Grub Guide

Tasty morsels from the county's best damn dining guide

WHOLE PITA GREEK ISLAND GRILLE
The Whole Pita's menu is simple—variations on gyros and salads, universal Mediterranean appetizers such as hummus and olives. But from this predictability emerges some of the finest Greek cuisine since the dearly departed Café Plaka. Pitas are Doric-big; the casseroles are hearty, meaty and teeming with layers of flavor. Remember to squirt in some fotia, the restaurant's hellish emerald-green hot sauce, but drink lots of water afterward—fire! 3940 S. Bristol St., Ste. 113, Santa Ana, (714) 708-3000. $

SEAL BEACH

WALT'S WHARF
One of the best—and most popular—seafood restaurants in the county, Walt's Wharf is perhaps most famous for things having nothing to do with fish. Those would be the oak-grilled artichokes and the epic wait for a table that could make one very cranky if the food weren't so good and the bar weren't fully stocked. 201 Main St., Seal Beach, (562) 598-4433. $$

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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STANTON

MAD GREEK
Reasons to go to the Mad Greek: this place began the zucchini stick "craze"; the Greek salad comes in Herculean portions; uncouth vegetarians have proclaimed the falafel sandwich as "fuckin' radness"; and anything on the menu above $6 you won't be able to finish yourself. 12120 Beach Blvd., Stanton, (714) 898-5181. $

SUNSET BEACH

HARBOR 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. $

TUSTIN

PINA'S BISTRO
From her earthy navy-bean soup to voluptuous Naples-style pizza with homemade fennel sausage, Pina Ercolamento, a native of Italy, puts Neapolitan pride into all of the creations in her tiny Tustin trattoria. 640 W. First St., Tustin, (714) 730-5442. $$

PHILLY'S FAMOUS CHEESE STEAK
Though smaller than the monsters hawked at John's Philly Grille in Anaheim or Costa Mesa's Frank's Philadelphia, Philly's Famous's cheesesteak surpasses the two in the most crucial cheesesteak factor: the cheese. It overwhelms your senses like a good cheese should, like the best quesadillas: sharp, comforting, gooey. The cheesy cheese choice marries Cheez Whiz, American white and provolone into a tasty, wonderful triad, each fromage strong and distinct. And despite the dairy onslaught, the beef's savor doesn't wilt, remaining juicy like the finest shawermas. 648 E. First St., Tustin, (714) 505-6067. $

VILLA PARK

ROCKWELL'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. $

WESTMINSTER

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. $$

 

SARA'S MERCADO
For the past four years, Sara's Mercado, a storefront in a section of Westminster Boulevard not occupied by Little Saigon, has imported Colombian produce directly from the homeland. Its three badly lit aisles tower above shoppers' heads with Colombian favorites: smoked oysters, slabs of arequipe (a decadent, silky milk candy), fruity cooking sauces and three different types of salty-sweet fried plantain chips for snacking. Don't forget to gulp down all the sodas! 7134 Westminster Blvd., Westminster, (714) 903-0900. $

 

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. $$

TOP BAGUETTE
Top Baguette trumps its independent competitors primarily because of its care with ingredients. Their bánh mì heo nuong, ruddy and strongly flavored with hoisin sauce, tastes almost like a moist pork jerky. A meatball bánh mì is tender and cooked in a savory gravy subtly flavored with nuoc mam, the fish sauce Vietnamese pour onto their food like other Asians use soy sauce. For breakfast, Top Baguette even offers a bánh mì of two eggs over easy with pickled carrots, daikon, jalapeño and sprigs of cilantro. 9062 Bolsa Ave., Westminster, (714) 379-7726. ¢

YORBA LINDA

THE 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 the 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

ATHENS WEST
Many Greek restaurants offer French fries on their menus, but few treat them with the care you find at both Athens West locations. They fry long, skinny potato strips until golden and firm, and then dust them heroically with—is it parsley I taste? Or oregano? The feta cheese on top is melted slightly, just enough to lend creaminess without producing a gooey disaster. Put some of Athens West's kebabs on top, and you have impromptu Greek chili billies. 7101 Yorktown Ave., Ste. 106, Huntington Beach, (714) 536-6112; 303 Main St., Seal Beach, (562) 431-6500. $

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