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Grub Guide

Orange Countys best damn dining guide


PICAYO
This charming boutique French restaurant has a terrific appetizer—a sautéed foie gras served on a bed of spinach with a sherry vinegar sauce. Forget your misgivings about eating goose liver; this is a culinary petit mort. Your server will suggest a glass of sweet sauvignon blanc to accompany the foie gras, and even though this will bring your tab to more than $20 (and you still haven't ordered an entrée), you'll do it gladly. 610 N. Pacific Coast Hwy., Laguna Beach, (949) 497-5051; www.picayorestaurant.com. $$$


LAGUNA HILLS
 

ONAMI SUSHI & SEAFOOD RESTAURANT
Here, you can partake of as much sushi as you want. You can gobble down transparent globules of ikura (salmon roe) like popcorn or tiny particles of masago (smelt egg) as if they're, well, tiny particles of masago. 24155 Laguna Hills Mall, Ste. 1300, Laguna Hills, (949) 768-0500. $$
LAGUNA NIGUEL

Location Info

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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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THAI DINING
Start with their tom kah gai soup, a creamy, flavorful offering of the popular Thai chicken-coconut soup; then try the beef panang. It rates pretty high on the beef panang scale—and it'll make you sweat. 28051 Greenfield Dr., Ste. J, Laguna Niguel, (949) 643-5521. $


LAKE FOREST
 

CORNER BROILER
Corner Broiler is the sort of intimate neighborhood steak house that fell years ago to the nationwide chains but is rightfully, slowly, staging a comeback. True to its name, Corner Broiler specializes in revered American meat cuts: mountainous rib-eyes and porterhouses, nicely smoked barbecued chicken, blackened salmon or halibut fillets. 24301 Muirlands, Ste. Y, Lake Forest, (949) 581-1289. $$
LONG BEACH

 

THE BLUE CAFÉ
This music venue's food emphasizes fresh salads and semihealthy fare. The Blue Café salad—featuring grilled chicken, mango chunks, pepitas, blue cheese crumbles and apple slices—makes a meal that is fresh, filling and packed with your recommended daily amount of something or other. 210 N. Promenade, Long Beach, (562) 983-7111; www.thebluecafe.com. $$
GREEN FIELD CHURRASCARIA
The phrase "food coma" was invented for the visceral carnality that clogs your arteries at Green Field Churrascaria, which specializes in the terrifying meat onslaught known as churrascaria, or Brazilian barbecue. Churrascaria is pricey, but here's what you get: all-you-can-eat Brazilian sausage, tightly packed and burnt to nirvana, like a nonsweet Chinese sausage; a chicken thigh, good but perhaps too dry; and beef loin, best ever, rare but hot clear through. And this is only the first offering—the folks at Green Field will not be satisfied until meat starts seeping out of your ears. 5305 E. Pacific Coast Hwy., Long Beach, (562) 597-0906; www.greenfieldchurrascaria.com. $$
LOS ALAMITOS

 

PAPA'S WESTERN BBQ
Papa's specializes in Santa Maria-style barbecue, a tradition native to the coastal central California town that dates to the time when Mexico's rule over California wasn't just a MEChA dream. So, like the Californios of yore, the Papa's crew smokes folds of tri-tip and other meat cuts over red oak chips that impart a fragrant, salty flavor. This is also one of the last places in Southern California where you can order the spicy Portuguese sausage known as linguiça. 10900 Los Alamitos Blvd., Los Alamitos, (562) 594-9251; www.papaswesternbbq.com. $


MISSION VIEJO

 
LA MAISON GOURMET
Every Friday for about two years, this charming shop on the edge of Lake Mission Viejo has opened its private lakeside patio for wine tastings. The events are a smash; reservations are required, limited to about 30 per session and best made at least two weeks in advance. But it's also a bona fide gourmand's treat, with wines from across the world plus a diverse cheese-and-meat wheel for grubbing. 27772 Vista del Lago, Ste. B-15, Mission Viejo, (949) 916-4810; www.lamaisongourmet.net. $$$


NEWPORT BEACH 

PAVILION
The clam chowder at Pavilion—a lump of something undistinguishable that turns into the most delicious clam chowder of your life, redolent of ginger and marine goodness—is an apt metaphor for Pavilion: showy to the point of ostentatiousness, but with the substance to warrant the flash. Everything is expensive but damn worth it. 690 Newport Center Dr., Newport Beach, (949) 759-0808. $$$
RED ROCK CHILI
You wouldn't expect a chili station to be a tenant in Fashion Island's hoity indoor Atrium Court. Yet there it is, in big, neon letters: Red Rock Chili, a spicy meat-and-bean man's Xanadu, where six varieties of the goop are always bubbling in cauldrons. For those of us who prefer our chili molten, the Hot Rock chili, stewed with the infamously hellish habanero pepper and vanilla-by-comparison jalapeños and chipotles, burns the spot. 401 Newport Center Dr., Ste. A104, Newport Beach, (949) 760-0752; www.redrockchili.com. $
SEJOUR
Fancy place in Newport's Lido district with fusion cuisine and an atmosphere that recalls the British Empire as the sun finally set. 3400 Via Lido, Newport Beach, (949) 675-9800; www.sejour.us. $$$
TACO ROSA
It's not just the wide swath of Mexico—Mexico City, Oaxaca, even the Yucatan—that makes Taco Rosa one of the few truly successful gourmet Mexican restaurants. Taco Rosa succeeds because its few tweaks are Mexican-based and surprising. Ask for the aguas frescas and, instead of horchata, waiters will recommend a frosted, freshly squeezed cup of cantaloupe or melon—¡delicioso! 2632 San Miguel Dr., Newport Beach, (949) 720-0980; www.tacorosa.com. $$
YI DYNASTY KOREAN BBQ
With a barbecue promising such exotica as honey-corn tripe, black pork bellies, barbecued bone marrow, wild boar and stingray, Yi Dynasty is sure to placate even the most demanding gourmand. Korean cooking protocol—panchan, DIY meat cooking, feuding tastes in your mouth—is in effect at all times. 1701 Corinthian Way, Ste. 6, Newport Beach, (949) 797-9292; www.yi-dynasty.com. $$$
ORANGE

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