Grub Guide

This week in bringing back a bigger dining guide

Bienvenidosto our much bigger dining guide! Visit the rest of Orange County's best damn dining guide at, where it says "Where to Eat Now" on the right side of the screen. If there are any bugs with it, e-mail Gustavo at with your complaints!


¢ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Less than $10!

Location Info


Cortina's Italian Market

2175 W. Orange Ave.
Anaheim, CA 92804

Category: Restaurant > Bakery

Region: Anaheim

Matiki Island Barbeque

3070 W. Lincoln Ave.
Anaheim, CA 92801

Category: Restaurant > Hawaiian

Region: Anaheim

Zankou Chicken

2424 W. Ball Rd.
Anaheim, CA 92804

Category: Restaurant > Armenian

Region: Anaheim

Bismillah Halal Tandoori Restaurant

8901 Knott Ave.
Buena Park, CA 90620

Category: Restaurant > Indian

Region: Buena Park

Dove Canyon Steak House

31911 Dove Canyon Drive
Trabuco Canyon, CA 92679

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Coto de Caza

Irvine Lake Cafe

4621 Santiago Canyon Road
Silverado, CA 92676

Category: Parks and Outdoors

Region: Silverado

Au Lac Vegetarian Restaurant

16563 Brookhurst St.
Fountain Valley, CA 92708

Category: Restaurant > Chinese

Region: Fountain Valley

Caspian Restaurant

14100 Culver Drive
Irvine, CA 92604

Category: Restaurant > Persian

Region: Irvine


18482 MacArthur Blvd.
Irvine, CA 92612

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Irvine

Aliso Beach Snack Bar

31131 S. Pacific Coast Highway
Laguna Beach, CA 92651

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Laguna Beach

Coyote Grill

31621 S. Coast Highway
Laguna Beach, CA 92651

Category: Restaurant > Southwestern

Region: Laguna Beach

Solomon's Bakery

23020 Lake Forest Drive, Ste. 170
Mission Viejo, CA 92653

Category: Restaurant > Bakery

Region: Laguna Hills

$ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $10-$20

$$ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $20-$40

$$$ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ¡Eres muy rico!

The bakery makes only two dishes: pita sandwiches and sphiha. Within this simplicity, though, lies culinary greatness. More than half of the sphihas are strictly veggie affairs, but not the expected roughage-heavy dishes. Instead, the main ingredients are spices—and not the spicy kind. Foreign-to-American-cuisine seasoning like pomegranate sauce is the principal player in Al-Sanabel's sphihas. 816 S. Brookhurst Blvd., Anaheim, (714) 635-4353; ¢CORTINA'S ITALIAN MARKET
Only the Italians remain from Anaheim's Old Europe guard, and they're the ones who keep the business bustling at Cortina's Italian Market, a cozy landmark that's been baking and slicing since 1963. The emporium consists of three rooms: a bazaar stocked with Italian produce (imitation Alka-Seltzer!), a side deli slapping together some of the heftiest subs outside Little Italy, and a dining room to enjoy said goods and grub. 2175 W. Orange Ave., Anaheim, (714) 535-1741; $MATIKI ISLAND BARBEQUE
Whether tucked between two bread slices or served alongside rondures of rice and macaroni salad, the beef at Matiki Island Barbeque is among the most memorably delicious pieces of cow you'll ever chew: ruddy, soft, not burnt at all, a veritable luau on your palate. That beef and other entrées are the sole enticers here—no need for Polynesian bric-a-brac when the food is a slice of the island. 3070 W. Lincoln Ave., Anaheim, (714) 821-5228. $ZANKOU CHICKEN
An Armenian take on poultry. Although non-poultry products are available, eschewing chicken here is like going to Laguna Beach without going to the beach. The chicken itself is cooked piping hot with a crisp golden skin that puts every other chicken skin we've eaten to shame. 2424 W. Ball Rd., Stes. S & T, Anaheim, (714) 229-2060. $BREAGAUCHO GRILL
Here's what you need to know about Argentine food as it relates to Gaucho Grill: meat. Lots of it, most of it beef, served many ways. The ultimate meat-eater's special is the plato mixto, a beast of a dinner including a half-chicken, a skirt steak, chorizo, morcilla (a black sausage) and mollejas (grilled beef sweetbreads—and a sweetbread is a hypothalamus gland, kiddies). 210 W. Birch St., Ste. 102, Brea, (714) 990-9140. $$BUENA PARKBISMILLAH HALAL TANDOORI RESTAURANT
The karahi lamb will blow your mouth into a new orbit. Prepared with a dictionary's worth of herbs and spices, the taste is an unbelievable medley of flavors. And the nihara's beef is so tender it's like butter. 8901-D Knott Ave., Buena Park, (714) 827-7201. $CANYON CITIESDOVE CANYON STEAK HOUSE
Practically a helicopter ride from most of Orange County, the Dove Canyon Steak House is worth the ride. The menu is beautifully simple: steaks, seafood and a couple of pasta dishes to go along with appetizing appetizers. 31911 Dove Canyon Dr., Trabuco Canyon, (949) 888-8477. $$$

When you get hungry in the backwaters of OC, turn that skiff around and motor over to this café. They offer supersatisfying breakfast burritos and always-fresh Farmers Bros. coffee that can be packed for boat or car. 4621 Santiago Canyon Rd., Silverado, (714) 649-9111. $


Fancy, fancy, fancy but good, good, good. 3201 E. Pacific Coast Hwy., Corona del Mar, (949) 673-3524. $$$


Small and claustrophobic, but they clear all the red tape as far as being authentic. There's lots of off-the-menu shit: conch, tuna cheeks, abalone—you know their shit's good when they got abalone. 675 Paularino Ave., Costa Mesa, (714) 557-2696. $$

Former baseball player Doug DeCinces focuses his menu on pan-Southern fare like sausage, pulled pork, chicken, brisket and ribs—no regional styles yet, although the off-the-menu pork taquitos hint at what Southerners can expect as more Mexicans settle in Dixie. I'm partial to the smoked sausage, each about the size of a kielbasa and arriving five to an order, prepared in a manner that allows the skin to maintain a distinct smoked flavor even as the interior houses a wonderful mix of juice, spice and pork. 1676 Tustin Ave., Costa Mesa, (949) 645-RIBS; $$

A guy named Shark once sent a Weeklywriter a lengthy, hand-written testimonial recounting the glories of this tiny noodle shop, and after a few chopsticks of the ramen, it's easy to see why this is Shark's favorite place for a feeding frenzy. 750 Saint Clair, Costa Mesa, (714) 545-3331. $


Ignore bustling Lincoln Avenue outside, and you can almost imagine Puerto Rico transplanted to this pedacitoof Orange County's industrial-park northwest. Many grand borinquenappetizers, but Señor Big Ed's plato de resistance is the canoa de plátano maduro, a banana bloated with so much ground beef and melted Cheddar cheese that it looks like a quesadilla for Horatio Sanz. 5490 Lincoln Ave., Cypress, (714) 821-1290. $


This restaurant at Dana Point Harbor specializes in mesquite-broiled seafood that's mixed with a variety of flavors, including Cajun, Italian and Southwestern. (Speaking of a variety of flavors, the martini menu boasts nine of them!) 34499 Golden Lantern, Dana Point, (949) 240-1416;$$

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