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Grub Guide

Orange County's best damn dining guide

CHAKRA
You can imagine Bollywood goddess Aishwarya Rai filming some steamy-but-chaste dance scenes in the confines of Chakra's opulent set. But, thankfully, Chakra owners Ravi and Sunita Koneru invested money not only in the décor but also in chefs capable of embarking on a trek through India's major foodie provinces not found in any other Orange County restaurant—Gujarat, Kerala and even Hyderabad. 4143 Campus Dr., Irvine, (949) 854-0009; www.chakracuisine.com. $$

RAY'S PIZZA
Ray came to the U.S. from Iran to learn engineering, but now he engineers simple, solid, blue-collar pizzas with one choice of crust, a sublime, Italianate, bready altar upon which the full-bodied sauce enriches otherwise standard ingredients. 4199 Campus Dr., Ste. D, Irvine, (949) 854-5044; www.rayspizza-ca.com. $

 

Location Info

Map

Blue Bayou Restaurant

1313 S. Harbor Blvd.
Anaheim, CA 92802

Category: Restaurant > Cajun

Region: Anaheim

Dream Cafe

830 S. Brookhurst St.
Anaheim, CA 92804

Category: Restaurant > Middle Eastern

Region: Anaheim

Win Thai Cuisine

1151 N. Euclid St.
Anaheim, CA 92801

Category: Restaurant > Thai

Region: Anaheim

The Bungalow Restaurant

2441 E. Coast Highway
Corona Del Mar, CA 92625

Category: Restaurant > Steakhouse

Region: Corona Del Mar

La Cave

1695 Irvine Ave.
Costa Mesa, CA 92627

Category: Bars and Clubs

Region: Costa Mesa

Costa Brava

727 W. 19th St.
Costa Mesa, CA 92627

Category: Restaurant > Mexican

Region: Costa Mesa

Marukai Market

2975 Harbor Blvd.
Costa Mesa, CA 92626

Category: Restaurant > Grocery

Region: Costa Mesa

Lucky Chinese

18525 Brookhurst St.
Fountain Valley, CA 92708

Category: Restaurant > Chinese

Region: Fountain Valley

Amazon Churrascaria

1445 S. Lemon St.
Fullerton, CA 92832

Category: Restaurant > Barbecue

Region: Fullerton

El Camino Real

303 N. Euclid St.
Fullerton, CA 92832

Category: Restaurant > Mexican

Region: Fullerton

Al Waha B.B.Q. Family Restaurant

9562 Chapman Ave.
Garden Grove, CA 92841

Category: Restaurant > Middle Eastern

Region: Garden Grove

Joe's Italian Ice

12302 Harbor Blvd.
Garden Grove, CA 92844

Category: Restaurant > Ice Cream

Region: Garden Grove

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LA HABRA

ARTHUR'S COFFEE SHOP
"Best Breakfast in Town," proclaims the sign out front, and they probably don't hear too many arguments. While the food's good, the atmosphere is even better, like scenes from an unwritten Tom Waits song. Waitresses sport "OKIE SPOKEN HERE" T-shirts as they take orders from Korean War vets who have axle-grease stains on their well-worn Dickies. Arthur's serves real food for real people. 1281 E. La Habra Blvd., La Habra, (562) 691-7793. ¢

LA PALMA

HANNAM SUPERMARKET
The city says 1,500 shoppers file into this Korean grocery store every day. That's no surprise: this place is stocked with plenty of Korean squash—which resemble flattened pumpkins—frozen vegetable dumplings and corn buns for all your authentic Asian dining needs. 4941 La Palma Ave., La Palma, (562) 865-4116. ¢-$$

LAGUNA, LAGUNA, LAGUNA!

CAFÉ ZOOLU
If you're into seafood, go for the jumbo-sized swordfish. Expect to empty your wallet or purse—but Café Zoolu is one of the few places in OC worth every penny. 860 Glenneyre St., Laguna Beach, (949) 494-6825. $$

 

FIVE FEET
It's no secret why snazzy Ritz-Carlton guests in Dana Point head north to Laguna Beach each night. For more than a decade, chef/owner Michael Kang has ranked among the most creative in California. Particularly popular is the whole catfish in hot braised sauce or the pan-roasted scallops. Reservations are a must. 328 Glenneyre St., Laguna Beach, (949) 497-4955. $$$

HUSH
Hush is a wonderful eyesore, an anomaly among the run-down boutiques and faceless office buildings cluttering the southern portion of Pacific Coast Highway. Elegance also is prominent in Hush's menu, a New American take on standards such as rack of lamb, salmon and pork tenderloin that reminds me why people would ever plunk down $50 for a dinner. But when you have just gnawed on chicken from heaven, with port wine slowly soaking through your soul, racial and class warfare tends to dissipate like the sun into the Pacific. 858 S. Coast Hwy., Laguna Beach, (949) 497-3616; www.hushrestaurant.com. $$$

MOZAMBIQUE
It advertises itself as a South African restaurant, but Mozambique best excels in its preparation of meat—pork chops, steaks, seafood and the great Durban curry, a dusky lamb dish that will warm you up wherever you may be. 1740 S. Pacific Coast Hwy., Laguna Beach, (949) 715-7100; www.mozambiqueoc.com. $$

LAGUNA NIGUEL

THAI DINING
Start with their tom kah gai soup, a creamy, flavorful offering of the popular Thai chicken-coconut soup; then try the beef panang. It rates pretty high on the beef panang scale—and it'll make you sweat. 28051 Greenfield Dr., Ste. J, Laguna Niguel, (949) 643-5521.$

LAKE FOREST

UOKO
Typical sushi joint save for Tomo: a young Japanese surfer who can handle rice with seaweed like Kelly Slater can the Big Island. 23600 Rockfield Blvd., Lake Forest, (949) 837-7231. $$

LONG BEACH

COCO RENO'S
Coco Reno's, adjacent to its tattooed hipster sister bar the Reno Room, serves what can only be described as delight on a platter. Better known as carnitas, the cooks will even make 'em to order for those who are carb-challenged. Cancel the rice and beans, smother the succulent pork in cheddar cheese, slop on the sour cream and guac, and cheat just a little with a toasty tortilla. 3400 E. Broadway St., Long Beach, (562) 438-9381. $

LA CRÊPERIE CAFÉ
Someone once said, "Simplicity is the spice of life." Snicker all you want, but they must have been referring to the Bolero crepe at La Crêperie Café. This sorta-Provençal café offers perfection drenched in butter and sugar with a twist of lemon. C'est bon! 5110 E. Second St., Long Beach, (562) 434-8499. $$

ROSCOE'S CHICKEN AND WAFFLES
Put simply, everything is good. When He's just not up to creating anything, much less cooking, God orders the waffles here. If you're one of those chicken-skin eaters, you'll figure you've died and gone to heaven—where there'll be waffles. 730 E. Broadway, Long Beach, (562) 437-8355; www.roscoeschickenandwaffles.com. $

LOS ALAMITOS

KATELLA DELI
The place has a voluminous menu that spans matzo to mud pie, spinach salad to skyscraper sandwiches, knish to kippers—not to mention a full bakery that houses fresh rolls and bagels. Their Denver omelet is terrific. 4470 Katella Ave., Los Alamitos, (562) 594-8611. ¢

 

MISSION VIEJOMAYA INN
Ah, the chicken chimichanga: seasoned (but not molten), tender chicken in a deep-fried tortilla with ample salsa, guacamole and sour cream flying atop the thing like a Mexican flag on a submarine. Cheap! 25571 Jeronimo Rd., Ste. 8, Mission Viejo, (949) 768-0401. $

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