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Grub Guide

Tasty morsels from the county's best damn dining guide

YORBA LINDA

FITNESS PIZZA & GRILL

Their oval-shaped thin-crust pizzas have deceptively healthy names like Triathlete, Iron Man and Gymnast (it is pizza, after all, but they claim they're all very low in fat). Either way, they taste good. 18246 Imperial Hwy., Yorba Linda, (714) 993-5421; www.fitnessgrill.com . $

Location Info

Map

Merhaba Restaurant

2801 W. Ball Road
Anaheim, CA 92804

Category: Restaurant > African

Region: Anaheim

Mr. Stox Restaurant

1105 E. Katella Ave.
Anaheim, CA 92805

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Anaheim

Napa Rose

1600 S. Disneyland Drive
Anaheim, CA 92802

Category: Restaurant > California

Region: Anaheim

Taps Fish House & Brewery

101 E. Imperial Highway
Brea, CA 92821

Category: Bars and Clubs

Region: Brea

Filipino Express

4544 Beach Blvd.
Buena Park, CA 90621-1133

Category: Restaurant > Filipino

Region: Buena Park

POFOLKS

7701 Beach Blvd.
Buena Park, CA 90621

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Buena Park

Gallo's Italian Deli

3900 E. Coast Highway
Corona Del Mar, CA 92625

Category: Restaurant > Deli

Region: Corona Del Mar

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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

BIRRIERIA Y PUPUSERIA JALISCO

Whether you order Mexican or Salvadoran food at Birriería y Pupusería Jalisco, make sure to mix and match condiments, if only in the name of Latino solidarity. Add curtido (the Salvadoran slaw that accompanies pupusas) to Birriería's bottle-sized burritos, and enjoy the contrast between the garlicky, pickled curtido and the unspiced beans-rice-and-meat simplicity of the burrito. Spread the chilled, citrus-tinged house salsa on the pupusas to tweak the hearty appetizer. 1212 S. Bristol Ave., Santa Ana, (714) 662-7400; 404 N. Grand Ave., Ste. A, Santa Ana, (714) 836-4409; 2525 N. Grand Ave., Ste. A, Santa Ana, (714) 288-8931; 6999 E. Cerritos Ave., Stanton, (714) 826-3382; 17292 W. McFadden, Ste. D, Tustin, (714) 573-1586. $

CALIFORNIA FISH GRILL

California Fish Grill is one of those middle-class mini-chains common to Orange County—fancier than Knowlwood's or Natraj but a step below Sage or the Daily Grill. The massive charbroiled fillets feature deep grill marks and shine thanks to a powerful garlic-butter coating. All should also order the grilled zucchini and its juicy, smoky innards. 5675 E. La Palma Ave., Anaheim, (714) 777-5710; 10569 Valley View St., Cypress, (714) 252-0001; 3988 Barranca Pkwy., Ste. B, Irvine, (949) 654-3838; www.cafishgrill.com . $$

Chris & Pitts

Low prices and macro-brew vibe bring the teeming masses, who scarf on outrageously meaty beef and pork short ribs slathered in industrial-strength barbecue sauce. If you notice how much Chris & Pitts is like the Claim Jumper, don't be surprised—Mr. Jumper got the idea for his chain while growing up and eating here. 601 N. Euclid St., Anaheim, (714) 635-2601; 15975 Harbor Blvd., Fountain Valley, (714) 775-7311. $

Claro's Italian Market

Claro's is a fourth-generation family business with a passion for food as big as the 600-pound loaves of provolone they are known to display during winter. Besides a huge selection of imported groceries, Claro's houses a stellar deli and bakery. 101 W. Whittier Blvd., La Habra, (562) 690-2844; 1095 E. Main St., Tustin, (714) 832-3081. $

The Crab Cooker

This is an institution to which you can take your out-of-town relatives. There, you can sample moderately priced seafood cooked on skewers in cramped booths next to goofy fishing-themed artwork. But first, you have to stand outside and wait for your table because this is a first-come-first-served place. 2200 Newport Blvd., Newport Beach, (949) 673-0100; 17260 17th St., Tustin, (714) 573-1077. $

THE DAILY GRILL

This is where you can learn to love the Cobb salad, an orchestrated event of chicken, tomatoes, avocado, bacon, blue cheese, scallions, hard-boiled egg, and romaine and iceberg lettuces mixed in a creamy Italian dressing. Also American comfort food—don't miss the meatloaf—prepared at its highest level. 2636 Dupont Dr., Irvine, (949) 474-2223; 957 Newport Center Dr., Newport Beach, (949) 644-2223; www.dailygrill.com . $$

EL CARBONERO

Owner María de Jesús Ramírez ensures that El Carbonero Nos. 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 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. 9516 W. Katella Ave., Garden Grove, (714) 527-4542; 803 S. Main St., Santa Ana, (714) 542-6653. $

EL FORTÍN

In a country where each state has its unique version of the curry-like mole, Oaxaca is king, and El Fortín offers four stunning varieties of the royal family. I won't even bother describing the house mole, as my tongue cannot possibly articulate this creation—only eat. 700 E. Commonwealth Ave., Fullerton, (714) 773-4290; 10444 Dale Ave., Stanton, (714) 252-9120; www.restaurantelfortin.com . $

FLEMING'S PRIME STEAKHOUSE

Styled after traditional Eastern steakhouses, Fleming's offers an à la carte menu of appetizers, salads, side dishes, "red meat and white meat," and seafood. The steaks are cooked in a superheated gas flame to "seal in the juices," as the publicity goes. They are. A little salt is added to the cut before cooking. 455 Newport Center Dr., Newport Beach, (949) 720-9633; 1300 Dove St., Ste. 105, Newport Beach, (949) 222-2223. $$$

GYRO KING

It's a mighty gyro they spin at Gyro King: lamb and beef compressed into a hexagonal slab, twirled slowly on a spit so the meats meld into one another. When you order a gyro sandwich, a cook shaves lengths from this dense mass and lays them inside toasted pita bread alongside lettuce, tomatoes, onion and crumbles of feta cheese. Although the veggies are crispy, the feta salty and the requisite dash of tzatziki sauce creamy, the gyro's flavor remains bold: slightly spiced, soft but firm like licorice, with a dab of grease glistening on the dark skin that lends a fatty-sweet delight. 2626 Dupont Dr., Irvine, (949) 752-4976; 3601 Jamboree Rd., Ste. 4, Newport Beach, (949) 474-7300. $

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