harbors a martini lounge, billiard room and an attached room called Club Cohiba (open Friday and Saturday nights). The menu features an excellent array of California cuisine, including sushi specials, pastas, salads, steak and seafood. Try the sumptuous blackened halibut with carrot-butter sauce, or the rack of lamb with an herb crust. Feeling carnivorous? Order the filet mignon or the New York strip steak. Don't forget to top off your fine dining experience with a nice stogy or a dry martini.

Services: takeout and catering available. Full bar. Reservations essential. Valet parking available. Hours: Mon.-Thurs. & Sun., 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m.; Fri.-Sat., 11:30 a.m.-midnight. All major credit cards accepted.

Newport Rib Company and Naples Rib Company

2196 Harbor Blvd., Costa Mesa, (949) 631-2110; 5800 E. 2nd St., Long Beach, (562) 439-RIBS

The Newport and Naples Rib Companies aren't just about ribs: diners can look forward to Hawaiian-style barbecued chicken breasts—dripping with a tangy lemon glaze—and such mouth-watering appetizers as steaming-hot, deep-fried mozzarella sticks; fresh-grilled artichokes; tangy baked beans with just a hint of brown sugar tempering the taste; and the near-legendary onion brick, a monolithic concoction of cripsy and crunchy onions good for hands-on snacking before the entrée is served. But as good as everything is, it's the ribs that make the restaurant—and the Newport and Naples Rib Companies do ribs better than just about anyone. Generous hunks of barbecue-drenched meat are so well-cooked it's falling off the bone—straight into your salivating mouth. This is paradise for serious meat-lovers who aren't afraid to get their hands dirty. Plus, there's tableside magic at Naples Rib Company, Wed., 6-9 p.m., and at Newport Rib Company, Sun., 5:30-8:30 p.m.

Services: catering for large groups of 50 to 1,000 available. Newport Rib Company's banquet room seats 85; Naples Rib Company's banquet room seats 50. Hours: Naples location, daily, 4 p.m.-closing. Newport location, daily, 11:30 a.m.-closing.
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