Grub Guide

Tasty morsels from the county's best damn dining guide

CYPRESS

SEÑOR BIG ED
Ignore bustling Lincoln Avenue outside, and you can almost imagine Puerto Rico transplanted to this pedacitoof Orange County's industrial-park northwest. Many grand borinquenappetizers, but Señor Big Ed's plato de resistance is the canoa de plátano maduro, a banana bloated with so much ground beef and melted Cheddar cheese that it looks like a quesadilla for Horatio Sanz. 5490 Lincoln Ave., Cypress, (714) 821-1290. $

DANA POINT

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

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SALT CREEK GRILLE
A cozy yet elegant, wood-accentuated restaurant that would fit just perfectly at Whistler or some other upscale ski resort. Recommended are the margarita chicken (grilled chicken breast marinated in tequila and lime juice) and seared rare ahi (drizzled with ginger soy wasabi sauce). The bar area is a popular pickup joint for middle-aged folks. 32802 Pacific Coast Hwy., Dana Point, (949) 661-7799; www.saltcreekgrille.com. $$

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

KASEN
DO NOT under any circumstances journey to Kasen and attempt to order teriyaki chicken or shrimp tempura or—dear God—California roll, which is about as authentically Japanese as the Viennese waltz. Kasen is not that type of Japanese restaurant. 9039 Garfield Ave., Fountain Valley, (714) 963-8769. $$

FULLERTON

THE GREAT ZUCCHINI
The hearty bun kebab combo—a hamburger with a Pakistani patty, fries served with chutney, and a Pakistani cola: the melting pot gone carhop—is but one of the highlights of the Great Zucchini, whose name sounds more appropriate for a Little Italy diner than for one of the county's few Pakistani eateries. It's a small list, and you have to ask for a special menu to see it, but the Great Zucchini's preparation of Pakistani standbys attracts subcontinental expats from North County and beyond. 765 St. College Blvd., Ste. B, Fullerton, (714) 879-8522. $

LARRY'S PIZZA AND SPORTS PARLOR
The 34-year-old Larry's is a North County icon, a place where kiddie athletes celebrate after a victory—or, conversely, drown their losses in pitchers of pink lemonade—while their coaches knock back beers with parents and watch the big leaguers duke it out on television. Larry's pizza is utilitarian: pizza slices as thick as pocket Bibles, prepared with fragrant mozzarella and provolone cheese, toppings sprinkled over the pie rather than baked in so that picky kids won't goo up their fingers trying to discard unwanted salami. 926 W. Orangethorpe Ave., Fullerton, (714) 871-3484. $

SEAFOOD GRILL
Set up more along the lines of a fast-food restaurant than a fine-dining experience, the humble look of the Seafood Grill belies the quite serviceable menu. Shrimp, lobster, crab and fish tacos are all on the menu, but the real deal here is the fish and chips. 100 S. Harbor Blvd., Ste. D, Fullerton, (714) 446-0700. $

GARDEN GROVE

AZTECA
As far as Azteca goes, there are two words to keep in mind: "garlic" and "taco"—beef tacos with the usual fixings, but flavored with fresh garlic-and-vinegar dressing and lime. The garlic hits first, but it's the citrus that finishes each bite. 12911 Main St., Garden Grove, (714) 638-3790. $

BRODARD
No matter where the Vietnamese diaspora might take people, they return to Little Saigon for Brodard's hallowed barbecue pork rolls, a culinary beacon that attracts legions with its ruddy meat and the sweet sauce of heaven. There are other meals here, but everyone is focusing on those pork rolls, and you should too. 9892 Westminster Ave., Garden Grove, (714) 530-1744. $$

SEOUL OAK
A Korean palace—beautiful tables, chandeliers, grand piano—where folks grill their meat or chow through cold noodles or seafood pancakes. Don't bother with ordering cake for dessert, though: the sweet hereafter is a wonderful cinnamon drink with floating pine nuts to rinse the garlic away from your breath. 8295 Garden Grove Blvd., Garden Grove, (714) 530-5388. $$

SHIK DO RAK
Dduk bo sam—which means "wrapped in a rice noodle"—is the $30 hamburger of Korean cookery, a trendy Korean barbecue style that originated recently in downtown Los Angeles and can be found locally only at the recently opened Shik Do Rak in Garden Grove. Just like regular Korean barbecue, except you play around with a rice-paper wrapper and make your own grilled-on-the-spot burrito. If you do it right, each mouthful will be crunchy, spicy and slippery with beef fat: grease-dappled bliss. 9691 Garden Grove Blvd., Garden Grove, (714) 534-7668. $$

HUNTINGTON BEACH

CHICKEN CO.
If it weren't copyrighted, we would tell you they do chicken right. So we'll just say that they do chicken correctly. They turn lowly poultry into buttery works of art. Forget chicken soup: this is what your soul is craving. 9017 Adams Ave., Huntington Beach, (714) 963-0500. $

GALLAGHER'S
Make Gallagher's your fish-and-chips home away from home. Icelandic cod served amid skin-on steak fries made from real potatoes awaits you under beer batter that's really beer batter! And the tartar sauce is smooth and garlicky—a perfect complement. 300 Pacific Coast Hwy., Ste. 113, Huntington Beach, (714) 536-2422; www.gallagherspub.com. $

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