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Grub Guide

Orange Countys best damn dining guide


PUPUSERÍA SAN SIVAR
The hole-in-the-strip-mall takes special care with its pupusas, which have a crispy yet malleable crust encasing thick, sticky cheese. Meanwhile, an oily, impossibly sugary plantain lying alongside refried beans is like a battle between the lush tropics and the spartan plains of El Salvador on the tongue; a side of sweet sour cream negotiates a tasteful truce. 1940 Harbor Blvd., Costa Mesa, (949) 650-2952. $


TURNER NEW ZEALAND
With offices in Germany, New Zealand and Newport Beach, Turner is world-renowned for providing hormone- and antibiotic-free meats and seafood to chefs at posh venues. Their Costa Mesa nosherie cooks the meat to their gore-ific standards. The double cuts are thick and tender, not at all gamy—more like lightly peppered beef. The king salmon, meanwhile, features crispy skin and is served with sautéed leeks, saffron potatoes and a citrus shallot confit. 650 Anton Blvd., Costa Mesa, (714) 668-0880; www.turnernewzealand.com. $$$


CYPRESS 

Location Info

Map

Merhaba Restaurant

2801 W. Ball Road
Anaheim, CA 92804

Category: Restaurant > African

Region: Anaheim

Yogiraj

3107 W. Lincoln Ave.
Anaheim, CA 92801-6004

Category: Restaurant >

Region: Anaheim

Zankou Chicken

2424 W. Ball Rd.
Anaheim, CA 92804

Category: Restaurant > Armenian

Region: Anaheim

Mandarin Pavilion

1050 W. Valencia Drive
Fullerton, CA 92833-3305

Category: Restaurant > Asian

Region: Fullerton

Seoul Soondae

8757 Garden Grove Blvd.
Garden Grove, CA 92844

Category: Restaurant > Korean

Region: Garden Grove

Wasabi and Sushi

9542 Chapman Ave.
Garden Grove, CA 92841

Category: Restaurant > Sushi

Region: Garden Grove

East Winds Asian Cuisine

7114 Edinger Ave.
Huntington Beach, CA 92647

Category: Restaurant > Asian

Region: Huntington Beach

Martini Blues

5874 Edinger Ave.
Huntington Beach, CA 92649

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Huntington Beach

Wings 'N Things

18302 Beach Blvd.
Huntington Beach, CA 92648

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Huntington Beach

Taleo Grill

3309 Michelson Drive
Irvine, CA 92612

Category: Restaurant > Mexican

Region: Irvine

The Cat & the Custard Cup

800 E. Whittier Blvd.
La Habra, CA 90631

Category: Bars and Clubs

Region: La Habra

Picayo

610 N. Pacific Coast Highway
Laguna Beach, CA 92651

Category: Restaurant > French

Region: Laguna Beach

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IRIE JAMAICAN RESTAURANT
This mom-and-pop place serves an excellent ackee and salt fish that is a must-have. But you would be remiss if you passed on some of the other fine dishes, including oxtail, cow foot, curry goat and jerk chicken. 9062 Valley View St., Cypress, (714) 484-0661. $
DANA POINT

 

PROUD MARY'S
Opened in 1977 by Mary Merrill and her five children, this most certainly qualifies as a family-run establishment. Located in Dana Wharf on the waterfront, Proud Mary's serves breakfast and lunch. Their menu—at least their breakfast one—features lots of eggs scrambled into such dishes as breakfast burritos and omelets. 34689 St. of the Golden Lantern, Dana Point, (949) 493-5853. $


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

 

EBISU JAPANESE NOODLE RESTAURANT
This restaurant is a sleek ramen mecca that serves miso ramen, a curative soybean-flavored elixir, poured over a tangled cake of supple noodles rife with bean sprouts, bamboo shoots, hard-boiled egg halves and scallions. 18924-A Brookhurst St., Fountain Valley, (714) 964-5993; www.ebisuramen.com. $


FULLERTON 

HOTBELLIES
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, multitasteful 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. $


MANDARIN PAVILION
The windowless room nestled near a nondescript corner of working-class Fullerton has black-bowtied waiters who bring out such treasures as the three-flavor sizzling rice soup, a scintillating broth of grains, shrimp, ham and mushrooms that actually is sizzling when it arrives at the table. It's one option of their mandatory three-course dinners. 1050 W. Valencia Dr., Fullerton, (714) 870-7950. $$

TAAL
A deviation from the usual buffets and quickie curries, Taal is a comprehensive take on northern Indian cuisine with a couple of Chinese-Indian dishes—spicy chow mein!—to delightfully confuse eaters just so. 2720 Nutwood Ave., Fullerton, (714) 871-7846; www.taalrestaurant.net. $$


GARDEN GROVE 

LIGHT TOWN HOUSE
Korean barbecue rules here—pork belly, beef, eel, what have you. But don't overlook the mushroom tofu stew—not that spicy but containing enough chile to make you sweat and all the mushrooms you could want. 8902 Garden Grove Blvd., Garden Grove, (714) 638-5757. $$


NIZAM'S NIHARI HOUSE
Nizam's features the mainstays of the Pakistani diet—kebabs of lamb, fish and beef; goat, shrimp and chicken curries; many vegetarian selections; and an impressive roster of biryani, basmati rice moistened with chunks of meats and veggies; beef samosas furiously spiced, nicely fried and garnished with mint and onion chutneys. And the brain curry, hidden on the menu as maghaz masala, will eliminate your aversion to offal forever. 14204 Brookhurst St., Garden Grove, (714) 636-2223. $


SEOUL SOONDAE
You won't find the sort of pretty, colorful foods that look good in a "Welcome to Korea!" travel pamphlet here—no Korean barbecue, no short ribs, no dainty cold noodles or boiling soft tofu bowls on your table. This restaurant is all about the hog: rustic, delicious platters originating from such pig parts as trotters, blood, intestines, fat and other assorted offal that our prime-cut society ships to the hot-dog factory. 8757 Garden Grove Blvd., Garden Grove, (714) 636-0686. $$


WASABI & SUSHI
Grace Chon, the mom in this mom-and-pop operation, has much to do with Wasabi & Sushi's steady success. She's patient with the first-timers and chummy with the regulars. Although I know that sushi purists scoff at the California roll, Grace's rolls are almost dessert-like. 9542 Chapman Ave., Garden Grove, (714) 539-4511. $$

HUNTINGTON BEACH
 

EAST WINDS ASIAN CUISINE
East Winds offers an attractive measure of the wild and the mild both, with staple Asian fare available for enthusiastic customization—an attentive and experienced waiter recommended super-fit orange peel chicken made with all white meat—and mix-and-matchers like teriyaki buffalo wings and kung pao pasta to dissolve the film off more jaded palates. 7114 Edinger Ave., Huntington Beach, (714) 841-1800; www.eastwindsasiancuisine.com. $

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