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  with your complaints!

DINNER FOR TWO:

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

Location Info

Map

Catalina Fish Kitchen

670 W. 17th St.
Costa Mesa, CA 92627

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Costa Mesa

Lucky Chinese

18525 Brookhurst St.
Fountain Valley, CA 92708

Category: Restaurant > Chinese

Region: Fountain Valley

Lou's Red Oak BBQ Grill

21501 Brookhurst St.
Huntington Beach, CA 92646

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Huntington Beach

PAESANO'S

5440 Orangethorpe Ave.
La Palma, CA 90623

Category: Restaurant > Italian

Region: La Palma

Aliso Beach Snack Bar

31131 S. Pacific Coast Highway
Laguna Beach, CA 92651

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Laguna Beach

Kosher Bite Deli & Meat Market

23595 Moulton Parkway
Mission Viejo, CA 92653

Category: Restaurant > Deli

Region: Laguna Hills

Kitayama Restaurant

101 Bayview Place
Newport Beach, CA 92660

Category: Restaurant > Japanese

Region: Newport Beach

Mastro's Ocean Club Fish House

8112 E. Coast Highway
Newport Beach, CA 92660

Category: Restaurant > Seafood

Region: Newport Beach

Pavilion

690 Newport Center Drive
Newport Beach, CA 92660

Category: Restaurant > Asian Fusion

Region: Newport Beach

Shiki Japanese Restaurant

1936 E. Katella Ave.
Orange, CA 92867

Category: Restaurant > Japanese

Region: Orange

Watson Drugs and Soda Fountain

116 E. Chapman Ave.
Orange, CA 92866

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Orange

Molly Bloom's Irish Bar and Restaurant

2391 S. El Camino Real
San Clemente, CA 92672

Category: Music Venues

Region: San Clemente

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

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

ANAHEIM

ARA'S PASTRY
A domino effect of ordering everything in sight possesses anyone who enters Ara's. Quadruple-layer columns of trays extend across the bakery, heavy with cookies, Bavarian cake slices, cream tarts and other European confections. And, of course, there's baklava, the Middle Eastern dessert standard baked here in eight distinct styles: shaped into diamonds, hexagons, flaky cylinders . . . nearly every shape in the Game of Perfection. 2227 W. Ball Rd., Anaheim, (714) 776-5554. ¢

CAROUSEL BAKERY
Customers cram this cramped emporium not for the pan dulce—which is delicious, by the way—but for raspados, the Mexican version of snow cones made with the vivacious fruits of the country in syrup form. Choose quickly from the 14 options because a line of people is no doubt forming impatiently behind you, already shouting out their orders. 1509 E. La Palma Ave., Anaheim, (714) 778-2051.¢

 

DEE DEE
A couple of Thai buffets offer Laotian soups and beef jerky, but the county's remaining Laotian diner is the curiously titled Dee Dee, where the roselle juice's narcotic spell reminds slurpers why Laos' inclusion into the Golden Triangle arose in the first place and the curries come garnished with peanuts and fat onion slices. 309 S. Brookhurst, Anaheim, (714) 956-2997. $

LA PALMA CHICKEN PIE SHOP
It's pure comfort to know that the same waitresses will serve you the same chicken pot pies year after year. These pies are the size of large talcum-powder puffs and have a flaky, golden-brown pastry crust. 928 N. Euclid St., Anaheim, (714) 533-2021. ¢

EL POLLO FINO
Though it's in an area long overrun by Mexicans, all races line up in equal numbers outside El Pollo Fino, a charbroiled chicken shop decorated with photos and paintings of fighting roosters, a bulletin-board collage of boxing cut man extraordinaire Chuck Bodak, and three portraits of Aztec nobles cradling naked, curvaceous damsels. The best spectacle, however, takes place in the kitchen, where the cooks scamper from freezer to butcher counter to grill to takeout counter in a ballet of hen preparation. 723 N. Anaheim Blvd., Anaheim, (714) 533-1160. $

BREA

RENAISSANCE BISTRO
As the name suggests, Renaissance Bistro serves primarily northern Italian fare, but the menu is dotted with just enough unexpected items to suggest the chefs aren't unduly locked into convention. 955 E. Birch St., Brea, (714) 256-2233; www.renaissancebistro.com. $$

BUENA PARK

INDIA HOUSE
Americans famished for a savor of liberty should trek over to India House, a tiny-but-posh Buena Park restaurant where the promise of freedom comes with a complimentary basket of naan. India House's buffet, an Electoral College of flavors, scents and options, offers the hallmarks of any outstanding Indian feast—smoky tandoori chicken, assorted curries and masalas, and billowy basmati rice mounds—but the chefs also sneak in some surprises in a vegetarian key. 7775 Beach Blvd., Buena Park, (714) 670-2114; www.newindiahouse.com. $$

CORONA DEL MAR

GALLO'S ITALIAN DELI
The thirtysomething-year-old deli is little more than counters, chips and sodas—which is to say, it's the perfect beach shack restaurant, even if it's on PCH. Request the Gallo's combo; the server will no doubt reply (as he once did to me), "Are you sure about that?" When he grabs sausages and begins hacking off massive slices, you'll understand his skepticism—the sandwich is bigger than most house cats. 3900 E. Coast Hwy., Corona del Mar, (949) 675-7404. $

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; www.avantinatural.com. $$

CATALINA FISH KITCHEN
Casual. Cheap. Terrific. This restaurant specializes in fresh fish, and you must try the gumbo: a spicy, cumin-scented stew of grilled fish topped with jasmine rice and fresh vegetables sautéed in olive oil. 670 W. 17th St., Ste. 68, Costa Mesa, (949) 645-8873. $

COSTA MESA OMELETTE PARLOR
Good job, Costa Mesans: when Vons Supermarket threatened to shutter the Omelette Parlor in late 2003, y'all rallied to save this blue-collar haven (you should've done the same for Kona Lanes, though). Now the rest of us can continue to scratch our bellies in bewildered satisfaction after eating one of the Omelette Parlor's fabulously stuffed omelets named after some long-dead Costa Mesa City Council member—give me the one with cucumbers. 179 E. 17th St., Costa Mesa, (949) 645-0740. $

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 peppercinnis 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. $

CYPRESS

UZUSHIO
Make a beeline to the sushi bar, where the fish is most inventively prepared. Anything on the menu involving eel or avocado is a must, and the fried, heads-still-on-as-beady-little-eyes-stare-at-you shrimp is a greasy delight. 10545 Valley View St., Cypress, (714) 236-0678. $$

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