Rembrandt's may claim to do "beautiful food," but that translates to hearty, plain fare done to nostalgic perfection: a Brown Derby for our county minus the starlets and without that whole wrecking-ball thing. This is truly the little steakhouse that time forgot. It looks like what the Velvet Turtle would be if they'd redone it Spanish-style in the '80s: stark, white walls; huge paintings; chandeliers; and filet mignon to the hilt. 909 E. Yorba Linda Blvd., Placentia, (714) 528-6222. $$$


Location Info


Blue Beet Cafe

107 21st Place
Newport Beach, CA 92663

Category: Music Venues

Region: Newport Beach

Bodhi Tree Vegetarian Cafe

501 Main St
Huntington Beach, CA 92648

Category: Restaurant > Asian

Region: Huntington Beach

Chez Rose

7360 Westminster Blvd.
Westminster, CA 92683

Category: Restaurant > French

Region: Westminster

Golden Steer Restaurant

11052 Beach Blvd. Stanton, CA
Stanton, CA 90680

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Stanton

Rasthal Vegetarian Cuisine

2751-2755 W. Lincoln Ave.
Anaheim, CA 92801

Category: Restaurant > Indian

Region: Anaheim

The Stand Natural Food Restaurant

238 Thalia St.
Laguna Beach, CA 92651

Category: Restaurant > Eclectic

Region: Laguna Beach

Van Hanh Vegetarian Restaurant

9455 Bolsa Ave.
Westminster, CA 92683

Category: Restaurant > Vegetarian

Region: Westminster

Practically a helicopter ride from most of Orange County, the Saratoga Grill is worth the ride. The menu is beautifully simple: steaks, seafood and a couple of pasta dishes to go along with appetizing appetizers. 31911 Dove Canyon Dr., Trabuco Canyon, (949) 888-8477. $$$


Truth in advertising: the Stand is little more than wood, like, hammered together in the shape of a tropical roadside inn: outdoor seating; walls plastered with handwritten menus (key adjectives: "zesty," "crisp," "sumptuous") advertising a Christmas list of salads, Mexican-influenced plates and a few fresh soups; and famished birds twittering and hopping around for crumbs. The Special Oriental Burrito's ginger- and tamari-doused vegetables hint at new fusion possibilities for Mexican cuisine, Sino-Sinaloan. 238 Thalia St., Laguna Beach, (949) 494-8101. $

Steer Inn

"Get the 'small but mighty,'" my friend counseled. "It's the best." This steak is more mighty than small. The meat has enough texture to create a tooth-gnashing gusto reserved for Discovery Channel feeding frenzies, yet no steak knife is required to cut the beautifully seared surface. 801 S. Tustin Ave., Orange, (714) 639-2434; also 444 N. Lakeview Ave., Anaheim , (714) 974-5321. $$


A steakhouse that co-owner Craig Voorting says is "all about the steak." With the best damn steak this side of a factory town and a pretty decent selection of white meat and seafood. 118 E. Commonwealth Ave., Fullerton, (714) 871-1290; also 28241 Marguerite Pkwy., Mission Viejo, (949) 218-0790. $$


Vietnamese cuisine includes a proud tofu tradition, and Van Hanh's menu represents its full, finest flowering. No limp kung pao and imitation orange chicken here. Instead, you'll find biting papaya concoctions drenched in chile powder and lime juice, noodle selections studded with tasty tofu and veggies, and more rice plates than in Uncle Ben's wildest dreams. 9455 Bolsa Ave., Ste. D, Westminster, (714) 531-4661. ¢

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