Grub Guide

Tasty morsels from the county's best damn dining guide

SEVENS STEAKHOUSE AND GRILL

Owner-chef Craig Rouse plays with the traditional steakhouse menu with slight, crucial tweaks. Onion rings come with mango chutney. Scallops sit on potato cakes. In fact, the only standards on the menu are the actual steak cuts—rib eye, New York, you know and love these. But the true potential lies in Rouse's chops—the combination of kurobuta pork with honey and mustard glaze is culinary artistry at its most appetizing. 17245 17th St., Tustin, (714) 544-0021; www.sevenssteakhouse.com. $$$

VILLA PARK

Location Info

Map

Monkey Business Cafe

301 Amerige St.
Fullerton, CA 92832

Category: Restaurant > Eclectic

Region: Fullerton

Mangia Mangia

16079 Goldenwest St.
Huntington Beach, CA 92647

Category: Restaurant > Italian

Region: Huntington Beach

Claes Restaurant

425 S. Coast Highway
Laguna Beach, CA 92651

Category: Restaurant > Seafood

Region: Laguna Beach

Santora's Pizza Subs & Wings

28251 Marguerite Parkway
Mission Viejo, CA 92692

Category: Restaurant > Hot Chicken

Region: Mission Viejo

Lido Shipyard Sausage Company

251 Shipyard Way
Newport Beach, CA 92663

Category: Restaurant > Italian

Region: Newport Beach

Sabatino's Chicago Sausage

251 Shipyard Way
Newport Beach, CA 92663-4464

Category: Restaurant > Italian

Region: Newport Beach

Cha Thai

1520 W. Chapman Ave.
Orange, CA 92868

Category: Restaurant > Asian

Region: Orange

Gabbi's Mexican Restaurant

141 S. Glassell St.
Orange, CA 92856

Category: Restaurant > Mexican

Region: Orange

Mini-Gourmet

1210 E. Yorba Linda Blvd.
Placentia, CA 92870

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Placentia

Nancy Puebla Restaurant

1221 E. First St., Ste. C
Santa Ana, CA 92701

Category: Restaurant > Mexican

Region: Santa Ana

Mahe

1400 Pacific Coast Highway
Seal Beach, CA 90740

Category: Music Venues

Region: Seal Beach

Dosa Place

17245 17th St.
Tustin, CA 92780

Category: Restaurant > Buffet

Region: Tustin

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FIRST CLASS PIZZA

Go for the employee sampler, which features four different pizzas, including the barbecue chicken, zesty Italian, Villa Park special with fresh basil and garlic, and the combo with pepperoni and sausage. 17853 Santiago Blvd., Ste. 101, Villa Park, (714) 998-2961. $

WESTMINSTER

CAJUN CORNER

Cajun Corner is the latest in a rash of Little Saigon restaurants that attract mostly young Vietnamese looking for Louisiana seafood favorites like crab and crawfish, beer, and a messy dinner—bibs and butcher paper on your table at Cajun Corner are gospel. The special is a whole Dungeness crab, brought out in a plastic bag heavy with chili rub, awaiting your cracking to reveal soft, buttery meat. 15430 Brookhurst St., Westminster, (714) 775-7435. $$

DUONG SON BBQ

Chicken, duck and pork—these are the sole listings on the Vietnamese/Chinese/English menu at Duong Son BBQ, a smokehouse between a jewelry store and skin-care center in Little Saigon's anarchic Cultural Court district. The pork features a ruddy, crisp skin; is nearly fat-free; and is roasted until it's as soft as a marshmallow. Duong Son's pork is a meat for eternity, one of the best arguments yet against PETA. 9211 Bolsa Ave., Ste. 115, Westminster, (714) 897-2288. $

PAGOLAC

Pagolac will show you another side of beef—seven, to be exact. "Bo 7 Mon," the restaurant sign's subtitle, is Vietnamese for seven courses of beef, the restaurant's specialty. Ungodly slabs of sirloin are transformed into wisps of flavor-packed beef. 14580 Brookhurst St., Westminster, (714) 531-4740. $$

KIM SU

A funky little place to eat lunch—traditional Chinese, great dim sum, but we usually go for lunch specials like sweet and sour pork, broccoli beef, and kung pao chicken. Weeklings like this place because you can mix and share food so easily, and because we're cheap bastards.  10526 Bolsa Ave., Westminster, (714) 554-6261. $

SAIGON BISTRO

The place has an interior seemingly boxed up and mailed from fin-de-siècle Paris. The distinctly cosmopolitan appearance of the restaurant carries over into the song selections (we hear English-, Spanish- and Vietnamese-language tunes) and menu (escargot, flan and Vietnamese offerings). 15470 Magnolia St., Westminster, (714) 895-2120. $$

YORBA LINDA

LA BETTOLA

Delicious focaccia and a ramekin of butter-soft roasted garlic cloves glistening in olive oil arrive at your table when you sit down. Next, try the classic caesar salad (a better courtship tool than a dozen roses). 18504 Yorba Linda Blvd., Yorba Linda, (714) 695-0470. $$

MULTIPLE LOCATIONS

ATHENS WEST

Many Greek restaurants offer French fries on their menu, but few treat them with the care you find at both Athens West locations. They fry long, skinny potato strips until golden and firm, dust them heroically with—is it parsley I taste? Or oregano? The feta cheese on top is melted slightly, just enough to lend creaminess without producing a gooey disaster. Put some of Athens West's kebabs on top, and you have impromptu Greek chili billies. 7101 Yorktown Ave., Ste. 106, Huntington Beach, (714) 536-6112; 303 Main St., Seal Beach, (562) 431-6500. $

EL CARBONERO

Owner María de Jesús Ramírez ensures that El Carbonero #1 and #2 use the same recipes of her hearty native cuisine, the primary reason why the county's pioneering guanaco restaurant persists while so many other Salvadoran restaurants disappear. Imitate the regulars and order at least one pupusa, the masa griddle cake that Salvadorans consume from crib to crypt. And El Carbonero's horchata, heavy with cinnamon and toasted rice, makes Mexican horchata taste like a Tijuana gutter. 803 S. Main St., Santa Ana, (714) 542-6653. Also at 9304 Katella Ave., Anaheim, (714) 527-4542. $

CEDAR CREEK INN

The various Cedar Creeks offer similar menus featuring prime rib, rack of lamb and homemade desserts. The Brie-and-pecan-stuffed chicken breast comes with a creamy pear-sage sauce that draws out the fine, nutty flavor of the pecans. The large butterflied scampi is served with capers and diced Roma tomatoes. And the pot roast is a tribute to hearty Midwest German-American cooking. 20 Pointe Dr., Brea, (714) 255-5600. Also at 26860 Ortega Hwy., San Juan Capistrano, (949) 240-2229, and 384 Forest Ave., Laguna Beach, (949) 497-8696; www.cedarcreekinn.com. $$

KNOWLWOOD

The place serves scrumptious one-third-pound burgers as big as your head. What else needs to be said? 150 S. Harbor Blvd., Fullerton, (714) 879-7552. Also at 5665 E. La Palma Ave. Anaheim, (714) 779-2501; 14952 Sand Canyon Ave., Irvine, (949) 857-8927; 28061 Greenfield Dr., Laguna Niguel, (949) 831-1593; www.knowlwoodrestaurants.com. $

PASTA CONNECTION

If you haven't dined at this Italian-Argentine chain, you're at least familiar with its logo—a picture of a howling toddler with spaghetti dripping from his head, an Orange County advertising icon as beloved as Mickey Mouse or the Spanky's guy. As the name suggests, Pasta Connection likes to prepare pasta—silky fettuccines, blockish raviolis and lasagnas that look like a Bicycle pinochle deck. 1902 Harbor Blvd., Costa Mesa, (949) 646-3484; 2145 W. Chapman Ave., Orange, (714) 541-0053; www.pastaconnection.net. $

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