Grub Guide

Orange County's best damn dining guide

LOS ALAMITOS

PITTSBURGH CHICKEN & TATERS
Most Americans know the Steel City for its bankrupt hockey teams and bruising football squads, but this storefront restaurant with its goofy hen mascot (circa early Peanuts) makes broasted chicken. They pressure-cook the gals with the same relentless intensity the Steelers defense applies on third-and-15, producing meat that's plump and moist inside a fine gnarled skin. 3671 Katella Ave., Los Alamitos, (562) 594-0140. $

MISSION VIEJO

Location Info

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India House Restaurant

7775 Beach Blvd.
Buena Park, CA 90620

Category: Restaurant > Brunch

Region: Buena Park

Silverado Cafe

28272 Silverado Canyon Road
Silverado, CA 92676

Category: Restaurant > Cafe

Region: Silverado

Katie Mcguire's Pie & Bake Shoppe

10121 Valley View St.
Cypress, CA 90630

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Cypress

Beverly's Best Bakery

3020 Brea Blvd.
Fullerton, CA 92835

Category: Restaurant > Bakery

Region: Fullerton

Chicago Harv's

410 E. Chapman Ave.
Fullerton, CA 92832

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Fullerton

Anna's Mondu

9972 Garden Grove Blvd.
Garden Grove, CA 92843

Category: Restaurant > Korean

Region: Garden Grove

Vien Dong

14271 Brookhurst St.
Garden Grove, CA 92843

Category: Restaurant > Vietnamese

Region: Garden Grove

Zubies Dry Dock

9059 Adams Ave.
Huntington Beach, CA 92646

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Huntington Beach

Clay Oven Cuisine Of India

15435 Jeffrey Road, Ste 116
Irvine, CA 92618

Category: Restaurant > Indian

Region: Irvine

Kochee Kabob House

4143 Campus Drive
Irvine, CA 92612

Category: Restaurant > Middle Eastern

Region: Irvine

Casa Olamendi's

1100 S. Coast Highway, Ste. 202
Laguna Beach, CA 92651

Category: Restaurant > Mexican

Region: Laguna Beach

French 75 Bistro and Champagne Bar

1464 S. Pacific Coast Highway
Laguna Beach, CA 92651

Category: Restaurant > Bistro

Region: Laguna Beach

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ALOHA BBQ
Hawaiian staples such as manapua (steamed pork buns) and boiling saimin noodles are fine at Aloha BBQ, along with a Korean-skewed side menu filled with bimimbap and complimentary kimchi. As great as those are, the most impressive meat meal is the spicy pork ribs. Most rib places content themselves with giving patrons a couple of twigs, but Aloha BBQ carts over four massive things that appear to have been torn from a hippo. 24000 Alicia Pkwy., Ste. 4, Mission Viejo, (949) 581-0976. $

NEWPORT BEACH

CALIFORNIA BEACH SUSHI
Hardcore sushi addicts have long dismissed California rolls as bastardized, Westernized versions of the popular and expensive Japanese food. Screw 'em. California rolls are damned good. And you can't go wrong with ordering them at California Beach. 3355 Via Lido, Newport Beach, (949) 675-0575.$

THE LIDO SHIPYARD SAUSAGE CO. AND SABATINO'S FAMILY RESTAURANT
The meals begin like an explosion at the back end of a cornucopia. The sausage is made on the premises and is meaty, clean and flavorful. The stuffed pasta is also incredible.251 Shipyard Way, Newport Beach, (949) 723-0621. $$

MULDOON'S
The perfect fish-and-chips search ends here. Five pieces of fresh red snapper are piled atop skin-on shoestring fries made from real potatoes. The batter on the fish is golden and puffy, like fried cumulus clouds. And the Irish soda bread will make you a regular. 202 Newport Center Dr., Newport Beach, (949) 640-4110. $$

ORANGE

CHA THAI
The yellow curry selection is optimal for those who sport the same color on their bellies, so be brave and step up a spice level to the red curry. Its marvelous mixture of bamboo shoots, bell peppers and coconut milk will give you the sensation of having had sex for two hours in a sauna. 1520 W. Chapman Ave., Orange, (714) 978-3905. $

 

THE TULSA RIB COMPANY
An open-minded place with a sense of adventure. The ribs rule here, coming in a broad range of styles from traditional to Cajun to Caribbean.954 N. Tustin Ave., Orange, (714) 633-3760.$$

PLACENTIA

TLAQUEPAQUE
A place where Mexican Mexican food is served with items not found at Taco Bell. Try the mole with a salsa that has the texture of ketchup made up from the sweetest ingredients on earth or spices harvested from Satan's flower garden. 111 W. Santa Fe, Placentia, (714) 528-8515. $$

SAN CLEMENTE

MOLLY BLOOM'S IRISH BAR AND RESTAURANT
Molly Bloom's interior has the standard Irish pub features: low lighting, Guinness posters and bricks. Lots of bricks. Both bar and restaurant offer sizeable menus featuring traditional Irish dishes such as fish and chips, bangers, or beans and mash (a surprisingly tasty combination of sausages, baked beans and mashed potatoes). 2391 S. El Camino Real, San Clemente, (949) 218-0120. $$

SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO

L'HIRONDELLE
The French/Belgian restaurant L'Hirondelle is a San Juan Capistrano institution, used as proof by residents that their city offers more than Father Serra this and swallows that (although the restaurant's name is French for "the swallow"—guess one can't fly too far from the nest). The lapin à la liégeoise (rabbit) is perfect, tasting like a duskier, moister turkey, with a plum wine sauce lending a bittersweet taste and juicy plum skins mixed in. 31631 Camino Capistrano, San Juan Capistrano, (949) 661-0425. $$$

SANTA ANA

BANGKOK TASTE
Thong "Chim" Johnson, owner of Bangkok Taste, knows how to pack heat into her torrid Thai creations, like her luscious green curry and her garlic shrimp; no other Thai place I know of makes its own ice cream like Johnson's does. 2737 N. Grand Ave., Santa Ana, (714) 532-2216. $

EL CURTIDO
The casamiento is a vegetarian's delight, combining black beans and rice with eggs, avocado and cream, plus a piece of really salty cotija cheese on the side. We suggest you chase that down with a big cup of Salvadoran horchata. 300 W. Fifth St., Santa Ana, (714) 973-0554. $

 

MARISCOS LA SIRENA
This little palace serves caldo de caguama (turtle soup) but also represents its own endangered genus—the restaurant whose métier is stunning Sinaloan-style Mexican food with a side of stereotypes—blistering aguachile with wooden parrots, nuclear ceviche served under drooping nets and deer steaks that are almost as tender as each waitress's top is low. 515. S. Main St., Santa Ana, (714) 541-0350. $$

PHO HIEN VUONG
Pho Hien Vuong, supposedly the county's first restaurant to serve its eponymous beef noodle soup, does serve other things besides its namesake dish: bouncy goi cuon (spring rolls); rice domes towering over chunks of sautéed beef, chicken or steamed vegetables; and the fabulous chilled vermicelli salad known as bún. But most of Orange County's legal community speeds in from the faraway Central Court for one of the restaurant's 18 primordial phos. 2525 W. Westminster Ave., Ste. H, Santa Ana, (714) 554-2696. $

 

RUTH'S PLACE
Open here for 11 years, Ruth's Place carries a tough-to-read sign out front advertising Southern-style soul food. You'll always find Ruth here, cooking catfish steamed and piled fist-high, yams sweet as Sade (the singer, not the sadomasochist), cornbread greasy as Pam Houchen's palms, and black-eyed peas that are soft and plump and just the proper earthen hue. 1236 Civic Center Dr. W., Santa Ana, (714) 953-9454. $SEAL BEACHYUCATÁN GRILL
If the baffling neon color scheme doesn't dissuade you from entering, you'll be rewarded with a stunning offering of Caribbean specialties. Order their steak Palomilla, a husky chunk of marinated steak topped with a garlicky garnish called mojo. 550 Pacific Coast Hwy., Ste. 111, Seal Beach, (562) 430-4422. $$SUNSET BEACHHARBOR 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. $STANTONMAD 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. $TUSTININDIA SWEETS AND SPICES
It's a sweet shop and a produce vendor, a place to rent videos, buy Urdu-edition newspapers, and get a home-style meal in a pop-culture mini-bazaar that caters to your taste for Indian soul food. 14441 Newport Ave., Tustin, (714) 731-2910. $

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