Grub Guide

Tasty morsels from OC'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 garellano@ocweekly.com with your complaints!

DINNER FOR TWO:

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

Location Info

Map

El Pollo Fino

723 N. Anaheim Blvd.
Anaheim, CA 92805

Category: Restaurant > Hot Chicken

Region: Anaheim

India House Restaurant

7775 Beach Blvd.
Buena Park, CA 90620

Category: Restaurant > Brunch

Region: Out of Town

Costa Mesa Omelette Parlor

179 E. 17th St.
Costa Mesa, CA 92627

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Costa Mesa

Frank's Philadelphia

2244 Fairview Road, Ste. B
Costa Mesa, CA 92627

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Costa Mesa

Chicago Harv's

410 E. Chapman Ave.
Fullerton, CA 92832

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Fullerton

Mulberry St. Ristorante

114 W. Wilshire Ave.
Fullerton, CA 92832

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Fullerton

A & J Restaurant

14805 Jeffrey Road
Irvine, CA 92618

Category: Restaurant > Chinese

Region: Irvine

Dizz's As Is

2794 S. Coast Highway
Laguna Beach, CA 92651

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Laguna Beach

Romeo Cucina

249 Broadway St.
Laguna Beach, CA 92651

Category: Restaurant > Italian

Region: Laguna Beach

Manila Food Mart

24601 Raymond Way
Lake Forest, CA 92630

Category: Restaurant > Filipino

Region: Lake Forest

ISLAND GRILL

4390 Katella Ave.
Rossmoor, CA 90720

Category: Restaurant > Hawaiian

Region: Los Alamitos

La Maison Gourmet

27772 Vista del Lago, Ste. B-15
Mission Viejo, CA 92692

Category: Restaurant > Wine Bar

Region: Mission Viejo

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

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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 is no doubt forming impatiently behind you, already shouting out their orders. 1509 E. La Palma Ave., Anaheim, (714) 778-2051.¢

 

CARAZ DULZURA
Most of Caraz Dulzura's menu traces its origins to China even though the restaurant serves Peruvian cuisine. The arroz chaufa dishes are really glorified fried rice, here served with chunks of chicken or beef and with a bit more spice. The saltado platters, available as seafood or chicken, are soy-soaked stir-fries familiar to any lover of Cantonese food. And the long noodles called tallarín I've previously identified in this paper as a bastardized spaghetti? My bad—The New York Times revealed tallarín is really lo mein. 880 W. Lincoln Ave., Anaheim, (714) 808-8302. $

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, occurs 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

TAPS FISH HOUSE & BREWERY
Located in the desperately fine-dining-deficient Brea, this place has everything—from steaks, chicken and pastas to an immense oyster bar. Gorge yourself with abandon on such appetizers as tropical shrimp quesadillas or French Quarter Egg Rolls. 101 E. Imperial Hwy., Brea, (714) 257-0101; www.tapsbrea.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

BUNGALOW
The filet mignon at this steakhouse is round and plump—like a muffin. Its ideal 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. $$$

COSTA MESA

AIRE
An hour or two getting fat, drunk and happy at Aire is the kind of worldly pleasure that could turn Gandhi into a Republican. Fusion is the game—the wasabi-smeared Kansas City steak strips are luscious, even if they come with a dumb moniker—and the array of drinks and beautiful people will have you celebrating like Nero with a fiddle. 2937 Bristol St., Costa Mesa, (714) 751-7099; www.aireglobal.com. $$$

BEACH PIT BBQ
Former baseball player Tim DeCinces focuses his menu on pan-Southern fare like sausage, pulled pork, chicken, brisket and ribs—no regional styles yet, although the off-the-menu pork taquitos hint at what Southerners can expect as more Mexicans settle in Dixie. I'm partial to the smoked sausage, each about the size of a kielbasa and arriving five to an order, prepared in a manner that allows the skin to maintain a distinct smoked flavor even as the interior comprises a wonderful mix of juice, spice and pork. 1676 Tustin Ave., Costa Mesa, (949) 645-RIBS; www.beachpitbbq.com. $$

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. $

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