Grub Guide

Tasty morsels from OC's best damn dining guide

PICAYO
This charming boutique French restaurant has a terrific appetizer—a sautéed foie gras served on a bed of spinach with a sherry vinegar sauce. Forget your misgivings about eating goose liver; this is a culinary petit mort. Your server will suggest a glass of sweet sauvignon blanc to accompany the foie gras, and even though this will bring your tab to more than $20 (and you still haven't ordered an entrée), you'll do it gladly. 610 N. Pacific Coast Hwy., Laguna Beach, (949) 497-5051; www.picayorestaurant.com. $$$

LAGUNA HILLS

ONAMI SUSHI & SEAFOOD RESTAURANT
Here, you can partake of as much sushi as you want. You can gobble down transparent globules of ikura (salmon roe) like popcorn or tiny particles of masago (smelt egg) as if they're, well, tiny particles of masago. 24155 Laguna Hills Mall, Ste. 1300, Laguna Hills, (949) 768-0500. $$

Location Info

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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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LAGUNA NIGUEL

THAI DINING
Start with their tom kah gai soup, a creamy, flavorful offering of the popular Thai chicken-coconut soup; then try the beef panang. It rates pretty high on the beef panang scale—and it'll make you sweat. 28051 Greenfield Dr., Ste. J, Laguna Niguel, (949) 643-5521.$

LAKE FOREST

CORNER BROILER
Corner Broiler is the sort of intimate neighborhood steak house that fell years ago to the nationwide chains but is rightfully, slowly, staging a comeback. True to its name, Corner Broiler specializes in revered American meat cuts: mountainous rib-eyes and porterhouses, nicely smoked barbecued chicken, blackened salmon or halibut fillets. 24301 Muirlands, Ste. Y, Lake Forest, (949) 581-1289. $$

LONG BEACH

THE BLUE CAFÉ
This music venue's food emphasizes fresh salads and semihealthy fare. The Blue Café salad—featuring grilled chicken, mango chunks, pepitas, blue cheese crumbles and apple slices—makes a meal that is fresh, filling and packed with your recommended daily amount of something or other. 210 N. Promenade, Long Beach, (562) 983-7111; www.thebluecafe.com. $$

BUBBA GUMP SHRIMP CO.
The inheritor to the dumb Forrest Gumpfranchise actually fries some good seafood—shrimp, steaks, fillets with stupid names. Guaranteed to please are the Shrimpin' Dippin' Broth, a half-pound of spicy steamed shrimp served with dippin' bread for dippin' and coleslaw, and Shrimper's Net Catch, a massive basket of beer-steamed shrimp served with garlic and Cajun sauces. Ignore the dumb names and concentrate on the food. 87 Aquarium Way, Long Beach, (562) 437-2434; www.bubbagump.com. $

GREEN FIELD CHURRASCARIA
The phrase "food coma" was invented for the visceral carnality that clogs your arteries at Green Field Churrascaria, which specializes in the terrifying meat onslaught known as churrascaria, or Brazilian barbecue. Churrascaria is pricey, but here's what you get: all-you-can-eat Brazilian sausage, tightly packed and burnt to nirvana, like a nonsweet Chinese sausage; a chicken thigh, good but perhaps too dry; and beef loin, best ever, rare but hot clear through. And this is only the first offering—the folks at Green Field will not be satisfied until meat starts seeping out of your ears. 5305 E. Pacific Coast Hwy., Long Beach, (562) 597-0906; www.greenfieldchurrascaria.com. $$

LOS ALAMITOS

PAPA'S WESTERN BBQ
Papa's specializes in Santa Maria-style barbecue, a tradition native to the coastal central California town that dates to the time when Mexico's rule over California wasn't just a MEChA dream. So, like the Californios of yore, the Papa's crew smokes folds of tri-tip and other meat cuts over red oak chips that impart a fragrant, salty flavor. This is also one of the last places in Southern California where you can order the spicy Portuguese sausage known as linguiça. 10900 Los Alamitos Blvd., Los Alamitos, (562) 594-9251; www.papaswesternbbq.com. $

MISSION VIEJO

LA MAISON GOURMET
Every Friday for about two years, this charming shop on the edge of Lake Mission Viejo has opened its private lakeside patio for wine tastings. The events are a smash; reservations are required, limited to about 30 per session and best made at least two weeks in advance. But it's also a bona fide gourmand's treat, with wines from across the world plus a diverse cheese-and-meat wheel for grubbing. 27772 Vista del Lago, Ste. B-15, Mission Viejo, (949) 916-4810; www.lamaisongourmet.net. $$$

NEWPORT BEACH

PAVILION
The clam chowder at Pavilion—a lump of something undistinguishable that turns into the most delicious clam chowder of your life, redolent of ginger and marine goodness—is an apt metaphor for Pavilion: showy to the point of ostentatiousness, but with the substance to warrant the flash. Everything is expensive but damn worth it. 690 Newport Center Dr., Newport Beach, (949) 759-0808. $$$

RED ROCK CHILI
You wouldn't expect a chili station to be a tenant in Fashion Island's hoity indoor Atrium Court. Yet there it is, in big, neon letters: Red Rock Chili, a spicy meat-and-bean man's Xanadu, where six varieties of the goop are always bubbling in cauldrons. For those of us who prefer our chili molten, the Hot Rock chili, stewed with the infamously hellish habanero pepper and vanilla-by-comparison jalapeños and chipotles, burns the spot. 401 Newport Center Dr., Ste. A104, Newport Beach, (949) 760-0752; www.redrockchili.com. $

SEJOUR
Fancy place in Newport's Lido district with fusion cuisine and an atmosphere that recalls the British Empire as the sun finally set. 3400 Via Lido, Newport Beach, (949) 675-9800; www.sejour.us. $$$

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