Grub Guide

Tasty morsels from the county's best damn dining guide

STANTON

THE 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 harks 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. $$

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

Location Info

Map

Siam Chili Paste

1739 W. La Palma Ave.
Anaheim, CA 92801

Category: Restaurant >

Region: Anaheim

Bismillah Halal Tandoori Restaurant

8901 Knott Ave.
Buena Park, CA 90620

Category: Restaurant > Indian

Region: Buena Park

Gen Kai Japanese Restaurant

3344 E. Coast Highway
Corona Del Mar, CA 92625

Category: Restaurant > Japanese

Region: Corona Del Mar

Pinot Provence

686 Anton Blvd.
Costa Mesa, CA 92626

Category: Restaurant > California

Region: Costa Mesa

Super Corokke

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

Category: Restaurant > Japanese

Region: Costa Mesa

Chanteclair

18912 Macarthur Blvd.
Irvine, CA 92612-1411

Category: Restaurant > Fine Dining

Region: Irvine

230 Forest Avenue Restaurant & Bar

230 Forest Ave.
Laguna Beach, CA 92651

Category: Restaurant > Eclectic

Region: Laguna Beach

Anastasia Cafe

460 Ocean Ave.
Laguna Beach, CA 92651

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Laguna Beach

Seaside Bakery

2108 W. Oceanfront
Newport Beach, CA 92663

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Newport Beach

Poul's Danish-american Bakery

770 N. Tustin St.
Orange, CA 92867

Category: Restaurant > Bakery

Region: Orange

TLAQUEPAQUE

101 W. Santa Fe Ave.
Placentia, CA 92870

Category: Restaurant > Mexican

Region: Placentia

Vine

211 N. El Camino Real
San Clemente, CA 92672

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: San Clemente

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TOMMY'S SUSHI
This could be any OC sushi bar, but when you pop that perfect piece of soy-bathed yellowtail into your mouth and feel the wasabi burn the nether reaches of your sinus cavities, you'll know you're at Tommy's. 1051 E. Main St., Tustin, (714) 544-5241. $

ZOV'S BISTRO AND BAKERY
In his 1992 thriller Hideaway, Dean Koontz's main characters dine at Zov's on calamari and black-bean soup that is "such a perfect sensual experience that the monochromatic bistro seemed ablaze with color." 17440 E. 17th St., Ste. H, Tustin, (714) 838-8855. $$

VILLA PARK

FIRST CLASS PIZZA
Go for the employee sampler, which features four different pizzas, including the barbecue chicken, zesty Italian, Villa Park special with fresh basil and garlic, and the combo with pepperoni and sausage. 17853 Santiago Blvd., Ste. 101, Villa Park, (714) 998-2961. $

WESTMINSTER

DUONG SON BBQ
Chicken, duck and pork—these are the sole listings on the Vietnamese/Chinese/English menu at Duong Son BBQ, a smokehouse between a jewelry store and a skin-care center in Little Saigon's anarchic Cultural Court district. The pork features a ruddy, crisp skin; is nearly fat-free; and is roasted until it's as soft as a marshmallow. Duong Son's pork is a meat for eternity, one of the best arguments yet against PETA. 9211 Bolsa Ave., Ste. 115, Westminster, (714) 897-2288. $

 

MÌ LA CAY
Mì rice noodles are actually Chinese, but many Vietnamese places have incorporated them into their menus. Funny how 1,000 years of colonization can do that. Mì La Cay is continuously one of the most popular restaurants in the genre of mì cookery. Bring your appetite, and order a heaping bowl of mì la cay dac biet (the house special). 8924 Bolsa Ave., Westminster, (714) 891-8775. $

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 the sodas! 7134 Westminster Blvd., Westminster, (714) 903-0900. $

 

VAN HANH VEGETARIAN RESTAURANT
Vietnamese cuisine includes a proud tofu tradition, and Van Hanh's menu represents its full, finest flowering. No limp kung pao and imitation orange chicken here. Instead, you'll find biting papaya concoctions drenched in chile powder and lime juice, noodle selections studded with tasty tofu and veggies, and more rice plates than in Uncle Ben's wildest dreams. 9455 Bolsa Ave., Ste. D, Westminster, (714) 531-4661. ¢

YORBA LINDA

LA BETTOLA
Delicious focaccia and a ramekin of butter-soft roasted garlic cloves glistening in olive oil arrive at your table when you sit down. Next, try the classic caesar salad (a better courtship tool than a dozen roses). 18504 Yorba Linda Blvd., Yorba Linda, (714) 695-0470. $$

MULTIPLE LOCATIONS

GYRO KING
It's a mighty gyro they spin at Gyro King: lamb and beef compressed into a hexagonal slab and twirled slowly on a spit so the meats meld into one another. When you order a gyro sandwich, a cook shaves lengths from this dense mass and lays them inside toasted pita bread alongside lettuce, tomatoes, onions and crumbles of feta cheese. Although the veggies are crispy, the feta salty and the requisite dash of tzatziki sauce creamy, the gyro's flavor remains bold: slightly spiced, soft but firm like licorice, with a dab of grease glistening on the dark skin that lends a fatty-sweet delight. 3601 Jamboree Rd., Ste. 4, Newport Beach, (949) 474-7300; also at 2626 Dupont Dr., Irvine, (949) 752-4976. $

OLDE SHIP PUB AND RESTAURANT
As authentic a British pub as you'll find anywhere in the county, with no surprises on the menu for anyone who has ever set foot inside a pub: fish and chips, corned beef and cabbage, Cornish pasties, and Scottish bridies. 709 N. Harbor, Fullerton, (714) 871-7447; also at 1120 W. 17th St., Santa Ana, (714) 550-6700; www.theoldeship.com. $$

ONO ONO
The feast at this local Hawaiian mini-chain starts with the barbecue: kalbi ribs fat with spiced, charred meat that drips from the bone; baked Kalua pork rubbed with ginger and hickory sauce; chicken marinated, battered or slathered with a Korean hot sauce that, in a pinch, you could use to distress concrete. Other Hawaiian standards—poke tuna, saimin noodle soup, the taro-spiked lau lau—are delicious and plentiful. 17582 E. 17th St., Tustin, (714) 505-0750; also at 22205 El Paseo, Ste. A, Rancho Santa Margarita, (949) 888-1230. $$

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