Grub Guide

Orange Countys best damn dining guide

 

CAFÉ LUCCA
Gourmet paninis are the jewels here, from hot sopresata and pepper-studded mortadella glued together by provolone and luscious red pepper pesto to a chocolate rendition for the Waldorf set. But also content yourself with the wondrous gelati: 16 separate flavors constructed daily with just water, sugar and fruit—no preservatives, chemicals or other artificial gunk. Each flavor not only tastes like its corresponding fruit but also leaps onto the tongue: furious, refreshing, delicious. 106 N. Glassell St., Orange, (714) 289-1255; www.cafelucca.com. $$
COSTA AZUL
Everything at Costa Azul—great empanadas, spicy enchiladas, delicious chocolate-dipped alfajor shortbread cookies—is secondary to its terrifying, glistening asado: five pieces of cow for a ridiculous $11.50. No extra spices, sauces or sides adorn any of these cuts—just pure, monumental beef. 121 N. Lemon St., Orange, (714) 628-0633. $
PLACENTIA

 

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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TONY'S LITTLE ITALY
The best lunchtime pizza is made at Tony's Little Italy: as thick as a Tom Clancy novel, the circumference of a basketball hoop. They also sell subs and such Italian-American classics as spaghetti, ravioli and mostaccioli, but the focus is on the pizza—it says so on their window. 1808 N. Placentia Ave., Ste. B, Placentia, (714) 528-2159; www.tonyslittleitaly.com. $


SAN CLEMENTE

 

SWISS CHALET
This restaurant primarily serves German-inspired food, but such dishes as the Chalet Fischteller (sautéed shrimp, scallops and clams in a white wine-tarragon cream sauce and served on linguine) and a pfeffersteak (filet of beef tenderloin sautéed in a clarified butter on a four peppercorn-whiskey cream sauce) display interesting Italian and French touches. Since this is alpine food, Swiss Chalet also features many veal dishes. 216 N. El Camino Real, San Clemente, (949) 492-7931. $$


SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO 

RENDEZVOUS
This restaurant is beauty manifested in an old Pullman railroad car, with fascinating takes on American cuisine (bison covered with chicory) and a strawberry-rhubarb cobbler topped with sweet corn ice cream that's all that's great with America. 26701-B Verdugo St., San Juan Capistrano, (949) 496-1006; www.rendezvoussjc.com. $$$
SANTA ANA

 

AMI SUSHI
Ami Sushi is the perfect Japanese restaurant: efficient during lunch, stately enough for a date, staffed with serious chefs who can wow you with off-the-menu stunners (ask for the wrap that looks like a burrito) or a simple crunchy roll. The Sunset Action is a California roll topped with albacore, the fatty fish melding nicely with the light crabmeat. 1804 N. Tustin Ave., Ste. C, Santa Ana, (714) 567-0018. $
CHINA OLIVE
One of the few Chinese buffets around that won't wreak havoc on your porcelain throne. Good mix of Chinese-American dishes, from sweet orange chicken to a hybrid chow mein speckled with baby octopus, snow peas, onions and carrots. 3420 S. Bristol St., Santa Ana, (714) 957-2688. $


PANGEA
We love Pangea best because it delivers. Regardless of how you eat, indulge in their sandwiches: a hibachi-grilled Atlantic salmon fillet served with a zesty ponzu glaze, a fresh Artist Village turkey wrap, or the Malaysian curry chicken breast sandwich—really, any of these fusion-style globalnesses that Pangea rocks out with its cocks out. 211 W. Second St., Santa Ana, (714) 834-0688; www.pangea-cafe.com. $$


RICAS TORTAS AHOGADAS
Ricas Tortas Ahogadas offers no seating except a shade-free street curb where it parks on Santa Ana's Fifth Street, next to a host of auto shops. But this lunch truck is a barrio culinary school: the guys inside slap out hellacious tortas ahogadas, the Guadalajara specialty involving luscious carnitas, crispy French rolls, cold onions and a pool of salsa: the best burn since Chris Rock ragged on his own kind. On the corner of Fifth and Townsend sts., Santa Ana. No phone number. ¢


YELLOW BASKET
Eighteen whoppers are flipped at this Santa Ana food-mark, but the best is a triple cheeseburger that could out-Carl's-$6-burger any day—and at only $4.60. 2860 S. Main St., Santa Ana, (714) 545-8219; www.yellowbasket.com. $


SEAL BEACH 

CREMA CAFÉ
Crema is a good place to take a balmy window seat and nurse a newspaper as the beach people bounce along outside while you enjoy omelets and crepes filling enough for a man but tasty enough for gourmands. 322 Main St., Seal Beach, (562) 493-2501. $
STANTON

 

MITSUYOSHI
Mitsuyoshi, a humble, rock-solid Stanton restaurant patronized by the North County Japanese community, makes a particularly alluring version of sukiyaki, with a heavy, sweet broth packed with thin slices of beef, green onions, cellophane noodles, mushrooms, tofu cubes and bamboo shoots. And in traditional fashion, there's a bowl of raw egg in which to dip the beef strips. 12033 Beach Blvd., Stanton, (714) 898-2156. $$


SUNSET BEACH
 

HARBOR HOUSE CAFÉ
This 24-hour diner is a local institution that serves consistently good food. As it's incredibly popular with the late-night crowd, be prepared to wait for a table. 16341 Pacific Coast Hwy., Sunset Beach, (562) 592-5404. $
TUSTIN 

HK FOOD MARKET
Like most ethnic grocery stores, the Korean-centric HK Market functions more like a Costco, a capitalist wonderland where jewelry stands abut gumball machines and towers of bags swelling with rice are visible from the counter where a cute girl sells designer purses. The most enjoyable feature here, however, is the aisle stands where you can sample its products, from fat Korean sushi rolls to an infinite number of kimchis. 14551 Red Hill Ave., Tustin, (714) 731-6801. $

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