Grub Guide

Tasty morsels from the county's best damn dining guide

FULLERTON

ANITA'S NEW MEXICO-STYLE

This nondescript Fullerton mock-adobe is one of the few Southern California restaurants emphasizing true New Mexico dietary traditions: thundering pozole bowls and meticulously stuffed chile rellenos that strike the model balance between earthy cheese and mild spice. You can find those entrées at Mexican restaurants, though, so eat American with the sopapilla: Indian fry bread gussied up with honey, a dry sweetness foreign to your chocolate-spoiled mouth but one fantastic enough to linger there for good. 600 S. Harbor Blvd., Fullerton, (714) 525-0977. $

Location Info

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369 SHANGHAI

613 N. Euclid St.
Anaheim, CA 92801

Category: Restaurant > Chinese

Region: Anaheim

Brea's Best Burgers

707 S. Brea Blvd.
Brea, CA 92821

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Brea

Bismillah Halal Tandoori Restaurant

8901 Knott Ave.
Buena Park, CA 90620

Category: Restaurant > Indian

Region: Buena Park

Cafe Jardin at Sherman Gardens

2647 E. Coast Highway
Corona Del Mar, CA 92625

Category: Restaurant > French

Region: Corona Del Mar

Lingonberry Cafe

1475 S. Coast Drive
Costa Mesa, CA 92626

Category: Restaurant > Cafe

Region: Costa Mesa

Marrakesh

1976 Newport Blvd.
Costa Mesa, CA 92627

Category: Restaurant > Middle Eastern

Region: Costa Mesa

Sweetee Thai Cuisine

10557 Valley View St.
Cypress, CA 90630

Category: Restaurant > Thai

Region: Cypress

Mel's Diner

9430 Warner Ave.
Fountain Valley, CA 92708

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Fountain Valley

Anita's New Mexico Style Mexican Food

600 S. Harbor Blvd.
Fullerton, CA 92832

Category: Restaurant > Southwestern

Region: Fullerton

Al Waha B.B.Q. Family Restaurant

9562 Chapman Ave.
Garden Grove, CA 92841

Category: Restaurant > Middle Eastern

Region: Garden Grove

Hang a Ri Noodle House

9916 Garden Grove Blvd.
Garden Grove, CA 92844

Category: Restaurant > Korean

Region: Garden Grove

Regina

11025 Westminster Ave.
Garden Grove, CA 92843

Category: Restaurant > Argentine

Region: Garden Grove

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SIDNEY'S VEGETARIAN CAFE

This charming café, right in the center of Fullerton's ever-expanding downtown-bar life, might capitalize on the needs of the health-starved—it's a vegetarian joint, opening daily at 7 a.m. with an almost entirely vegan breakfast menu—but in a home-cooked, motherly, it's-good-for-you-because-I-say-so way. Owner Sandy Sauers excels with small touches, such as a feta cheese and sun-dried-tomato dressing that sits lightly on the portobello mushroom burger, adding a freshness to the dusky fungus, or almonds and golden raisins on a surprisingly zesty coleslaw. 108 W. Wilshire Ave., Fullerton, (714) 525-5111;www.sidneyscafe.com. $

GARDEN GROVE

AL WAHA B.B.Q. FAMILY RESTAURANT

This is America at its most yummily raucous, as Asian, Latino and white families join Muslims in the clamor, united under the brotherhood of good Middle Eastern grub. The buffet is the most popular choice, but hidden under the daily-specials menu heading are regional specialties unknown to other county Arabic restaurants that trump Frommer's in giving insight into the Middle East. 9562 Chapman Ave., Garden Grove, (714) 539-0656. $

HANG A RI NOODLE HOUSE

The cult of gook soo at Hang A Ri Noodle House, a wood-paneled Korean restaurant in Garden Grove's Little Seoul district, might initially flummox your American palate—these buckwheat noodles are thin, slimy and pungent. But then you chopstick the noodles into your mouth—sluiced with chile, pared with fiery kimchi, supported by a fine complementary anchovy soup—and the frustrations of the evening vanish. 9916 Garden Grove Blvd., Garden Grove, (714) 537-0100. $

REGINA'S RESTAURANT

Argentina lives in this tiny strip of Garden Grove's Westminster Boulevard, and the results are incredible: cheesy, fresh Argentine-style Italian pastas; gut-busting dishes of beef (the parillada has five different types alone); and more than 30 native Argentine wines. But the best part is gracious owner Elías Niquias, who will greet you by name the second time you visit. 11025 Westminster Ave., Garden Grove, (714) 638-9595; www.reginaargentina.com. $$

HUNTINGTON BEACH

BREWBAKERS

Part fraternity, part bakery, part miniature brewery, Brewbakers is as much a bonding experience as an eating establishment, a gustatory amusement park in the midst of chain-heavy Huntington Beach. While the personal beer-making process is the main attraction, owner Dennis Midden maintains that baking is his first love, and a chomp through his pretzels—chewy loops with a perfect crustiness and enough salt to enhance the taste but not cover it—confirms it. 7242 Heil Ave., Huntington Beach, (714) 596-5506; www.brewbakers1.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. $$

SMOKIN' MO'S

A tour of barbecue traditions within the confines of a gleaming Surf City development, Smokin' Mo's redeems the red states from which it pulls its stuff. Tennessee shines with vinegary, massive, great pork ribs; Louisiana appears with hot links that please like a boat ride through the bayou. Better than that, we love its pig mascot—wide-eyed, holding a massive wooden spoon, grinning at the thought of eating its brethren, the happiest cannibal since that weird gay German guy. 301 Main St., Ste. 107, Huntington Beach, (714) 374-3033;www.mosbbq.com. $

IRVINE

CHICAGO'S BEST

This tiny counter in a nameless Irvine food court serves all your Chicago faves—hot dogs, roast beef sandwiches and the fascinating Chicago tamale, a sweeter, fluffier version of the Mesoamerican standard stuffed with chile. Not bad at all—you could sneak one into a Mexican household come Christmas time, and no one would complain. 2540 Main St., Irvine, (949) 757-1802. $

DARBAND

All Persian restaurants feature shirin polo, basmati rice mixed with shredded chicken and fragments of orange peel, pistachios and almonds. Darband outdoes them all by including a half a chicken instead of chicken strips. And instead of mixing it into the shirin polo, the Darband cooks bring out the bird simmering in a bowl of chicken broth. The result was a chicken so succulent and tender I was able to eat it with a spoon. 14210 Culver Dr., Ste. H, Irvine, (949) 857-8265. $$

KOCHEE KABOB HOUSE

Kochee Kabob might lack decorative charm and a relaxed ambiance, but its grilled meat is, well, hard to beat—eight kinds of kebabs, each paired with flurries of long-grained, nutty basmati rice and a salad that can't quite measure up. Kochee Kabob's meats are flavorful enough without condiments, but there are two available: sour chile powder and a green hot sauce that's a fusion of a mint chutney and emerald Tapatío. 4143 Campus Dr., Ste. 195, Irvine, (949) 854-0206. $$

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