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Grub Guide

Tasty morsels from the county's best damn dining guide

Visit the rest of Orange County's best damn dining guide at ocweekly.com/food, where it says "Where to Eat Now" on the right side of the screen. If there are any bugs with it, e-mail Gustavo at garellano@ocweekly.com with your complaints!

DINNER FOR TWO:

¢ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Less than $10!

Location Info

Map

Foscari

5645 E. La Palma Ave.
Anaheim, CA 92807

Category: Restaurant > Italian

Region: Anaheim

Bismillah Halal Tandoori Restaurant

8901 Knott Ave.
Buena Park, CA 90620

Category: Restaurant > Indian

Region: Buena Park

Sushi Wave

2075 Newport Blvd., 108
Costa Mesa, CA 92627

Category: Restaurant > Sushi

Region: Costa Mesa

Silky Sullivan's Restaurant & Irish Pub

10201 Slater Ave.
Fountain Valley, CA 92708

Category: Restaurant > Irish

Region: Fountain Valley

Jang Toh

9872 Garden Grove Blvd.
Garden Grove, CA 92844

Category: Restaurant > Korean

Region: Garden Grove

Nuoc Mia Vien Tay

14370 Brookhurst St.
Garden Grove, CA 92843

Category: Restaurant > Grocery

Region: Garden Grove

Diho Bakery

14130 Culver Drive
Irvine, CA 92604

Category: Restaurant > Bakery

Region: Irvine

Taiko Japanese Restaurant

14775 Jeffrey Road
Irvine, CA 92618

Category: Restaurant > Japanese

Region: Irvine

Casa Olamendi's

1100 S. Coast Highway, Ste. 202
Laguna Beach, CA 92651

Category: Restaurant > Mexican

Region: Laguna Beach

Bistro Le Crillom

2523 Eastbluff Drive
Newport Beach, CA 92660

Category: Restaurant > French

Region: Newport Beach

Hoag Hospital Cafeteria

1 Hoag Drive
Newport Beach, CA 92663

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Newport Beach

Sol Grill

110 McFadden Place
Newport Beach, CA 92663

Category: Restaurant > Eclectic

Region: Newport Beach

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$ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $10-$20

$$ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $20-$40

$$$ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ¡Eres muy rico!

ANAHEIM

LA CASA DE FERNANDO
While this dimly lit nightclub specializes mostly in different versions of the national dish gallo pinto (black beans cooked with rice and eggs), stick to the weighty wonder that is the tamal tico. Wrapped in a canopy-sized banana leaf, this Costa Rican staple requires hiking boots to maneuver through its myriad flavors. Start at the pointy sweet end, studded with raisins and dates, then hack through the wet masa toward pork, red peppers, peas and carrots; a sprightly olive demarcates the sweet/spicy divide. 2500 W. Lincoln Ave., Anaheim, (714) 527-2010.

 

FOSCARI
The kitchen is right out in the open, so it's not like they're hiding anything. This place harks back to the San Francisco Fisherman's Wharf Italian diners with its elegance and distinct-tasting dishes like risotto and salmon. Make sure to get a plate of carpaccio, thinly sliced raw beef topped with shaved Parmesan and lemon-herb dressing that melts immediately upon touching your tongue. 5645 E. La Palma, Ste. 170, Anaheim, (714) 779-1777. $$$

 

MATIKI ISLAND BARBEQUE
Whether tucked between two bread slices or served alongside rondures of rice and macaroni salad, the beef at Matiki Island Barbeque is among the most memorably delicious piece of cow you'll ever chew: ruddy, soft, not burnt at all, a veritable luau on your palate. That beef and other entrées are the sole enticers here—no need for Polynesian bric-a-brac when the food is a slice of the island alongside two scoops of rice and one of macaroni salad. 3070 W. Lincoln Ave., Anaheim, (714) 821-5228. $

EL POLLO FINO
Though it's in an area long overrun by Mexicans, all races line up in equal numbers outside El Pollo Fino, a charbroiled chicken shop decorated with photos and paintings of fighting roosters, a bulletin-board collage of boxing cut man extraordinaire Chuck Bodak, and three portraits of Aztec nobles cradling naked, curvaceous damsels. The best spectacle, however, occurs in the kitchen, where the cooks scamper from freezer to butcher counter to grill to takeout counter in a ballet of hen preparation. 723 N. Anaheim Blvd., Anaheim, (714) 533-1160. $

VICTORY BAKERY
Order the Lebanese sub—it doesn't have a special ethnic name, it's just a sub. After slicing a crunchy baguette in half, tossing in tomatoes, parsley, onions and the meat of your yen and sluicing everything with suety garlic sauce, Victory Bakery places the sandwich inside a press iron and clamp it down for about five minutes. Afterwards, a garlic deluge. 951 S. Euclid St., Anaheim, (714) 776-4493. $

BREA

RENAISSANCE BISTRO
As the name probably suggests, Renaissance Bistro serves primarily northern Italian fare, but the menu is dotted with just enough unexpected items to suggest the chefs aren't unduly locked into convention. 955 E. Birch St., Ste. L, Brea, (714) 256-2233; www.renaissancebistro.com. $$

BUENA PARK

BISMILLAH HALAL TANDOORI RESTAURANT
The karahi lamb will blow your mouth into a new orbit. Prepared with a dictionary's worth of herbs and spices, the taste is an unbelievable medley of flavors. And the nihara's beef is so tender it's like butter. 8901 Knott Ave., Ste. D, Buena Park, (714) 827-7201. $

CORONA DEL MAR

GALLO'S ITALIAN DELI
The thirtysomething-year-old deli is little more than counters, chips and sodas—which is to say, it's the perfect beach shack restaurant, even if it's on PCH. Request the Gallo's combo; the server will no doubt reply (as he once did to me), "Are you sure about that?" When he grabs sausages and begins hacking off massive slices, you'll understand his skepticism—the sandwich is bigger than most house cats. 3900 E. Coast Hwy., Corona del Mar, (949) 675-7404. $

COSTA MESA

LA CAVE
Open since 1962, La Cave continues to be the county's place for a touch of romance and a hunk of meat. Their steaks, fine slabs of beef burnt or bloodied to your liking and as big as a school desktop, fill the innards. Their music—cheesy lounge, stellar jazz—fills the soul. And the ambiance will get you lucky afterwards. 1695 Irvine Ave., Costa Mesa, (949) 646-7944; www.lacaverestaurant.com. $$

COUNTRY INN GARDEN CAFÉ
The Edenic sense of isolation you get visiting here is due not only to the soothing waterfall and atrium-like patio but also to owner Kim Simpson's pleasing menu. She uses only the freshest ingredients and a home-style flare in her delicious (and reasonably priced) food. You gotta try her scones. And Cobb salad. And don't think of leaving without some peach cobbler. 130 E. 17th St., Costa Mesa, (949) 722-1177. $$

SUSHI WAVE
This ain't no rock & roll sushi place with piercing music and pretty peeps. It doesn't have to be. With the freshest halibut drowning in ponzu sauce, the beefiest slabs of tuna and the most delicate piles of octopus sashimi, this is a grand sushi place. 2075 Newport Blvd., Ste. 108, Costa Mesa, (949) 722-8736; www.sushi-wave.com. $$

TAQUERÍA EL GRANJENAL
Named after a Michoacán rancho that has sent thousands of its residents to Orange County, the colorful restaurant makes the best tacos in the county. They deviate from taco protocol by using full-sized corn tortillas and pile on chunks of your choice of grilled meat. The salsa is extraordinary, a dark-red lava extract whose burn factor is unknown outside Paricutín. 899 W. 19th St., Costa Mesa. (949) 645-4964. $

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