More one-sentence reviews, this week with an entry per city from Aliso Viejo to Laguna Niguel. The first person to figure out which city is missing gets a free Weekly T-shirt!
DINNER FOR TWO:
¢ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Less than $10!
$ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $10-$20
$$ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $20-$40
$$$ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ¡Eres muy rico!
230 FOREST AVENUE
230 Forest Avenue's (it's both the address and the name of the restaurant) starter plates give you plenty to decide among, including wild-mushroom strudel wrapped in phyllo with dark garlic sauce; roasted-artichoke crab dip with warm herb-pita crisps; and salmon and mussel stew with white beans and applewood-smoked bacon, slow simmered in a vegetable fish broth. 230 Forest Ave., Laguna Beach, (949) 494-2545. $$$
I defy anyone to find a finer summer Friday night than the kind you get at Angelo's: a burger-fries-and-Coke combo for six bucks, a girl/boy by your side, nameless kids chucking pickles at one another, buxom waitresses skating without pause, and the half-Latino, half-white crowd communally willing another Vlad Guerrero horsehide bomb into the television sky. 511 S. State College Blvd., Anaheim, (714) 533-1401. $
BISMILLAHHALAL TANDOORI RESTAURANT
The karahi lamb will blow your mouth into a new orbit. 8901-D Knott Ave., Buena Park, (714) 827-7201. $
A tiny room that always seems packed, Chicken Box fries up all the bird parts you'd expect with just enough grease to keep things tasty, as well as ribs, batter-fried fish and reasonably healthy stuff like salads. 330 E. Whittier Blvd., La Habra, (562) 691-1701. $
No matter where the Vietnamese diaspora might take people, they return to Little Saigon for Brodard's hallowed barbecued pork rolls, a culinary beacon that attracts legions with its ruddy meat and the sweet sauce of heaven. 9892 Westminster Ave., Garden Grove, (714) 530-1744. $$
ELLEN'S PINOY GRILLE
Ellen's attracts as many non-Filipinos as pinoys, perhaps because Ellen's offers a menu—a list of all 70 entrées, 10 of them available at any one time in the always-steaming turo-turo buffet. 7971 Valley View St., La Palma, (714) 522-8866. $
Here's what you need to know about Argentine food as it relates to Gaucho Grill: meat. 210 W. Birch St., Ste. 102, Brea, (714) 990-9140. $$
THE GOLDEN TRUFFLE
Impossible to categorize, with elements of different restaurants including seafood, French bistro, Pacific Rim and down-home joint. 1767 Newport Blvd., Costa Mesa, (949) 645-9970. $$$
On those lazy afternoons, choose from one of the 102 beers on tap and order a bucket of steamers: Little Neck clams in a chardonnay broth with tomatoes, celery, onions, carrots and lemon. 125 W. Santa Fe., Ste. 128, Fullerton, (714) 738-4356. $
IRIE JAMAICAN RESTAURANT
This mom-and-pop place serves an excellent ackee and salt fish that is a must-have. 9062 Valley View St., Cypress, (714) 484-0661. $
DO NOT under any circumstances journey to Kasen and attempt to order teriyaki chicken or shrimp tempura or—dear God—California roll, which is about as authentically Japanese as the Viennese waltz. 9039 Garfield Ave., Fountain Valley, (714) 963-8769. $$
LOTUS CHINESE EATERY
Lotus is the county's second Chinese Muslim restaurant and does a fine job of preparing that cuisine's emphasis on meat, magazine-thick noodles and sesame breads large enough to double as Frisbees. 16883 Beach Blvd., Huntington Beach, (714) 848-4940. $$
A C-note here gets you a bowl of cheesy fondue, fine salad, French-influenced meat entrées and a dessert that's flambéed in front of ya. 2646 Dupont Dr., Irvine, (949) 955-3242. $$$
The food offered here—lamb osso bucco with a North African bent, fine wines, and an addicting pork-and-duck confit—is renowned. 17 Monarch Bay Plaza, Dana Point, (949) 234-1679; www.mirabeaubistro.com. $$$
The menu is a blend of nouveau seafood with democratic flair. 26851 Aliso Creek Rd., #C, Aliso Viejo, (949) 360-8822; also at 22332 El Paseo, Rancho Santa Margarita, (949) 766-9988; and 13122 Jamboree Rd., Irvine, (714) 508-8055; www.opahrestaurant.com. $$
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Palace's baklava is sweeter than what they hawk in Anaheim's Little Arabia—splashed with more rose water and honey, the phyllo dough tougher and rolled around a dense almond filling so it resembles a miniature cigar. 24751 Alicia Pkwy., Ste. D, Laguna Hills, (949) 768-6252. ¢
PAPA'S WESTERN BBQ
Papa's specializes in Santa Maria-style barbecue, a tradition native to the coastal central California town that dates to the time when Mexico's rule over California wasn't just a MEChA dream. 10900 Los Alamitos Blvd., Los Alamitos, (562) 594-9251; www.papaswesternbbq.com. $$
Everything is delicious and expensive at Svelte, but if you feel like taking your life into your hands, then spread your claws for the messy, breathtaking burger "de Luxe," a giant Kobe beef patty—them cows are massaged with sake! And forced to guzzle beer! The life!—topped with sweet caramelized onions. 440 Heliotrope, Corona del Mar, (949) 723-9685;www.svelte.cc. $$$Need a restaurant recommendation before our damned dining guide is up and running again? E-mail Gustavo at email@example.com, and he'll answer within the day!