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Grub Guide

Tasty morsels from the county's best damn dining guide

GALLAGHER'S
Make Gallagher's your fish-and-chip home away from home. Icelandic cod served amid skin-on steak fries made from real potatoes awaits you under beer batter that's really beer batter! And the tartar sauce is smooth and garlicky—a perfect complement. 300 Pacific Coast Hwy., Ste. 113, Huntington Beach, (714) 536-2422; www.gallagherspub.com. $

LOTUS CHINESE EATERY
Lotus is the county's second Chinese Muslim restaurant and does a fine job of preparing that cuisine's emphasis on meat, magazine-thick noodles, and sesame breads large enough to double as a Frisbee. Like almost every northern Chinese restaurant, Lotus trots out so-so egg rolls and egg-flower soup as appetizers, so it's better to start with chilled ox tripe. 16883 Beach Blvd., Huntington Beach, (714) 848-4940. $$

IRVINE

Location Info

Map

La Casa de Fernando

2500 W. Lincoln Ave.
Anaheim, CA 92804

Category: Restaurant > Central American

Region: Anaheim

Foscari

5645 E. La Palma Ave.
Anaheim, CA 92807

Category: Restaurant > Italian

Region: Anaheim

Matiki Island Barbeque

3070 W. Lincoln Ave.
Anaheim, CA 92801

Category: Restaurant > Hawaiian

Region: Anaheim

VICTORY BAKERY

949 S. Euclid St. Anaheim, CA
Anaheim, CA 92804

Category: Restaurant > Bakery

Region: Anaheim

Bismillah Halal Tandoori Restaurant

8901 Knott Ave.
Buena Park, CA 90620

Category: Restaurant > Indian

Region: Buena Park

Gallo's Italian Deli

3900 E. Coast Highway
Corona Del Mar, CA 92625

Category: Restaurant > Deli

Region: Corona Del Mar

La Cave

1695 Irvine Ave.
Costa Mesa, CA 92627

Category: Bars and Clubs

Region: Costa Mesa

Country Inn Garden Cafe

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

Category: Restaurant > Cafe

Region: Costa Mesa

Sushi Wave

2075 Newport Blvd., 108
Costa Mesa, CA 92627

Category: Restaurant > Sushi

Region: Costa Mesa

Taqueria El Granjenal

899 W. 19th St.
Costa Mesa, CA 92627

Category: Restaurant > Mexican

Region: Costa Mesa

Zipangu

2930 Bristol St.
Costa Mesa, CA 92626

Category: Restaurant > Fusion

Region: Costa Mesa

Irie Jamaican Restaurant

9062 Valley View St.
Cypress, CA 90630-5802

Category: Restaurant > Caribbean

Region: Cypress

BRITTA'S CAFÉ
Britta's is a quaint, European-style café where servers offer you individual pieces of bread (baguette or pumpernickel?) and a savory rustic tart isn't some old queen sashaying through a gay Parisian bistro but an appetizer you'll completely enjoy. Cheese lovers will freak out over the calzone packed with goat cheese, buffalo mozzarella, prosciutto and tomatoes. 4237 Campus Dr., Ste. B165, Irvine, (949) 509-1211; www.brittascafe.com. $$

DIHO BAKERY
The Japanese are the creators of nikuman, the world's cutest sandwich, which consists of a candied, spongy flour wrapped around gingered meats and vegetables. At Diho Bakery, nikuman-type sandwiches are elevated to an art form on par with calligraphy. The taro, in particular, is a pleasant surprise—not your tiki party's dull, watery poi paste, but instead a jam waiting to be copyrighted by See's. 14130 Culver Dr., Ste. J, Irvine, (949) 857-6415. $

MELTING POT
At the Melting Pot, it's hard to eat a full meal, with dessert and drinks, without leaving at least a C-note behind, but the spent Franklin is worth it. Such a cost gets you a bowl of cheesy fondue, fine salad, French-influenced meat entrées and a dessert that's flambéed in front of ya. 2646 Dupont Dr., Irvine, (949) 955-3242. $$$

TAIKO
Irvinites all agree on one thing and one thing only: the No. 10 combo, a tender, chewy, delectable calamari steak with teriyaki sauce and sashimi. Taiko's calamari is a delicate homage to the squid. 14775 Jeffrey Rd., Ste. K, Irvine, (949) 559-7190. $$

LA HABRA

GREAT WALL MONGOLIAN BBQ
In a culinary tradition that varies little whether you're chopsticking through Mongolian barbecue in Ulan Bator or Utica, Great Wall differentiates itself by offering grub more fiery, more nuanced and a bit more bountiful than other charcuteries. Their daily lunch special is one of the most rewarding in the county—$4.50 for a bowl of Mongolian barbecue, along with a better-than-average egg roll, a thimble of fried rice that tastes vaguely Mexican and a small tureen of unctuous egg flower soup. 1261 Harbor Blvd., Ste. A, La Habra, (714) 680-3569. ¢

LA PALMA

ELLEN'S PINOY GRILLE
Ellen's attracts as many non-Filipinos as pinoys, perhaps because Ellen's offers a menu—a list of all 70 entrées, 10 of them available at any time in the always-steaming turo-turo buffet. The daing na bangus—milkfish stew marinated with garlic and cucumbers and cooked in a searing coconut-and-soy-sauce broth—is fabulous.7971 Valley View St., La Palma, (714) 522-8866; www.ellenspinoygrille.com. $

LAGUNA, LAGUNA, LAGUNA!

BRUSSELS BISTRO
Brussels Bistro is the kind of place where you can linger, talk with the people at the next table, and then find yourself, already gorged, ordering dessert. The food is astonishing, a revelation, artistry. The Belgians are big on fries, so please order the pommes frites. 222 Forest Ave., Laguna Beach, (949) 376-7955; www.brussels-bistro.com. $$$

CASA OLAMENDI
Casa Olamendi is the sort of place in which you ask for a balcony seat for a sunny lunch or come later and watch the sun sink into the sea over the two T's: tamales and tequila. Tamales typically arrive on a combo plate, served without the husk and covered with a little cheese, with good corn masa and delicious, tender chicken chunks. 1100 S. Coast Hwy. Ste. 202, Laguna Beach (949) 497-4148. $$

THE COTTAGE
What's the secret of this Laguna Beach restaurant's decades of success? Good food and lots of it; comfy chairs and friendly service; charming framed photographs of Laguna's original greeter; and a full, sated belly every time you leave. 308 N. Coast Hwy., Laguna Beach, (949) 494-3023; www.thecottagerestaurant.com. $

EVA'S CARIBBEAN KITCHEN
Eva's occupies the same simple cottage that the dearly missed Drew's Caribbean Kitchen rented for many years. The best remnant from the Drew's days is an open kitchen that continues to flambé and sauté a cruise-ship tour of Caribbean cuisine, with stops for moist Bahamian conch fritters, a sweet St. Martin-style salad and enough varieties of rum to give Captain Morgan cirrhosis. 31732 S. Pacific Coast Hwy., Laguna Beach, (949) 499-6311; www.evascaribbeankitchen.com. $$

MOZAMBIQUE
It advertises itself as a South African restaurant, but Mozambique best excels in its preparation of meat—pork chops, steaks, seafood and the great Durban curry, a dusky lamb dish that will warm you up wherever you may be. 1740 S. Pacific Coast Hwy., Laguna Beach, (949) 715-7100; www.mozambiqueoc.com. $$

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. $$

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