We hear all sorts of horror stories of pups not even allowed at outdoor restaurants thanks to Health Department restrictions... and even with all the nice weather and patios around here, it can be difficult finding a place to dine with your furry equivalent(s). Here's a list of five dog-friendly eateries that not only permit dogs, but some that will even serve them up their own meals as well.
1. Park Bench Cafe, Huntington Beach
By far the most dog-friendly eatery I've ever had the pleasure of visiting, Park Bench Cafe is located right on the edge of Huntington Beach's Central Park. Consisting of a few scattered picnic tables with umbrellas, there's something for everyone on the menu... including your dog. Park Bench boasts a separate menu just for their four-legged customers, with "dishes" like the the Hot Diggity Dog (cut-up all-beef hot dogs), the Bow Wow Wow (boneless, skinless chicken filet), the Rover Easy (two scrambled eggs) and Chilly Paws (a single scoop of vanilla ice cream). After your brekkie or lunch, take a walk around the park and let your dogs stare at the ducks at the man-made pond just around the corner from Park Bench.
17732 Goldenwest St., Huntington Beach, (714) 842-0775; www.parkbenchcafe.com.
2. Break of Dawn, Laguna Hills
Break of Dawn: Where you don't have to sacrifice taste just to be able to bring your dog along. Easily my favorite brunch spot in Orange County, Break of Dawn has been praised many, many, many times on Stick A Fork In It--and all the acclaim is well deserved by Chef Dee Nguyen (former executive sous chef at the Ritz) and staff. The restaurant not only features a large outdoor patio, but also an original menu with accents of Vietnamese and French influence. Try the tempura poached eggs. Or the créme brûlée French toast. Or both.
24351 Avenida De La Carlota, Laguna Hills,
4. Avanti Cafe, Costa Mesa
And here's one especially for the herbivores: A known vegan/vegetarian haven, Avanti not only serves up cruelty-free cuisine, but all ingredients are also organic and fair-trade. On top of a small patio out front--complete with doggie water bowl, of course--Avanti offers their own holistic, organic (but not vegan!) dog food.
Avanti Cafe, 259 E. 17th St., Costa Mesa, (949) 548-2224; www.avantinatural.com.
5. Side Street Cafe, Costa Mesa
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A big hit with locals, Side Street Cafe has officially filled the hole in my heart since the Omelette Parlor shut down. Inside, Side Street kind of looks a lot like your second grade teacher decorated it: Tons of family photos, kitschy signs, cowboy memorabilia... but outside, it houses a number of tables that allow your dog to dine alongside you. I love the vegetarian eggs benedict, but the variety of scrambles and sweet breakfast dishes are crowd-pleasers as well... cream cheese-stuffed French toast, anyone?
Side Street Cafe, 1799 Newport Blvd., Suite A105, Costa Mesa, (949) 650-1986.