Grub Guide

Tasty morsels from the county's best damn dining guide


Make a beeline for 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. $$


Location Info


Sinbad Ranch

521 S. Brookhurst St.
Anaheim, CA 92804

Category: Restaurant > Grocery

Region: Anaheim

Beach Cities Pizza

34473 St. of the Golden Lantern
Dana Point, CA 92629

Category: Restaurant > Italian

Region: Dana Point


9039 Garfield Ave.
Fountain Valley, CA 92708

Category: Restaurant > Sushi

Region: Fountain Valley


1860 W. Orangethorpe Ave.
Fullerton, CA 92833-4406

Category: Restaurant > Dessert

Region: Fullerton

Hwang Hae Do BBQ

9448 Garden Grove Blvd.
Garden Grove, CA 92844

Category: Restaurant > Korean

Region: Garden Grove

East Coast Hot Dogs

19092 Beach Blvd.
Huntington Beach, CA 92648

Category: Restaurant > Hot Dogs

Region: Huntington Beach

Jimmy Z Grill

4517 Campus Drive
Irvine, CA 92612

Category: Restaurant > Eclectic

Region: Irvine

Chicken Box

330 E. Whittier Blvd.
La Habra, CA 90631

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: La Habra

Johnie's JR. Burgers

7811 Valley View St.
La Palma, CA 90623

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: La Palma

Kakh and Palace Bakery

24751 Alicia Parkway, Ste. D
Laguna Hills, CA 92653

Category: Restaurant > Bakery

Region: Laguna Hills

Zinc Cafe & Market

350 Ocean Ave.
Laguna Beach, CA 92651

Category: Restaurant > Eclectic

Region: Laguna Beach

Empanada Man

20761 Lake Forest Drive
Lake Forest, CA 92630

Category: Restaurant > South American

Region: Lake Forest

There's sweet spaghetti, wonderful breadsticks and a terrifying garlic sauce with thin, crispy strands of garlic that will actually numb your lips. But order yourself one of the gourmet pizzas—try the Newporter, a sweet mix of meaty prawns, juicy sun-dried tomatoes and tangy pesto sauce glued onto a thin crust with milky cheese. 34473 Golden Lantern, Dana Point, (949) 496-2670. $$


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


While offering all the dishes once balanced on the arms of roller-skating waitresses, Hotbellies also incorporates Asian cuisine, the better to serve the new multicultural, multi-tasteful American race. Get with the times, Potbellies announces via a menu ranging from cheesy Philadelphia beef to soy-sauce-baptized bulgogi (Korean barbecue)—this is the 21st century. 1860 W. Orangethorpe Ave., Fullerton, (714) 870-4340. $

Though it bills itself as a tribute to Route 66, Roadside is just too good. The burgers—well-wrapped and slightly bigger and tastier (and more expensive) than your typical burger dive's—are a tad too gourmet for true shack consideration. Still, the nostalgia at Roadside is all about the location: across the street is the historic Fox Theater. When that majestic building opens its doors anew, patrons will likely cross the street to share a malt with their beloveds, and the curtain will rise on another scene in our American play. Onion rings are extra. 513 N. Harbor Blvd., Fullerton, (714) 871-0040. $

There are about a dozen coolers of pan dulce at Ruben's, each containing multiple trays holding a specific pan dulce genus, each genus boasting mucho diversity, and so on. Stock up on empanadas, turnovers gorged with fillings and adorned with unique crusts. The camote empanada houses its sweet yam innards within a firm, buttery crust; the same crust also gives refuge to fillings of the lemon and cream varieties. 438 S. Harbor Blvd., Fullerton, (714) 992-0414. ¢


If you want to know what a thousand years of Chinese domination and a half-century of French colonization with dashes of Polynesian influence tastes like, go for the bánh mì dac biet. Stuffed with pâté, pickled carrots and Chinese-style ham, this sandwich is the house specialty. 13838 Brookhurst St., Garden Grove, (714) 534-6987. ¢

A traditional turo-turo (buffet), Handaan turns out a varied rotation of Filipino goodies—adobo, satays and about five different offals. But the sides—vinegar spiked rice and pansit bihon, tiny tasty noodles cooked with cabbage, celery, carrots and baby shrimp—remain constant. 9777 Chapman Ave., Garden Grove, (714) 636-8431. $

Hwang Hae Do is the Orange County outpost of an Artesia restaurant famed for its mandoo—delicate dumplings native to North Korea that are a bit bigger than the five knuckles of your hand bunched together and bloated with herbed ground beef and snappy zucchini bits. But Hwang Hae Do also prepares other Korean favorites: chicken, pork or beef shavings (bulgogi) doused in soy sauce and brought out on a skillet with almost-caramelized onions; eggy seafood pancakes engorged with grilled octopus, buttery clams and some viciously pickled house kimchi; and noodles of varying temperature, consistency and strewn vegetables. 9448 Garden Grove Blvd., Garden Grove, (714) 590-1588. $

Most of the Vietnamese dishes listed on La Veranda's colossal 14-page menu are unsullied by French influences—here, the colonization runs backward. Traditional French delicacies such as escargot, frog legs and coq au vin are accompanied with such Vietnamese side dishes as pickled daikon, nuoc mam (sweet fish sauce) and rice paper. The ensuing DIY combos result in plates that should earn La Veranda at least a four-star rating from the Michelin guide. 10131 Westminster Ave., Ste. 114, Garden Grove, (714) 539-3368. $$


Deciding what to eat at Bodhi Tree—there are more than 100 mock meat choices—involves the same deliberation needed for a koan. The tofu-drop soup, bobbing with meaty chunks of bean curd, bamboo shoots and cilantro, is free. Not free but worth the somewhat-pricey $3.50 is the chicken satay baguette sandwich full of faux fowl, tomatoes and so many julienned carrots that it could be classified under the salad portion of the menu and mislead no one. 501 Main St., Ste. E, Huntington Beach, (714) 969-9500. $

The folks at Peruvian Kitchen don't dumb it down for the city's bros at all. In addition to their black-but-moist hen, they offer fried rice adorned with raisins, carrots and corn, sturdy French fries with snappy hot dog slices and a fabulous mesquite-smoked yam. But go for the anticuchos: two skewers of dark brown beef heart glazed with garlic. The anticuchos are chewy, intensely meaty and easily the best offal in the county. 17552 Beach Blvd., Huntington Beach, (714) 847-7555. $

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