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Grub Guide

The best damn dining guide in Orange County

 

O'SHINE CAFÉ
Nostalgia for the homeland resides in all immigrants' minds, and the Chinese cuisine and Chinese versions of Western dishes are a hit among the Chinese diaspora in Orange County. Any dish here will be as authentic as the dialects spoken in the restaurant. 14805 Jeffrey, Ste. H, Irvine, (949) 559-5888. $

 

Location Info

Map

ESPN Zone

1545 Disneyland Drive
Anaheim, CA 92802

Category: Bars and Clubs

Region: Anaheim

Luigi's D'Italia

801 S. State College Blvd.
Anaheim, CA 92806

Category: Restaurant > Italian

Region: Anaheim

The Clubhouse

3333 Bristol St.
Costa Mesa, CA 92626

Category: Bars and Clubs

Region: Costa Mesa

Doria's Original Haus of Pizza

1500 Adams Ave.
Costa Mesa, CA 92626

Category: Restaurant > Italian

Region: Costa Mesa

Maggiano's Little Italy

3333 Bristol St.
Costa Mesa, CA 92626

Category: Restaurant > Italian

Region: Costa Mesa

Native Foods

2937 Bristol St.
Costa Mesa, CA 92626

Category: Restaurant > Eclectic

Region: Costa Mesa

Dalton's Restaurant

9575 Valley View St.
Cypress, CA 90630

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Cypress

Hennessey's Tavern

34111 La Plaza
Dana Point, CA 92629

Category: Bars and Clubs

Region: Dana Point

Kappo Honda

18450 Brookhurst St.
Fountain Valley, CA 92708

Category: Restaurant > Japanese

Region: Fountain Valley

BRODARD

9892 Westminster Ave.
Garden Grove, CA 92844

Category: Restaurant > Vietnamese

Region: Garden Grove

Joe's Italian Ice

12302 Harbor Blvd.
Garden Grove, CA 92844

Category: Restaurant > Ice Cream

Region: Garden Grove

Gallagher's Pub & Grill

300 Pacific Coast Highway, Ste. 113
Huntington Beach, CA 92648

Category: Music Venues

Region: Huntington Beach

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LA HABRA

EL CHOLO CAFÉ
First served up by Rosa Bórquez in 1923 in LA's original El Cholo Café (her grandson Ron Salisbury owns the restaurant group these days), the place's green corn tamales are a Southern California dining institution. On bites two and three, you'll find oozing sharp Cheddar cheese and Ortega chiles, which combined offer a snappy alternative to the sweet corn. 840 E. Whittier Blvd., La Habra, (562) 691-4618. $$

LA PALMA

JOHNIE'S JR.
It's ham, cheese, onions and green peppers—hold the nonsense—stuffed into a three-egg pillowcase; presented alongside a nest of crispy, lush, hashed-brown potatoes and two slices of sourdough toast; and gobbled down between a couple of cups of coffee. It's nothing fancy, which means it fits right in at this converted Taco Bell with decals of the Fat Boy—a too-close-for-comfort cousin of the late Big Boy—plastered across the table at every booth. 7811 Valley View St., La Palma, (714) 228-0464. $

LAGUNA, LAGUNA, LAGUNA!

ANASTASIA
A sweet little restaurant perfect for l'amour. The food is billed as French/California hybrid, but that is selling it short. 470 Ocean Ave., Laguna Beach, (949) 497-8903.$$

GAURANGA'S VEGETARIAN CUISINE
Gauranga's has outdoor, ocean-view seating where you can enjoy a large salad bar, spicy yellow-lentil soup and cauliflower fritters. Sweet hibiscus tea is Krishna hooch, and the cardamom-scented rice pudding is tasty too. 285 Legion St., Laguna Beach, (949) 494-7029.$

HAPI SUSHI
When we come here, we consume like Newport housewives armed with gold cards at Fashion Island. The best way to enjoy the sushi is to ask about the specials. Each time we've entrusted ourselves to their culinary knowledge, we've been rewarded with something tasty beyond imagination. 250 Beach St., Laguna Beach, (949) 494-9109. $$

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 plunk down $50 for a dinner. But when you've 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. $$$

KOSHER BITE DELI
Orange County seems just too spick-and-span Christian to host a real New York-style Jewish deli, but try telling that to the folks at Kosher Bite in Laguna Hills, a cluttered room where the air conditioning is three ceiling fans on their last wobbly rotation, potato-and-barley soup is boiled daily, the Sabbath means rest, and the menu—knishes, matzo ball, pastrami on rye—is as stubbornly borscht belt as Carl Reiner. 23595 Moulton Pkwy., Ste. H, Laguna Hills, (949) 770-1818. $

THE STAND
Truth in advertising: the Stand is little more than wood 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; famished birds twittering and hopping around for crumbs. The Special Oriental Burrito's ginger- and tamarind-doused vegetables hint at new fusion possibilities for Mexican cuisine, Sino-Sinaloan. 238 Thalia St., Laguna Beach, (949) 494-8101. $

LAKE FOREST

EL PARAÍSO
El Paraíso
prepares sit-down platters as well: aromatic soups of chicken, beef or cow's foot with about four different squashes and potatoes; nicely grilled meats; and yucca sancochada, a golden and chewy version of the tuber doused with lemon. But no matter who's ordering what or working where, everyone who comes to El Paraíso forks through at least two chewy, sweet pupusas, the Salvadoran griddle cake that's the sole unifier of the fractious Central American nation. If there's a better pupusa in South County, you're eating a gordita. 25252 Jeronimo Rd., Ste. B, Lake Forest, (949) 770-2775. $

LONG BEACH

BABETTE'S FEAST
Babette's Feast is a boulangerie/patisserie par excellence, laying out a spread of delectable, mouthwatering delights that makes you thank heaven above for the gift of taste buds and these ungodly desserts. 4621 E. Second St., Long Beach, (562) 987-4536. $

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!4911 E. Second St., Long Beach, (562) 434-8499. $$

OPEN SESAME
The food here is some kind of gustatory incantation; the dishes awaken taste buds that have been asleep since birth. The babaghanoush alone will take command of your senses, overwhelming them with the deep, smoky flavor of eggplant marinated in pungent olive oil and garlic. 5215 E. Second St., Long Beach, (562) 621-1698. $$

LOS ALAMITOS

MUSTARD'S
Mustard's is a haunt for all artifacts Chi-Town: yellowed Tribune front page celebrating da Bears' Super Bowl XX victory; a picture of former mayor/god Richard Daley; and the bold yellow slogan for Vienna Beef, the brand with which Mustard's makes its bulky, peppery Chicago dog, complete with tooth-blackening poppy-seed bun, leprechaun-green relish, gritty celery salt and a giant dill pickle. Great Italian roast beef as well, with as many folds as a Cubs pennant run. 3630 Katella Ave., Los Alamitos, (562) 598-1662. $

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