Grub Guide

Orange County's best damn dining guide

SEAL BEACH

COACHES
The décor amounts to tables, chairs, some pictures of Babe Ruth and a few TVs. But the fish and chips is English-styled: hot and slathered in tartar and chased down with a cold beer. 1025 Pacific Coast Hwy., Seal Beach, (562) 431-5266. $

STANTON

Location Info

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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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MAD GREEK
Reasons to go to the Mad Greek: this place began the zucchini stick "craze"; the Greek salad comes in Herculean portions; uncouth vegetarians have proclaimed the falafel sandwich as "Fuckin' radness"; and anything on the menu above $6 you won't be able to finish yourself. 12120 Beach Blvd., Stanton, (714) 898-5181. $

SUNSET BEACH

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

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. $$

CRESCENT CITY
Cajun purists will howl that there are no outposts of this rapidly expanding chain actually in the Crescent City, so therefore the food cannot possibly pass muster—hell, they don't even got gator! But Crescent City is no Disneyfied Big Easy. The shrimp po' boys are just the way they oughta be: a flaky French bread roll bloated with lettuce, pickles, tomatoes, spicy mayo and fried, bite-size prawns, and messier than a dip in the Mississippi. 2933 El Camino Real, Tustin, (714) 453-3555; www.crescentcitybeignets.com. $$

VILLA PARK

THE COFFEE GROVE
Villa Park's answer to Cheers, the Coffee Grove is a place where you can chat with the locals or read the paper while they whip up your favorite coffee drink. 17769 Santiago Blvd., Villa Park, (714) 974-2650. $

WESTMINSTER

DRAGON PHOENIX PALACE
Get your chopsticks ready for the weekend dim sum, because in minutes, you'll have a tableful of sizzling pork and shrimp pot stickers, savory dumplings, won-ton soup, and wonderful salt-and-pepper squid. 9211 Bolsa Ave., Stes. 201-208, Westminster, (714) 893-1976.$$

 

MÌ LA CAY
Mì rice noodles are actually Chinese, but many Vietnamese places have incorporated them into their menus. Funny how 1,000 years of colonization can do that. Mì La Cay is continuously one of the most popular restaurants in the genre of mì cookery. Bring your appetite, and order a heaping bowl of mì la cay dac biet (the house special). 8924 Bolsa Ave., Westminster, (714) 891-8775. $

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

BLUE AGAVE
A fantastically fabulous Southwestern place where everything on the menu—no, really, everything—is nothing short of orgasmic. Be sure to order the Montego Bay coconut-shrimp appetizer: big, plump prawns fried in shredded-coconut batter. 18601 Yorba Linda Blvd., Yorba Linda, (714) 970-5095. $$

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 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; 9304 Katella Ave., Anaheim, (714) 527-4542. $

CEDAR CREEK INN
The various Cedar Creeks offer similar menus featuring prime rib, rack of lamb and homemade desserts. The Brie-and-pecan-stuffed chicken breast comes with a creamy pear-sage sauce that draws out the fine, nutty flavor of the pecans. The large butterflied scampi is served with capers and diced Roma tomatoes. And the pot roast is a tribute to hearty northern Midwest German-American cooking. 20 Pointe Dr., Brea, (714) 255-5600; 26860 Ortega Hwy., San Juan Capistrano, (949) 240-2229; 384 Forest Ave., Laguna Beach, (949) 497-8696; www.cedarcreekinn.com. $$

 

THE CRAB COOKER
This is an institution you can take your out-of-town relatives to. There, you can sample moderately priced seafood cooked on skewers in cramped booths next to goofy fishing-themed artwork. But first you have to stand outside and wait for your table because this is a first-come-first-served place. 2200 Newport Blvd., Newport Beach, (949) 673-0100; 17260 17th St., Tustin, (714) 573-1077. $

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; 10212 Westminster Ave., Garden Grove, (714) 636-1652. $$

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