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Grub Guide

The county's best damn dining guide

STANTON

PARK AVENUE
Gourmet American food in Stanton—who'da thunk it? The whole stuffed chicken, covered in pan drippings, is as fatty as a marbled pork chop and stuffed with a whipped concoction of creamy mashed potatoes and spinach you couldn't pay us not to eat. 11200 Beach Blvd., Stanton, (714) 901-4400; www.parkavedining.com. $$$

SUNSET BEACH

Location Info

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Ali Baba Restaurant

100 S. Brookhurst St.
Anaheim, CA 92804

Category: Restaurant > Middle Eastern

Region: Anaheim

Matiki Island Barbeque

3070 W. Lincoln Ave.
Anaheim, CA 92801

Category: Restaurant > Hawaiian

Region: Anaheim

El Misti Picanteria Arequipena

3070 W. Lincoln Ave.
Anaheim, CA 92801

Category: Restaurant > Peruvian

Region: Anaheim

Hot Dog On A Stick

2153 Brea Mall Way
Brea, CA 92821

Category: Restaurant > Fast Food

Region: Brea

Karuta Restaurant

6890 Beach Blvd.
Buena Park, CA 90621

Category: Restaurant > Asian

Region: Buena Park

Irvine Lake Cafe

4621 Santiago Canyon Road
Silverado, CA 92676

Category: Parks and Outdoors

Region: Silverado

Beach Pit BBQ

1676 Tustin Ave.
Costa Mesa, CA 92627

Category: Restaurant > Barbecue

Region: Costa Mesa

Karl Strauss Brewery

901 S. Coast Drive
Costa Mesa, CA 92626

Category: Breweries and Wineries

Region: Costa Mesa

Harbor House Cafe

34157 Pacific Coast Highway
Dana Point, CA 92629

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Dana Point

Anh Hong Restaurant

10195 Westminster Ave.
Garden Grove, CA 92843

Category: Restaurant > Barbecue

Region: Garden Grove

Seoul Oak Korean BBQ

8295 Garden Grove Blvd.
Garden Grove, CA 92844

Category: Restaurant > Barbecue

Region: Garden Grove

Duke's Huntington

317 Pacific Coast Highway
Huntington Beach, CA 92648

Category: Restaurant > Hawaiian

Region: Huntington Beach

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HARBOR HOUSE CAFÉ
This 24-hour diner is a local institution that serves consistently good food. As it's incredibly popular with the late-night crowd, be prepared to wait for a table. 16341 Pacific Coast Hwy., Sunset Beach, (562) 592-5404. $

TUSTIN

BLACK SHEEP BISTRO
For the superlative paella, a couple of days advance notice is needed, but for good reason. You won't find a more complex, beautifully presented or better-tasting dish in OC. The scrumptious leftovers made for the 10 people in our party weighed at least a pound each. 303 El Camino Real, Tustin, (714) 544-6060; www.blacksheepbistro.com. $$

CHRISTAKIS
Christakis' beautiful setting separates the eatery from its local Greek brothers-in-grub, but what truly catapults the place into Orange County's high-class dining strata are the platters of its late eponymous founder, Joanne Christakis Wallace. You'll find the standards of Greek restaurants: bitter spanakopita spinach pies, starchy moussaka casseroles, lamb prepared in more ways than there are actual lamb cuts and a thorough selection of seafood. More impressive is an array of pasta dishes that suggests an Italian influence at some point in Christakis' seven-year existence. 13011 Newport Ave., Tustin, (714) 731-1179. $$

VILLA PARK

ROCKWELL'S CAFE AND BAKERY
This neighborhood café and bakery is an ode to Norman, with Rockwellian gilt-edged plates and prints covering the bathroom walls. Besides the interior-design salute, Rockwell's serves four great versions of eggs Benedict, all with hollandaise sauce made from scratch. 17853 Santiago Blvd., Villa Park, (714) 921-0622. $

WESTMINSTER

GRAND GARDEN
Boasting a wide variety of traditional Chinese/Vietnamese/French cuisine. Patrons come in droves for the ga quay da don, a fried-chicken platter, but if you're looking for a savory alternative, try the ca kho to, a spicy, salted fish baked in a clay pot. 8894 Bolsa Ave., Westminster, (714) 893-1200; www.grandgarden.com. $$

LAZY DOG CAFÉ
The menu is either eclectic or scattershot, depending on your point of view, with everything from pizza to kung pao. But there's no denying each entrée's inherent tastiness. The Shanghai tacos? Quite the treat, coming in the form of a large bowl filled with chicken ground to the consistency of hamburger, stir-fried with water chestnuts and shredded carrots, and accompanied by a plate of iceberg-lettuce leaves. 16310 Beach Blvd., Westminster, (714) 500-1140; www.thelazydogcafe.com. $$

SEAFOOD WORLD
Seafood World lives up to its name by wheeling out goodies like fried scallop rolls (large scallops in a flaky pastry served with mayo and a maraschino cherry!), crab and shrimp balls with peas (wrapped in rice paper), and very large, juicy and spicy deep-fried shrimp. 15351 Brookhurst St., Westminster, (714) 775-8828.$$

YORBA LINDA

THAI BISTRO CUISINE
Orange County's Thai curry king will surprise you: Thai Bistro Cuisine in Yorba Linda, a saffron-colored, porcelain-plated place that offers an incredible eight: gentle red, sweet pineapple, musky eggplant and a masman curry that combines Buddhist cuisine's austerity with the heartiness of Islamic food to create the best interreligious mixer since the Nicene Council. 21560 Yorba Linda Blvd., Yorba Linda, (714) 693-2888. $

MULTIPLE LOCATIONS

EL CARBONERO
Owner María de Jesús Ramírez ensures that El Carbonero #1 and #2 use the same recipes of her hearty native cuisine, the primary reason why the county's pioneering guanaco restaurant persists while so many other Salvadoran restaurants have disappeared. Imitate the regulars and order at least one pupusa, the masa griddle cake that Salvadorans consume from crib to crypt. And El Carbonero's horchata, heavy with cinnamon and toasted rice, makes Mexican horchata taste like a Tijuana gutter. 803 S. Main St., Santa Ana, (714) 542-6653; also at 9304 Katella Ave., Anaheim, (714) 527-4542. $

CHA FOR TEA
Liquid refreshment makes up most of the extensive menu at Cha, and the high point may be the lilac-hued, creamy taro-milk tea. Even the food at Cha features notes of tea. The subtle tea-flavored minced pork and the tender, stew-like, tea-flavored beef are served with rice, vegetables and (surprise!) a complimentary green or black tea. 9200 Bolsa Ave., Ste. 306, Westminster, (714) 799-6957; also at 4187 Campus Dr., Ste. M-173, Irvine, (949) 725-0300. $

 

JERRY'S WOOD-FIRED DOGS
Not since Boogie Nights has a wiener garnered so much deserved buzz as the yearlong love-in for those steamed at Jerry's Wood-Fired Dogs. Owner and Cleveland native Jerry O'Connell comes from the land where sausage-making is gospel, and his hot dogs show it: all-beef franks bursting from taut casings; X-rated kielbasas with a vicious, Warsaw Pact bite; and a jalapeño hot link that is proudly inauthentic, but nobody gives a damn as his whining-hole is deep-throating the eight inches. 2276 E. 17th St., Santa Ana, (714) 245-0200; also at 1360 S. Beach Blvd., Ste. C, La Habra, (562) 697-4644; www.jerrysdogs.com. $

KNOWLWOOD
The place serves scrumptious one-third-pound burgers as big as your head. What else needs to be said? 150 S. Harbor Blvd., Fullerton, (714) 879-7552; also at 5665 E. La Palma Ave., Anaheim, (714) 779-2501; 14952 Sand Canyon Ave., Irvine, (949) 857-8927; 28061 Greenfield Dr., Laguna Niguel, (949) 831-1593. $

QUAN HY
Quan Hy serves country-style Vietnamese—a lot more flavor and eccentricity than food like pho. With the country stuff, you taste a lot of different things. They sell a lot of mixed bowls—one is like a seafood medley, an assortment of pork and beef and shrimp and fish and vegetables. 9727 Bolsa Ave., Westminster, (714) 775-7179; also at 10212 Westminster Ave., Garden Grove, (714) 636-1652. $$

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