Summer Grub Guide

Your guide to the best damn eats in OC

Disneyland for haute cuisine? When you're at the Blue Bayou, absolutely! The ambience is strange, in large part to the slack-jawed tourists passing by in the Pirates of the Caribbean boats, but the food is superb. The filet mignon is really juicy and comes with great vegetables and potatoes.1313 S. Harbor, Anaheim. Call Mickey. $$

Okay, so everyone knows about Las Brisas and fills its patio come weekend, even if it's not summertime. But everyone does it for a reason. Besides its terrific take on Mexican seafood, Las Brisas overlooks the Pacific on Laguna Beach's craggy cliffs—a bluff where God no doubt imagines the ideal seaside dinner. 361 Cliff Dr., Laguna Beach, (949) 497-5434. $$

The food is so-so, and the drinks are insultingly expensive. But Café Tu Tu Tango's expansive patio situates itself in that nexus of the Block where the finest himbos and skanks pass by. There's no greater meat market than Café Tu Tu Tango outside of Albertson's. 20 City Blvd. W., Orange, (714) 769-2222. $$

Location Info


Bad to the Bone BBQ

31738 Rancho Viejo
San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675

Category: Restaurant > Barbecue

Region: San Juan Capistrano

Burrell's Bar-B-Que

305 N. Hesperia
Santa Ana, CA 92703

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Santa Ana

Chris & Pitts

601 N. Euclid St.
Anaheim, CA 92801

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Anaheim

The District Lounge

223 W. Chapman Ave.
Orange, CA 92866

Category: Bars and Clubs

Region: Orange

Lou's Red Oak BBQ Grill

21501 Brookhurst St.
Huntington Beach, CA 92646

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Huntington Beach

Lucille's Smokehouse Bar-B-Que

1639 E. Imperial Highway
Brea, CA 92821

Category: Restaurant > Barbecue

Region: Brea

Angelo's Drive-In Hamburgers

511 S. State College Blvd.
Anaheim, CA 92806

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Anaheim

Bristol Burgers

2640 S. Bristol St.
Santa Ana, CA 92704-5727

Category: Restaurant > Bistro

Region: Santa Ana


5665 E. La Palma Ave.
Anaheim, CA 92807

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Anaheim

Omega Drive-In

319 W. Chapman Ave.
Orange, CA 92866

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Orange

Roadside Burgers

513 N. Harbor Blvd.
Fullerton, CA 92832

Category: Restaurant > Burgers

Region: Fullerton

Ruby's Diner

3333 Bear St.
Costa Mesa, CA 92626

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Costa Mesa

The finest Cuban cuisine in Orange County. The finest (last?) traffic circle in Orange County. The finest neighborhood to take relatives out on a balmy Sunday morning to prove to them Orange County still has buildings more than 50 years old. The finest patio dining in Orange County. Period. 36 Plaza Square, Orange, (714) 633-5842. $

At the Green Parrot, they know how to dish up hospitality instead of an endless bread basket and a maitre d's neglect. The prix fixe, a four course tasting menu, is affordable and comes with a not-teeny blood-orange salad with bleu cheese and walnuts, and even a nicely crusted crème brûlée. Eat it outside in the twinkly-lighted patio or inside their beautiful dining hall.2035 N. Main St, Santa Ana, (714) 550-6040; $$

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; $$L'HIRONDELLE
The French/Belgian restaurant L'Hirondelle is a San Juan Capistrano institution, used as proof by residents that their city offers more than Father Serra this and swallows that (although the restaurant's name is French for"the swallow"—guess one can't fly too far from the nest). The lapin à la liégeoise (rabbit) is perfect, tasting like a duskier, moister turkey, with a plum wine sauce lending a bittersweet taste with juicy plum skins mixed in. 31631 Camino Capistrano, San Juan Capistrano, (949) 661-0425. $$$RAMOS HOUSE CAFÉ
Just some of the aural wonders this bistro offers to its patio patrons: the chug-chug of trains barreling down the nearby tracks, the metallic ringing of the mission bells, wind chimes gently clanging against one another and birds chirping without care. And the food? Excellent. 31752 Los Rios St., San Juan Capistrano, (949) 443-1342. $$TAPS FISH HOUSE & BREWERY
Located in the desperately fine-dining-deficient Brea, this place has everything—from steaks, chicken and pastas to an immense oyster bar. Gorge yourself with abandon on such appetizers as tropical shrimp quesadillas or French Quarter egg rolls. 101 E. Imperial Hwy., Brea, (714) 257-0101; $$

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