Grub Guide

A taste of Orange County's best damn dining guide

Visit the rest of Orange County's best damn dining guide at ocweekly.com/food, where it says "Where to Eat Now" on the right side of the screen. If there are any bugs with it, e-mail Gustavo at garellano@ocweekly.com with your complaints!

DINNER FOR TWO:

¢ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Less than $10!

Location Info

Map

Gen Kai Japanese Restaurant

3344 E. Coast Highway
Corona Del Mar, CA 92625

Category: Restaurant > Japanese

Region: Corona Del Mar

Boulangerie Pierre & Patisserie

14352 Brookhurst St.
Garden Grove, CA 92843

Category: Restaurant > Bakery

Region: Garden Grove

International Meats and Deli

10382 Stanford Ave., Ste. F
Garden Grove, CA 92840

Category: Restaurant > Deli

Region: Garden Grove

Clay Oven Cuisine Of India

15435 Jeffrey Road, Ste 116
Irvine, CA 92618

Category: Restaurant > Indian

Region: Irvine

Jj Bakery & Cafe

15333 Culver Drive
Irvine, CA 92604-3078

Category: Restaurant > Bakery

Region: Irvine

Taiko Japanese Restaurant

14775 Jeffrey Road
Irvine, CA 92618

Category: Restaurant > Japanese

Region: Irvine

Onami Sushi & Seafood Restaurant

24155 Laguna Hills Mall, Ste. 1301
Laguna Hills, CA 92653

Category: Restaurant > Japanese

Region: Laguna Hills

Picayo

610 N. Pacific Coast Highway
Laguna Beach, CA 92651

Category: Restaurant > French

Region: Laguna Beach

Royal Thai Cuisine

1750 S. Coast Highway
Laguna Beach, CA 92651

Category: Restaurant > Thai

Region: Laguna Beach

Zinc Cafe & Market

350 Ocean Ave.
Laguna Beach, CA 92651

Category: Restaurant > Eclectic

Region: Laguna Beach

Empanada Man

20761 Lake Forest Drive
Lake Forest, CA 92630

Category: Restaurant > South American

Region: Lake Forest

Pittsburgh Chicken & Taters

3671 Katella Ave.
Rossmoor, CA 90720

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Los Alamitos

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ANAHEIM

E-SAN ROD-SAP
E-San specializes in 78 dishes of Isaan cooking, the sour-and-spicy cuisine of northeast Thailand that's exotic even inside the Southeast Asian kingdom. Most diners order from a buffet near the kitchen, where a stern-looking woman in a milk-colored hairnet lords over entrées that constitute the $5.50 three-items-plus-rice combo. Choices vary from hour to hour and include a spicy Lao-style vegetable soup redolent of pumpkin, fiery green curry (smoky with eggplant chunks) and fried catfish that crackles loudly across the dining room. 1719 W. La Palma Ave., Anaheim, (714) 999-0563. $

 

INKA ANAHEIM
Groups eager to party will dig the décor of blacklight scenes of Peru's landscape. A good introductory dish to the Inka menu is the casa—a rotisserie chicken, featuring one-quarter of the bird, white rice, brown beans and salad, plus an Inka soda to wash it all down. 400 S. Euclid St., Anaheim, (714) 772-2263.$

LA PALMA CHICKEN PIE SHOP
It's pure comfort to know that the same waitresses will serve you the same chicken pot pies year after year. These pies are the size of large talcum-powder puffs and have a flaky, golden-brown pastry crust. 928 N. Euclid St., Anaheim, (714) 533-2021. ¢

RASTHAL VEGETARIAN CUISINE
The South Indian food served here ain't your Green Party fundraiser spread of bland samosas and lukewarm lentil broth. Rasthal is the type of dive where kaju karela—a peppered, unctuous mush combining cashews with coconut oil and bitter gourds—is among the more conservative dishes, where a chile-laced farina called upma is celebrated with the reverence with which a Punjabi restaurant serves up tandoori chicken.2751-2755 W. Lincoln Ave., Anaheim, (714) 527-3800. ¢

BREA

TAPS FISH HOUSE & BREWERY
Located in the desperately fine-dining-deficient Brea, this place has everything—from steaks, chicken and pastas to an immense oyster bar. Gorge yourself with abandon on such appetizers as tropical shrimp quesadillas or French Quarter egg rolls. 101 E. Imperial Hwy., Brea, (714) 257-0101; www.tapsbrea.com. $$

BUENA PARK

JANG MO
Jang Mo Restaurant specializes in soup, offering six aromatic choices. Add generous amounts of granulated salt, scallions, white rice and pungent hot mustard to unlock the potential of the peppery yook gejang (advertised as vegetable soup but laden with beef shreds) and the three types of gomtang (as delicious as its much-celebrated cousin pho, it's slowly simmered in beef bones) that makes this joint a must-slurp. 4546 Beach Blvd., Buena Park, (714) 228-0767. $

 

CANYON CITIES

SILVERADO CAFÉ
For breakfast, feast on their miner's omelet: a crepe-like blanket of eggs filled with mushrooms, onions, green peppers, chiles, tomatoes and cheese. I love the patty melt with fries and coleslaw for lunch. 28272 Silverado Canyon Rd., Silverado, (714) 649-2622.$

CORONA DEL MAR

GEN KAI
Many sushi bars don't stock hokegai, a generously two-toned Japanese clam with a mild flavor. It's a mark of quality that Gen Kai occasionally has on hand, and their fish servings are out-of-the-net fresh!3344 E. Coast Hwy., Corona del Mar, (949) 675-0771. $$

COSTA MESA

THE GOLDEN TRUFFLE
Impossible to categorize with elements of different restaurants including seafood, French bistro, Pacific Rim and down-home joint. Everything from pot roast to grits to chicken livers is served up with excellent service, making for one of the best meals you will have had in years.1767 Newport Blvd., Costa Mesa, (949) 645-9858. $$$HABANA
The ambiance makes this the perfect date restaurant. The Nuevo Latino menu leans toward Cuban but mixes in Jamaican, Mexican and other flavors. The bar serves some of the best sangria around, and the lemon-drop martinis are near-legendary, too. 2930 Bristol St., Costa Mesa, (714) 556-0176.$$EL MATADOR
El Matador, with its scaled-down Olvera Street interior, boasts 27 combination plates and 30-weight mole sauce of chiles, chocolate and whatever will make you reflect, "This thing in my mouth should not be there. Help." The spicy shrimp tacos rise majestically over most fish tacos, too. 1768 Newport Blvd., Costa Mesa, (949) 645-0324. $$

 

OKI DOKI
Oki Doki is a pan-Asian restaurant but primarily draws in folks for its chicken ramen, a refreshingly light anomaly in the pork-centric ramen world. Chicken-based ramen is like a sharper version of the best Midwestern chicken soups, though now laden with sturdy noodles. Most of the toppings are typically Japanese: the chashu, hardboiled egg, bean sprouts and scallions. The delicious, fried crunchy bits of garlic, though, are an atypical, probably Vietnamese influence that are more than welcome as they provide a great tweak of sweet bitterness. 3033 S. Bristol St., Ste. O, Costa Mesa, (714) 540-2066. $

ORCHID
Persian food served in abundant portions on perfectly arranged plates complete with precise ovals of rice and small domes of vegetables. The basmati rice is as fluffy as cumulus clouds and as flavorful as fresh-popped popcorn. 3033 S. Bristol St., Ste. B., Costa Mesa, (714) 557-8070. $$

 

SANTOUKA RAMEN
Late last year, one of Japan's largest ramen chains, Santouka Ramen, opened its second California outpost here. But despite its chain ownership, Santouka's soup is stately, with cooks offering ramen from different regions: Tokyo (heavy with soy sauce, with a whisper of dried bonito flakes), the miso-flavored liquid pride of Hokkaido, and another style, shio ramen, simply flavored with salt. 665 Paularino Ave., Costa Mesa, (714) 434-1101.

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