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Grub Guide

Tasty morsels from OC's best damn dining guide

STANTON

MITSUYOSHI  
Mitsuyoshi, a humble, rock-solid Stanton restaurant patronized by the North County Japanese community, makes a particularly alluring version of sukiyaki, with a heavy, sweet broth packed with thin slices of beef, green onions, cellophane noodles, mushrooms, tofu cubes and bamboo shoots. And in traditional fashion, there's a bowl of raw egg in which to dip the beef strips. 12033 Beach Blvd., Stanton, (714) 898-2156. $$

SUNSET BEACH

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., 7
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 92649

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Huntington 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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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

HK FOOD MARKET
Like most ethnic grocery stores, the Korean-centric HK Market functions more like a Costco, a capitalist wonderland where jewelry stands abut gumball machines and towers of bags swelling with rice are visible from the counter where a cute girl sells designer purses. The most enjoyable feature here, however, is the aisle stands where you can sample its products, from fat Korean sushi rolls to an infinite number of kimchis. 14551 Red Hill Ave., Tustin, (714) 731-6801. $

INDIA SWEETS AND SPICES
It's a sweet shop and a produce vendor, a place to rent videos, buy Urdu-edition newspapers, and get a home-style meal in a pop-culture mini-bazaar that caters to your taste for Indian soul food. 14441 Newport Ave., Tustin, (714) 731-2910. $

VILLA PARK

FIRST CLASS PIZZA
Go for the employee sampler, which features four different pizzas, including barbecue chicken, zesty Italian, the 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

CHEZ ROSE
The back-and-forth between French and Vietnamese décor at this vegetarian restaurant gets dizzying, even a bit annoying. But bickering soon dissipates under the brotherhood of great food, hybrids that you can imagine indulging in along the banks of the Seine or Mekong. And as Edith Piaf begins to sing "La Vie en Rose"—for some serendipitous reason, the CD player always plays her torch song around dessert time—and you sip on a second order of coma-eradicating coffee, you can feel the world revert to a pre-Dien Bien Phu era, where French elegance and Vietnamese refinement waltzed tenuously. 7360 Westminster Blvd., Westminster, (714) 890-9711. $

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. $$

PHO NGUYEN HUE
It seems like any other Little Saigon pho factory until you come across the pho pin xe luabull cock pho. It's not that tasty, so once you've ordered it for the fear factor, move on to the escargot with tofu and green banana, an appealing array of colors, seasonings, smells and textures essential to multidimensional and flavor-balanced dishes. 10487 Bolsa Ave., Westminster, (714) 839-8916. $

SAIGON BISTRO
The place has an interior seemingly boxed up and mailed from fin-de-siècle Paris. The distinctly cosmopolitan appearance of the restaurant carries over into the song selections (we hear English-, Spanish- and Vietnamese-language tunes) and menu (escargot, flan and Vietnamese offerings). 15470 Magnolia St., Westminster, (714) 895-2120. $$

TAI BUU PARIS BAKERY
Order a bánh mì ga at the takeout counter, and you'll get a shredded-chicken sandwich. If you sit down and order cari ga bánh mì off the menu, though, a waiter will carry out a bowl of chicken curry stewed in turmeric-scented coconut milk; the bread comes as a half-baguette. Make sense? No? Ah, just chomp on the bánh mì thit nuong, barbecued pork seasoned with a restrained hand. 9039 Bolsa Ave., Ste. 101, Westminster, (714) 895-6114. ¢

YORBA LINDA

THE WILD ARTICHOKE
While the restaurant's motto, "Food prepared from the heart, with the soul in mind," is cumbersome (it's like a New Age math problem), all of D'Aquila's culinary creations are fabulous, simply fabulous. Stick to the namesake artichokes: either the simple Wild Artichoke salad tossed with various vegetables and sprinkled with bitter balsamic vinaigrette, or Artichoke Napoleon, a puff pastry in which sautéed artichokes assume the luxuriousness of truffles. 4973-A Yorba Ranch Rd., Yorba Linda, (714) 777-9646; www.thewildartichoke.com. $$$

MULTIPLE LOCATIONS

MOTHER'S MARKET
This organic mini-chain is an Orange County institution: a place that, along with the Gypsy Den, hipped up vegetarian eating in Orange County years ago. They offer an extensive breakfast-through-dinner menu, but constant is their remarkable soyrizo—chopped up with onions, tomatoes and a bit of salsa instead of prepared in greasy, crispy cylinders hours after being removed from a pig—but this soyrizo is lean, hearty and even a bit spicy, and all-vegan. 2963 Michelson Dr., Irvine, (949) 752-6667; also at 225 E. 17th St., Costa Mesa, (949) 631-4741; 19770 Beach Blvd., Huntington Beach, (714) 963-6667; 24165 Paseo de Valencia, Laguna Woods, (949) 768-6667; www.mothersmarket.com. $

ORIGINAL PANCAKE HOUSE
The restaurant's massive mascot looming over Lincoln Avenue at Original Pancake House—a grinning two-dimensional cook in a poofy hat flipping flapjacks—is a city icon as reassuring to Anaheimers as the Big A. And so are the pancakes—wheels of flour soaked with any number of syrups and gobs of butter. Chase them down with coffee. Good morning! 1418 E. Lincoln, Anaheim, (714) 535-9815; also at 18453 Yorba Linda Blvd., Yorba Linda, (714) 693-1390; 26951 Moulton Pkwy., Aliso Viejo, (949) 643-8591; www.originalpancakehouse.com. $

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