Grub Guide

Tasty morsels from OC's best damn dining guide

PUPUSERÍA SAN SIVAR
The hole-in-the-strip-mall takes special care with its pupusas, which have a crispy yet malleable crust encasing thick, sticky cheese. Meanwhile, an oily, impossibly sugary plantain lying alongside refried beans is like a battle between the lush tropics and the spartan plains of El Salvador on the tongue; a side of sweet sour cream negotiates a tasteful truce. 1940 Harbor Blvd., Costa Mesa, (949) 650-2952. $

TURNER NEW ZEALAND
With offices in Germany, New Zealand and Newport Beach, Turner is world-renowned for providing hormone- and antibiotic-free meats and seafood to chefs at posh venues. Their Costa Mesa nosherie cooks the meat to their gore-ific standards. The double cuts are thick and tender, not at all gamy­—more like lightly peppered beef. The king salmon, meanwhile, features crispy skin and is served with sautéed leeks, saffron potatoes and a citrus shallot confit. 650 Anton Blvd., Costa Mesa, (714) 668-0880; www.turnernewzealand.com. $$$

CYPRESS

Location Info

Map

Merhaba Restaurant

2801 W. Ball Road
Anaheim, CA 92804

Category: Restaurant > African

Region: Anaheim

Yi Dynasty Korean BBQ

1701 Corinthian Way
Newport Beach, CA 92660

Category: Restaurant > Barbecue

Region: Newport Beach

RENDEZVOUS

26701-B Verdugo St.
San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: San Juan Capistrano

China Olive

3420 S. Bristol St.
Santa Ana, CA 92704

Category: Restaurant > Chinese

Region: Santa Ana

Ricas Tortas Ahogadas

Fourth and Mortimer sts.
Santa Ana, CA 92701

Category: Restaurant > Mexican

Region: Santa Ana

Yellow Basket

2860 S. Main St.
Santa Ana, CA 92704

Category: Restaurant > Burgers

Region: Santa Ana

The Crema Cafe

322 Main St.
Seal Beach, CA 90740

Category: Restaurant > Cafe

Region: Seal Beach

HK FOOD MARKET

14551 Red Hill Ave.
Tustin, CA 92780-6238

Category: Restaurant > Asian

Region: Tustin

Harbor House Cafe

16341 Pacific Coast Highway
Sunset Beach, CA 90742

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Sunset Beach

Chez Rose

7360 Westminster Blvd.
Westminster, CA 92683

Category: Restaurant > French

Region: Westminster

Tai Buu Paris

9684 Westminster Blvd.
Garden Grove, CA 92844

Category: Restaurant > French

Region: Garden Grove

THE WILD ARTICHOKE

4973-A Yorba Ranch Road
Yorba Linda, CA 92886

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Yorba Linda

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IRIE JAMAICAN RESTAURANT
This mom-and-pop place serves an excellent ackee and salt fish that is a must-have. But you would be remiss if you passed on some of the other fine dishes, including oxtail, cow foot, curry goat and jerk chicken. 9062 Valley View St., Cypress, (714) 484-0661. $

DANA POINT

PROUD MARY'S
Opened in 1977 by Mary Merrill and her five children, this most certainly qualifies as a family-run establishment. Located in Dana Wharf on the waterfront, Proud Mary's serves breakfast and lunch. Their menu—at least their breakfast one—features lots of eggs scrambled into such dishes as breakfast burritos and omelets. 34689 St. of the Golden Lantern, Dana Point, (949) 493-5853. $

DIAMOND BAR

ASIAN DELI
Asian Deli operated for years from a hectic Orange strip mall, a spotless Indonesian dive where patrons happily munched on vast rice dishes that resembled hail flurries along with satay skewers of sweet, spicy and smoky savors. Now based in Diamond Bar, it still saunters through the Indonesian cookbook—one of the world's most deliciously anarchic due to the country's archipelagic nature and position between various trade routes—as if bankrolled by President Megawati Sukarnoputri. 23545 Palomino Dr., Ste. F, Diamond Bar, (909) 861-1427; www.asian-deli.com. $

FOUNTAIN VALLEY

EBISU JAPANESE NOODLE RESTAURANT
This restaurant is a sleek ramen mecca that serves miso ramen, a curative soybean-flavored elixir, poured over a tangled cake of supple noodles rife with bean sprouts, bamboo shoots, hard-boiled egg halves and scallions. 18924-A Brookhurst St., Fountain Valley, (714) 964-5993; www.ebisuramen.com. $

FULLERTON

HOTBELLIES
While offering all the dishes once balanced on the arms of roller-skating waitresses, Hotbellies also incorporates Asian cuisine, the better to serve the new multicultural, multitasteful American race. Get with the times, Potbellies announces via a menu ranging from cheesy Philadelphia beef to soy sauce-baptized bulgogi (Korean barbecue)—this is the 21st century. 1860 W. Orangethorpe Ave., Fullerton, (714) 870-4340. $

MANDARIN PAVILION
The windowless room nestled near a nondescript corner of working-class Fullerton has black-bowtied waiters who bring out such treasures as the three-flavor sizzling rice soup, a scintillating broth of grains, shrimp, ham and mushrooms that actually is sizzling when it arrives at the table. It's one option of their mandatory three-course dinners. 1050 W. Valencia Dr., Fullerton, (714) 870-7950. $$

TAAL
A deviation from the usual buffets and quickie curries, Taal is a comprehensive take on northern Indian cuisine with a couple of Chinese-Indian dishes—spicy chow mein!—to delightfully confuse eaters just so. 2720 Nutwood Ave., Fullerton, (714) 871-7846; www.taalrestaurant.net. $$

GARDEN GROVE

LIGHT TOWN HOUSE
Korean barbecue rules here—pork belly, beef, eel, what have you. But don't overlook the mushroom tofu stew—not that spicy but containing enough chile to make you sweat and all the mushrooms you could want. 8902 Garden Grove Blvd., Garden Grove, (714) 638-5757. $$

NIZAM'S NIHARI HOUSE
Nizam's features the mainstays of the Pakistani diet—kebabs of lamb, fish and beef; goat, shrimp and chicken curries; many vegetarian selections; and an impressive roster of biryani, basmati rice moistened with chunks of meats and veggies; beef samosas furiously spiced, nicely fried and garnished with mint and onion chutneys. And the brain curry, hidden on the menu as maghaz masala, will eliminate your aversion to offal forever. 14204 Brookhurst St., Garden Grove, (714) 636-2223. $

SEOUL SOONDAE
You won't find the sort of pretty, colorful foods that look good in a "Welcome to Korea!" travel pamphlet here—no Korean barbecue, no short ribs, no dainty cold noodles or boiling soft tofu bowls on your table. This restaurant is all about the hog: rustic, delicious platters originating from such pig parts as trotters, blood, intestines, fat and other assorted offal that our prime-cut society ships to the hot-dog factory. 8757 Garden Grove Blvd., Garden Grove, (714) 636-0686. $$

WASABI & SUSHI
Grace Chon, the mom in this mom-and-pop operation, has much to do with Wasabi & Sushi's steady success. She's patient with the first-timers and chummy with the regulars. Although I know that sushi purists scoff at the California roll, Grace's rolls are almost dessert-like. 9542 Chapman Ave., Garden Grove, (714) 539-4511. $$

HUNTINGTON BEACH

EAST WINDS ASIAN CUISINE
East Winds offers an attractive measure of the wild and the mild both, with staple Asian fare available for enthusiastic customization—an attentive and experienced waiter recommended super-fit orange peel chicken made with all white meat—and mix-and-matchers like teriyaki buffalo wings and kung pao pasta to dissolve the film off more jaded palates. 7114 Edinger Ave., Huntington Beach, (714) 841-1800; www.eastwindsasiancuisine.com. $

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