grub guide

NEWPORT BEACH

PESCADOU BISTRO

Despite its location—in a storefront across from Newport Beach City Hall—Pescadou manages to impart a South-of-France feel with vibrant colors and eclectic table settings. You’ll find traditional French dishes—frog legs and coq au vin—as well as such bistro fare as rib-eye steak, bouillabaisse and a variety of fish dishes. 3325 Newport Blvd., Newport Beach, (949) 675-6990; www.pescadoubistro.com. $$$

Location Info

Map

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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More About

ROY’S

Roy’s is all about Hawaii—from the “Aloha” you get when you come in the door and the Israel Kamakawiwo’ole playing over the speakers to the blah, blah, blah about Tokyo-born founder Roy Yamaguchi, whose childhood visits to Maui, we’re told, indelibly shaped his palate (and his palette). Whatever: Yamaguchi has been fusing ever since—and with great success; he is now the Wolfgang Puck of some 31 eponymous restaurants in North America, each with such entrées as rib-eye or wild Scottish salmon. 453 Newport Center Dr., Newport Beach, (949) 640-7697. $$$

ORANGE

EL PORTAL DE VERACRUZ

Most people pick their El Portal meal from a buffet that surprises hourly. Sometimes you’ll find fried bananas sidling against pork ribs slathered in a citrusy green salsa spiked with smoky cactus strips. Or you can go veggie and load up on grilled jalapeños, cheese-sprinkled refried beans and moist rice. But no meal at El Portal is worth eating without at least one masa-based Veracruzan snack: potato-y garnachas, lightly fried picaditas or fluffy chicken tamales. 4530 E. Chapman Ave., Orange, (714) 538-1660. $

PLACENTIA

REMBRANDT’S BEAUTIFUL CUISINE

Rembrandt’s claims to do “beautiful food,” but for them, that translates to hearty, plain fare done to nostalgic perfection: a Brown Derby for our county minus the starlets but without that whole wrecking-ball thing. This is truly the little steakhouse that time forgot. It looks like what the Velvet Turtle would be if they’d redone it Spanish-style in the ’80s: stark, white walls; huge paintings; chandeliers; and filet mignon to the hilt. 909 E. Yorba Linda Blvd., Placentia, (714) 528-6222; www.rembrandtsrestaurant.com. $$$

SAN CLEMENTE

IVA LEE’S

So authentically Cajun they hand out beads to patrons, Iva Lee’s is a haute-cuisine take on the Big Easy. Crawfish cakes are topped with a dollop of saffron aioli, and the pan-fried pork chops are thick and juicy. The chicory coffee crème brûlée is so tasty it’s like eating crack pudding. 555 N. El Camino Real, Ste. E, San Clemente, (949) 361-2855; www.ivalees.com. $$$

SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO

CARNICERÍA EL CAMPEÓN

All things being equal, we find that the less we comprehend of a menu, the higher the odds we’re going to get authentic food. “Tamale” at Carnicería El Campeón was arranged on the menu near some other foods that only a Mexican mami could recognize. Unlike other joints, El Campeón’s tamales are unencumbered by frills—just cornhusk, moist masa and chicken. 31921 Camino Capistrano, San Juan Capistrano, (949) 240-3141. ¢

SANTA ANA

EL GALLO GIRO

Leopaldo Gonzalez cranks tortas out in seven excruciating seconds, but they’re worth the wait. The tortas are delicious and filling beyond description. The bread is warm, and the fresh meats are savory and perfectly complemented by the condiments. 1442 S. Bristol St., Santa Ana, (714) 549-2011; www.gallogiro.com. ¢

SEAL BEACH

NICK’S DELI

Nick Zampino has no evidence, no proof, no corroborating facts or photographs, but he swears he knows in his heart that his family originated that most delicious and conveniently held of early-morning victuals: the breakfast burrito. After tasting these apotheoses, you’ll be inclined to agree. 223 Main St., Seal Beach, (562) 598-5072. ¢

STANTON

MAD GREEK

Reasons to go to the Mad Greek: This place began the zucchini stick “craze”; the Greek salad comes in Herculean portions; uncouth vegetarians have proclaimed the falafel sandwich “Fuckin’ radness”; and anything on the menu above $6 you won’t be able to finish yourself. 12120 Beach Blvd., Stanton, (714) 898-5181; www.themadgreekrestaurant.com. $

SUNSET BEACH

Captain Jack’s

Opened June 25, 1965, this steak and seafood restaurant supposedly serves 53,000 pounds of Alaskan king crab per year—more than any other restaurant in the U.S. It prides itself on consistent quality and hearty portions. The bar is one of the few that still use the “Super Well,” meaning that if you order gin, you get Bombay, and if you order vodka, you get Absolut. 16812 Pacific Coast Hwy., Sunset Beach, (562) 592-2514. $$

TUSTIN

INDIA SWEETS AND SPICES

It’s a sweet shop and a produce vendor, a place to rent videos, buy Urdu-edition newspapers and get a home-style meal in a pop-culture mini-bazaar that caters to your taste for Indian soul food. 14441 Newport Ave., Tustin, (714) 731-2910. $

VILLA PARK

The Coffee Grove

Villa Park’s answer to Cheers, the Coffee Grove is a place where you can chat with the locals or read the paper while they whip up your favorite caffeinated drink. 17769 Santiago Blvd., Villa Park, (714) 974-2650. $

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