By Kiera Wright-Ruiz
By Cleo Tobbi
By Moss Perricone
By Anne Marie Panoringan
By Edwin Goei
By Edwin Goei
By Edwin Goei
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 email@example.com with your complaints!
DINNER FOR TWO:
¢ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Less than $10!
2801 W. Ball Road
Anaheim, CA 92804
1701 Corinthian Way
Newport Beach, CA 92660
Region: Newport Beach
26701-B Verdugo St.
San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675
Region: San Juan Capistrano
Fourth and Mortimer sts.
Santa Ana, CA 92701
Region: Santa Ana
16341 Pacific Coast Highway
Sunset Beach, CA 92649
Region: Huntington Beach
7360 Westminster Blvd.
Westminster, CA 92683
9684 Westminster Blvd.
Garden Grove, CA 92844
Region: Garden Grove
4973-A Yorba Ranch Road
Yorba Linda, CA 92886
Region: Yorba Linda
$ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $10-$20
$$ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $20-$40
$$$ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ¡Eres muy rico!
This old burger stand in the middle of Anaheim's Little Arabia district offers delicious halal burgers and shakes and a galaxy of Middle Eastern fast-food specials—best is the cheese sticks, dignified rods with a sweet crust encasing milky cheese with parsley—refreshing, sweet, Muslim, American, heaven. 10441 S. Magnolia, Anaheim, (714) 828-2770. $
Over the course of colonized centuries, the Romanians picked up cooking tips from each oppressor—grilled kebabs and searing coffee from the Turks, unctuous beef stroganoff from the Russians, goulash and paprika from the Hungarians, and the sarmales, reminiscent in their pungency of Mediterranean stuffed grape leaves. All are present at Dunarea, and all are magnificent. 821 N. Euclid Ave., Anaheim, (714) 772-7233; www.dunarea.us. $
You're probably the second non-African to visit Merhaba after me, so the owner will be extra attentive and repeatedly ask if you enjoy her East African recipes. You will. East African cuisine sticks mostly to stews: chewy cubes of tibisy beef; lamb ribs battling with furious peppers for control of your tongue; the famous Ethiopian doro wat, spicy chicken cooked in butter, hot like the pits of hell. The vegetarians in your party will content themselves with the shiro, an Eritrean chickpea mush similar to hummus. 2801 W. Ball Rd., Ste. 5, Anaheim, (714) 826-8859; www.merhabarestaurant.com. $
The subcontinental meal known as a thali is the original Hungry-Man Meal: a metal tray that houses thimbles, cups and bowls heaped with vegetarian entrées from the southern Indian state of Gujarat. The thali at Yogiraj includes anything from sweetened black-eyed peas, spiced lentils and rasam, a sour tomato-based soup, to a pea-potato stew and concoctions of cashews and peppers. Wash everything down with a rose sherbet, a creamy pink drink that tastes like strawberry Quik but with a hint of rose water—the best damn drink in the world. 3107 W. Lincoln Ave., Anaheim, (714) 995-5900. $
An Armenian take on poultry. Although non-poultry products are available, eschewing chicken here is like going to Laguna Beach without going to the beach. The chicken itself is cooked piping-hot with a crisp golden skin that puts every other chicken skin we've eaten to shame. 2424 W. Ball Rd., Stes. S & T, Anaheim; (714) 229-2060; www.zankouchicken.com. $
Here's what you need to know about Argentine food as it relates to Gaucho Grill: meat. Lots of it, most of it beef, served many ways. The ultimate meat-eater's special is the plato mixto, a beast of a dinner including a half-chicken, a skirt steak, chorizo, morcilla (a black sausage) and mollejas (grilled beef sweetbreads—and a sweetbread is a hypothalamus gland, kiddies). 210 W. Birch St., Ste. 102, Brea, (714) 990-9140; www.gauchogrill.com. $$
CHONG KI WA TOFU
The tiny Korean eatery offers nine different tofu-centric soups, ranging from tofu and oysters to their namesake house specialty. At your request, the server will crack an egg into your dish, giving the tofu a yolkier taste. You can order any tofu dish on a sliding spice scale to give it an even better seasoning, ranging from one (white, clear broth) to five (hydrochloric acid). 5238 Beach Blvd., Buena Park, (714) 562-8989. $
The filet mignon at this steakhouse is round and plump—like a muffin. Its ideal cut, deep flavor and tender texture make it possible to eat the entire thing without encountering a morsel of fat or gristle. In essence, it's a tremendous piece of meat. 2441 E. Coast Hwy., Corona del Mar, (949) 673-6585; www.thebungalowrestaurant.com. $$$
An hour or two getting fat, drunk and happy at Aire is the kind of worldly pleasure that could turn Gandhi into a Republican. Fusion is the name—the wasabi-smeared Kansas City steak strips are luscious, even if they come with a dumb moniker—and the array of drinks and beautiful people will have you celebrating like Nero with a fiddle. 2937 Bristol St., Costa Mesa, (714) 751-7099; www.aireglobal.com. $$$
While the Avanti menu is strictly vegetarian, with faux meats and even cheese, the steak-and-potatoes crowd will hardly notice or care. Every entrée, appetizer and dessert springs with flavor and heftiness; is there anything more mainstream than a morning cup of joe washing down crunchy waffles? 259 E. 17th St., Costa Mesa, (949) 548-2224; www.avantinatural.com. $$
GREEK TOWN GRILL
You can sing the praises of Greek Town Grill in Costa Mesa's happening East 17th Street District for its sleek décor (ceiling-to-floor windows, mosaicked counter, sexy lighting and chairs), delicious takes on such Greek-American classics as pitas and dolmades, and the fact that owner Jim Marutsos works with fresh ingredients. But also hum some bars for the pear salad, a glistening hill of leaves, candied walnuts, long pear slices and melted gorgonzola. 279 E. 17th St., Costa Mesa, (949) 515-2788; www.greektowngrill.com. $