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Grub Guide

Tasty morsels from OC's best damn dining guide

SAN CLEMENTE

PITA WRAPS
Pita Wraps' colossuses aren't so much edibles as they are construction projects on the level of washing out the Augean stables—herds of wonderfully spiced lamb and beef chunks; valleys of tomatoes, onions and lettuce; all placed on a pita the size of a hamster velodrome, then welded with a brazenly tart tzatziki cucumber sauce. And the Acropolis of Pita Wraps is the souvlaki gyro: fat-free pork marinated in a zippy red-wine sauce, the best hog you'll chew on outside the South. 415 E. Avenida Pico, Ste. H, San Clemente, (949) 492-7779. $

SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO

Location Info

Map

Loreley Restaurant

1340 S. Sanderson Ave.
Anaheim, CA 92806

Category: Restaurant > German

Region: Anaheim

Plaza Garibaldi

500 N. Brookhurst St.
Anaheim, CA 92801

Category: Restaurant > Mexican

Region: Anaheim

Sal's Bit of Italy

918 S. Magnolia Ave.
Anaheim, CA 92804

Category: Restaurant > Bar Food

Region: Anaheim

Yogiraj

3107 W. Lincoln Ave.
Anaheim, CA 92801-6004

Category: Restaurant >

Region: Anaheim

Brea's Best Burgers

707 S. Brea Blvd.
Brea, CA 92821

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Brea

POFOLKS

7701 Beach Blvd.
Buena Park, CA 90621

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Buena Park

Silverado Cafe

28272 Silverado Canyon Road
Silverado, CA 92676

Category: Restaurant > Cafe

Region: Silverado

Avo's Bistro

580 Anton Drive
Costa Mesa, CA 92626

Category: Restaurant > French

Region: Costa Mesa

Hi-Time Wine Cellars

250 Ogle St.
Costa Mesa, CA 92627

Category: Restaurant > Wine Bar

Region: Costa Mesa

Lingonberry Cafe

1475 S. Coast Drive
Costa Mesa, CA 92626

Category: Restaurant > Cafe

Region: Costa Mesa

Pinot Provence

686 Anton Blvd.
Costa Mesa, CA 92626

Category: Restaurant > California

Region: Costa Mesa

Santouka Ramen

665 Paularino Ave.
Costa Mesa, CA 92626

Category: Restaurant > Japanese

Region: Costa Mesa

CARNICERÍA EL CAMPEÓN
All things being equal, we find that the less we comprehend of a menu, the higher the odds we're going to get authentic food. "Tamale" at Carnicería El Campeón was arranged on the menu near some other foods that only a Mexican mama could recognize. Unlike the other joints, their tamales are unencumbered by frills. It's a Bauhaus dish: cornhusk, moist masa, chicken. 31921 Camino Capistrano, San Juan Capistrano, (949) 240-3141. ¢

SANTA ANA

GEORGE'S THAI BISTRO
Served with rice or noodles, George's food tastes, looks and smells so delicious that your senses will beg you for return trips to this trippy little oasis. And if you've been a good boy, you can have some of the kiwi, mango or coconut ice cream for dessert. What's that? You don't like kiwi, mango or coconut, but you've still been a good boy?3732 S. Bristol St., Santa Ana, (714) 979-8366. $$

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' top is low. 515. S. Main St., Santa Ana, (714) 541-0350. $$NANCY PUEBLA RESTAURANT
Lurking within this seemingly mundane Mexican restaurant are delicious, complex rarities from the central state of Puebla, platters more familiar to an ethnography than an Orange County menu—dense mole poblano, pale goat menudo and guilotas, a chewy type of quail so region-specific that it's not even listed in most Spanish dictionaries. 1221 E. First St., Ste. C, Santa Ana, (714) 834-9004. $NEW PANDA CHINESE FAST FOOD
Combo C: fried rice, chow mein and any three items. God love 'em, they'll most likely give you four just for the hell of it. And all for, like, $5—if you can beat that, you must be in China. 3814 S. Bristol St., Ste. B, Santa Ana, (714) 540-2238. ¢NEWPORT SEAFOOD RESTAURANT
Lobster lovers come from all over for these crustaceans, heavily dosed with pepper that could make you reach spice heaven. It comes with dessert, including green beans and ice-cold oranges, that balance the meal out nicely. 4411 W. 1st St., Santa Ana, (714) 531-5146. $$$.SEAL BEACHO'MALLEY'S
O'Malley's covers all the bases of pub grub, with nachos, quesadillas and chicken wings on one side and Irish sausage rolls, corned beef, and bangers and mash on the other. Their shepherd's pie comes with a slagheap of tasty mashed potatoes on top that utterly hides the stew from the light (and oxygen) of day. 140 Main St., Seal Beach, (562) 430-0631. $$SUNSET BEACHCAPTAIN JACK'S SEAFOOD AND PRIME RIB
Opened June 25, 1965, this steak and seafood restaurant supposedly serves 53,000 pounds of Alaskan king crab per year—more than any other restaurant in the U.S. It prides itself on consistent quality and hearty portions. The bar is one of the few that still use the "Super Well," meaning that if you order gin, you get Bombay, and if you order vodka, you get Absolut. 16812 Pacific Coast Hwy., Sunset Beach, (562) 592-2514. $$STANTONTHE GOLDEN STEER
The Golden Steer is what a family restaurant used to be—not just inexpensive enough to feed a family, but tasty and wholesome enough to feed it well. It also hearkens back to the time when a family meal meant meat, meat, meat. The place is crowded, but good acoustics keep it from sounding like a mess hall and incredible service keeps that growl in your stomach from turning into a bad mood. 11052 Beach Blvd., Stanton, (714) 894-1208; www.goldensteer.com. $$TUSTINMcCHARLES HOUSE RESTAURANT AND TEA ROOM
This 1885 restored Victorian is resplendent, and the menu—featuring such items as the hearty shepherd's pie or the meatloaf sandwich—matches the décor in depth and scope right along with the vanilla-infused Cameo tea. 335 S. C St., Tustin, (714) 731-4063. $NOODLE AVENUE
Noodles. Lots of 'em. Thin. Thick. Stir-fried. In soup. Yellow. White. Thai. Vietnamese. Japanese. Welcome to Noodle Avenue, a hectic fast-food Tustin eatery that fuses various Asian noodle traditions into heaps and heaps of long, luscious strands. 13816 Red Hill Ave., Tustin, (714) 505-9070. $$VILLA PARKFIRST CLASS PIZZA
Go for the employee sampler, which features four different pizzas: the barbecue chicken, the zesty Italian, the Villa Park special with fresh basil and garlic, and the combo with pepperoni and sausage. 17853 Santiago Blvd., Villa Park, (714) 998-2961. $WESTMINSTERPEKING RESTAURANT
The jellyfish salad is quite tasty, and if you think of it as Chinese pasta, you won't squirm. The family dinners are fabulous with interesting choices, including an entire steamed fish. 8566 Westminster Ave., Westminster, (714) 893-3020. $$PHO HIEN VUONG DA KAO
How many sit-down Vietnamese eateries, let alone fast-food places, offer audacious dishes like a green papaya salad dotted with dried beef livers or an escargot bún soup? But among these, the sinh to is the true item of veneration: smoother and slightly sweeter than those of other hawkers—and extremely affordable at two bucks per serving. 9200 Bolsa Ave., Ste. 301, Westminster, (714) 897-4330. $PHO HOA
When fate or a bad date takes you to Little Saigon in the early morning, stop by this 24-hour dive to feast on steaming, massive bowls of pho. The touted pho hoa is great, not the best you'll ever taste, but with the largest, softest steak slices, massive cuts almost as big as poker cards and chopped just as thin. 9211 Bolsa Ave., Ste. 101, Westminster, (714) 899-4886; www.phohoa.com. $SAIGON BISTRO
The place has an interior seemingly boxed up and mailed from fin-de-siècle Paris. The distinctly cosmopolitan appearance of the restaurant carries over into the song selections (we hear English-, Spanish- and Vietnamese-language tunes) and menu (escargot, flan and Vietnamese offerings). 15470 Magnolia St., Westminster, (714) 895-2120. $$YORBA LINDATHE WILD ARTICHOKE
While the restaurant's motto, "Food prepared from the heart, with the soul in mind," is cumbersome (it's like a New Age math problem), all of chef/owner James D'Aquila's culinary creations are fabulous, simply fabulous. Stick to their specialty artichokes—either the simple Wild Artichoke salad tossed with various vegetables and sprinkled with bitter balsamic vinaigrette, or the Artichoke Napoleon, a puff pastry in which sautéed artichokes assume the luxuriousness of truffles. 4973-A Yorba Ranch Rd., Yorba Linda, (714) 777-9646; www.thewildartichoke.com. $$$MULTIPLE LOCATIONS

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