Restaurant Reviews

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Bistro Bleu Comes Out of the Bleu Bistro Bleu Comes Out of the Bleu
David Kesler offers inexpensive French cuisine out of an Anaheim strip mall
, May 31, 2012
If you opened a French restaurant, you, too, would have the songs of Edith Piaf playing so that her rich-as-foie-gras voice could float through... More >>
Renata's Caffe Italiano Offers a Roman Holiday
[Hole In the Wall] This Old Towne Orange eatery has great specials—but stay away from the regular food
, May 31, 2012
More than a decade ago, I had dinner at Renata's Caffe Italiano in Old Towne Orange while a student at Chapman University. I don't remember the... More >>
The Hidden Dinner Eat-Easys The Hidden Dinner Eat-Easys
[Summer Guide 2012] Anahita Naderi and her crew wows foodies monthly with a shroud of secrecy and great courses
, May 24, 2012
Hidden Dinner is perhaps best defined by its name: It's hidden, and it's a dinner. There is no set location or menu. Find a password that allows... More >>
Brasserie Pascal Bids a Foie Farewell Brasserie Pascal Bids a Foie Farewell
Get Pascal Olhats' legendary foie gras dinner (but skip the dessert) before it's banned
, May 24, 2012
I had my first real piece of foie gras as everyone usually does: at a French restaurant, seared and served with fruit to cut through the inherent... More >>
Ochoa's Chorizo With Amnesty Ochoa's Chorizo With Amnesty
[Hole In the Wall] This Santa Ana foodmaker hints at the potential of OC's cottage-food industry
, May 24, 2012
Every couple of weeks, I get an urge to try the best damn tamales in Southern California, moist, fluffy masa bricks wrapped in banana leaves,... More >>
Pho Bo Vang, Ann's Pho & Teriyaki and Maison de Pho and the Closing of the Pho Frontier Pho Bo Vang, Ann's Pho & Teriyaki and Maison de Pho and the Closing of the Pho Frontier
A pho proliferation in South OC bodes well for the assimilation of Vietnamese food
, May 17, 2012
If Little Saigon is to Vietnamese restaurants as LA's seminal Chinatown is to Chinese food, then Lake Forest might be OC's San Gabriel Valley.... More >>
Rubalcava's and the Rise of Primo-Mex
[Hole In the Wall] This Placentia meat market is launching an audacious experiment with Mexican food
, May 17, 2012
An interesting trend is rising in Orange County: the emergence of second-generation Mexican food entrepreneurs continuing their family tradition,... More >>
Anepalco's Cafe Has Le Mexique Anepalco's Cafe Has Le Mexique
Danny Godinez's second restaurant serves Mexican meals in the French style
, May 10, 2012
Like Break of Dawn's Dee Nguyen and the Playground's Jason Quinn, Danny Godinez cut his teeth and proved his chops during stints at the most... More >>
Bahay Kawayan Is Long in the Plate
[Hole In the Wall] Los Alamitos' first Filipino restaurant is small but delicious
, May 10, 2012
I literally ran into Bahay Kawayan, starving after a day driving across Southern California, needing a starch-filled pick-me-up before I could... More >>
Umami Burger Brings Something Savory This Way Umami Burger Brings Something Savory This Way
Adam Fleischman's phenomenon finally opens in OC
, May 03, 2012
You have Adam Fleischman to thank for bringing the Japanese word "umami" into the mainstream consciousness. Before he came along and started the... More >>
Song Long Bakery Is the Elder of Euclid
[Hole In the Wall] This Garden Grove Vietnamese restaurant makes great pastries
, May 03, 2012
Song Long Bakery is the Little Saigon version of Jax Donuts or Norms: a standard, one that has stood for so long people take it for granted,... More >>
The Hobbit Is Orange County's Precious The Hobbit Is Orange County's Precious
From the wine-cellar hors d'oeuvres to the seventh course, this homage to Bilbo Baggins is the Disneyland of dining
, April 26, 2012
The Hobbit is from a dying breed, a group of the proud and expensive that once included La Vie en Rose, the Arches, and the Riviera at the... More >>
Game Day Fire-Grilled Hot Dogs Gets Their Game On
[Hole In the Wall] The Orange restaurant, with its wondrous wieners, is well-suited to a college town
, April 26, 2012
Next to spotting orange groves and tracking the return of the swallows to Capistrano, one of the best geographic parlor games in Orange County is... More >>
Mil Jugos Is One in a Thousand Mil Jugos Is One in a Thousand
The Santa Ana eatery moved into bigger digs, but its Venezuelan food is still wonderful
, April 19, 2012
Despite the name, there aren't a thousand juices on offer at Mil Jugos—only 24, but that's plenty because you're in the presence of fruits... More >>
Mission Ranch Market Keeps Growing
[Hole In the Wall] The best little Persian supermarket in OC makes Mission Viejo sumptuous for the first time
, April 19, 2012
God bless the entrepreneurial wile of immigrants, those hardy souls who repurposed cookie-cutter strip malls, shopping plazas and office parks... More >>
North Shore Poke Co. Has a Poke-Man North Shore Poke Co. Has a Poke-Man
Shawn Gole's Huntington Beach restaurant finally gives the Hawaiian standard its full, undivided attention
, April 12, 2012
We Mainlanders like to stereotype Hawaiians as obsessed with heavy meals such as plate lunches or loco moco, but the true religion is poke. A... More >>
Mick's Karma Bar Is Burger Heaven In Hell
[Hole In the Wall] This Irvine gem makes amazing hamburgers from a corporate Irvine office tower
, April 12, 2012
No restaurant in Orange County deserves an upgrade in location more than Mick's Karma Bar. From this former juice stand come some of the best... More >>
CUCINA enoteca Is the San Diego Treat CUCINA enoteca Is the San Diego Treat
Irvine's version of a San Diego restaurant that flies against Donald Bren's beige boringness
, April 05, 2012
We sat under a leafy olive tree. If not for butcher-paper placemats, the cold, metal surface of our table would've sapped the warmth from the... More >>
Taqueria Two Guys Cheeses It
[Hole In the Wall] This Santa Ana Mexican restaurant loves its cheese, damn the authenticity
, April 05, 2012
First things first: if you haven't already read it 80 times in this issue, read it again: My long-promised book, Taco USA: How Mexican Food... More >>
Class 302: A Course to Audit Class 302: A Course to Audit
The Irvine restaurant teaches you well with its grade-school theme and Taiwanese food
, March 29, 2012
You're sitting at an actual wooden school desk. There's a cubbyhole for stowing your books and an indentation carved at the top so your pencil... More >>
Moros Cuban Restaurant Has Mondo Mojo
[Hole In the Wall] This La Habra dive impresses every possible way
, March 29, 2012
In the world of searing condiments, few are as caustic as a properly made mojo de ajo—olive oil spiked with garlic, the soy sauce of Cuba. Too... More >>
The Starling Diner's Fine French Toast The Starling Diner's Fine French Toast
Dealing with epic lines for wonderful meals at the Long Beach breakfast institution
, March 22, 2012
You might better know the mile-long stretch of Anaheim Street between Atlantic and Junipero in Long Beach as Cambodia Town, the center of all... More >>
Mitla Cafe Is the Restaurant That Birthed Taco Bell
[Hole In the Wall] This San Bernardino landmarks deserves a pilgrimage from all lovers of Mexican food
, March 22, 2012
This week marks the 50th anniversary of Taco Bell, the Irvine-based giant that fundamentally changed how Americans consume Mexican food. But 2012... More >>
The Riders Club Cafe Goes Back to Basics The Riders Club Cafe Goes Back to Basics
This San Clemente dive makes a damn-fine burger
, March 15, 2012
When I re-evaluate the best burgers I've eaten in my life, the most memorable are usually from dives, greasy spoons, places where I can see,... More >>
Namastey India Chaat Up the Haters
[Hole In the Wall] This Buena Park Indian restaurant is leading the city's subcontinental renaissance
, March 15, 2012
In 1999, Buena Park residents loudly protested when a group of Hindus proposed to build a massive temple in the city that Knott built. "I don't... More >>
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From the Print Edition

O'Neill's Breakfast of Champagne O'Neill's Breakfast of Champagne

"Would you like a mimosa or champagne?" the server asks as you're seated at O'Neill's Bar & Grill inside the Arroyo Trabuco Golf Club in Mission Viejo. "A mimosa, please," you… More >>

Front Porch Pops: Just Lick 'Em

So . . . I'm getting married soon. I've picked some of my favorite businesses to help out with the catering—Taco Maria's Carlos Salgado and Roland Rubalcava to do aguachile… More >>

Santa Ana Revival at the North Left Santa Ana Revival at the North Left

The North Left is what replaced the Crosby, which closed abruptly earlier this year in the wake of a tragic beating death that occurred outside its doors. But for all… More >>

Tamarindo Truck: Maestro de Meats

Tamarindo Truck doesn't need this review. It's already a popular luxe lonchera, finding a loyal following with its twists on Mexican food using organic produce and meats. I've delayed reviewing… More >>

Mangia, Mangia Pirozzi's Meatballs Mangia, Mangia Pirozzi's Meatballs

I'm pretty sure I've not had a meatball as scrumptious or as soft as the ones Alessandro Pirozzi is serving at Pirozzi, his new restaurant in Corona del Mar. And… More >>

Fa-Sai's Dawn of Thai-Mex

Location, location, location! Restaurants live and die by where they set up shop. I wish someone had told that to the folks behind Fa-Sai Thai when they decided to open… More >>