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BUKHARA

Bukhara—Indian for “strip mall”— is situated in, of all things, a Huntington Beach strip mall. It’s an intimate and superb representation of its genre, featuring healthy food, an extensive menu and, most important, many vegetarian choices. The assault on one’s taste buds is breathtaking from start to finish. 7594 Edinger Ave., Huntington Beach, (714) 842-3171. $$

THE CHICKEN CO.

Location Info

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Merhaba Restaurant

2801 W. Ball Road
Anaheim, CA 92804

Category: Restaurant > African

Region: Anaheim

TAPS Fish House & Brewery

101 E. Imperial Highway
Brea, CA 92821

Category: Bars and Clubs

Region: Brea

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

Greek Town Grill

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

Category: Restaurant > Eclectic

Region: Costa Mesa

Franco's Italian Restaurant

4453 Cerritos Ave.
Cypress, CA 90630

Category: Restaurant > Italian

Region: Cypress

Harbor House Cafe

34157 Pacific Coast Highway
Dana Point, CA 92629

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Dana Point

Ebisu Japanese Noddle Reataurant

18924 Brookhurst St.
Fountain Valley, CA 92708

Category: Restaurant > Asian

Region: Fountain Valley

Chicago Harv's

410 E. Chapman Ave.
Fullerton, CA 92832

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Fullerton

Kaju Soft Tofu Restaurant

8895 Garden Grove Blvd.
Garden Grove, CA 92844

Category: Restaurant > Korean

Region: Garden Grove

Brewbakers

7242 Heil Ave.
Huntington Beach, CA 92648

Category: Bars and Clubs

Region: Huntington Beach

Bukhara

7594 Edinger Ave.
Huntington Beach, CA 92647

Category: Restaurant > Indian

Region: Huntington Beach

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If it wasn’t copyrighted, we would tell you they do chicken right. So we’ll just say they do chicken correctly. They turn lowly poultry into buttery works of art. Forget chicken soup: This is what your soul is craving. 9017 Adams Ave., Huntington Beach, (714) 963-0500. $

IRVINE

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 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. $$

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. $

Gulliver’s

Gulliver’s prime rib is the primest of prime. ¡El Primo de Ribbie Ribozo! Un Primen de Ribentrop! What else is there to say? It’s succulent, it’s pink, it’s thick, and it’s delicious. You’ll be saying, Voulez-vous le Ribby de Prim! I surrender. 18482 MacArthur Blvd., Irvine, (949) 833-8411. $$

LA HABRA

IMPERIAL BURGERS

Imperial Burgers serves many more things besides its Cheddar cheese-heavy pastrami burritos—its namesake, for instance, a charbroiled marriage of meat, soft bun, sweet cheese, girth and lettuce. Or standard breakfasts of pancakes, hash browns and sausage. And always sip on ultra-sweet Orange Bang whenever you find this increasingly rare beverage. Everything is good here, really. But La Habra is so far away, and the pastrami burrito is so good—why would you ever order anything else? 241 E. Imperial Hwy., La Habra, (714) 525-1611. $

LA PALMA

PAESANO’S

You probably slap together half of Paesano’s menu at least once a week for dinner: sauce-drenched entrées such as mostaccioli, spaghetti and lasagna that aren’t so much Old World as they are Hoboken. So why bother visiting this 26-year-old eatery? Meatballs that are lacy, herbed and delish. And good subs. 5440 Orangethorpe Ave., La Palma, (714) 521-4748. $

LAGUNA BEACH

LAS BRISAS

Sometimes you’ve gotta choose: the kid’s college education, or another round of margaritas? Ah, but at Las Brisas—perched above Laguna Beach’s Heisler Park, granting you a luxurious after-dinner view of the sun setting over Catalina—the seafood and booze are so good as to make temptation irresistible. 361 Cliff Dr., Laguna Beach, (949) 497-5434. $$

THE LITTLE LAGUNAS

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. 1301, Laguna Hills, (949) 768-0500. $$

LAKE FOREST

MANILA FOOD MART

Every Filipino joint offers the same meals; Manila Food Mart differentiates itself by hawking various products, from such Filipino garb as handbags and barongs (an ornate, light long-sleeved shirt similar to the Caribbean guayabera) to a freezer stocked with ready-to-eat meals such as bags of plump, sugary longansina pork sausages. 24601 Raymond Way, Ste. 10, Lake Forest, (949) 461-0113; www.manilafoodmart.com. $

LONG BEACH

AlegrÍa Cocina Latina

The Spanish-styled brocheta vegetariana isn’t like any bruschetta we’re used to. The bread is replaced with corn tortillas and topped with skewers of grilled vegetables in a light sesame sauce on a pile of Peruvian corn, fresh-chopped tomatoes and tofu. That’s right—tofu! 115 Pine Ave., Long Beach, (562) 436-3388. $$

LOS ALAMITOS

KATELLA DELI

The place has a voluminous menu that spans matzo to mud pie, spinach salad to skyscraper sandwiches, knish to kippers—not to mention a full bakery that houses fresh rolls and bagels. Their Denver omelet is terrific. 4470 Katella Ave., Los Alamitos, (562) 594-8611. ¢

MISSION VIEJO

ALOHA BBQ

Hawaiian staples such as manapua (steamed pork buns) and boiling saimin noodles are fine at Aloha BBQ, along with a Korean-skewed side menu filled with bimimbap and complimentary kimchi. As great as those are, the most impressive meat meal is the spicy pork ribs. Most rib places content themselves with giving patrons a couple of twigs, but Aloha BBQ carts over four massive things that appear to have been torn from a hippo. 24000 Alicia Pkwy., Ste. 4, Mission Viejo, (949) 581-0976. $

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