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Grub Guide

Tasty morsels from the county's best damn dining guide

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 garellano@ocweekly.com with your complaints!

DINNER FOR TWO:

¢ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Less than $10!

Location Info

Map

Merhaba Restaurant

2801 W. Ball Road
Anaheim, CA 92804

Category: Restaurant > African

Region: Anaheim

Kasen

9039 Garfield Ave.
Fountain Valley, CA 92708

Category: Restaurant > Sushi

Region: Fountain Valley

Larry's Pizza & Sports Parlor

926 W. Orangethorpe Ave.
Fullerton, CA 92832

Category: Restaurant > Pizza

Region: Fullerton

BRODARD

9892 Westminster Ave.
Garden Grove, CA 92844

Category: Restaurant > Vietnamese

Region: Garden Grove

Seoul Oak Korean BBQ

8295 Garden Grove Blvd.
Garden Grove, CA 92844

Category: Restaurant > Barbecue

Region: Garden Grove

Eva's Caribbean Kitchen

31732 S. Coast Highway
Laguna Beach, CA 92651

Category: Restaurant > Caribbean

Region: Laguna Beach

Pittsburgh Chicken & Taters

3671 Katella Ave.
Los Alamitos, CA 90720

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Los Alamitos

Maya Inn

25571 Jeronimo Road, Ste. 8
Mission Viejo, CA 92691

Category: Restaurant > Mexican

Region: Mission Viejo

Kitayama Restaurant

101 Bayview Place
Newport Beach, CA 92660

Category: Restaurant > Japanese

Region: Newport Beach

Hollingshead's Delicatessen

368 S. Main St.
Orange, CA 92868

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Orange

Tacos Jalisco

480 N. Tustin St.
Orange, CA 92867

Category: Restaurant > Mexican

Region: Orange

Mini-Gourmet

1210 E. Yorba Linda Blvd.
Placentia, CA 92870

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Placentia

$ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $10-$20

$$ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $20-$40

$$$ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ¡Eres muy rico!

ANAHEIM

CAFÉ CASSE CROÛTE
This modest diner is the only place in OC to find authentic specialties from the Great White North. Try the tourtière: a mixture of slow-cooked ground pork and beef seasoned with garlic, onions and cloves that has been turned into a lidded pie crust and baked. 656 S. Brookhurst, Anaheim, (714) 774-8013. $

LA CASA DE FERNANDO
While this dimly lit nightclub specializes mostly in different versions of the national dish gallo pinto (black beans cooked with rice and eggs), stick to the weighty wonder that is the tamal tico. Wrapped in a canopy-sized banana leaf, this Costa Rican staple requires hiking boots to maneuver through its myriad flavors. Start at the pointy sweet end, studded with raisins and dates, then hack through the wet masa toward pork, red peppers, peas and carrots; a sprightly olive demarcates the sweet/spicy divide. 2500 W. Lincoln Ave., Anaheim, (714) 527-2010. $

EL GAUCHO MEAT MARKET #2
Like its decade-old predecessor in Redondo Beach, El Gaucho is a geographical warp, a reproduction of Argentina occupying a hectic stretch of State College Boulevard. But you don't need to worship the Newell's Old Boys football club to enjoy the pristine deli connected perpendicularly to the market, which prepares brick-sized sandwiches and empanadas, steaming fist-sized triangular pies with a flaky crust straining to hold their meaty interior. 847 S. State College Blvd., Anaheim, (714) 776-6400. ¢

MATIKI ISLAND BARBEQUE
Whether tucked between two bread slices or served alongside rondures of rice and macaroni salad, the beef at Matiki Island Barbeque is among the most memorably delicious pieces of cow you'll ever chew: ruddy, soft, not burnt at all, a veritable luau on your palate. That beef and other entrées are the sole enticers here—no need for Polynesian bric-a-brac when the food is a slice of the islands alongside two scoops of rice and one of macaroni salad. 3070 W. Lincoln Ave., Anaheim, (714) 821-5228. $

MERHABA RESTAURANT
You're probably the second non-African to visit Merhaba after me, so the female 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. $

BREA

LUCILLE'S SMOKEHOUSE BAR-B-Q
Side dishes at Brea's hottest spot—two per entrée—would serve a family for a month in some sub-Saharan nations. But these servings are mere crumbs when weighed against the feral bulk of a Lucille's barbecue plate. After plowing through one of these, you'd better waddle out fast before Lucille's owners size you up as ready for a dance on the grill, so plump will you be. 1639 E. Imperial Hwy., Brea, (714) 990-4944; www.lucillesbbq.com. $$

BUENA PARK

FILIPINO EXPRESS
This tiny joint has restored the art of fast food to its original intention: serving grub as quickly and as tasty as possible. Choose from more than 20 different entrées like adobo and lechon, but all are so delicious it's really a matter of deciding which one you want spilling over the Styrofoam plate it's served on. 4544 Beach Blvd., Buena Park, (714) 739-4479. ¢

CORONA DEL MAR

FIVE CROWNS
With ferociously delicious food that destroys the stereotype of British cuisine, you can't go wrong with the Beefsteak Neptune (filet mignon topped with crab legs, asparagus and béarnaise sauce) or the Jamaican "jerked" pork chop. One warning: prom-goers love this place—be afraid. 3801 E. Coast Hwy., Corona del Mar, (949) 760-0331. $$$

COSTA MESA

AVANTI CAFE
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. $$

COSTA BRAVA
Slurping zinc-laden raw oysters at Costa Brava brings out the bravado in its loyal patrons. Try the super-popular coctel de camarones; the flash-fried whole catfish and red-snapper fillet with garlic sauce are also done up right. 727 W. 19th St., Costa Mesa, (949) 650-8272. $

FRANK'S PHILADELPHIA
There are no frills at Frank's Philadelphia when it comes to their Philly cheesesteak: humongous loaf (even the small is ginormous), beef bits chopped into portions so teensy you can absorb them through your fingertips; grilled pepperoncinis that remain juicy and fleshy even after meeting cast iron; and melted mozzarella that pours into your innards like milk. 2244 Fairview Rd., Costa Mesa, (949) 722-8725. $

MAGGIANO'S LITTLE ITALY
The choices for family dining are voluminous, and everything from the calamari to the lasagna to the shrimp—especially the shrimp—to the tiramisù is outstanding. The portions are huge, making us Americans the luckiest bunch of pigs this side of Charlotte's Web. 3333 Bristol St., Costa Mesa, (714) 546-9550; www.maggianos.com. $$

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