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Grub Guide

THE FILLING STATION
The menu is hi-fi breakfast/lunch food. The grilled-chicken caesar salad is distinctly clean and refreshing, letting you taste each ingredient in the mix, and the Old Towne scramble proves this is a very good place to wake up in. 201 N. Glassell St., Orange, (714) 289-9714; www.fillingstationcafe.com. $

PLACENTIA

EL FAROLITO
Everything at El Farolito, located in Placentia's historic Santa Fe district, is irregular and oversized. The chicken quesadilla that emerged from the kitchen was the size of a small hubcap, topped with guacamole and refried beans. Definitely order the sour cream. It has a tart, cream-cheese-like consistency designed to cool the palate after all the salsa and exotic cinnamon coffee they serve. 201 S. Bradford Ave., Placentia, (714) 993-7880. $

Location Info

Map

Matiki Island Barbeque

3070 W. Lincoln Ave.
Anaheim, CA 92801

Category: Restaurant > Hawaiian

Region: Anaheim

Hot Dog On A Stick

2153 Brea Mall Way
Brea, CA 92821

Category: Restaurant > Fast Food

Region: Brea

Filipino Express

4544 Beach Blvd.
Buena Park, CA 90621-1133

Category: Restaurant > Filipino

Region: Buena Park

Maggiano's Little Italy

3333 Bristol St.
Costa Mesa, CA 92626

Category: Restaurant > Italian

Region: Costa Mesa

Proud Mary's Restaurant

34689 St. of the Golden Lantern
Dana Point, CA 92629

Category: Restaurant > Brunch

Region: Dana Point

The Wheel Of Life

14370 Culver Drive
Irvine, CA 92604

Category: Restaurant > Asian

Region: Irvine

Five Feet Restaurant

12017 Harbor Blvd.
Garden Grove, CA 92840-4001

Category: Restaurant > New American

Region: Garden Grove

Penguin Cafe

981 S. Coast Highway
Laguna Beach, CA 92651

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Laguna Beach

Corner Broiler

24301 Muirlands
Lake Forest, CA 92630

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Lake Forest

Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.

321 W. Katella Ave., Ste. 101
Anaheim, CA 92802

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Anaheim

Roy's Hawaiian Fusion Cuisine

453 Newport Center Drive
Newport Beach, CA 92660

Category: Restaurant > Asian Fusion

Region: Newport Beach

The Filling Station

201 N. Glassell St.
Orange, CA 92866

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Orange

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SAN CLEMENTE

THE FISHERMAN'S RESTAURANT
Locals tend to disparage the cuisine and long summertime waits for a table, but the mesquite-grilled seafood is usually quite good. Fresh catch of the day is always a good choice, and save room for the best desserts in South County: a slice of the peanut-butter pie or the mud pie, which is mammoth. 611 Ave. Victoria, San Clemente, (949) 498-6390; www.fishermansrestaurant.com. $

SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO

RENDEZVOUS
This restaurant is beauty manifested in an old Pullman railroad car, with fascinating takes on American cuisine (bison covered with chicory) and a strawberry-rhubarb cobbler topped with sweet corn ice cream that's all that's great about America. 26701-B Verdugo St., San Juan Capistrano, (949) 496-1006; www.rendezvoussjc.com. $$$

SANTA ANA

CHINA OLIVE
One of the few Chinese buffets 'round town that won't wreak havoc on your porcelain throne. Good mix of Chinese-American dishes, from sweet orange chicken to a hybrid chow mein speckled with baby octopus, snow peas, onions and carrots. 3420 S. Bristol St., Santa Ana, (714) 957-2688. $

FAVORI
The French-Vietnamese hybrid has inexpensive French dishes of the kind that have all but evaporated from our cholesterol-obsessed culture. The fruit de mer au gratin features sweet clams and pungent mussels (both still in their shells), smoky shrimp, bits of fish, and strands of faux crabmeat baked in a terrine of cream sauce rich with butter. As good as it is, though, everything pales beside Favori's beautiful, huge catfish. 3502 W. First St., Santa Ana, (714) 531-6838. $$

NEWPORT SEAFOOD CHINESE RESTAURANT
Lobster lovers come from all over for these crustaceans heavily dosed with pepper that could make you reach spice heaven. It comes with dessert, including green beans and ice-cold oranges, that balances the meal out nicely. 4411 W. First St., Santa Ana, (714) 531-5146. $$$

YELLOW BASKET
Eighteen whoppers are flipped at this Santa Ana food-mark, but the best is a triple cheeseburger that could out-Carl's-$6-burger any day—and at only $4.60. 2860 S. Main St., Santa Ana, (714) 545-8219; www.yellowbasket.com. $

SEAL BEACH

COACH'S
The décor amounts to tables, chairs, some pictures of Babe Ruth and a few TVs. But the fish and chips is English-style: hot and slathered in tartar and chased down with a cold beer. 1025 Pacific Coast Hwy., Seal Beach, (562) 431-5266. $

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

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; www.harborhousecafe.com. $

TUSTIN

DOSA PLACE
There are so many dosas at Dosa Place—dosas crammed with goat, stuffed with cheese, oozing with curried potatoes—you'll probably overlook the rest of the platters. Don't. Once in a while, scan over the South India portion of the menu and devote a lunch to the idli, two rice-flour dumplings touched with a molten chile powder, or an uttapam, a flour Frisbee the menu advertises as a pancake but is really more of a veggie-gorged omelet. Dosa Place is also one of the precious few Southern California restaurants specializing in the tamarind-heavy cuisine of Andhra Pradesh. 13812 Redhill Ave., Tustin, (714) 505-7777; www.dosaplace.com. $

TROPIKA
If you're limited to just one dish at this Malaysian restaurant, try their rendang meats, a dish native to Indonesia—but who's paying attention? Pick beef, lamb or chicken—doesn't matter—and the Tropika folks cut them into cubes, then braise the meats in a sauce with about a dozen spices until the sauce seeps into the cubes and evaporates, leaving a dry, scorching heat that tastes like the Mojave—if the Mojave were redolent of cumin, coriander and ginger. 17460 E. 17th St., Tustin, (714) 505-9908; www.tropika.com. $$

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

COFFEE FACTORY
To get the full range of Vietnam?s jolting coffees, pull up a table at the Anglo-named, French-themed Coffee Factory on the edge of Little Saigon. Sip slowly on the ca phé sua nong, which is as black as Larry Agran?s heart (and just as shudder-inducing) or some ice-cold ca phé den da, complete with black tapioca pearls. 15582 Brookhurst St., Westminster, (714) 418-0757. $

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