Grub Guide

A taste of Orange County's best damn dining guide

LONG BEACH

LA CRÊPERIE CAFÉ
Someone once said, "Simplicity is the spice of life." Snicker all you want, but he 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. $$

DIPIAZZA
Established in 1952, this award-winning Italian restaurant received Best Pizza honors in the Entertainment Book for five straight years. It offers a huge menu selection, including American dishes; you'll want to try the enticing chicken piccata, fettuccine Alfredo, lasagna, shrimp and pastas. The chicken Parmesan melt sandwich and the calamari steak will create lasting memories in your stomach. Plus, they sell Fernet Branca, which will cure your cholera. 5205E. Pacific Coast Hwy., Long Beach, (562) 498-2461; www.dipiazzas.com. $$

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

14354 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.
Los Alamitos, CA 90720

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Los Alamitos

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M & M SOUL FOOD
Ask the folks at M & M to comment on the peach-hued walls, lowered ceilings and general bunker-like atmosphere (livened up only by an animatronic James Brown doll and a display case full of dolphin-shaped oil burners for sale), and they'll decline. Wisely so. But the food—perfectly grilled short ribs, snappy okra with nary a touch of sliminess, nummy peach cobbler, amongst other dishes—they'll praise with the intensity of a Sunday-morning gospel choir. 5400 Cherry Ave., Long Beach, (562) 422-8395. $

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

SANTORA'S PIZZA, SUBS & WINGS
Matthew 20:16 taught us that the last shall be first, and that's the best way to describe Santora's Pizza, Subs & Wings, a dank tavern just down the street from the sterile opulence of the shops at Mission Viejo. Santora's pizza is passable; the subs nothing a Togo's drone can't slap together in three minutes. But Santora's Buffalo wings are the gourmand Gospel manifest: the Good Word transubstantiated into fleshy appendages ready to burn through your alimentary canal like the fires of Gehenna. 28251 Marguerite Pkwy., Mission Viejo, (949) 364-3282. $

NEWPORT BEACH

59TH AND LEX CAFE
Bloomingdale's West Coast café is sunnier and sassier than its New York counterpart. You'll like the 59th Street sampler, a salad combo that features fresh mozzarella and baked goat cheese on field greens with lemon vinaigrette. 701 Newport Center Dr., Newport Beach, (949) 729-6600. $$

MASTRO'S OCEAN CLUB FISH HOUSE
Mastro's prides itself on an à la carte menu with gargantuan portions—think Claim Jumper, but three times the style and cost. So it's not a problem that an appetizer like vanilla-battered shrimp includes just three of the crustaceans: the shrimp are among the largest you'll ever see, about the size of a cop's blackjack. And any qualms over paying almost $30 for a fish fillet will disappear under the dense, buttery consistency of any of them. 8112 E. Coast Hwy., Newport Beach, (949) 376-6990. $$$

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. $$

TACO ROSA
It's not just the wide swath of Mexico—Mexico City, Oaxaca, even the Yucatan—that makes Taco Rosa one of the few truly successful gourmet Mexican restaurants. Taco Rosa succeeds because its few tweaks are Mexican-based and surprising. Ask for the aguas frescas and instead of horchata, waiters will recommend a frosted, freshly squeezed cup of cantaloupe or melon—¡delicioso! 2632 San Miguel Dr., Newport Beach, (949) 720-0980. $$

ORANGE

DAIRY TREET
Across the street from Chapman University, it's advertised as the oldest burger stand in OC (est. 1949). Get those burgers and also the smoothies and shakes. Don't get thrown off by thekatakana script above the ordering window: that's for Chapman's large Japanese student population. Poor student's special: 99-cent burger. 292 N. Glassell St., Orange, (714) 538-5904. ¢

 

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

SOPHIA'S GREEK CUISINE
Some of the best Greek cuisine in North Orange County. The food is simple and perfect for long lunches in the pretty dining room or the small garden patio. I love their chicken-and-lemon soup. They serve a whole range of roasted meats, including lamb and fresh seafood. Their pistachio baklava tends to be very rich. 1390 N. Kraemer Blvd., Placentia, (714) 528-2021. $

SAN CLEMENTE

SWISS CHALET
This restaurant primarily serves German-inspired food, but such dishes as the Chalet Fischteller (sautéed shrimp, scallops and clams in a white wine-tarragon cream sauce and served on linguine) and a pfeffersteak (filet of beef tenderloin sautéed in a clarified butter on a four peppercorn-whiskey cream sauce) display interesting Italian and French touches. Since this is alpine food, Swiss Chalet also features many veal dishes.216 N. El Camino Real, San Clemente, (949) 492-7931. $$

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