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Grub Guide

A sampling of Orange County's best damn dining guide

SANTA ANA

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. $

EL GALLO GIRO
Leopaldo Gonzalez cranks tortas out in seven excruciating seconds, but they're worth the wait. The tortas are delicious and filling beyond description. The bread is warm, and the fresh meats are savory and perfectly complemented by the condiments. 1442 S. Bristol St., Santa Ana, (714) 549-2011; www.gallogiro.com.¢

Location Info

Map

E-San Rod-Sap

1719 W. La Palma Ave.
Anaheim, CA 92801

Category: Restaurant > Thai

Region: Anaheim

TAPS Fish House & Brewery

101 E. Imperial Highway
Brea, CA 92821

Category: Bars and Clubs

Region: Brea

The Golden Truffle

1767 Newport Blvd.
Costa Mesa, CA 92627

Category: Restaurant > Eclectic

Region: Costa Mesa

El Matador Restaurant

1768 Newport Blvd.
Costa Mesa, CA 92627

Category: Restaurant > Mexican

Region: Costa Mesa

Orchid Restaurant and Lounge

3033 Bristol St., # D
Costa Mesa, CA 92626

Category: Bars and Clubs

Region: Costa Mesa

Mike's Bar-B-Que

11513 Knott Ave.
Cypress, CA 90630

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Cypress

Moonlight Pizza & Chicken

9895 Warner Ave.
Fountain Valley, CA 92708

Category: Restaurant > Hot Chicken

Region: Fountain Valley

The British Grocer

305 N. Harbor Blvd.
Fullerton, CA 92832

Category: Restaurant > English

Region: Fullerton

Hot Wok Restaurant

1111 S. Lemon St.
Fullerton, CA 92832

Category: Restaurant > Chinese

Region: Fullerton

Mandarin Pavilion

1050 W. Valencia Drive
Fullerton, CA 92833-3305

Category: Restaurant > Asian

Region: Fullerton

Roadside Burgers

513 N. Harbor Blvd.
Fullerton, CA 92832

Category: Restaurant > Burgers

Region: Fullerton

Boulangerie Pierre & Patisserie

14354 Brookhurst St.
Garden Grove, CA 92843

Category: Restaurant > Bakery

Region: Garden Grove

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HANS' HOMEMADE ICE CREAM
Hans Biermann likes to make ice cream and carries some 55 delectable flavors. He also serves up real meals, such as the flaky croissant filled with avocado, almonds, lettuce, tomato, Swiss cheese and mayo.3640 S. Bristol St., Santa Ana, (714) 979-8815.¢

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-type 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 the beef noodle soup for which it is named, does serve other things: 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. 17th St., Ste. H, Santa Ana, (714) 554-2696. $

 

SEAL BEACHPHILLIPS' FAMILY RESTAURANT
After a lifetime of frozen supermarket chicken pies, these are a revelation. The crust is thick and flavorful, and unlike its frozen brothers, Phillips' isn't stingy with the chicken. And Phillips' doesn't bother with vegetables. Who needs 'em? Just about everything chicken is worthy here! 13936 Seal Beach Blvd., Seal Beach, (562) 596-1437. $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. $STANTONPARK AVENUE
Gourmet American food in Stanton—who'da thunk it? The whole stuffed chicken, covered in pan drippings, is as fatty as a marbled pork chop and stuffed with a whipped concoction of creamy mashed potatoes and spinach you couldn't pay us not to eat.11200 Beach Blvd., Stanton, (714) 901-4400; www.parkavedining.com. $$$TUSTINKAPPO SUZUMARU
Small though it is, Kappo Suzumaru is really two restaurants—a fast-paced sushi bar with comforting (California) and confounding (fermented soy bean?) rolls, and a leisurely main dining room separated by paper lanterns and banners stitched with slogans in katakana and kanji script. At some point, get the ochazuke: rice plum soup that's hearty but viciously tart—something that will comfort and enthrall you the rest of the day. 17292 McFadden Ave., Ste. B, Tustin, (714) 665-1300. $$NAAN & KABOB
Naan & Kabob should be renamed Rice & Kabob, since the Tustin Persian eatery prepares the latter platter 36 different ways. Rice with lamb kabob. Rice with fish kabob. Rice with beef, chicken and shrimp kabob. Rice with a type of falafel kabob. Redundant? No: regal. 416 E. First St., Tustin, (714) 66-KABOB. $VILLA PARKROCKWELL'S CAFE AND BAKERY
This neighborhood café and bakery is an ode to Norman with Rockwellian gilt-edged plates and prints covering the bathroom walls. Besides the interior-design salute, Rockwell's serves four great versions of eggs Benedict, all with hollandaise sauce made from scratch. 17853 Santiago Blvd., Villa Park, (714) 921-0622. $WESTMINSTERCAJUN CORNER
Cajun Corner is the latest in a rash of Little Saigon restaurants that attract mostly young Vietnamese looking for Louisiana seafood favorites like crab and crawfish, beer, and a messy dinner—bibs and butcher paper on your table at Cajun Corner are gospel. The special is a whole Dungeness crab, brought out in a plastic bag heavy with chile rub, awaiting your cracking to reveal soft, buttery meat. 15430 Brookhurst St., Westminster, (714) 775-7435. $$PAGOLAC
Pagolac will show you another side of beef—seven, to be exact. "Bo 7 Mon," the restaurant sign's subtitle, is Vietnamese for seven courses of beef, the restaurant's specialty. Ungodly slabs of sirloin are transformed into wisps of flavor-packed beef. 14580 Brookhurst St., Westminster, (714) 531-4740. $$PHO HIEN VUONG DAKAO
How many sit-down Vietnamese eateries, let alone fast-food places, offer audacious dishes like a green papaya salad dotted with dried beef livers or an escargot bún soup? But among these, the sinh to is the true item of veneration: smoother and slightly sweeter than those of other hawkers—and extremely affordable at two bucks per serving. 9200 Bolsa Ave., Ste. 306, Westminster, (714) 897-4330. $THANH'S
It's as if you're in the other Saigon (or Ho Chi Minh City), sans the oppressive humidity. The menu—108 items ranging from bò nuong (barbecue beef) to hu tieu (noodle soup) to com (rice)—is a gastronomic delight. 9872 Bolsa Ave., Westminster, (714) 531-3888. $YORBA LINDAFITNESS PIZZA & GRILL
Their oval-shaped, thin-crust pizzas have deceptively healthy names like Triathlete, Iron Man and Gymnast (it is pizza after all, but they claim they're all very low in fat). Either way, they taste good. 18246 Imperial Hwy., Yorba Linda, (714) 993-5421; www.fitnessgrill.com. $MULTIPLE LOCATIONS

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