By Matt Coker
By Keith Plocek
By Edwin Goei
By Edwin Goei
By Matt Coker
By Edwin Goei
By Dave Mau
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 firstname.lastname@example.org with your complaints!
521 S. Brookhurst St.
Anaheim, CA 92804
34473 St. of the Golden Lantern
Dana Point, CA 92629
Region: Dana Point
9039 Garfield Ave.
Fountain Valley, CA 92708
Region: Fountain Valley
1860 W. Orangethorpe Ave.
Fullerton, CA 92833-4406
9448 Garden Grove Blvd.
Garden Grove, CA 92844
Region: Garden Grove
19092 Beach Blvd.
Huntington Beach, CA 92648
Region: Huntington Beach
330 E. Whittier Blvd.
La Habra, CA 90631
Region: La Habra
7811 Valley View St.
La Palma, CA 90623
Region: La Palma
24751 Alicia Parkway, Ste. D
Laguna Hills, CA 92653
Region: Laguna Hills
350 Ocean Ave.
Laguna Beach, CA 92651
Region: Laguna Beach
20761 Lake Forest Drive
Lake Forest, CA 92630
Region: Lake Forest
DINNER FOR TWO:
¢ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Less than $10!
$ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $10-$20
$$ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $20-$40
$$$ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ¡Eres muy rico!
Cedar Bakery distinguishes itself from the other Middle Eastern restaurants in Anaheim's crowded Little Gaza district by specializing in such small meals as sambouseks, cinnamon-dusted ground beef turnovers. Mornings begin with a bowl of kishek, a sort of Lebanese oatmeal of yogurt, bulgur wheat and salt that doesn't do much for the sweet tooth but bulks you up for the day like a one-hour free weights session. Pair the kishek with a croissant, although these are salty and as svelte as the crescent on Turkey's flag, not the chubby Gallic version Americans will expect. 930 S. Brookhurst St., Anaheim, (714) 991-5888. $
You're probably the second non-African to visit Merhaba after me, so the 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.marhabarestaurant.com. $
ROSINE'S MEDITERRANEAN ROTISSERIE & GRILL
Offering a wide swath of Eastern Mediterranean cuisine, Rosine's serves food that tastes like a mother made it for you. That's because Rosine is a dynamo of a mom who either prepares or oversees everything that winds up on a plate. 721 S. Weir Canyon Rd., Anaheim, (714) 283-5141; www.rosines.com. $$
SINBAD RANCH MARKET
What makes Sinbad Ranch Market so great? Could it be its large selection of halal meats? Or its insanely cheap prices (three huge packs of created-that-day pita bread for less than a buck)? Maybe it's their large selection of Arabic newspapers and magazines? Actually, the best part about Sinbad Ranch is that it's in the middle of Anaheim's Little Gaza, which allows you to enjoy the rest of it by walking around. 521 S. Brookhurst, Anaheim, (714) 533-3671.$
Every ingredient you need for a Thai life is here, from fish sauce in foot-tall bottles to seasonings for at least eight curries. At the front of the store are Thai pastries and desserts—and videos. Look for the fish, meats and veggies in the back freezer. But bachelors will rejoice at the more than 40 varieties of Thai instant noodles, four for a buck. 1721 W. La Palma Ave., Anaheim, (714) 535-2656. $
Here's what you need to know about Argentine food as it relates to Gaucho Grill: meat. Lots of it, most of it beef, served many ways. The ultimate meat eater's special is the plato mixto, a beast of a dinner including a half-chicken, skirt steak, chorizo, morcilla (a black sausage) and mollejas (grilled beef sweetbreads—and a sweetbread is a hypothalamus gland, kiddies). 210 W. Birch St., Ste. 102, Brea, (714) 990-9140; www.gauchogrillbrea.com. $$
PoFolks is a rustically eccentric restaurant—tin and wooden agricultural company signs on the walls, a working train that chugs the perimeter—specializing in Norm's-style home cooking with a Southern bent, the kind of place where fried chicken livers with red beans and rice is a daily special and peach cobbler isn't some ironic/iconic treat but what's for dessert. 7701 Beach Blvd., Buena Park, (714) 521-8955; www.pofolksbuenapark.com. $$
The filet mignon at this steakhouse is round and plump—like a muffin. Its perfect cut, deep flavor and tender texture make it possible to eat the entire thing without encountering a morsel of fat or gristle. In essence, it's a tremendous piece of meat. 2441 E. Coast Hwy., Corona del Mar, (949) 673-6585; www.thebungalowrestaurant.com. $$$
Order at the counter—their succulent braised beef and lamb gyro is a good choice—and the food is brought to your table. Their secret-recipe tsatsiki provides a creamy condiment in many of the already flavorful foods. 580 Anton Blvd., Costa Mesa, (714) 556-6555. $
HI-TIME WINE CELLAR
Not sure if there's a restaurant in OC that sells it, but the best wine since the days of Dionysus is Commandaria St. John, an elixir from Cyprus that's reputed to be the oldest vintage in the world. Hi-Time Wine Cellar also stocks nearly every other hooch on the planet. 250 Ogle St., Costa Mesa, (800) 331-3005; www.hitimewine.com. $$
TAQUERÍA EL GRANJENAL
Named after a Michoacán rancho that has sent thousands of its residents to Orange County, this colorful restaurant makes the best tacos in the county. They deviate from taco protocol by using full-sized corn tortillas and piling on chunks of your choice of grilled meats. The salsa is extraordinary, a dark red lava extract whose burn factor is unknown outside of Paricutín. 899 W. 19th St., Costa Mesa. (949) 645-4964. $
Find everything you're looking for in your city
Find the best happy hour deals in your city
Get today's exclusive deals at savings of anywhere from 50-90%
Check out the hottest list of places and things to do around your city