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Grub Guide

Tasty morsels from the county's best damn dining guide

 

DUKE'S
Everyone from surfers in damp trunks to families celebrating special occasions feels welcome at this restaurant inspired by the Islands and the Pacific Rim. 317 Pacific Coast Hwy., Huntington Beach, (714) 374-6446. $$

EAST COAST HOT DOGS
No tables inside—just counters and stools. No air conditioning—that's why there are two tables outside. There's a great Italian roast beef sandwich, a multifolded pastrami, fries, onion rings and tater tots. But people line up five deep for the 11 hot dog varieties, ranging from Chicago to chili-cheese to something called the Wow! Dog—a blackened kielbasa, sautéed onions and a schmear of thick, gritty mustard worthy of its exclamatory name. 19092 Beach Blvd., Huntington Beach, (714) 378-0364. ¢

Location Info

Map

Merhaba Restaurant

2801 W. Ball Road
Anaheim, CA 92804

Category: Restaurant > African

Region: Anaheim

BOUTIQUE SAMOA

1217 S. Western Ave.
Anaheim, CA 92804

Category: Restaurant > Polynesian

Region: Anaheim

Sarkis Pastry

2424 W. Ball Road
Anaheim, CA 92804

Category: Restaurant > Middle Eastern

Region: Anaheim

Thai Laos Market

1721 W. La Palma Ave.
Anaheim, CA 92801

Category: Restaurant > Grocery

Region: Anaheim

Hot Dog On A Stick

2153 Brea Mall Way
Brea, CA 92821

Category: Restaurant > Fast Food

Region: Brea

POFOLKS

7701 Beach Blvd.
Buena Park, CA 90621

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Buena Park

Trabuco Oaks Steak House

20782 Trabuco Oaks Drive
Coto De Caza, CA 92679

Category: Restaurant > Steakhouse

Region: Coto de Caza

Cafe Jardin at Sherman Gardens

2647 E. Coast Highway
Corona Del Mar, CA 92625

Category: Restaurant > French

Region: Corona Del Mar

Hi-Time Wine Cellars

250 Ogle St.
Costa Mesa, CA 92627

Category: Restaurant > Wine Bar

Region: Costa Mesa

Super Corokke

675 Paularino Ave., Ste. C
Costa Mesa, CA 92626

Category: Restaurant > Japanese

Region: Costa Mesa

Scott's Seafood Grill & Bar

3300 Bristol St.
Costa Mesa, CA 92626

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Costa Mesa

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SEBASTIANI'S ITALIAN BISTRO
Owner Pablo Benavente references his Peruvian roots during lunch and Italian dinners. Before you chow through an extensive, expensive gustatory tour of Southern Italy—highlights include powerfully herbed cannelloni, filling risotto and multiple chicken dishes—Benavente trots out a thimble of ají, the deceptively spicy Andean condiment, for your bread-spreading pleasure. 6078 Warner Ave., Huntington Beach, (714) 841-3619; www.sebastianis.net. $$

IRVINE

CHANTECLAIR
Both coffin dodger and whelp alike enjoy a sterling menu prepared by executive chef Yves Fournier, one in a long line of dazzling Chanteclair chefs that includes Pascal Olhats. Fournier maintains Chanteclair's multiyear tradition of Zagat listings with such items as his filet mignon, a dish that drips with enough blood to qualify as a Red Cross donation. Also lustrous is the steak Diane, a perfect compromise for no-frills meat fans and nuance-demanding foodies. 18912 MacArthur Blvd., Irvine, (949) 752-8001. $$$

DIHO BAKERY
The Japanese are the creators of nikuman, the world's cutest sandwich, which consists of a candied, spongy flour wrapped around gingered meats and vegetables. At Diho Bakery, nikuman-type sandwiches are elevated to an art form on par with calligraphy. The taro, in particular, is a pleasant surprise—not your tiki party's dull, watery poi paste, but instead a jam waiting to be copyrighted by See's. 14130 Culver Dr., Ste. J, Irvine, (949) 857-6415. $

SAM WOO SEAFOOD & BARBECUE EXPRESS
As everyone knows, gourmet cuisine has to be presented with class. Our oyster dish came designed like a fish, with cucumbers sliced into the shape of a fish's tail, while the oysters, drenched in black bean sauce, formed the meaty body of the fish. Now that's talent! 15333 Culver St., Ste. 720, Irvine, (949) 262-0888. $$

WHEEL OF LIFE
Whether it's your first visit to Irvine's Wheel of Life Restaurant or your 30th, the welcome remains the same: a smile, a pat on the back and a vigorous handshake offered by owners Victor and Kim Lim. Even if the only interaction between owner and customer here were the bill, the Wheel's fresh, flavorful, flesh-free food (prepared mostly via a Thai cooking prism) would continue to attract the most demanding gourmand. 14370 Culver Dr., Irvine, (949) 551-8222. $$

LA HABRA

CHICKEN BOX
A tiny room that always seems packed, Chicken Box fries up all the bird parts you'd expect with just enough grease to keep things tasty, as well as ribs, batter-fried fish and reasonably healthy stuff like salads. And you gotta love a place that sells boysenberry punch—a supertart, purple elixir probably mixed nowadays only at one other concern, Knott's Berry Farm, and then probably only as a tourist curio. 330 E. Whittier Blvd., La Habra, (714) 525-1345. $

LA PALMA

PAESANO'S NEW YORK PIZZA
You probably slap together half of Paesano's menu at least once a week for dinner: sauce-drenched entrées such as mostaccioli, spaghetti and lasagna that aren't so much Old World as they are Hoboken. So why bother visiting this 26-year-old eatery? Meatballs—lacy, herbed, delish. And subs. Good subs. 5440 Orangethorpe Ave., La Palma, (714) 521-4748.

LAGUNA, LAGUNA, LAGUNA!

ALISO BEACH SNACK BAR
This South Laguna landmark anchored Aliso Pier until the pier's 1999 demolition but remains unchanged since its 1972 opening, save for the prices. Yet a wooden menu dating back to the start shows that even those aren't dramatically different. The wait is always long, but don't hold it against owner Barbara Perry—she's usually the only person working. She no longer makes the funnel cake that seared itself into many lingual memories many years ago, unfortunately, so salve your disappointment with a sip of a powerful banana shake and a surprisingly tasteful chicken gyro. 31131 S. Pacific Coast Hwy., Laguna Beach, (949) 499-6811. ¢

THE COTTAGE
What's the secret of this Laguna Beach restaurant's decades of success? Good food and lots of it; comfy chairs and friendly service; charming framed photographs of Laguna's original greeter; and a full, sated belly every time you leave. 308 N. Coast Hwy., Laguna Beach, (949) 494-3023. $

 

DIZZ'S AS IS
The dishes here are by far some of the best food you'll ever eat in OC. Rack of lamb perfumed with rosemary melts on the tongue. Filet mignon is plump and full of seared-in flavor. 2794 S. Coast Hwy., Laguna Beach, (949) 494-5250. $$

THE JOLLY ROGER
This plain-folks restaurant's best dish is as plain as you can get: fish and chips. Fit to satisfy Ishmael's cravings, the fish is soaked in a thick batter that seals in the flavor just like the fish and chips from around London. 400 S. Coast Hwy., Laguna Beach, (949) 494-3137. $

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