Grub Guide

Tasty morsels from the county'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 $10!$ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $10-$20$$ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $20-$40$$$ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ¡Eres muy rico!

Location Info

Map

Thuyen Vien

11080 Magnolia St.
Garden Grove, CA 92841

Category: Restaurant > Vegetarian

Region: Garden Grove

Claes Restaurant

425 S. Coast Highway
Laguna Beach, CA 92651

Category: Restaurant > Seafood

Region: Laguna Beach

Thai Dining

28051 Greenfield Drive, Ste. J
Laguna Beach, CA 92677

Category: Restaurant > Thai

Region: Laguna Niguel

Ami Sushi

1804 N. Tustin Ave., Ste. C
Santa Ana, CA 92705

Category: Restaurant > Japanese

Region: Santa Ana

First Class Pizza

17853 Santiago Blvd., 101
Villa Park, CA 92861

Category: Restaurant > Pizza

Region: Villa Park

Cajun Islands

15430 Brookhurst St.
Westminster, CA 92683

Category: Restaurant > Cajun

Region: Westminster

Duong Son BBQ

9211 Bolsa Ave., Ste. 115
Westminster, CA 92683

Category: Restaurant > Barbecue

Region: Westminster

Pagolac Restaurant

15470 Magnolia St.
Westminster, CA 92683

Category: Restaurant > Barbecue

Region: Westminster

Kim Su Seafood Restaurant

10530 Bolsa Ave.
Westminster, CA 92683

Category: Restaurant > Chinese

Region: Westminster

Lua Bistrot

9892 Westminster Ave.
Garden Grove, CA 92844

Category: Restaurant > Vietnamese

Region: Garden Grove

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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. ¢

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. ¢

RASTHAL VEGETARIAN CUISINE
The South Indian food served here ain't your Green Party fund-raiser spread of bland samosas and lukewarm lentil broth. Rasthal is the type of dive where kaju karela—a peppered, unctuous mush combining cashews with coconut oil and bitter gourds—is among the more conservative dishes, where a chile-laced farina called upma is celebrated with the reverence with which a Punjabi restaurant serves up tandoori chicken. 2751-2755 W. Lincoln Ave., Anaheim, (714) 527-3800. ¢

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

ALOHA CHICKEN
The soy sauce-fueled sizzle of meat slapped upon a grill is a constant at Aloha Chicken—that and a powerful punch-in-the-palate scent, the collective odors of thousands of chicken lunches and acrid macaroni salads gobbled within the restaurant's tiny premises. The chicken/macaroni smell is about as showy as Aloha Chicken gets; the rest of the place is a paragon of the Spartan setup characterizing the best Hawaiian restaurants' "Spam musubi, loco-moco, and don't forget the poi! 10488 Valley View Ave., Buena Park, (714) 826-6672. $

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 name—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. $$

EL CHINACO
Owner Mirna Burciago made a name for herself by publicly opposing Costa Mesa mayor Allan Mansoor's efforst to turn his city's police department into a mini-migra and selling one-dollar Minutemen tacos. But she's more comfortable patting out great pupusas, which differ from the competition's in their size—almost the width of an outstretched palm and as thick as an iPod, each centimeter composed of sweet crisped masa, salty cheese and the stuffing of your choice (squash and shredded pork are the most popular). 560 W. 19th St., Costa Mesa, (949) 722-8632. $

CYPRESS

CAFÉ HIRO
Café Hiro is a three-year-old Cypress eatery that has everything going for it except the design scheme, a setup that would only happen elsewhere if Goodwill decorated Denny's. But Hiro's exquisite entrées—a fantastic fusion of Japanese, Italian, French and American—ensures a steady stream of suitors; ridiculously cheap prices guarantee many rendezvous. And the ahi poke appetizer special—the buttery fish seared warm and salty on the outside and chilled on the inside, wonderfully contrasting the accompanying field greens' snap—launches a thousand romances. 10509 Valley View St., Cypress, (714) 527-6090. $$ 

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