Restaurant Reviews

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Koba Tofu Grill Offers Lovable Lava Koba Tofu Grill Offers Lovable Lava
This new Irvine entry in the Korean chain offers many soft-tofu soups that burn and roil, but, boy, are they delish!
, March 31, 2011
You haven't really lived until you've sucked on raw crab. At the newest Koba Tofu Grill in Irvine, the spicy blue-crab dish called gae jang... More >>
Pee-Wee's Is Beach Burger Bingo
[Hole In the Wall] This Huntington Beach fave offers great burgers and hot dogs, and its regional specialties are even better
, March 31, 2011
Politically, I'm an open-borders type of guy—but that only somewhat extends to my culinary side. I welcome immigrants and their various food... More >>
Alessa In Laguna Beach Not Alessa Version of the Original Alessa In Laguna Beach Not Alessa Version of the Original
Alessandro Pirozzi's third restaurant makes for a flawless trilogy of Italian food
, March 24, 2011
I had not a single shred of doubt that the third and newest Cucina Alessa was going to be as good as the others. Even before it opened, I likened... More >>
Saigon Bakery: OC's Banh Mi Champeen?
[Hole In the Wall] This Westminster eatery specializes in the Vietnamese sandwich and other baked goodies.
, March 24, 2011
Right now, the biggest thing happening in the Weekly's food universe is on our Stick a Fork In It blog: the Final Pho! Edwin, bloggers Dave... More >>
Battle of the Dance Is Cheesy Good Battle of the Dance Is Cheesy Good
People who go to OC's newest dinner show should focus on the show and less on the dinner
, March 17, 2011
Battle of the Dance isn't the disaster that is the yet-to-debut SpiderMan: Turn Off the Dark. A reported $10 million was spent to convert an... More >>
Punjabi Tandoor Is Nom Nom Nirvana
[Hole In the Wall] This Anaheim restaurant does wonderful interpretations of Northern India cuisine
, March 17, 2011
The big trend in Orange County Indian dining over the past couple of years has been the spread of its southern dishes—dosas and idli and thali... More >>
Habuya Represents the Perfect Prefecture Habuya Represents the Perfect Prefecture
This Tustin dive dazzles as the first Okinawan restaurant in Orange County
, March 10, 2011
Until now, only a handful of OC restaurants has flirted with serving the cuisine of Okinawa, an island prefecture of Japan. Though it's a sushi... More >>
Morangak Has the Seoul of OC's Little Korean
[Hole In the Wall] This Garden Grove restaurant is famous for its Korean barbecue—but there's more
, March 10, 2011
OC's Korean community is as vibrant as any in the United States. Irvine has Sukhee Kang, the first Korean-American mayor of any U.S. city.... More >>
Hapa J's Puts You In an Aloha State of Mind Hapa J's Puts You In an Aloha State of Mind
This San Clemente Hawaiian restaurant will make you recall your fondest vacation memories
, March 03, 2011
In an idyllic, sparsely inhabited town named Hawi on Hawaii's Big Island, there's a breezy restaurant in a converted plantation house. I can't... More >>
Taqueria Rigoberto's Is the Loncheros' Lonchera
Eat like a taco-truck employee at this Santa Ana chef favorite
, March 03, 2011
Great news, gentle readers: Your favorite paper's food section and KCRW-FM 89.9's Good Food With Evan Kleiman are teaming up to hold our... More >>
Taco Asylum Sells Twittered Tacos Taco Asylum Sells Twittered Tacos
The Haven Gastropub creators try their hand at a gourmet taco stand
, February 24, 2011
I don't envy the work the Haven Gastropub wunderkinds—Greg Daniels, Wil Dee and Alkesh Patel—have ahead of them. They're planning a second... More >>
Gendershe Has Bur, Baby, Bur!
[Hole In the Wall] Orange County's first Somali restaurant impresses with its fried bread and other specialties
, February 24, 2011
 While Orange County has always hosted an embarrassingly small African-American community, actual Africans are beginning to arrive on our shores... More >>
Roots Gourmet for the Home Team Roots Gourmet for the Home Team
Coffee, sandwiches, empanadas and more make this delicious Long Beach eatery hard to classify
, February 17, 2011
Roots Gourmet is hard to pigeonhole. Is it a coffee joint or a sandwich shop? Is it a Latin restaurant that serves vegan food or a dessert place... More >>
Da Luau Is Da Kine
[Hole In the Wall] The Irvine eatery excels at Hawaiian island rarities
, February 17, 2011
Restaurateurs and reinvention may go together like a burrito and a flour tortilla, but I really don’t understand the phenomenon. I can’t... More >>
Northern Exposure at Clearman's North Woods Inn Northern Exposure at Clearman's North Woods Inn
The snow-covered log cabin of La Mirada still serves the meals that have made us obese and happy for a half-century
, February 10, 2011
If I asked you to point me to the nearest snow-covered log cabin, I would be able to tell a little bit about you by the answer you gave. A person... More >>
Taqueria La Bamba Is El Queso Grande
[Hole In the Wall] The stellar quesadillas lead the pack of Mexico City specialties at this Fullerton fixture
, February 10, 2011
In terms of diversity, Fullerton probably has the best selection of Mexican restaurants in Orange County, besting even Santa Ana. It's the... More >>
The Kickin' Crab Joins the Crustacean Nation The Kickin' Crab Joins the Crustacean Nation
A new Santa Ana Vietnamese-Cajun seafood joint joins the trend and tries to break the curse of its location
, February 03, 2011
From the looks of the location, the low-slung building on Bristol Street near Macarthur Boulevard in Santa Ana ought to be a prime spot for an... More >>
Cafe Lotus Lives La Vie Vietnamese in Newport
With great French and Vietnamese offerings, this place is better-suited for Little Saigon than the Hoag Hospital crowd
, February 03, 2011
I worry for Café Lotus, snugly hidden off Old Newport Boulevard, in the shadow of Hoag Hospital, an afterthought for drivers hurrying toward PCH,... More >>
Bistro Anju Has an Iron Chef Bistro Anju Has an Iron Chef
Hideki Saito weathers drunkards and the clueless alike at his Laguna Niguel eatery to deliver greatness
, January 27, 2011
The six people who sat at a table in the back of the restaurant were obviously drunk on too much sake. Their increasingly rowdy voices were fast... More >>
Tastes of Greece Gives 'Em Hellenic
[Hole In the Wall] This Laguna Niguel eatery might be the smallest restaurant in OC—but its Greek dishes are stunners
, January 27, 2011
Two reviews of Laguna Niguel restaurants in one issue? Hey, the last time I reviewed one of the bland 'burb's eateries was in 2004, so we might... More >>
DG Burger Is Damned If You Do DG Burger Is Damned If You Do
Charlie Palmer's downmarket burger at South Coast Plaza tries not to eat up all the profits
, January 20, 2011
One of the most memorable things you can eat at Charlie Palmer at Bloomingdale's South Coast Plaza isn't the foie gras or the steaks; it's the... More >>
Wraps Xpress Is the Turkish Rose of Irvine
[Hole In the Wall] Inside this strip-mall restaurant is a great eatery desperate to express itself
, January 20, 2011
There are now two Irvines in existence: the city of Don Bren's dreams— robo-communities, never-ending development and HOAs that fine homeowners... More >>
Sol del Sur Bistro Cooks Everything Under the Sun Sol del Sur Bistro Cooks Everything Under the Sun
The San Juan Capistrano restaurant's globe-trekking menu is already dizzying when you realize that one guy insists on cooking it all by himself
, January 13, 2011
Sol Del Sur’s Dave Emery is a juggernaut. The owner and chef of this tiny San Juan Capistrano bistro has a menu of Herculean proportions. It’s a... More >>
La Cemita Poblana Sells What It's Called
[Hole In the Wall] Eat the 1959 Cadillac Eldorado of sandwiches at this Santa Ana restaurant
, January 13, 2011
Indulge me for one more column, gentle readers, in my local culinary dreams. We talked about the fulfillment of my zacatecano and Colombian... More >>
Tommy Bahama: An Off-Key Bahamian Rhapsody Tommy Bahama: An Off-Key Bahamian Rhapsody
The chain's new Laguna Beach restaurant-cum-clothing store has some kinks to work out before it can relax on the beach
, January 06, 2011
Before I can talk about the new Tommy Bahama restaurant in Laguna Beach, I have to begin with the man himself. Though not as funny or popular as... More >>
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From the Print Edition

Eureka! It's a Burger Discovery Eureka! It's a Burger Discovery

If I told you that you can have a burger and beer at Eureka! (their exclamation point, not mine), the new restaurant in Huntington Beach's Bella Terra, that'd be enough,… More >>

Sahuayo Primo Offers Pig By the Pound

They sit there at Sahuayo Primo in SanTana all the time: golden sheets or strips of chicharrones, fried morning, noon and night, slowly baking under hot lamps. The stacks of… More >>

Wei Shian: A Noodle By Any Other Name Wei Shian: A Noodle By Any Other Name

If you happen to find yourself slurping braised beef noodle soup in Irvine, you're likely in a Taiwanese restaurant. The big names in town—A & J, Lao Dong, Chef Hung—are… More >>

Burrito Madness at Paul's Famous Burgers

California is America's burrito empire, from the Mission cylindrical god of San Francisco to San Diego's California burrito to the Inland Empire's garbage burrito, which I described to a friend… More >>

Samurai Burrito: The Subway of Sushi Samurai Burrito: The Subway of Sushi

Do you turn up your nose at those sushi bar Know-Nothings who would make a thick, creamy sludge out of their soy sauce and wasabi? Do you know what brand… More >>

Ellie's Table At North Beach: A Line of Good

Don't mind the sign near the entrance of Ellie's Table At North Beach that says, "Line Starts Here." Actually, scratch that: If there is a line, follow it. But in… More >>