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Grub Guide

Tasty morsels from the county's best damn dining guide

CYPRESS

DALTON'S
"Family-style" before the phrase meant "Norm's," Dalton's has gabby servers with odd hairstyles, a mostly older clientele, hearty extra large egg breakfasts served all day, and a menu dominated by meat and fried stuff. 9575 Valley View St., Cypress, (714) 229-8101. $

DANA POINT

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Cafe Casse Croute

656 S. Brookhurst St.
Anaheim, CA 92804

Category: Restaurant > French

Region: Anaheim

Native Foods

2937 Bristol St.
Costa Mesa, CA 92626

Category: Restaurant > Eclectic

Region: Costa Mesa

Dalton's Restaurant

9575 Valley View St.
Cypress, CA 90630

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Cypress

Harbor House Cafe

34157 Pacific Coast Highway
Dana Point, CA 92629

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Dana Point

Thai Rama

2500 E. Chapman Ave.
Fullerton, CA 92831

Category: Restaurant > Thai

Region: Fullerton

Anna's Mondu

9972 Garden Grove Blvd.
Garden Grove, CA 92843

Category: Restaurant > Korean

Region: Garden Grove

Delicias de Mexico

13466 Harbor Blvd.
Garden Grove, CA 92843

Category: Restaurant > Mexican

Region: Garden Grove

Assal Pastry

14130 Culver Drive
Irvine, CA 92604

Category: Restaurant > Bakery

Region: Irvine

Bistango

19100 Von Karman Ave.
Irvine, CA 92612

Category: Art Galleries

Region: Irvine

The Melting Pot Restaurant

2646 Dupont Drive
Irvine, CA 92612

Category: Restaurant > French

Region: Irvine

Imperial Burgers

241 E. Imperial Highway
La Habra, CA 90631

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: La Habra

Casa Olamendi's

1100 S. Coast Highway, Ste. 202
Laguna Beach, CA 92651

Category: Restaurant > Mexican

Region: Laguna Beach

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HARBOR HOUSE CAFÉ
Besides Denny's, this is basically the only 24-hour joint in the area and thus a popular hangout for high school kids. After the one in San Clemente closed something like a decade ago, this became the hangout for San Clemente High School students, too. As far as eats go, it's known for its wide omelet selection and thick shakes. 34157 Pacific Coast Hwy., Dana Point, (949) 496-9270. $

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

MOONLIGHT CHICKEN & PIZZA
Moonlight's soujouk pizza, grazed with the spicy Armenian beef sausage, is grander than mere foodstuff: it's an ambassador for that mythical melting pot, for the entrepreneurial spirit and innovation of owners Vazgen Akoyan and Karine Karpetyan. Add pineapple, and you have the best retort to the anti-immigrant crowd since the Statue of Liberty. 9895 Warner Ave., Ste. G, Fountain Valley, (714) 963-4488. $

FULLERTON

AMAZON CHURRASCARIA
This Brazilian beef barn ignores the multicultural influences predominant in most Brazilian dishes for the straightforward flesh diet of the sertão. Impeccably dressed waiters serve 20 types of meat, everything from the Homer Simpson fantasy of bacon-wrapped turkey to well-charred chicken hearts to a great alligator sirloin. 1445 S. Lemon St., Fullerton, (714) 447-1200. $$

THE GREAT ZUCCHINI
The hearty bun kebab combo—a hamburger with a Pakistani patty, fries served with chutney and a Pakistani cola: the melting car gone car-hop—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 three 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 subcontinent expats from North County and beyond. 765 St. College Blvd., Ste. B, Fullerton, (714) 879-8522. $

 

THAI RAMA
Making tempura is a delicate process, but when it's cooked right it's better than Jesus. This quaint little restaurant offers a vegetable tempura—lacy, golden, spot-on perfect with fresh vegetables, cooked to a slight snap and coated in a batter so light it floats—that walks on water. 2500 E. Chapman Ave., Fullerton, (714) 526-0777. $$

GARDEN GROVE

ANNA'S MONDU
Anna's Mondu keeps an English-language menu and bright pictures on the wall hint at its specialty: the massive Korean dumplings known as mondu—steamed giants of minced meat, buckwheat noodles and green onions. But the true revelation is the dduk bok ki, a plateful of stretched gnocchi over which the chef has drizzled a sweet and spicy chile sauce. Just three of the dduk will meet your daily caloric maximum; the plate comes with at least 20. 9972 Garden Grove Blvd., Ste. F, Garden Grove, (714) 530-0102. $

DELICIAS DE MÉXICO
Delicias de México (Delights from Mexico) is one of the county's precious few neverías: ice cream shops that specialize in resolutely Mexican flavors such as velvety mango, smoky mamey, sour guanábana and many other tropical luscious fruits. Don't forget to order at least one of their paletas: frosty monoliths of vim, each balanced on a sturdy wooden stick and wrapped in a plastic sheet that requires a sensuous tugging motion to remove. 13466 Harbor Blvd., Garden Grove, (714) 636-7163. ¢

ISLAMIC SOCIETY OF ORANGE COUNTY
During Ramadan, Fatima Rahman (known to all as Auntie Fatima) lords over the best religious-minded buffet in the county at Orange County's largest mosque, preparing $2 Styrofoam cartons of delicious Indian food and the stray baklava. The rest of the year, Auntie Fatima prepares it only during Friday services. Some of the tastiest Indian food around—and no faith in Allah required! 1 Al-Rahman Plaza, Garden Grove, (714) 531-1722. $

MAHINA HAWAIIAN BBQ
Mahina serves an array of delicious standards: shredded kalua pork so thin it looks like fabric; teriyaki beef and chicken grilled to succulent zeniths; breaded shrimp, pork and chicken platters that crumble in your mouth like a rain of soft butter; bowls of steaming, succulent, soy sauce-slathered meat. But it's the Spam musubi—the supreme example of the island's mishmash diet of indigenous, Japanese and postwar Americana cuisine—that will never leave your mind. Or, perhaps, your intestine. 12546 Valley View St., Garden Grove, (714) 890-0198; www.mahinabbq.com. $

HUNTINGTON BEACH

ALOHA GRILL
Strapped for cash but need a reasonable location for a date? This is the spot. If you're not sure what to try, the pupu platter is a deal, with samples of Maui-wowie rolls, Hawaiian drums, Surf City rolls and chicken satay sticks. 221 Main St., Huntington Beach, (714) 374-4427. $

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